Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma

Program Overview

The Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma is a 9-month program that provides training for participants who are interested in creating resilient and regenerative systems and lifestyles within the context of Permaculture design processes, tools, methods and strategies.

Providing an immersive curriculum in permaculture design, this training goes above and beyond basic training and includes courses in:

  • Foundational Permaculture concepts including:
    • Ethics and principles and Indigenous perspectives
  • Pattern literacy including:
    • Mapping and design methods
  • Ecological literacy including:
    • Mushrooms, plants & animals, soils, water, ecological restoration, bioremediation and herbalism
  • Design literacy including:
    • Organizational planning, governance, economy, community building & development, facilitation, natural building and applied design.

Length: 9 months
Offered: yearly beginning in February

Hours: 720 total
Program Enrolment: Maximum 18

My experience in the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma has been life altering in all of the best ways. The way I look at the world, at our ecosystems and at our history as individuals and a society has forever been changed. The value of understanding regenerative farming, sustainable practices and how to thrive while practicing permaculture principles are priceless. I am grateful for all of the instructors that shared their passions with us and continue to plant seeds of inspiration and knowledge for a brighter future.

– Nikki Wilkinson, Alumnus

Why Pacific Rim College?

The Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems program is the first of this caliber and scope in the world.
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Graduates are poised to be leaders in the permaculture realm and can seek employment as permaculture designers, greenhouse/nursery management, horticulture and/or sustainable agriculture business, herbal medicine production, and processing, as a natural building apprentice, and in sustainable community development.
This program is approved by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training (Private Training Institutions Branch) and Canada Student Loans.
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Pacific Rim College is actively engaged in many forms of environmental stewardship including 100% green energy offsets for our campus, the highest eco-certification, and planting of 10 trees in British Columbia for every program graduate.

What You’ll Learn:

Key Learning Outcome #1

To strategically design, implement and steward abundant, resilient and regenerative systems through the application of appropriate permaculture principles, techniques, design methods and processes.

Key Learning Outcome #2

Earth Care: To understand and care for the natural ecology by developing proficiency in building soil, performing animal, mushroom, plant and tree care, sustainable water and energy management, bioremediation and natural building.

Key Learning Outcome #3

People Care: To understand and care for the social ecology via knowing the history of Traditional People and practices and to build healthy communities through placemaking, participatory and inclusive practices and herbalism.

Key Learning Outcome #4

Future Care: To become aware of and engage in local restoration work, ethical wildcrafting, perennial gardening, traditional skill building, employment and life planning.

Key Learning Outcome #5

Transition: Be able to effectively integrate, apply and share new understandings and experiences of Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems into your personal life, land, livelihood and community.

To me, the PDRE program embodies holism in every sense of the word. It is a re-remembrance of what it means to be a human on this earth, and reminds us how to co-create with the land and its people in an inventive, harmonious way that celebrates the unique gifts and contributions of all. When I think back to all that I have experienced through this program, I recall how it felt to make a hawthorn tincture, or learn how to sheet mulch, or taste a medlar for the first time. It has taught me a deeper, more grounded way of interacting with the past and the future in this pivotal time on earth – honouring where we come from, learning how to be a good ancestor.

– Dominique Argan, Alumnus

This was the best program I have ever been a part of. It opened many doors and introduced me to many subjects that would never have even crossed my mind. It is a broad course that hits on every subject in every area of life.
 
– Wade Roberts, Alumnus
 
This program was nothing short of life-changing. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to pursue a career in permaculture who is looking for a solid foundation of knowledge. I feel confident to move forward with what I’ve learned and make a positive impact, and my heart is full from the journey shared with a group I now consider family.
 
– Travis Hauser, Alumnus

Core Program Instructors

 

 

Study Options

The Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma program is offered on a full-time basis (20 hours per week of study) from February through November, spanning three terms.

Most of the coursework is scheduled Monday through Thursday with occasional workshop intensives potentially on weekends.

This program and all learning components include year-round outdoor learning in all weather elements and regularly includes physically demanding activities.

 2025
2026
Semester 1Feb 3 – April 24TBA
Semester 2May 5 – July 30TBA
Semester 3Aug 11 – Nov 5TBA
CalendarTBA 

This program was a pivotal event in my life. It allowed me to integrate previous schooling in the environmental field and opened me up to a new way of learning. Every day was an engaging adventure; I was passionate about almost all the subjects covered. Besides the absolute thrill of learning how to grow your own food and medicine, I also got to develop my mapping, design, and presentation skills. Learning in such a close-knit community was also very beneficial for me, it softened and changed many of my oh-so-tightly held perspectives. I feel renewed confidence to re-enter the environmental workforce with a much more nuanced worldview, stronger skills as well as a variety of new hands-on skills, eventually starting my own business/farm in the near future.”

– Alumnus

Life changing and inspiring. The people I met are friends for life. Permaculture is about so much more than regenerative farming and delves deep into the our purpose and how we can improve ourselves and the world around us. Amazing teachers and energy. Has already opened doors for future work and regenerative business. I wish it could keep going. Memories and knowledge to cherish and build upon forever. Thank you.
 
