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Permaculture Design Course (PDC)

What is a Permaculture Design Certificate Course


The Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC) material was originally developed by Bill Mollison, co-founder of permaculture, to teach the principles and foundations of sustainable design. All PDC courses offered throughout the world must follow the same format (see course syllabus and PDC Outline) to assure that the integrity of the certification process is upheld.


At a minimum, any certificate course shall meet the following criteria:


– The lead instructor is an established permaculture teacher with a Diploma in Education or equal credentials . Lead instructor is present throughout the entire course and course certificate bears his/her signature.

– The course provides a minimum of 72 hours of direct contact with instructor(s), in addition to group design time, homework assignments, self-study time, hands-on projects, visits to demonstration sites and other learning activities. Courses shorter than 12 contact-days are generally not offering sufficient time for learning and should be evaluated by potential students for their validity.

– Course material is inclusive of, but not limited to, all subjects listed in the PDC Outline.

– Course includes at least one design project exercise or multiple design vignettes.

– Course includes Talent Show at the end.


Currently, there is no unified oversight for the multitude of permaculture courses offered globally. We encourage prospective learners, if in doubt, to request course syllabus from the lead instructor and compare it against criteria listed above or contact us with further questions.




Participants of Permaculture Design Courses that meet the criteria above receive Permaculture Design Certificates from their lead instructor(s) upon completion of the course.The certificate attests that the recipient has acquired certain knowledge of the subject, and it enables the recipient to start using the word “permaculture” in their livelihood and professional practice.


When using permaculture strictly in their personal lives, students are able to begin applying their knowledge right away. Those wanting to use permaculture in a professional capacity must complement their certificate with an additional two years of acquiring practical knowledge and hands-on experience as well as pursuing continuing education. However, those students who come to PDC with substantial previous experience might be ready for professional practice much sooner. Currently, there are no unified criteria to determine when each particular individual might be ready for practice. The responsibility of that decision rests with each practitioner.



Persons who wish to acquire substantial practical experience, achieve excellence in their practice, and meet certain additional education requirements, are ready to apply for the Permaculture Diploma. Persons who wish to teach PDC as lead instructors must have a Permaculture Diploma to do so. Co-teachers and guest instructors do not need a Permaculture Diploma.

Permaculture Certificate Course Syllabus


Below is a summary of Permaculture Design Certificate course, please see full permaculture curriculum described in the PDC Outline.  All PDC courses MUST follow this international syllabus and meet all requirements for certification.


Topics covered in Permaculture Design Certificate Course:


• Principles of Natural Systems

• Sustainable Design Methodologies

• Patterns in Nature, Culture and Society

• Reading the Land & Understanding Natural Processes

• Large Scale Land Restoration Techniques

• Water Harvesting Techniques

• Design Principles of Sustainable Human Settlements

• Grey Water Recycling

• Natural Building Strategies

• Cultivated & Productive Ecologies

• Food Forests, Plant Guilds, Gardens for Self-Sufficiency

• Energy Conservation Technologies

• Appropriate Technologies and Renewable Energies

• Urban Environment Permaculture

• Wildlife Management and Biological Pest Control

• Land Arts and Community Activism

• Invisible Structures: EcoVillages & Credit Unions

• Community Supported Agriculture

• Strategies for an Alternative Nation

  • At the end of the class, students engage in a group design project.


The course provides 72-hours minimum direct contact with instructors, in addition to homework assignments, self-study, hands-on learning, group design projects, visits to demonstration sites and other learning activities.

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