• Master Herpetologist Program

    Expert Perspectives into the World of Amphibians & Reptiles
    The Master Herpetologist Program is offered as a 100% online program, instructed by over 30 herpetologists from around the world.
    Join Us!
    The program offers expert instruction and certification as a Master Herpetologist.

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Amphibian Foundation Online Learning Institute - Available Courses

The Master Herpetologist Program is a certificate program, and is offered 100% online. The class is taught by a diversity of herpetologists from around the world.

100% Online | Asynchronous | 16 week program | Certificate program | Offered: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall

Master Herpetologist Logo

Acclaimed and World-renowned Online Course

This intensive class provides an introduction to herpetology and equips participants with amphibian and reptile identification skills and general knowledge of frogs, salamanders, turtles, lizards, crocodilians, tuatara, and snakes — their life histories, habitat requirements and biodiversity.

Course content includes classification and identification of amphibians and reptiles, phylogeny, anatomy & physiology, ecology, behavior, breeding migration, frog calls, backyard wildlife habitat, disease, amphibian & reptile declines, and conservation. This course is a deep dive into the world of amphibians and reptiles, intended to create a foundation of herpetological knowledge upon which students can build. It is modeled after both a college-level course in herpetology and certification programs like the Master Naturalist.

The course registration fee ($300) includes everything: lectures, handouts, exam, and certificate.

The class is intended for adults. Please contact us before registering someone under the age of 18. For younger learners, please see our Junior Master Herpetologist Program (ages 12-17). If you are a certified Junior Master Herpetologist, and you wish to apply for an Age Exception for this course, please see the application for eligibility and criteria. Application Here
The 100% online class is asynchronous - meaning there is no required time to meet, is designed for students to go at their own pace with the material, and from any time zone. The scope of the course is broad in order to highlight the global biodiversity of the animals, the students, and the instructors. We will meet optionally every other Wednesday as 'office hours' on the first day of a new section — if anyone has questions or would like to communicate directly with the instructor (not required). The course will work through any web browser on PC, Mac, and also on the Moodle app on phones/tablets: iPhone, and Android.

Course Schedule

The schedule below is a guide for the class. A given section (eg. Frogs) will be made available on the first day of that section and will remain available for the duration of the course. Students have 2 weeks to absorb the material, before the next topic (section) is introduced, but can go at their own pace and refer back to earlier topics throughout the course.

The Final Exam will be made available after the (optional) Office Hours at the beginning of the last section, which will serve as a review session for the final. The class lasts about 16 weeks, and requires an average of 2-3 hours a week to complete.

The schedule for the next semester of the course is listed below.

  • Fall 2024

    The optional live sessions (Office Hours) for this semester occur on the dates listed below at two times, to maximize the chances that students can join from all hemispheres | 5 pm CET/12 pm EST + 5 pm EST/10 pm CET

    Section 1 (Jul 10): Introduction
    Section 2 (Jul 24): Caecilians
    Section 3 (Aug 7): Salamanders
    Section 4 (Aug 21): Frogs
    Section 5 (Sep 4): Lizards + Tuatara
    Section 6 (Sep 18): Snakes
    Section 7 (Oct 2): Turtles + Crocodilians
    Section 8 (Oct 16): Final Exam

Course Instructors

Affiliation and Twitter Handle

Adam Bland, Chester Zoo | @adamwbland
Amanda Duffus, Gordon State College | @DrRanidae
Andy Coleman, Urban Turtle Project & Talladega College | @AlabamaTurtles
Anthony Herrell, Bâtiment d'Anatomie Comparée- National Museum of Natural History | @AnthonyHerrel
Arik Hartmann, University of Florida | @AmphibiArik
Boris Berlijn, Amphibian Foundation | @BorisBerlijn
Brooke Talley, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission | @Br00keT
Carla Bardua, Natural History Museum, London | @CarlaBardua
Chris Jenkins, The Orianne Society | @OrianneSociety
David Bickford, University of La Verne
David Blackburn, Florida Museum of Natural History | @davidcblackburn
David Steen, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission | @AlongsideWild
Duncan Irschick, University of Massachusetts | @duncanirschick
Ed Stanley, Florida Museum of Natural History | @DrScanley
Grover Brown, University of Southern Mississippi | @GroverJBrown
Henry Astley, University of Akron
Houston Chandler, Virginia Tech & The Orianne Society | @TheSnakeDude
Jen Lamb, St Cloud State University | @jenylamb
Jodi Rowley, University of New South Wales | @jodirowley
John Measey, Amphibian Foundation & Stellenbosch University | @AfriHerp
Jonathan Losos, Washington University at St Louis | @JLosos
Katy Greenwald, Eastern Michigan University | @amphibs
Laura Kojima, Odum School of Ecology/Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia | @LauraKojima
Marcel van Driel, Helping Hands in Snake Safety | @zambiansnakes
Mark Mandica, Amphibian Foundation & Agnes Scott College | @markmandica
Matthew Niemiller, University of Alabama in Huntsville | @cavemander17
Mark Scherz, University of Konstanz | @MarkScherz
Max Lambert, UC Berkeley | @MaxRLambert
Mikaeylah Davidson, University of Melbourne | @MicrobeMik
Robert Sprackland, Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History | @RSprackland
Ryan Kerney, Gettysburg College | @ryankerney
Sarah Lamar, Victoria University of Wellington | @SphenodonSarah
Sarah McGrath-Blaser, University of Florida | @BlasinAmphibs
Simon Maddock, University of Wolverhampton; Natural History Museum, London & University of Seychelles | @Simon_Maddock
Sneha Dharwadkar, Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises Foundation | @Herpomania
Steve Allain, Save the Snakes | @stevoallain
Steven David Johnson, Eastern Mennonite University, International League of Conservation Photographers
Taylor West, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. University of Michigan | @WildWildTWest
Tobias Landberg, Amphibian Foundation | @TobiasLandberg
Tony Daly-Crews, The Rattlesnake Conservancy
Vladimir Dinets, University of Tennessee, Knoxville | @VladimirDinets
Walter E. Meshaka, Jr., State Museum of Pennsylvania | @ToadWally

This course is offered on the Moodle Platform

Moodle logo

Can anyone take this class?

We have designed the class specifically for as wide an audience as possible. There are no pre-requisites. It is designed as a college-level course in herpetology and is dense with material. There is a comprehensive final exam and students who participate regularly in the class are generally able to pass and become certified. We suggest that potential students register for the course only if they will be able to dedicate a few hours a week to the course.

Registration is Open!

The Master Herpetologist Program online is $300 for the 16-week program. It includes ~ 50 lectures, all handouts, final exam, and certificate.

Fall 2024

Class starts July 10, 2024
Registration closes July 17

Login information will be emailed to students on the day before the first day of class - July 9.

Student's Name
Student's Email

Once registration is completed successfully through PayPal, you will be asked to read and sign the Code of Conduct form. Submitting that form will complete your registration. You will be automatically emailed a copy of the signed form, and a receipt from PayPal.

Login information will be sent out to students the day before class starts. Questions can be directed to info@amphibianfoundation.org

Lead Instructor, Boris

The Master Herpetologist Program is led by Master Herpetologist and AF Virtual Education Coordinator, Boris.

If you would like to contact the Master Herpetologist Program team with questions, you can reach them directly at the link below.

Contact MHP Team

Would you like to give Master Herp registration as a gift?

Click here for instructions on how to give the Master Herpetologist Program as a gift. We provide instructions and also an image you can use to surpise your student!

Registering without PayPal

You do not need a PayPal account to register for classes at AF, just a debit or a credit card. If you are having trouble, here's a short instructional video covering how to register without a PayPal account'


Member Discount

Members of the Amphibian Foundation receive a $20 discount on the Master Herpetologist Program, and a $15 discount on the Critters & Cabernet series.

Member registration links are provided on our Patreon page.

Become a member today!

Why take the Master Herpetologist Program?

First and foremost, the Master Herpetologist Program is an intensive class in herpetology, covering the major groups in detail. While the instructors aim to make the material accessible to the widest audience possible, students should anticipate spending between 6-8 hours per two-week session to digest the information (up to 4 hours/week).

The students so far have come from a wide range of backgrounds including: college and graduate students, educators, agency professionals, naturalists, and herp enthusiasts. Typically students are interested in gaining knowledge and connections in the field of herpetology, and career building with including certification as a Master Herpetologist on their resume.

Certified Master Herpetologists have gone onto further advance their careers and knowledge in academia, state/federal agencies, and the zoological field. Master Herpetologists are invited to a global private Slack network to continue conversations, herping, and share opportunities once the course is over.

The certificate also serves as documentation of program completion, including passing the comprehensive final exam.

Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society

'The Amphibian Foundation’s Master Herpetologist Certification Program'

A wonderful review of the course by Amelia Pollock

Read Article

Master Herpetologist Refund Policy

The Refund Policy for the Master Herpetologist Program, The Southeastern, and the Captive Management class is as follows.

If you want to cancel before class starts - FULL REFUND IS PROVIDED.

If you want to cancel after class starts - NO REFUND IS PROVIDED.

Up until week 4 of class, you are able to transfer your registration to the following semester at no additional cost.

Students who are unable to pass or complete the Master Herpetologist Program or the Southeastern Master Herpetologist Program, they will be offered an opportunity to retake the class at a 50% discount.