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Permaculture Design Certificate Online

What is permaculture?

Permaculture design is a whole-systems design approach to developing sustainable human settlements and institutions. Rooted in horticulture and agriculture, permaculture design also touches on regional planning, ecology, animal husbandry, technology, architecture and international development.

Our online, instructor-led Permaculture Design Course is an introductory course and a broad survey of the permaculture design system. The course teaches the design process and lays the foundation for a lifelong study and path in permaculture.

The collaborative, academically rigorous curriculum guides students to complete regenerative landscape projects with intensive instructor feedback and one-on-one interaction to help with every step along the way.

You will learn or expand your skills and techniques of translating site observations and designs to paper or digital applications such as Powerpoint and Google Slides.

Two Tracks to Choose

We offer the standard Permaculture Design Certificate course (PDC) that follows the internationally recognized PDC curriculum. Over time, we have recognized the need for more professional level training. Now we offer an expanded version of the traditional Permaculture Design course: the PDC Pro. This program offers additional content, individualized mentorship and consultation on class design projects.

PDC: For the home gardener or hobbyist wanting to design their own site or friends’ sites and learn the permaculture design curriculum, but not make a professional living from being a permaculture designer. This course includes all the curriculum required for the internationally recognized certificate.

  • Cost: $900
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Comprehensive PDC Report Template with 18 assignments, resulting in a high quality Site Design Portfolio by the end of class.
  • Personalized written or video feedback from a professional designer each week on your design progress.

PDC PRO: For the person wanting to gain the skills of a professional designer. This course includes all the curriculum required for the internationally recognized certificate.

  • Cost: $1,350
  • Duration: 20 weeks
  • Comprehensive PDC PRO Report Template with 21 expanded assignments, resulting in a high quality professional Site Design Portfolio by the end of class.
  • Personalized written or video feedback from a professional designer each week on your design progress.
  • One live small group consultation over Zoom every other week with a design professional providing mentorship about your specific design project.

Download our Permaculture Comparison Chart to compare specifics on these two programs.

Certified by Permaculture Institute of North America

This Permaculture Design Certificate is certified by the Permaculture Institute of North America.

Permaculture Course Curriculum

Our Permaculture Design Certificate was designed based off previous participant feedback, and includes:

  • A custom report template created that you can use for all assignments, which becomes the permaculture design report for your project. This template includes user-friendly assessment and design graphic tools for you to work with.
  • Videos of thriving permaculture systems from multiple countries and climate zones. · Multimedia "lightboard" presentations covering an array of topics.
  • A series of presentations created in an Augmented Reality Sandbox to show 3D animations of water flow in permaculture systems.
  • Course curriculum ordered to be up-to-date with latest pedagogical developments in the permaculture field. Assignments redeveloped and refined based on feedback from students and instructors.

Each of these elements utilize the latest technologies and insights from our instructors for a thriving online course experience.

Engage with an Online Community

You will engage with peers through the PDC's program discussion boards, where you can receive and provide feedback and follow each project’s progress. You will learn from peers by sharing your own permaculture design plan and viewing other projects from diverse climates and environments. 

The digital resources available for this course are primarily focused on the U.S. We have a framework for guiding international students to finding the information that they will need. It will likely take extra work and effort and increase the amount of time it takes to complete some of the assignments for non-US students. Previous participants have come from locations all around the world, and have created design plans for sites that ranged in size from urban balconies to 100-acre ranches. View examples of previous student projects.

Due to our international online learning community, there are no set meeting times for the PDC and all of the content is prerecorded. For the PDC PRO, small groups meetings will be organized by time zone.

This online PDC is led by OSU instructors Andrew Millison and Marisha Auerbach, who have benefited thousands of students by sharing insights from 20+ years of experience in permaculture design.

By learning one-on-one with Andrew, Marisha and their team, you can avoid common mistakes and receive experienced guidance throughout the process.

What makes this program unique?

We are excited to work with a variety of learners, and we guarantee an education you won't find elsewhere.

In just ten (or twenty) weeks, you will:

  • Learn the theory, concepts, tools and techniques of permaculture design.
  • Build a draft design from a property of your choice with feedback from full-time permaculture designers, teachers and practitioners.
  • Complete the essential first step to building a working design that you can implement.

