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.
Graduates of the Diploma of Phytotherapy are eligible for membership into the Canadian Herbalist’s Association of BC (CHA of BC), the American Herbalists Guild (AHG), and the Ontario Herbalists Association (OHA). Please see Post-Graduation below for more information.
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
The School of Western Herbal Medicine offers year-round educational opportunities with an academic calendar based on 3 semesters per year. New students may enrol every January, May and September and students may either choose to pursue year-round studies or to take a semester or more off at their discretion. By choosing their course load each semester, students may complete any semester on a part-time or a full-time basis.
Students who wish not to enrol in any program are also eligible to take individual courses for personal enrichment provided that applicable course prerequisites have been met. Please see Non-Matriculating Students below for more information.
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.
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.
I don’t think I could say enough good things about PRC. After spending three years at a large university, the smaller class sizes and compassionate teachers were an inspiring change. The school itself is a beautiful and nuturing space, and the staff and students make it that much more amazing.
– Sasha Staples, Alumnus
Graduates are eligible for membership into the Canadian Herbalist’s 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.
Admission into the Diploma of Phytotherapy at Pacific Rim College is on a competitive basis. Entering students must have a high school diploma or an equivalency test. In addition, all non-native English speaking applicants must demonstrate a mastery of written and spoken English. Any foreign applicant may be required to submit an official score report from an English proficiency exam such as TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Test System).
Pacific Rim College is determined to produce only the highest quality health practitioners. As a result, we reserve the right to admit and to retain only students who demonstrate the potential to achieve at the upper-most level. Applicants will be evaluated based on merits such as high academic achievement, emotional maturity, humanitarian activities, morality, community involvement and health-related experience.
Our clinical training is extensive and unparallelled in the field of herbal medicine, giving students an opportunity to gain real therapeutic experience in a professional setting with expert supervision.
– Tony Acworth, Alumnus
To apply for admission into the Diploma of Phytotherapy program, please click on the link below. Applicants are encouraged to apply apply no less than 6 weeks prior to the start date of the semester. Applications will still be accepted beyond this point, and will be evaluated, but enrolment space may not be available until the next semester. Upon favourable review of your application by our admissions committee, you may be contacted for an interview, which may be carried out via telephone if a person-to-person interview is not possible.
All successful applicants must submit a non-refundable enrolment deposit of $200, which is credited toward tuition fees. Should a student decide not to enrol for the specific semester of study as stated in the application form, the fee is forfeited and cannot be used to offset any charges that the student may incur. All accepted applicants must submit this deposit within 14 days of the date of acceptance if accepted more than 60 days prior to the semester start date, or within 7 days of the date of acceptance if accepted 60 days or fewer prior to the semester start date. Official date of acceptance is the date indicated on the applicant’s acceptance letter. Enrolment space will not be reserved without this deposit.
Students who have completed credits at another recognized college or university may apply for credit transfer into the Diploma of Phytotherapy by submitting a completed application for Prior Learning Assessment for each eligible course prior to matriculating into the program.
International students are welcome to attend Pacific Rim College and are encouraged to apply. Canadian law requires foreign students to have a valid study permit to study in Canada. Pacific Rim College provides international students with the necessary documentation to receive a valid study permit. In some cases students can apply for and obtain a permit upon entering Canada.
Why a Diploma earned from Pacific Rim College? 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
Via the International Student Program, full-time international students enrolled at designated institutions in certain programs are permitted to work part-time off campus and full-time during scheduled school breaks without a work permit. According to regulations, international students are 1) eligible to work off campus without a work permit; 2) allowed to work off campus for up to 20 hours per week during a regular academic session and full-time during regularly scheduled breaks; and 3) able to work off campus immediately rather than waiting 6 months. Please visit the Government of Canada website for more information.
Students who wish to take courses at PRC without enrolling in any particular program are welcome to do so as non-matriculating students. Provided that a student has satisfied course prerequisites, he or she is eligible to enrol in virtually any diploma program course. Enrolment priority is given to program students, and full course tuition is due at time of course registration. Any student who has previously been denied admission into any program at PRC or has had an enrolment position revoked must receive written permission from PRC Administration before enrolling as a non-matriculating student. PRC reserves the right to academically dismiss any non-matriculating student who knowingly or blatantly interferes with the learning of program students. Please click on the link below to see a current selection of courses and for registration info.
|Summer 2019||Fall 2019||Winter 2020|
|Orientation||May 5||September 2||January 5|
|First Day of Class||May 6||September 3||January 6|
|Reading Break||July 1-5||October 14-18||February 18-20|
|Holidays||May 20 (Victoria Day)|
July 1 (Canada Day)
August 5 (BC Day)
|October 14 (Thanksgiving)|
November 11 (Remembrance Day)
|February 17 (Family Day)|
April 10 (Good Friday)
|Last Day of Class||August 26||December 23||April 24|
|Graduation Ceremony||May 11|
Please click below for the current and upcoming (when available) course schedules for the Diploma of Phytotherapy.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition is based on a per credit system. Although the college provides a template for course completion within each program, ultimately each student determines his or her 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 class.
Auditing: $150*/credit / $80**/credit
**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 by clicking here. Students can also pick up a paper application from PRC or any other academic institution registered with Canada Student Loans. 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.
What is Phytotherapy?
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.
Why study herbal medicine courses at Pacific Rim College?
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.
Do I need to be licensed to practice Western Herbal Medicine?
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).
What is the difference in a herbology diploma and a herbology degree?
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.