Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma
The Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma is a 10-month program that provides training for participants who are interested in creating regenerative food systems and lifestyles within the context of the development of resilient ecosystems. This program provides robust curriculum in permaculture design, going above and beyond basic permaculture training while also including courses in business planning and project management, community development, natural building, and food and medicine systems.
Length: 10 months
Hours: 1037 total
Program Enrolment: Maximum 20
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?
What You’ll Learn:
Key Learning Outcome #1
To establish and sustain abundant, regenerative food systems by deploying appropriate permaculture principles, techniques, and design approaches.
Key Learning Outcome #2
To build community through placemaking: participation in local restoration work, ethical wild harvesting, and herbal medicine-making.
Key Learning Outcome #3
Development of hands-on proficiency building soil, performing plant and tree care, harnessing water and energy flows, and undertaking natural building projects.
Key Learning Outcome #4
Engagement and networking with the Pacific Northwest’s thriving and dynamic permaculture community.
Key Learning Outcome #5
Employment preparation in permaculture design and related fields with multidisciplinary business instruction.
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
Core Program Instructors
Dylan is a writer, policy analyst, and permaculture designer who serves as the Dean of the School of Permaculture Design at PRC.
Hannah is a professional agrologist and ethnobotanist, and her research interests span agroecology, permaculture, medicinal plants, and indigenous land-management and cultivation techniques.
Solara has a double Major in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria as well as two Permaculture Design Certificates.
Ryan directs the Redfish School of Change, a field school dedicated to fostering a community of leaders working for sustainability and justice on both sides of the international border in the Salish Sea.
Tayler co-manages Hatchet & Seed, an edible landscaping and ecological design company based in Victoria, BC.
Lindsay is a Medical Herbalist and sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations.
Maurita holds a Masters in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability and works as the Executive Director of LUSH Valley Food Action Society in the Comox Valley.
Kristen is a biologist who specializes in the restoration and botany of southeastern Vancouver Island.
Mark is a co-founder of the City Repair Project in Portland, Oregon, and founder and principal of Communitecture, Inc.
Bryce runs a natural building and renovation company called Cre, which is based out of Victoria.
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.
Food and Medicine Systems
Natural Building Techniques
This program is offered primarily at the college’s two herb farms: Ravenhill Herb Farm and Tiny Tree Herb Farm. These farms are located on the beautiful and fertile Saanich Peninsula, about 25 minutes north of our downtown campus. Coursework for elective credits and some weekend workshops are offered at our downtown campus and via Pacific Rim College Online (PRCOnline). Practicum sites are located throughout the Victoria Capital Regional District, Gulf Islands, and BC Interior.
Ravenhill Herb Farm is a locally-run farm overlooking the Saanich Inlet of the Salish Sea. This 10-acre west coast oasis grows food, medicinal herbs, and culinary herbs, all organically, for the community and is dedicated to sharing knowledge of sustainable living and permaculture practices. The farm also is home to many happy animals including goats, ducks, and chickens.
Tiny Tree Herb Farm is located near the coastal community of Brentwood Bay overlooking the Malahat. This 6-acre farm organically grows a variety of food, along with medicinal and culinary herbs, trees and mushrooms. The rich soil, spring-fed water and ample sun exposure makes it a beautiful place to grow.
All program students must successfully complete a 170-hour practicum at one or more approved sites. This training provides students the opportunity to develop niche specialties and to work with leaders in the permaculture arena. The college maintains a list of approved practicum sites on Vancouver Island, and students who wish to pursue other practicum opportunities are able to apply for external Practicum opportunities. External Practicum sites must satisfy specific criteria, and students must receive approval prior to beginning training.
The following applies to all practicum placements:
- According to PTIB, the private college governing body in BC, students are not permitted to be paid while earning practicum hours.
- Although the program provides a window for practicum training in the summer, practicums can be completed outside of this window*. Students earning BC StudentAid must complete the practicum during the scheduled summer practicum period to maintain loan eligibility.
- Students may participate at more than one practicum site*.
*Restrictions do apply.
Admission into the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma program 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 graduates. 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.