Because this program is in-depth and robust, you can expect about 10-15 hours of coursework per week.

Permaculture Design Course Outcomes

  • Learn to connect with the place you live through observation and analysis of the natural processes of a site
  • Design principles and methods
  • Dynamics of water systems, soils, gardens and trees
  • Urban permaculture
  • Apply an ethically based whole-systems design approach
  • Use concepts, principles, and methods derived from ecosystems, indigenous peoples, and other time-tested practices
  • Learn about regional planning, ecology, animal husbandry, appropriate technology, architecture, and international development
  • Make connections with like-minded people working on similar goals

Required Textbook for the Course

This course requires the following accompanying textbook: Practical Permaculture: For Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth by Jessi Bloom and Dave Boehnlein

Choosing a Design Site 

This course focuses on completing a permaculture design for an actual site that you will choose. Please review this document that provides guidelines for choosing your design site. It is important to spend some time considering before the start of the course.

Technology Requirements

This is a fully online course and requires a certain level of basic computer literacy to be successful. Please review this Required Hardware and Software page to make sure the course is feasible for you. 

As part of the course, we use free online programs to do site analysis and create design reports. We provide instructions within the course, but familiarity with these programs prior to the course will enhance your experience and prepare you for the work:

  • Google Slides (similar to PowerPoint)
  • Google Docs
  • Google Maps
  • Google Earth Pro

Scholarship Information

A very limited number of scholarships are available. Preference is given to students who live in countries where the economy makes it very difficult to pay US prices, as well as those from disadvantaged communities.  Applications are due five weeks before the start of the next course.  You will receive notification at least three weeks before the start of the next course.

You can complete the Permaculture Design Course Scholarship application here.

Scholarships for the PDC PRO course are also available. Preference is given to students who live in countries where the economy makes it very difficult to pay US prices, as well as those from disadvantaged communities.  Applications are due five weeks before the start of the next course.  You will receive notification at least three weeks before the start of the next course. Please note that the PDC PRO is a 20-week course.

You can complete the PDC PRO Scholarship application here.

Permaculture Transfer/Re-Enrollment

Re-Enrollment

PDC: $200 ($60 transfer fee, $140 re-enrollment course fee)
PDC PRO: $400 ($60 transfer fee, $340 re-enrollment course fee)
You may only transfer once and are only eligible to transfer to a new section of your original course.

Upgrade from PDC to PRO

$450: You must request an upgrade within the first two weeks of starting PDC. 
*Does not apply to PDC re-enrollments.

Course Access

You will have access to your course for two years from the end date of the course.

College Partners

This course is a collaboration between Oregon State University College of Agriculture and Oregon State University Professional and Continuing Education.

Advanced Permaculture Program

After successful completion of the Permaculture Design Certificate Online, consider enrolling in the Advanced Permaculture Design for Climate Resilience.

calendar
PDC:
April 1 - June 16, 2024
PDC PRO:
April 1 - September 8, 2024
clock
PDC:
Ten weeks|Asynchronous
PDC PRO:
20 weeks |Asynchronous
location
Online
price (2)
PDC:
$840 (+ $60 registration fee)
PDC PRO:
$1,290 (+ $60 registration fee)
900
Additional Information:
Download Permaculture Design Certificate Syllabus

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View Past Student Examples


Ask us about Team Training. We can customize this program to fit your organization's specific needs.

