The Master Herpetologist Certification Program is offered both at the Amphibian Foundation and online, and is taught by a diversity of herpetologists from around the world. The in-person class in Atlanta is instructed jointly between the Foundation, GA DNR, the Orianne Society.

Master Herpetologist Logo


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 and snakes — their life histories, habitat requirements and biodiversity.

Course content includes classification and identification of amphibians and reptiles, 'herping' equipment, frog calls, attracting amphibians/reptiles and backyard wildlife habitat, anatomy and physiology, ecology, behavior, breeding migration, 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.


The course fee includes lectures, handouts, exam, and certificate.

For the in-person courses at the Amphibian Foundation, the fee also includes 2 field trips, a copy of Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia (Jensen, et al), and a graduation luncheon.

Throughout the year, Master Herpetologists may be offered early bird or discounted registration for workshops and other reptile and amphibian events, including opportunities for field work in research studies.

The class is intended for adults. Please contact us before registering someone under the age of 18
Master Herpetologist Class of 2019
Master Herpetologists gather at Sweetwater State Park for the reptile field trip

Select a Semester Below to See the Schedule and to Register

  • Online • Winter 2020/21

    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 much broader than the in-person class as well, in order to highlight the global biodiversity of the animals, the students, and the instructors. We will meet optionally on the Wednesdays listed below from 6 - 8 pm (EST = UTC -5:00) as 'office hours' — 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, iPhone, and Android.

    Winter 2020/21

    The schedule below is a guide for the class, as well as the days of the optional office hours. A given chapter (eg. Frogs) will be made available on the date listed below and will remain available for the duration of the course. Students have 2 weeks to absorb the material, before the next topic 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 on Jan 6, which will serve as a review session for the final.

    Sep 30: Introduction
    Oct 14: Salamanders
    Oct 28: Caecilians
    Nov 11: Frogs
    Nov 25: Turtles
    Dec 9: Lizards
    Dec 23: Snakes
    Jan 6: Final Exam


    The Master Herpetologist Program Online is $300 for the 8 session program. It includes ~50 lectures, a certificate, and final exam.

    Registration for Winter 2020/21 Online Course is Now OPEN.

    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 emailed a copy of the signed form, and a receipt from PayPal.


    Course Instructors —
    Amanda Duffus, Gordon State College
    Andy Coleman, Urban Turtle Project & Talladega College
    Anthony Herrell, Bâtiment d'Anatomie Comparée- National Museum of Natural History
    Arik Hartmann, University of Florida
    Brooke Talley, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
    Carla Bardua, Natural History Museum, London
    Chris Jenkins, The Orianne Society
    David Bickford, University of La Verne
    David Blackburn, Florida Museum of Natural History
    David Steen, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
    Duncan Irschick, University of Massachusetts
    Ed Stanley, Florida Museum of Natural History
    Grover Brown, University of Southern Mississippi
    Henry Astley, University of Akron
    Houston Chandler, Virginia Tech & The Orianne Society
    Jen Lamb, St Cloud State University
    Jodi Rowley, University of New South Wales
    John Measey, Stellenbosch University
    Jonathan Losos, Washington University at St Louis
    Mark Mandica, Amphibian Foundation & Agnes Scott College
    Matthew Niemiller, University of Alabama in Huntsville
    Mark Scherz, University of Konstanz
    Max Lambert, UC Berkeley
    Robert Sprackland, Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History
    Ryan Kerney, Gettysburg College
    Sarah McGrath-Blaser, University of Florida
    Simon Maddock, University of Wolverhampton; Natural History Museum, London & University of Seychelles
    Sneha Dharwadkar, Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises Foundation
    Steve Allain, Save the Snakes
    Taylor West, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. University of Michigan
    Tobias Landberg, Amphibian Foundation
    Tony Daly-Crews, The Rattlesnake Conservancy
    Walter E. Meshaka, Jr., State Museum of Pennsylvania

  • Atlanta • Fall 2020

    Amphibian Foundation, GA DNR and Orianne Society

    Class meets Wednesdays from 10 am - 3 pm (with an hour break for lunch) at the Amphibian Foundation.

    Fall 2020

    Aug 26: Introduction
    Sep 9: Salamanders
    Sep 23: Frogs
    Oct 7: Amphibian Field Trip
    Oct 21: Turtles
    Nov 4: Snakes
    Nov 18: Reptile Field Trip
    Dec 2: Final Exam & Graduate Luncheon

    Course instructors: Mark Mandica of the Amphibian Foundation and Agnes Scott College; Daniel Sollenberger of Georgia DNR; Chris Jenkins of the Orianne Society; and Grover Brown of University of Southern Mississippi


    The Master Herpetologist Program is offered at a price of $400 for the 8 session program. It includes lectures, guided field trips, Reptiles and Amphibians of Georgia (Jensen, et al.), a certificate, and graduate luncheon.

    Registration for Fall 2020 is Open!
  • Online • Summer 2020

    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 much broader than the in-person class as well, in order to highlight the global biodiversity of the animals, the students, and the instructors. We will meet optionally on the Wednesdays listed below from 6 - 8 pm (EST = UTC -5:00) as 'office hours' — 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, iPhone, and Android.

    Summer 2020

    The schedule below is a guide for the class, as well as the days of the optional office hours. A given chapter (eg. Frogs) will be made available on the date listed below and will remain available for the duration of the course. Students have 2 weeks to absorb the material, before the next topic 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 on Sept 2nd, which will serve as a review session for the final.

    May 27: Introduction
    Jun 10: Salamanders
    Jun 24: Caecilians
    Jul 8: Frogs
    Jul 22: Turtles
    Aug 5: Lizards
    Aug 19: Snakes
    Sep 2: Final Exam


    The Master Herpetologist Program Online is $300 for the 8 session program. It includes lectures, a certificate, and final exam.

    Registration for Summer 2020 Online Course is now Closed. Please see the Winter 2020/21 tab for the next available offering.


    Course Instructors —
    Amanda Duffus, Gordon State College
    Andy Coleman, Urban Turtle Project & Talladega College
    Anthony Herrell, Bâtiment d'Anatomie Comparée- National Museum of Natural History
    Arik Hartmann, University of Florida
    Brooke Talley, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
    Carla Bardua, Natural History Museum, London
    Chris Jenkins, The Orianne Society
    David Bickford, University of La Verne
    David Blackburn, Florida Museum of Natural History
    David Steen, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
    Duncan Irschick, University of Massachusetts
    Ed Stanley, Florida Museum of Natural History
    Grover Brown, University of Southern Mississippi
    Henry Astley, University of Akron
    Houston Chandler, Virginia Tech & The Orianne Society
    Jen Lamb, St Cloud State University
    Jodi Rowley, University of New South Wales
    John Measey, Stellenbosch University
    Jonathan Losos, Washington University at St Louis
    Mark Mandica, Amphibian Foundation & Agnes Scott College
    Mark Scherz, University of Konstanz
    Max Lambert, UC Berkeley
    Robert Sprackland, Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History
    Ryan Kerney, Gettysburg College
    Sarah McGrath-Blaser, University of Florida
    Simon Maddock, University of Wolverhampton; Natural History Museum, London & University of Seychelles
    Steve Allain, Save the Snakes
    Taylor West, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. University of Michigan
    Tobias Landberg, Amphibian Foundation
    Tony Daly-Crews, The Rattlesnake Conservancy
    Walter E. Meshaka, Jr., State Museum of Pennsylvania


Chris Jenkins of the Orianne Society teaching the snake portion of the course
Dr. Chris Jenkins of the Orianne Society teaching the snake portion of the Master Herpetologist program.


The Amphibian Foundation is located at the beautiful, 30 acre, Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Buckhead (Atlanta, GA). The main building on the grounds holds 3 of the Foundation's research labs, office space and classrooms, as well as Atlanta Audubon Society, and the Blue Heron Nature Preserve's administration offices and classrooms. It is a hub for urban ecology and conservation right in Atlanta. The course will be held in the Amphibious AF Meeting Room, which is unfortunately, not wheelchair accessible.

Online Course Portal

Below is the login portal for the online version of Master Herpetologist Program. Access might not be possible before the actual start date of the course.


Login to the Online Course

We, as Georgians are lucky to have such a comprehensive and wonderful guide to our native herpetofauna. John Jensen (State Herpetologist for GA DNR) and others have compiled a comprehensive resource for those interested in learning about our local frogs, salamanders, lizards, turtles, and snakes. While this is not required reading for the Master Herpetologist Program, it provides in-depth supplemental information for what we will be covering during the course.

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!

Atlanta Course Resources

The course resources, materials and lectures slides are for students in the Atlanta, GA USA class only and not available to the public, or to Online Master Herpetologists.


Students, please do not share your passwords as some of the resources available to you through your registration are governmental documents and data and cannot be shared publicly.


Course Resource Folder

Why take the Master Herpetologist Course?

First and foremost, the Master Herpetologist program is an intensive class in herpetology, covering most of the major groups in detail. While the instructors aim to make the material accessible to the widest audience possible, students should anticipate spending between 8-10 hours per two-week session to digest the information (up to 5 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 building their resume with certification as a Master Herpetologist.

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