Permaculture Design Certificate

Program Overview

This certificate program provides training for participants who are seeking to create and design regenerative food and medicine systems within resilient communities.  It is comprised of robust curriculum in permaculture design, including basic Permaculture training alongside courses in energy systems, soil science, ecological restoration, and winter gardening. Students work with organizations in the community requiring design assistance to create real-world permaculture designs. 

This program is 1 of 3 certificate programs that when combined comprise the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma. Please note that enrolment space is prioritized for diploma students. Please see Admissions below for more information. 

Length:  12 weeks
Offered: September-November
September 2021 program is FULL

Hours: 240 total
Program Enrolment: 20 students maximum 

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 School of Permaculture Design at Pacific Rim College is recognized around the globe as being a leader in permaculture education. With three unique certificate programs and a comprehensive diploma program, PRC is providing ample opportunity for anyone interested in a career in holistic land management and resiliency.
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.
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 develop complete permaculture design for a client, including water systems, energy systems, the built environment, food and medicine systems, and management plans.

Key Learning Outcome #2

To understand and apply garden-scale soil management techniques.

Key Learning Outcome #3

Invasive species mitigation or removal strategies.

Key Learning Outcome #4

To develop presentation skills and the ability to facilitate group consultations for community planning.

Key Learning Outcome #5

To prepare participants to effectively guide and support both individuals and communities in designing, cultivating, and restoring resilient and regenerative natural systems.

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 School of Permaculture Design Instructors



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

Food and Medicine Systems

1 credit 1
20 hours 20
2 credits 2
35 hours 35
3 credits 3 crds
55 hours 55 hrs

Permaculture Design

1 credit 1
20 hours 20
3 credits 3
40 hours 40
3 credits 3
40 hours 40
4 credits 4
70 hours 70
11 credits 11 crds
170 hours 170 hrs

Permaculture Workshop

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

Total Requirements

Food and Medicine Systems
3 credits 3
55 hours 55
Permaculture Design
11 credits 11
170 hours 170
Permaculture Workshop
1 credit 1
15 hours 15
Grand Total
15 credits 15 crds
240 hours 240 hrs

Learning Sites

This program is offered primarily at the college’s two herb farms: Tiny Tree Herb Farm (main campus) and Ravenhill Herb Farm. These farms are located on the beautiful and fertile Saanich Peninsula, about 25 minutes north of our downtown campus. 

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.

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.



Study Options

The Permaculture Design Certificate is offered on a full-time basis (20 hours per week of study) from September through November with most classes on Monday through Thursday.

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

DatesPostponed due to pandemic restrictionsSeptember 2-November 30


This certificate program is part of the 9-month Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems (PDRE) Diploma. Please note that priority is given to diploma students, however, certificate applicants may be accepted into the program on short notice if space becomes available. Interested certificate applicants must submit an application to be placed on the waitlist.

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).

To apply for this program, please click on the link below. We do not have a set deadline for applications and entry into this program will likely only be granted upon another student’s withdrawal. To greatly increase your chance of getting into this certificate, we encourage you to apply for the full 3-semester PDRE Diploma. Certificate applicants will be considered in order of application submission.


Tuition and Fees

Tuition for the Permaculture Design Certificate total $3300 and are broken down as follows:

  • – A $250 non-refundable registration fee and a signed student contract is required for acceptance into this program. 
    – A $3050 tuition payment is due 10 days before the first scheduled day of the semester. 
    – A $100 program supply fee is due with each semester’s tuition payment. 

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 Certificate program will be poised to be leaders in the permaculture realm and can seek employment in the permaculture design field, in greenhouse/nursery management, in a horticulture and/or sustainable agriculture business, in herbal medicine production and processing, in community development and organizing, and as a natural builder.

This program comprises a third of the curriculum of the Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma. Graduates who complete all 3 certificate programs in the School of Permaculture Design are eligible for a Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems (PDRE) Diploma. Students cannot transfer into the PDRE diploma program and must either begin their studies in the diploma program or complete each of the 3 certificate programs as individual programs. 



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