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Question: Can I use my AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for the PDC? ~ G.A
Answer: Yes. You can use your AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for OSU's Permaculture Design Certificate.
Question: Hi! How long are the classes and how often? I see the program broken down into weeks but I am wondering what the over all time commitment is. ~ Bobbi M.
Answer: We recommend our Permaculture Design students plan for at least 10-15 hours of coursework per week, as this is an intensive course. Then the total amount of time depends on which PDC option you choose (10 weeks vs 20 weeks).
Question: How will the Permaculture classes communicate? Are there "live" parts that I need to access at a certain time? ~ Mindy V.
Answer: During each week of the PDC, a new module of content will be released for you to learn from. Because the program is totally online and asynchronous, there are no days or times during the week when you are required to be online working on this material. So, you can choose when it's most convenient for you to attend your PDC training. However, there may be short assignments or quizzes with specific due dates as determined by the instructor. Instructors communicate by email or on discussion boards. 
Question: How synchronous or asynchronous is this course? Will an "east coast" US timezone be difficult to manage? ~ Benjamin H.
Answer: The OSU PDC program is 100% asynchronous, which means you can choose when and where you attend the course. So, there are no days or times during the week when you are required to be online working on this material, but there may be short assignments or quizzes with specific due dates as determined by the instructor. Instructors communicate by email or on discussion boards. 
Question: Do I need to complete the PDC before the PDCpro course? Also, are there any college credits attached to this certificate? Thank you in advance. ~ Jakobi K.
Answer: OSU's Permaculture Design Certificate is a continuing education, non-credit program. So, you will receive a digital (and printable) Certificate upon completion, but no college credits. There are no prerequisites to begin either the traditional PDC or the PDC Pro option and you do not have to complete the traditional PDC option before registering for the PDC Pro. 
Question: Hi! Is the PDC Pro course an extension of the basic course, or a different course entirely? ~ Emilee S.
Answer: The PDC Pro option is an expanded version of the traditional Permaculture Design course. The PDC PRO program offers additional content, individualized mentorship and consultation on class design projects. 
Question: Will there be any portion of your PDC training that is hands on and in-person?
Answer:

No. What sets OSU's Permaculture Design Certificate apart is that it's taught online by industry experts with personalized attention and feedback and access to an online community. So, rather than spending time and money on traveling, you get to learn directly from the experts without leaving your home. By the end of the program, you'll have a working Permaculture design that you can implement.

Question: Hello, I am curious about your relationship with PINA/Permaculture Institute of North America. Would I be able to become a member of PINA with this certificate? ~ Marius M.
Answer: Our Permaculture Design Certificate is certified by the Permaculture Institute of North America and our head instructors are members.  Once you have taken our Permaculture Design Certificate course you will be eligible to become a PINA member.
Question: Is this PDC training offered by a private individual or is it taught and accredited through Oregon state university? ~ Amanda R.
Answer: Our PDC program is accredited through Oregon State University. Though the program is accredited and taught by OSU instructors, it is a non-credit course, so it cannot go towards a degree program. Upon completion, you will earn a Permaculture Design Certificate.
Question: What kind of certification do I get at the end of the Permaculture training? ~ Tatiana S.
Answer:

Oregon State University's Permaculture Design Certificate includes all the curriculum required for the internationally recognized certificate. Upon successful completion of the program, you will receive a digital certificate of completion from Oregon State University that you can easily print out. Though the program is robust, it's non-credit, so it's not possible to transfer it towards college credits.

"I am loving how each week I am having so many moments where I think…”I never thought of that. It’s a great idea that could work.” And everywhere I go I am observing so many possibilities for change. I feel like I am at the beginning of my college experience, instead of 20 plus years past it. There are many ideas I want to incorporate as part of my permaculture design, but my challenge is having a small design site and packing it all in."

Jane S.

"I loved, LOVED this class so much. I’ve truly gained so much knowledge and ambition through each week. I’m moving onto a farm from the city (apartment where I currently reside) in two weeks with a group of 4 people; we are all likeminded city kids with common experiences and working knowledge of farming and diy lifestyles. I have been left in charge of designing the layout of the land and the gardens, so this is my next HUGE endeavor. We are planning on getting chickens, goats, and we already have 3 beehives. We are even going to be installing rain barrels. I feel like I have a lot of good ideas brought forth from you and Marisha that I can share with my roommates and put into play what I’ve learned from this course. So, thank you for an excellent semester."

Stephanie T.

"I really enjoyed this course and was very impressed with the high standard of content. This was my first time doing an online course and I have been singing its praises ever since. I'm really glad that I completed it."

Martyn Hatori-Singleton

"A lot of information covered! This course provided me with a better understanding of where I needed to focus on further studies. Excellent course content!"

Jennifer Pringle

"WOW awesome job. Very intense but very rewarding. A lot of work went into creating the course and managing the course and it shows. Thanks!"

Jay D. Moore

"Andrew and all of his instructors were incredible. They are extremely hardworking, knowledgeable, and kind, and each put in a significant amount of effort to help each involved student understand, learn, and therefore grow. I was very impressed with the research that has gone into creating and maintaining this course and I highly recommend it to anyone willing to put in the effort. I end this course feeling inspired, more knowledgeable, and ready to take on the principles I learned about. I'm genuinely grateful, thank you!"