– Michael Zinn, Alumnus
 
Enrolling in the Permaculture Design Course was a transformative experience, a profound awakening to the art of living regeneratively. The program delved into a multitude of essential subjects, from cultivating and conserving food to the art of wildcrafting, the wisdom of herbal medicines, the intricate science of water systems, and earthworks. Through this course, I’ve been equipped with the invaluable tools to become a designer not only in the landscapes around me but in every facet of my life. What was once a sea of green in the forest has now become a cherished gathering of my closest companions. I can confidently say that I’ve gained the skills necessary to embark on a lifelong journey, guided by a nature-based spiritual practice that will only continue to deepen with each passing day. This course has been a meta-download of wisdom, a key to unlocking a more harmonious and sustainable way of life. I’m immensely grateful for this transformative experience and look forward to applying what I’ve learned in my everyday life.
 
– Logan Clark, Alumnus

 

Curriculum

Below is a list of all courses included in the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma program. Please click on course links below to see more course information including descriptions and prerequisites.

Permaculture Design Literacy

DLPD101
1 credit 1
20 hours 20
DLPD103
4 credits 4
60 hours 60
DLPD201
1 credit 1
20 hours 20
DLPD202
4 credits 4
55 hours 55
DLPD203
1 credit 1
15 hours 15
DLPD204
5 credits 5
75 hours 75
DLPD205
1 credit 1
15 hours 15
Total
 
17 credits 17 crds
260 hours 260 hrs

Permaculture Ecological Literacy

ELPD101
2 credits 2
30 hours 30
ELPD102
1 credit 1
15 hours 15
ELPD103/104
2 credits 2
35 hours 35
ELPD105/106/107
11 credits 11
160 hours 160
ELPD201
3 credits 3
40 hours 40
ELPD202/203
4 credits 4
50 hours 50
ELPD204
1 credit 1
15 hours 15
ELPD205
1 credit 1
15 hours 15
Total
 
25 credits 25 crds
360 hours 360 hrs

Permaculture Foundational Concepts

FCPD103
3 credits 3
40 hours 40
Total
 
3 credits 3 crds
40 hours 40 hrs

Permaculture Pattern Literacy

PLPD102
4 credits 4
65 hours 65
Total
 
4 credits 4 crds
65 hours 65 hrs

Permaculture Workshop

- -
Permaculture Workshop
1 credit 1
15 hours 15
Total
 
1 credit 1 crd
15 hours 15 hrs

Total Requirements

Permaculture Design Literacy
17 credits 17
260 hours 260
Permaculture Ecological Literacy
25 credits 25
360 hours 360
Permaculture Foundational Concepts
3 credits 3
40 hours 40
Permaculture Pattern Literacy
4 credits 4
65 hours 65
Permaculture Workshop
1 credit 1
15 hours 15
Grand Total
 
50 credits 50 crds
740 hours 740 hrs

Learning Site

This program is offered primarily at the college’s partner farm, Tiny Tree Herb Farm. Some classes may take place off-site or online including other farms and our main downtown campus location in Market Square.

Tiny Tree Herb Farm is located near the coastal community of Brentwood Bay overlooking the Malahat on the beautiful and fertile Saanich peninsula, about 25 minutes north of our downtown campus.

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Admissions

Pacific Rim College is committed to educating the highest quality industry professionals, and we offer priority acceptance to applicants who demonstrate the highest potential for success. Admission into the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma program at Pacific Rim College is on a competitive basis, and applicants will be evaluated based on academic achievement, humanitarian activities, community involvement, program-related experience, communication skills, professionalism, emotional maturity, independence, ambition, and passion.

Admission requires successfully meeting the following minimum criteria:

  • A minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED. Applicants without a high school diploma or equivalent are welcome to apply and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for mature student status.
  • A minimum grade of 60% in previous coursework. All grades will be taken into consideration with emphasis on related language and science-based courses, such as but not limited to general English, general science, creative and professional writing, biology, and chemistry.
  • Written and spoken English language competency. Applicants may be required to submit an official score report from an English proficiency exam such as TOEFL or iELTS upon request.

To apply, please click on the link below.

The Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma program is a 9-month program offered from February through November. We do not have a set deadline for applications and will continue to accept students up until the start of classes provided there is space within the program, however, programs do fill prior to the semester start, so we recommend applying 6 months in advance.

 

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Program are broken down as follows:

  • – A $250 non-refundable registration fee and a signed student contract is required for acceptance into this program.
    – Tuition for the first semester is $5725. The second and third semesters are $2862.50 each. Payment is due 15 days prior to the published start date of each semester.
    – A $150 program supply fee is due with each semester’s tuition payment.

Early bird rates apply for this program. Apply before October 1 to receive 10% off your program tuition.

Please click here for a description of Academic Fees in PDF format.

Financial Aid

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.

Post-Graduation

Graduates of the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma program will have the distinction of having completed an unprecedented program. They will be confident leaders in the field of Permaculture and can seek employment as Permaculture consultants and designers, greenhouse/nursery managers, horticulturists, sustainable farmers, natural building apprentices, and sustainable community developers.

 

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