Advanced Horticulture Graduate Certificate

Online and Distance Education Program

horticulture plant
Ag*IDEA Program

The online Advanced Horticulture, Graduate Certificate is designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore the field of horticulture beyond entry-level.

Students choose this program to:

  • Experience the breadth and diversity of the field through maximum flexibility in course selection.
  • Gain knowledge through courses in tree, floral and fruit production, as well as interior plants and business management.
  • Enhance or expand their career options in the field of horticulture through graduate-level coursework.

Students who complete this certificate may also wish to pursue a plant-related master's degree such as a Masters of Science or a Masters of Applied Science in Agronomy or Horticulture.

This program is offered as part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA) and provides you with diverse perspectives on the field. You enroll in courses at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln even though courses may be taught by other Great Plains IDEA member institutions. The certificate comes from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

Students who complete this certificate may also wish to pursue a plant-related Master of Science degree or a Master of Applied Science.

Additional Certificates

The University of Nebraska-Lincolns Department of Agronomy and Horticulture offers three graduate certificates in horticulture:

The department is able to offer these three certificates as a member of the AG*IDEA Consortium.

Career Outlook

Work in the horticulture field ranges from grounds maintenance staff who require no formal education to scientists who need a minimum Ph.D. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), grounds maintenance workers held 1,309,300 jobs in 2016. The BLS reported from 2016-2024, there would be an 11% increase in employment for grounds maintenance workers. The projected amount of job openings during this period is 146,300. The BLS projects that businesses in green-industry occupations and careers that protect the planet will increase.

Additional career paths may include:

  • Olericulturist (vegetable grower, seller and marketer)
  • Urban farmer
  • Plant ecologist
  • Plant researcher or technologist
  • Arborist, forester
  • Florist or floral designer
  • Food scientist
  • Industry support
  • Inspection of plants
  • Landscape construction and management
  • Landscape design
  • Communications blogger, writer, photographer
  • Pest management
  • Farm or co-op organizational management

Ag*IDEA Program Ag*IDEA is an affiliate of the Great Plains IDEA, a national consortium of universities that offer programs and courses in agriculture disciplines. The Ag*IDEA's membership of top accredited universities offer master's degrees and graduate certificates fully online from top faculty.


Core Courses
HORT 824: Plant Nutrition and Nutrient Management (3 credits) (AGRO 824) Macro- and micronutrient elements and their function in the growth and development of plants; the role of single elements; interaction/balances between elements and nutrient deficiency/ toxicity symptoms as they affect the physiology of the whole plant; and the relationship between crop nutrition and production/environmental considerations (e.g. yield, drought, temperature, pests).
HORT 842B: Plant Physiology (3 credits) Presents fundamental concepts underlying the science of crop physiology, including crop phenology, canopy development and light interception, photosynthesis and respiration, and dry-matter partitioning.
HORT 843A: Advanced Greenhouse Crop Production (4 credits) Principles and practices of commercial production of greenhouse crops involving crop scheduling, greenhouse construction, heating, cooling, growing media, pest management, nutrition, fertility, growth regulation, irrigation, post‐harvest handling, and marketing of greenhouse crops.
HORT 843K: Arboriculture (3 credits) This course focuses on the physiological principles and industry practices in the production, moving, care, and maintenance of ornamental trees, shrubs and ground covers. The purpose of this course is to provide students with the career tools to install and maintain woody plants. This goal will be accomplished through the review of the pertinent literature and through class exercises designed to improve students’ skills and knowledge of woody plant physiology, care and maintenance.
HORT 843M: Seed Science (4 credits) Seed morphology, anatomy and chemistry. Germination, emergence and dormancy processes in seed, as well as various quality aspects including vigor, longevity and deterioration. Discussion of genetically engineered seeds and other current topics.
HORT 844A: Environmental Nursery Production Practices (3 credits) In this course, cultural nursery crop production practices will be presented with consideration of current recommended Best Management Practices, conservation of resources, scientific research-based investigations related to nursery cultural practices, potential risks to nursery personnel and off-site movement of airborne materials and effluents to surrounding areas
HORT 844E: General Viticulture (3 credits) This broad-based course covers aspects of grapes from vine anatomy to final products. This course includes cultivars, propagation, canopy management, diseases, weed control, physiology, anatomy, irrigation, wine production, climates and soils.
HORT 888: Business Management of Agriculture Enterprises (3 credits) Students will research a specific agricultural enterprise then develop and present a business plan using materials from the primary area of interest. This course requires the completion of a shadowing assignment and the analyses of case studies.
HORT 896: Fruit and Nut Trees (3 credits) Description to come.
HORT 896: Plant/Water Relations (3 credits) Presents fundamental concepts underlying the science of crop physiology, including crop phenology, canopy development and light interception, photosynthesis and respiration and dry-matter partitioning.
HORT 896: Introduction to Permaculture (3 credits) Permaculture means "permanent culture," and ..."is the conscious design and maintenance of cultivated ecosystems that have the diversity, stability, and resilience of a natural ecosystem." [Bill Mollison] This course will explore a design/thinking methodology that seeks to provide our essential physical needs, food, water, shelter, energy, etc., while doing so in an environmentally friendly, sustainable manner.
Tuition and Fees How to Apply Contact Us