Stacy Fox

Instructors

Andrew Millison
Permaculture Design Certificate

Andrew Millison has been studying, designing, building, and teaching about Permaculture systems since 1996 and is an instructor in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University. He instructs Advanced Permaculture Courses in Teaching, and has guest instructed for many Permaculture courses throughout the Western US.

Marisha Auerbach

Marisha Auerbach is an internationally recognized permaculture educator, designer and speaker based in Portland, OR. She has been practicing, studying and teaching permaculture for over twenty years in the Pacific Northwest. Marisha has worked in diverse environments from the humid temperate climate to the tropical rainforest in Belize to the arid landscapes of Colorado and Montana. Her international experience includes work in Belize, Haiti, Nicaragua and Vietnam.

Devon Bonady

Devon Bonady has been practicing and teaching permaculture for 20 years. She has worked in the Pacific Northwest and, most recently, in the Northeast US. She specializes in plant propagation, edible landscape design, perennial vegetables, fruiting shrubs, and historical and contemporary Northwest ethnobotany.

 

Javan Kerby Bernankevitch

Javan Kerby Bernankevitch has worked in the U.S., Canada, Kenya, Uganda, Cuba and remote Mongolia. He specializes in geomorphic design, rainwater harvesting, perennial systems, and business evaluation and design. Javan is a consulting editor for Permaculture Magazine United Kingdom and North America and is a writer for Urban Farm, Communities and Permaculture Magazine.

Tao Orion

Tao Orion has been working in permaculture for over 15 years and specializes in permaculture designs on the West Coast. She specializes in restoration, systems thinking and design, homesteading and small farm management, forestry, and ethnoecology and ethnobotany. She is the author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration.

Neil Bertrando

Neil has a passion for enriching bioregions and cultivating ecologies. He holds degrees in Biology and Environmental Science. He is the owner of RT Permaculture, an ecological design and education firm specializing in effective and regenerative landscapes. He has been part of the OSU Permaculture Teaching Team since 2014 and has over a decade of experience in ecological design and watershed restoration, Neil brings a range of skills to his projects including horticulture, irrigation, water harvesting, erosion control, and small scale farm development. Neil’s projects commonly include integrated water harvesting agroforestry systems, homestead production gardens with season extension, medicinal pollinator habitats, and ecological restoration.

Jamie Wallace

Jamie Wallace has worked primarily in the Vancouver area in British Columbia, Canada. He specializes in permaculture landscape design for urban, acreage and commercial properties; installation and project management services; rainwater harvesting design and installation; and plant propagation.

Kelda Miller

Kelda Miller has worked in the Pacific Northwest, Oklahoma, Haiti, Cuba and Hawaii. She specializes in creating regional permaculture networks and events; permaculture planning applied to urban walkability planning and municipal codes; anti-oppression work related to permaculture; and land-share gardening.

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor has been working in permaculture for over 20 years and has worked in Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico and Northern California. She specializes in rainwater harvesting design and installation; greywater systems design and installation; alternative technologies; social forestry; holistic orchard care; surveying and homesteading; healthy home design; course and event organizing; and mentoring and coaching.

JR Morgan

JR Morgan has done permaculture work in Oregon, Zimbabwe and Puerto Rico. He specializes in organic gardening and food production, plant care, water harvesting, and urban permaculture. He also has extensive knowledge and experience as an educator, in eco landscaping, wood working and environmental justice.

Jessi Bloom

Jessi specializes in permaculture design in the Pacific Northwest. She specializes in ecological design, animal integration and system design, and hydrology and water system design. She also has signficant knowledge and experience in perennial edibles and nursery operation, permaculture business, and herbalism. Additionally, she works on people care through trauma informed education, as well as sacred space creation.

Sunshine Rose

Sunshine Rose Claymore is a mother from Standing Rock Reservation. A graduate from Sitting Bull College with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science, there has been a drive to better understand natural processes on our planet. Recently taking the position of Permaculture and Food Systems Coordinator for NDSU and Regenerative Land Management Coordinator with Earth Activist Training, environmental education along with systems design has been a long time passion. 

Past Students' Work

Take a look at some recent projects our students have created.