About the

Certificate in Native Plant Studies

Founded in 2001, the Certificate in Native Plant Studies provides participants with a well-balanced botany, ecology, and taxonomy curriculum that enables students to expand their knowledge and develop a greater appreciation of native flora of the southeastern United States.

To complete the certificate, students enroll in the program, complete eight core courses, four elective credits, and complete either an independent study project or capstone experience. Course offerings are designed for graduation within a three-to-five-year period. Most courses consist of multiple classes, and most classes are three hours per session and are taught by Gardens staff, UNC professors, and other area professionals.



Core Courses
Plant Ecology
Plant Communities of North Carolina
Plant Taxonomy
Flowering Plant Families
Principles of Conservation Biology
Two seasonal local flora courses (Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter)

Sample Electives
Dendrology: Trees of North Carolina (1.0)
Geology for Ecologists and Botanists (1.0)
Introduction to Mushrooms (0.5)
Lichens (0.5)
Pollination (0.5)
Identifying and Controlling Invasive Plants (0.25)
Native Plant Propagation (0.25)
Native Seed Propagation (0.25)
Native Southeastern Medicinal Plants (0.25)

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Enrollment is open continuously. A $100 enrollment fee covers administrative costs for five years, after which point a renewal fee will apply for those continuing in the program. Course fees are administered separately. Students must be at least 18 years of age to enroll.

Enroll in the certificate program

Program Handbook
Current Students

Independent Study Project

As a culmination of the program, students complete either a capstone experience (a short-term volunteer placement) or an independent study project.

The independent study project confers a certificate with honors. Past projects have included everything from location-specific plant inventories to a study on pollinator diversity in a suburban yard.