To apply for admission as a full-time student into the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma program, please click on the link below. Applicants are encouraged to apply no less than 6 weeks prior to the start date of the program. Applications will still be accepted beyond this point, and will be evaluated, but enrolment space may not be available until the next offering. 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 are required to submit a non-refundable registration fee (see Tuition and Fees below). Should a student decide not to enrol for the specific year 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.
Students who complete any program component as a part-time (non-matriculating) student must transfer into the program (matriculate) to earn a diploma. No credit transfer fee applies, and program tuition will be pro-rated based on the outstanding components. Graduation requirements are based on the program at the time of matriculation and not when the student began part-time coursework.
Students can complete their PDRE program electives while completing other programs at Pacific Rim College. As with other transfer credits indicated above, tuition will be pro-rated based on the outstanding components.
Students who have completed credits at another recognized college or university may apply for credit transfer into the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma by submitting a completed application for Prior Learning Assessment for each eligible course prior to matriculating into the program. Elective credits cannot be transferred in from outside institutions.
Students who wish to take courses without enrolling in this program are welcome to do so as non-matriculating students. Contact an Admissions representative to learn which courses in this program are eligible.
Enrolment priority is given to program students. Full course tuition is due at time of course registration. Non-matriculating students who earn credit part-time and then want to earn a diploma must at some point transfer into the program to complete outstanding program requirements. Graduation requirements will be based on the program at the time of matriculation and not when the student began part-time coursework. Please see Transfer Students below for more information.
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 other students.
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.
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.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition and fees for the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Program are broken down as follows:
– A $500 non-refundable registration fee and a signed student contract is required for acceptance into this program.
– A $100 program supply fee is due with each semester’s tuition payment.
– Tuition for the first semester is $4350 and for the second and third semesters $4300 each. Payment is due 15 days prior to the published start date of each semester.
– A $1000 non-refundable registration fee and a signed student contract is required for acceptance into this program.
– A $100 program supply fee is due with each semester’s tuition payment.
– Tuition for the first semester is $4350, for the second $4300, and for the third $3800 (discounted by $500 due to the higher registration fee). Payment is due 15 days prior to the published start date of each semester.
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. 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.
Graduates of the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma program will have the distinction of having completed an unprecedented program. They will be poised to be leaders in the permaculture realm and can seek employment as permaculture designers, in greenhouse/nursery management, in a horticulture and/or sustainable agriculture business, in herbal medicine production and processing, as a natural building apprentice, and in sustainable community development.
Permaculture is primarily a philosophy of agricultural and social design intended to create regenerative living systems. Permaculture holds at its very core a philosophy of working with, rather than against, nature. Toby Hemenway, permaculture expert, describes the goal of permaculture as “meeting human needs while preserving and increasing ecosystem health”.
An ecosystem is considered to be resilient when it can recover from disturbances, both human and non-human. Seeking ways to create and sustain more resilient ecosystems and community systems is an integral part of this program.
The Practicum provides students with the valuable opportunity to expand their skillset by working on farms and with organizations that specialize in key principles of permaculture. Students have the opportunity to further their training in their particular areas of interest through hands-on learning at working farms with a variety of mentors.
Pacific Rim College was founded in an effort to integrate medicines of the world, thereby preserving indigenous practices and increasing the global availability of sustainable health care. As we gain so much of our medicine and knowledge from the natural ecosystems, this program seems a natural extension to the fulfillment of our mandate. Our goal is to train individuals to be the best possible stewards of the environment, which means protecting unspoiled land and regenerating that which has been exploited.
Students who successfully complete 90% of all required coursework and credits for this certificate program are eligible for graduation and will be awarded a certificate upon completion. Students who fail to successfully complete 90% of all required coursework and credits but have successfully completed at least 80% are eligible to retake components of the program in order to reach the 90% threshold and thus pass the program, provided that they do so within one calendar year. Students who choose to retake components must make arrangements with the Program Director and will be subject to tuition fees for the components. Students who do not successfully complete at least 80% of all required coursework and credits in their first program attempt are not eligible to retake components or graduate.