Minnesota School of Botanical Art
Certificate Programs

The Minnesota School of Botanical Art has been designed to reach the ideal goal of serving both science and art. Courses are offered in how to observe, how to reproduce all based on the forum understanding of the life and limb of the living object, its structure, its place in the plant kingdom, its place in the larger environment. In keeping with this goal, three levels of certificates in botanical art are offered:

Primary Certificate
Advanced Certificate
Master Class Certificate


Primary Certificate in Botanical Art

The Primary Certificate is intended to acknowledge the student who has completed 14 required courses, four elective courses, compiled a notebook of class materials, and developed a portfolio of work that is up to an intermediate level. A panel of instructors will review the notebook and portfolio and will assess it for progression of skill level. Completion of this program will require two or more years, and must be completed within three years.

Required Courses:

  • Drawing I
  • Drawing II
  • Drawing III
  • Color Theory
  • Watercolor I
  • Watercolor II
  • Watercolor III
  • Pen and Ink I
  • Pen and Ink II
  • Colored Pencil I
  • Colored Pencil II
  • Composition
  • Botany for Artists I
  • Botany for Artists II

Sample of Elective Courses:
  • Orchids
  • Field Sketching
  • Painting on Vellum
  • Silverpoint
  • Spring Flowering Bulbs
  • Mixing Greens
  • Seeds, Pods & Galls

Keep a notebook that includes in-class notes, sketches, ideas and comments. You will submit this notebook with your portfolio when your work is reviewed for the Primary Certificate. The notebook should be either a bound sketchbook or three-ring binder, minimum size 8 1/2" x 11". This notebook will serve as a record of your progression of knowledge and will be a valuable reference book for you future use.

Portfolio Review
Contents of the portfolio must include:
  • Simple graphite line drawing (contour drawing)
  • Continuous tone graphite drawing
  • Watercolor painting
  • Botanical plate in medium of your choice
  • Four illustrations from elective courses
  • Each illustration should be labeled with the following information:
  • Latin and common name of subject
  • Time of year specimens illustrated (spring, summer, fall, winter)
  • Media
  • Date work completed

Getting Started
Reviews for the Primary Certificate will take place annually June 15 - 30. When you have completed all courses, contact the program director to set up a time to deliver the project. Classes will be verified and two instructors will review your portfolio. There will be a fee of $200 for this review. Criteria that will be used include:
  • Progression of Technical Ability
  • Accuracy of Drawings
  • Aesthetics
Download the below documents to get you started:

Students who decide to participate in the certificate program must register by completing the Enrollment Form and submitting it to the director of the school. Students may download the Attendance Form from the above link. Keep this form and have your instructors sign off on it at the end of each course. You must attend five out of six classes to receive credit for the class. Presentation of the form is required when you apply for the Primary, Advanced, and Master Class Certificates.

Credit for Previous Classes
Students who participate in the Certificate Program and who have taken classes previously at the Minnesota School of Botanical Art may apply for credit for those classes toward the primary certificate. Students who have previous drawing and botanical painting experience may substitute upon approval Drawing I and Watercolor I with two additional electives.

Advanced Certificate in Botanical Art

Students who have achieved the Primary Certificate are eligible to apply for the Advanced Certificate. Students must be working at an advanced level to qualify for this program. Your portfolio will be reviewed and approved by a panel of instructors before proceeding. Critera that will be used include"

  • Morphological Accuracy
  • Aesthetics
  • Technical Ability

The Advanced Certificate will be awarded to the student whose work is up to the standards of the American Society of Botanical Artists and who successfully completes an Independent Study Project

Independent Study Project
This project is intended to cultivate your continued development as a botanical artist. Students are encouraged to practice their illustration skills on a focused interest that is determined by the student. A proposal must be presented for a panel of instructors to review and approve. Given the great range of plant diversity, ideas for this project are unlimited. For example, you may choose to study the plants in a specific geographic area, focus on a specific species, illustrate plants that may have a historical context, plants that have specific uses such as medicinal, or a group of plants that tell an ecological story. The student's first task is to choose a subject to study. The subject should be explored through reading the related literature. Also helpful will be consultation with scholars in the field, if available. Any source of information relating to the chosen subject will help develop the project proposal. A detailed written proposal for the project, which must include the disciplines of both art and science, must be submitted to the director of School. It will be reviewed by a committee of instructors. It should include:
  • Proposed title and date submitted
  • Project description
  • Goals of the project
  • Resources for researching the subject, i.e. bibliography and other research materials
  • Anticipated completion date
A faculty committee will review the proposal, approve it or suggest revisions. Faculty guidance will be provided to the student, with a maximum of five hours of individual time per quarter (three month period).

The finished project must include:
  • A minimum of six illustrations in appropriate mediums. Maximum size, quarter page, 11" x 15"
  • A paper describing the results and conclusions of the project (minimum 1,000 words, maximum 5,000 words)
Each illustration must be labeled with the following information:
  • Latin and common name of subject
  • Time of year specimens illustrated (spring, summer, fall, winter)
  • Media
  • Date work completed
The project must be completed within two years of the approval of the project proposal. Three hard copies of the project proposal, final paper and scans of each image on a cd disc must be submitted at the time of your project review.

The total fee to participate in the Independent Study Project is $1,500, payable in four quarterly installments of $375 according to the following schedule: February 1, May 1, August 1, November 1

Students will receive six hours of instructor guidance per the following schedule:
1st Quarter:
3 hours, two instructors review initial proposal.
3 hours individual time with one instructor, one meeting.
2nd Quarter:
6 hours individual time with one instructor, two meetings, 3 hours each
3rd Quarter:
6 hours individual time with one instructor, two meetings of 3 hours each
4th Quarter:
1 hour individual time with one instructor, one meeting
9 hours, three instructors, review completed project

Upon completion of your project, please contact the Director of the Minnesota School of Botanical Art to schedule a meeting to deliver the work. A faculty committee will review the study, provide feedback, and grade the project on a pass/no pass basis. If the project does not pass, the student will have an opportunity to make revisions and present it past a second time within six months of notification.

MG Seedpods
Master Class Certificate in Botanical Art

The school offers up to two Master Class workshops each year, bringing in the most talented artists in the field. These workshops are open to all students in the School as every student level will benefit by learning techniques used by these Master Artists, however, those students who are working on their Master Class Certificate will receive priority placement.

Students who have completed the Minnesota School of Botanical Art's Primary and Advanced Certificate programs are eligible to apply for this certificate. To complete the Master Class Certificate in Botanical Art students must attend a minimum of four Master Class workshops and present a portfolio based on the techniques learned during the Master Class. The following items must be included:

  • Attendance Form
  • Notes from class completed in an notebook or sketchbook
  • Work completed during Master Class
  • Maximum of two artworks (minimum size 11" x 15")
Criteria used to evaluate the work:
  • Technical ability
  • Complexity of composition
  • Accuracy of morphology and drawing
  • Aesthetics
Upon completion of your work, please contact the Director of the School to schedule a meeting date to deliver the work. A faculty committee will review the work and grade it on a pass/no pass basis. There will be a fee of $200 for this review.