Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma

Program Overview

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
Offered: Annually

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?

The Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems program is the first of this caliber and scope in the world.
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.
All programs at Pacific Rim College are approved by the Canadian Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training (Private Training Institutions Branch) and Canada Student Loans.
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 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



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

9 credits 9
133 hours 133
8.5 credits 8.5
126 hours 126
17.5 credits 17.5 crds
259 hours 259 hrs

Natural Building Techniques

7 credits 7
105 hours 105
7 credits 7 crds
105 hours 105 hrs

Permaculture Design

9.5 credits 9.5
140 hours 140
8 credits 8
119 hours 119
11 credits 11
170 hours 170
28.5 credits 28.5 crds
429 hours 429 hrs

Permaculture Elective

- -
Permaculture Electives
6 credits 6
90 hours 90
6 credits 6 crds
90 hours 90 hrs

Professional Development

4 credits 4
63 hours 63
6 credits 6
91 hours 91
10 credits 10 crds
154 hours 154 hrs

Total Requirements

Food and Medicine Systems
17.5 credits 17.5
259 hours 259
Natural Building Techniques
7 credits 7
105 hours 105
Permaculture Design
28.5 credits 28.5
429 hours 429
Permaculture Elective
6 credits 6
90 hours 90
Professional Development
10 credits 10
154 hours 154
Grand Total
69 credits 69 crds
1037 hours 1037 hrs


Learning Sites

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, livestock guardian dogs, 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.



Study Options

The Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma program is offered on a full-time basis (~21 hours per week of study) from February through December, spanning three semesters.

Most of the coursework is scheduled on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and some workshop intensives opportunities are on weekends. Students register for electives independently and thus can choose their elective schedule.

Students wishing to participate in any program components on a part-time basis may do so. Please see Part-Time Study under Admissions below.

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

February 3-December 9
2021 (tentative)
February 1-December 8
Semester 1February 3-April 29February 1-April 28
Semester 2May 4-August 19May 3-August 18
Semester 3August 24-December 9August 23-December 8
Practicum Training / Summer BreakJuly 2-September 6July 1-September 7
Schedule2020 Program2021 Program


Practicum Training

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.


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.

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. 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 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.



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