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Associate Diploma in Horticulture

Program Overview

Explore how to grow plants for a variety of uses-ornamental, medicinal, food, and beverages. Learn about the innovation and advancements in the growing industry. Develop your skills in greenhouse production, landscaping, and nursery management. Ridgetown Campus provides a great outdoor learning experience to prepare you for a career in the greenhouse or landscaping sector.

New for Fall 2022

Consider the new Co-op option. The Co-op program offers students the chance to experience working in the industry while accomplishing their studies.

Program Features

  • 2-year diploma program
  • Applied, practical training on campus grounds and in the campus greenhouse
  • Focus your studies on either the greenhouse or landscaping sector
  • Gain the knowledge needed to write the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Park's Exterminator License Exam and add expertise to your resume

Innovative Teaching Team

  • Learn from industry-experienced faculty with a focus on practical, hands-on learning


  • Complement your applied education with a strong theoretical base and earn an undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph
  • Diploma graduates can receive transfer credits towards a degree. In many cases, this will eliminate 1 to 2 years of your degree completion time
  • Specific pathways are available at

Learn More About

2 Years

Required Courses

Year One

DAGR*1090 Students will develop written language skills and become proficient at using word processing software. Practical skills include writing business letters and other business correspondence, resumes, formal and informal reports, instructional writing, critical thinking and critical writing. Students will become familiarized with campus software systems including campus e-mail, library resources, and classroom support software. Instruction will be provided in computer file management and using the internet as a research tool.
DAGR*1200 This course covers the basic structure and function of plants and the major functions involved in growth and reproduction as they relate to the production of plants. Topics to be discussed will include: plant processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, nutrient uptake and reproduction, basic genetic principles, basic chemistry and the relationship and importance of plant science to the agricultural and horticultural industry.
DAGR*1600 This course is designed to augment mathematics skills necessary to compete in today's business environments. Typical applications are chemical rate conversions, solutions and mixtures, elementary algebra and financial topics. The aim is to teach students how to solve actual mathematical problems encountered in the day-to-day operation of agricultural/horticultural/environmental operations.
DHRT*1000 The use of hand tools, power machinery, and traditional and contemporary methods in the on-going maintenance of landscape installations will be presented, along with proper equipment operation and safety.
DHRT*1050 This course provides an introduction to the identification of common landscape plants. Students will learn to identify plants by sight through recognition of subtle differences. Botanical names will be taught. Growing requirements, physical features, ornamental characteristics and potential landscape uses will be discussed.
DHRT*2000 Students will learn the basics of greenhouse design and use. Topics such as structures, ventilation, heating, supplemental lighting, relative humidity, irrigation, fertility management and CO2 enrichment will be included. Management and cultural principles of commercial production of various horticultural crops in greenhouses will be used to illustrate management strategies.
DAGR*2090 Students will develop effective oral communication and presentation skills using software. Oral communication skills, preparing formal and informal reports with and without technological support. Practical presentation skills include the use of voice, eye contact, time appropriateness and response to questions. Students will also understand the importance of formalized meetings and be instructed in the use of spreadsheet software as a data management tool. Software available on personal electronic devices used to access business and production information will be overviewed.
DHRT*2090 This course will examine materials and combinations of materials commonly used in landscape structures. Construction methods and common practices for a variety of landscape projects will be described and demonstrated. Use of the survey level and rod for taking elevations and for projects layout will be demonstrated. Information given will be suitable for taking pertinent Certified Horticultural Technician examinations. (Also offered through distance education format.)
DHRT*2200 This course covers the principles and practices of propagation for horticultural plants. Sexual (seed) propagation to include seed maturation, dormancy and seed germination; vegetative (asexual) propagation, including division, layering, budding, grafting and tissue culture are also discussed.
DHRT*2230 This course examines the role of agriculture, landscape horticulture and nursery production on soil processes and properties, and water resources. The course will examine best management practices to conserve soil and water resources and enhance the quality of the ecosystems of which they are a part. In the course, soil and water conservation techniques including plant selection, xeriscaping, the use of ground covers, and dry shade gardening will be covered. The student will also be introduced to various aspects of the hydrologic cycle in the context of designing landscapes and production systems to reduce water use.

Year Two

DAGR*1070 This course introduces business management principles, functions, and processes. Students will learn about the business environment, decision-making, and the role of the organizational functions, with a particular focus on accounting principles, accounting statements, and the use of financial information.
DHRT*3050 This is an advanced course continuing the identification of landscape plants. Growing requirements, physical approximate size at maturity and ornamental characteristics will be discussed for each plant. Less common taxa and additional cultivars will be highlighted.
DHRT*3170 Identification of common weeds in horticulture, methods of weed control, herbicide mode of action and basis of selectivity are the primary areas included in this course.
DHRT*4050 Students will learn the necessary information required to write examinations which are a legal requirement for anyone wishing to apply or sell pesticide products in Ontario. For interested students, licensing exams can be arranged with licensing authorities upon payment of relevant fees. Students will be introduced to federal and provincial legislation governing worker health and safety in the workplace. In particular WHMIS, risk analysis, poisoning, First Aid, labeling and storage & disposal are covered.
DAGR*2020 Student will learn important concepts and techniques required to analyze financial performance and guide business decision making. A broad range of financial topics will be covered, including financial statements and cash flow analysis, financial forecasting and planning, internal control, budgeting, taxation, and the time value of money.
DAGR*4600 Students will learn the theoretical and practical skills of management and interacting with people. Topics will include recruiting, supervising, motivation, training employees, effective listening, dealing with difficult people, group dynamics and leadership skills.


  • The Associate Diploma in Horticulture requires the completion of 24 courses (12.00 credits) total
  • For a list of all courses and the curriculum layout, please see the Associate Diploma Calendar


Why Co-op?

As a co-op student, you will gain firsthand work experience, build professional networks, and develop interpersonal skills that are essential for pursuing a career in horticulture. You will also get paid while earning your diploma. Guelph’s co-op program is unique due to the exceptional level of support provided, including a co-op preparatory course, a personal connection with Co-op Coordinators to assist you during the employment process, and access to senior student mentors.

Course Sequencing

In this co-op program, you will participate in one co-op work term in addition to four academic semesters throughout your two years at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus.

ONE Academic Academic WORK
TWO Academic Academic  


  • Garden Equipment & Supply Dealer
  • Greenhouse Grower
  • Greenhouse Pest Management Technician
  • Horticultural Business Owner
  • Landscape Installer
  • Landscaping Contractor
  • Lawn Care Manager
  • Medical Cannabis Production Assistant
  • Nursery Grower/Manager
  • Parks & Recreation Technician


  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or Equivalent
  • A minimum cumulative average of 65% in 6 Grade 11 or Grade 12 U, C, M, or O level courses (excludes Co-op credits)
  • Includes a minimum of Grade 11C Math and Grade 12C English
  • Or apply under Mature Student Status: Applicants don't have a high school diploma/equivalent, but are 19 years of age or older and out of high school for a minimum of 1 year; pre-admission testing may be required
  • The official secondary school (high school) graduation certificate/diploma that would admit you to an internationally recognized university in your home country is normally acceptable for applications to our programs
  • For further details on out-of-country admission requirements, including the General Certificate of Education (GCE), please refer to the University of Guelph's website at
  • Official documents should come directly from the issuing institution or accreditation body in their official, sealed envelope. Where English translations are needed, please have the documents verified and sent by the issuing academic institution
  • Post-secondary transcripts must be assessed by World Education Services (WES). Both a Credentialed assessment and a course-by-course assessment is required. Supporting documentation should be uploaded to your Ontario Colleges Application Account

English Proficiency

Applicants will be required to present evidence of English proficiency if:

  1. Your first language is not English, and
  2. You have had less than four years of full-time secondary or post-secondary school demonstrating satisfactory academic progress in an English-language school system

The following are acceptable English proficiency tests and their related competence levels. Results must not be dated more than 2-years prior to application:

Test Competence Level
International English Language Testing System (IELTS, Minimum overall score of 6.5 with no band less than 6
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL, Internet Based: minimum total score of 89 with no individual scaled score of less than 21
Computer Based: minimum score of 250
Paper Based: minimum score of 600 with a score of 5
Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL, Minimum overall band score of 70
Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB, Minimum overall score of 85 including composition score of 83 and oral score of 3
Pearson Test of English (PTE, Minimum overall score of 60 with no score less than 60 in the individual components
Advanced Level of English Language Certificate Program (ELCP, Successful completion of the University of Guelph's Open Learning Advanced Level ELCP (levels 9 and 10) is also considered an acceptable form of testing


Approximate Year 1 Costs In CAD
Tuition & Fees (including textbooks) $5,612
Residence (double room) $2,649
Meal Plan $3,190
Personal Living Expenses $3,000
Total Cost $14,451
Fee Breakdown Year 1 Costs In CAD
Tuition (2 semesters) $3,198
Student Organization Fees $390
Additional Program Fees $806
Building Fee $84
Student Dental Insurance $165
Student Health Insurance $165
Insurance $4
Textbooks (approximate) $800
Total Costs $5,612
International Fee Approximate Year 1 Costs In CAD
Tuition & Fees (including textbooks) $14,430
Residence (double room) $2,649
Meal Plan $3,190
Personal Living Expenses $3,000
Total Cost $23,269

Estimates based on 2020-2021 fees


  • Greenhouse
  • Arboretum
  • Student Landscape Builds
  • Classrooms
  • Student Residence
  • Cafeteria 
  • Gymnasium
  • Library and Resource Centre
  • Study Lounge


We regret that due to COVID-19, we cannot host you on campus at this time. We are pleased to offer you 3 options to connect with us virtually:

  1. RC Connect Info Sessions

    • One-on-One Microsoft Teams meeting with our Student Recruiter
    • Learn about your academic program(s) of interest and have your questions answered
    • Sessions are typically 45 minutes in length
  2. Open House Events

    • These events will offer an opportunity to meet program staff, answer your individual questions, and enjoy a campus overview. Specific academic program Open House sessions are being offered as highlighted. Book a session(s), that fit your schedule and academic interest(s)!
    • Sessions vary in length
  3. Campus Tours

  • To get to know our campus and facilities, we invite you to view our short virtual tour of the Ridgetown Campus or book a campus tour

How To Apply

Ontario Colleges Application Code: R205 or R305 (co-op)

  • Complete your Ontario Colleges application online at 
  • February 1 of the application year is the Equal Consideration deadline. Applications received after this deadline will be assessed on a first-come-first-served basis
  • Offers of admission are posted to your Ontario Colleges account starting February 1 of your application year
  • The deadline to accept your offer is May 1 unless otherwise stated in your offer letter
Gabrielle Binkley

"I chose to come to Ridgetown Campus because of the staff, small community, and campus. The staff are knowledgeable in their field and work within the industry. They are great at answering questions and talking about ideas students have for their own personal growth and development! The campus is great for hands-on learning for practical landscape education with the wide variety of plant species and trees in the arboretum. It’s a great place to grow and learn as a student!"

Gabrielle Binkley

Guelph, ON