Students pay the Ag*IDEA/Great Plains IDEA common price per credit hour for this program. Choose "Online Distance Class (ES)" on the tuition and fees cost estimator page and enter your credit hours in the "AG*IDEA, Great Plains IDEA" boxes.

Clicking "How to Apply" takes you to the Graduate Studies website for additional program and application information.

Graduates of the Advanced Horticulture, Graduate Certificate may find careers in a multitude of areas, including:

  • Extension agents involved in horticulture-related programs
  • K-12 science teachers
  • Golf course superintendents
  • Municipal parks superintendents and employees
  • Landscape maintenance practitioners
  • Public garden, camp or park employee
  • Nursery, greenhouse and garden center professionals
  • Serious horticulture enthusiasts, such as master gardeners

I like that it's diversified and I can take classes that interest me. It's also easier to get a minor in whatever I want without having to invest additional time in college.

Applied Science Student in Central City, Nebraska

Service you expect from a leading University

  • Access the same student services available to on-campus students
  • An academic adviser will guide you along your journey
  • Career services are available when you are ready to take your next step


  • Combine a number of disciplines to create a unique degree
  • Choose more than 50% of the courses you take as electives
  • Complete coursework during the time of day that works best for you within a select timeframe

Quality learning experience

  • The University of Nebraska has offered distance education courses for more than 100 years
  • Interact with faculty and students through e-mail, discussion forums and chat groups
  • Direct access to world-class faculty – researchers who are experts in their fields or practitioners with real-world experience

To be accepted to this program

  1. A bachelor's degree in biology or a plant-related major.
  2. 3.00 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale.
  3. Successfully completed at least a semester of coursework in biology, plant sciences, genetics, algebra and chemistry.
  4. 3 letters of recommendation. These must be from professionals who are familiar with your work ethic or scholastic ability. Personal references from friends, relatives, etc. are not acceptable.
  5. A personal statement. In 1-2 pages, describe
    1. your professional goals and career aspirations and specifically what you plan to do with your certificate
    2. background experiences, events, and/or education that have influenced your professional goals
    3. how enrolling in this certificate program will assist you in meeting your professional goals.
  6. Taken the TOEFL or IELTS. Only required if English is not your native language. Minimum score of 79 on Internet-based TOEFL, 600 on paper-based TOEFL or 6.5 on IELTS required for admission.

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester: May 15
Spring Semester: October 1
Summer Session: February 15

Ellen Paparozzi

Ellen Paparozzi, PhD


Ellen Paparozzi’s key areas of focus are plant physiology (plant nutrition) and anatomy, floriculture and ornamental horticulture and plant physiology and production ecology. Her main research focus is on the broad topic of leaf yellowing and subsequent re-greening of leaves. She is approaching this topic using physiological, anatomical and molecular biological methods. She teaches several courses and has published numerous articles.


Online and Distance Education Contact Form - Graduate

Start Preparing for Your Future

Provide your information and we’ll send you what you need to know about earning a graduate degree or certificate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I am interested in the following graduate program: