Diploma of Phytotherapy
The Diploma of Phytotherapy is a 3-year (6-semester) program that explores the medicinal uses of North American and European herbs. Students study both traditional knowledge of herbal medicine – that which is passed down through various world traditions over the ages – and modern day, scientific-based knowledge. This, the most comprehensive program of western herbal medicine available in either Canada or the United States, is comprised of both theoretical and practical courses, implementing advantages of hands-on study of plants.
Length: 6 semesters
Intakes: Winter, Summer, Fall semesters
Clinical Training: 510 hours
Total Training: 2130 hours
Over these forty years of herbal practice and teaching clinical skills across the States, Europe and Canada I consider Pacific Rim College to offer a fully rounded experiential program. Traditional foundational studies are enlivened by harvesting thoughts and practices delving into, and masterfully blending, the deep connection to plants through spirit, history, science, advanced clinical studies with weathered herbalists and hands on practice with patients. Graduates are empowered and fully qualified to serve we humans in clinical practice in their own village or city. Then practice, practice, practice.
– Margi Flint, Author of The Practicing Herbalist
Why Pacific Rim College?
What You’ll Learn:
Key Learning Outcome #1
Extensive knowledge of traditional herbal medicine practices from various cultures alongside contemporary applications of herbal therapies.
Key Learning Outcome #2
Thorough background of biomedical understanding of the human body, its structure, physiology, common pathologies, and also western diagnostic skills and pharmacotherapy.
Key Learning Outcome #3
A deep understanding of the comprehensive materia medica of western herbal medicine and the therapeutic applications of those herbs.
Key Learning Outcome #4
How to make tinctures, salves, compresses, teas, lotions and other products and applications of herbal medicine.
Key Learning Outcome #5
Wide-ranging professional skills from writing and communication to business development experience needed to establish a private herbal medicine practice or to join an integrative health centre.
My proudest achievement is having studied at Pacific Rim College and completing the Diploma of Phytotherapy program. Pacific Rim College attracts the most passionate teachers, students, and healers, and that strong, positive energy is apparent on the PRC campus. I feel honoured to have learned from amazing teachers about the human body, ancient traditions and herbal folklore, modern scientific research, and in depth information on herbs and working with people from all backgrounds and health concerns. Years after graduation, I still find myself on campus often, visiting the herbal dispensary and utilizing the amazing student clinics. I am forever grateful for the knowledge I’ve gained and the amazing community of people I am a part of because of Pacific Rim College.
– Lauren Truscott, Alumnus, Herbalist, Practitioner at Body Blueprint Fitness, Wellness, & Education
Core Program Instructors
James is the founder and Dean of the School of Western Herbal Medicine at PRC. He is also president of the Canadian Herbalists Association of BC (CHA of BC).
Peter is a leading herbalist (Phytotherapist) and author with a core interest in contrasting and integrating approaches to healing from both traditional and contemporary sources.
Lindsay is a Medical Herbalist and sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations.
Tony is a PRC alumnus and Medical Herbalist practicing at Woodward Phytotherapy, in Brentwood Bay, BC.
Krista is a Medical Herbalist in private practice. She is a board member of the CHA of BC and actively involved in the People’s Apothecary, a community herbal medicine garden.
David completed his studies in Herbal Medicine at the College of Phytotherapy in South East England. He has a lifelong passion for wildlife, the outdoors and the world’s indigenous medicine systems.
Alexis is a Medical Herbalist in private practice in Victoria and the Dispensary Manager at PRC.
Below is a list of all courses that must be completed for a student to be eligible for graduation with a Diploma of Phytotherapy. Some course prerequisites do exist, and it is the responsibility of students to ensure that they are eligible to enrol in any particular course. The Course Descriptions page indicates course prerequisites. Please see Study Options below for more information on course selection.
Phytotherapy Clinical Practice
Western Herbal Sciences
Students in the Diploma of Phytotherapy program can complete all clinical training in PRC’s on-campus Student Clinic, or can participate in our Clinical Externship Program. Full-time students generally begin clinical training via observation during the very first week of studies.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition is based on a per credit system. Although the college provides guidance for the order of course completion within each program, ultimately each student determines personal course load and schedule and thus per semester tuition. Audited credits do not apply towards graduation requirements. All prices listed are in Canadian dollars. For each semester, full tuition payment is due on the first day of the semester.
Please click here for a description of Academic Fees in PDF format.
Auditing: $150/credit plus tax
*Discount Audit tuition is available to current program students and diploma alumni. Current program students must maintain the equivalent registration of 9 semester credits to be eligible and pay the regular rate should registration drop below that threshold. Discounted audit rate is not available for courses for which there is a waitlist, weekend workshops, or CPR and First Aid. Diploma alumni no longer enrolled in a program are required to pay all applicable tuition at the time of course registration.
Please click here for a description of Academic Fees in PDF format.
This program is approved for Canada Student Loans. British Columbia residents can apply for student loans online through StudentAid BC. For non-British Columbia residents, please visit hrsdc.gc.ca for information about Canada Student Loans.
For a list of all financial aid programs available to PRC students, please visit our Financial Aid page.
Graduates of the Diploma of Phytotherapy can use knowledge and experience gained to establish a professional herbal clinic to assist clients with health issues, work in the health and wellness retail sector, grow and maintain herbal gardens, create herbal preparations, provide consultancy services to the herbal industry and work with natural health regulatory bodies.
Graduates are eligible for membership into the Canadian Herbalists Association of British Columbia (CHA of BC), the American Herbalists Guild (AHG), and the Ontario Herbalists Association (OHA).
Practitioner licensing requirements vary based on region of governance. Currently there are no government restrictions to the practice of Western Herbal Medicine in Canada. It is students’ responsibility to ensure they meet eligibility criteria in their chosen region.
Phytotherapy (also referred to as Western Herbal Medicine) is the use of plant-based remedies typically native to Europe and North America to help maintain and restore health.
Pacific Rim College is recognized as a leading school of herbal medicine in the world. Our Diploma of Phytotherapy is one of the most comprehensive programs available and includes more than 500 hours of herbology clinical training. Our Community Herbalist Certificate is a 270-hour program for those interested in studying herbal courses for building personal knowledge rather than gaining practitioner skills. All our herbology courses are taught by highly qualified and respected herbalists, some of whom are world-renowned experts and authors in the field of herbal medicine. Our students benefit from studying herbal medicine at our beautiful and historic campus, which includes an impressive herbal dispensary stocked with hundreds of organic and wild-crafted herbs, and is located in the heart of Victoria, British Columbia. With our comprehensive herbalist coursework, biomedical studies and extensive professional development courses, we help each graduate to build a successful herbalist career.
In Canada there is currently no regulation and thus no herbalist certification that is required for someone to practice Western Herbal Medicine. Various credentialing bodies do exist and graduates of PRC’s Diploma of Phytotherapy are eligible for membership into the Canadian Herbalist’s Association of British Columbia (CHA of BC), the American Herbalists Guild (AHG), and the Ontario Herbalist Association (OHA).
Educational regulations vary between countries and thus affect the credentials a herbalist school can award. Although some schools of herbal medicine in the United States and Europe can offer a degree of herbal medicine or another herbalist degree of sorts, colleges in Canada only offer diplomas and herbology certification (e.g. master herbalist certification, community herbalist certification). Pacific Rim College offers a comprehensive 3-year Diploma of Phytotherapy and a 4-month Community Herbalist Certificate.