International Diploma of Permaculture Design

The learning design for the International Diploma of Permaculture Design is an open source design that can be used and adapted by any permaculture learning and education node in the world, free of charge. For the learning design and how to enroll see below. 

The learning design grows out of the original action learning Diploma established by the Permaculture Academy of Britain in the 1990's (also intended as an open source design) and has been adopted in full or in part by Permaculture Associations and Nodes in Italy, Germany, Israel, Spain, Britain and Chile.

The International Diploma has been developed for several primary reasons: -

  • to serve those permaculture learners who are not in regions and zones that currently offer a functional pathway to the Diploma.
  • to serve those permaculture teachers who understand the benefits of continued, supported progression in the Permaculture Design and Teaching community, would like to participate as paid mentors and yet who do not want to service the administration, and see the need for portfolio systems and quality assurance oversight necessary for a coherent system.
  • to gather the work of permaculture learners and their mentors into a common e-Portfolio platform (open to the public) where peer and professional review can be facilitated according to clear criteria.
  • to initiate another round of international cooperation between various Diploma nodes with a view to establishing a viable Credit Accumulation and Transfer System thus enabling graduates of all nodes to use their Diplomas as a common qualifier.
  • to add additional earning and work-exchange opportunities to the portfolio of experienced permaculture teachers and practitioners as they work at the essential process of mentor permaculture learners.

The learning design follows the generic pattern of all the Diplomas and Pathways in Gaia University by using a Transformative Action Learning methodology. Output packets (now focused on permaculture design work) are produced by the associate, 10 being required for a full Diploma. Most notes and descriptions found elsewhere in this website thus apply.

Using these common patterns has some key benefits of which the most substantial is that successful Diploma associates arrive at the end of their program fully prepared to apply for a capstone degree year with Gaia University. Depending on age and experience this may be either a Bachelors or Masters degree.

The Learning Design

Prerequisite:   Permaculture Design course completion certificate



International Diploma of Permaculture Design  Phase 1
Phase 2
Elements included in full program    
Module 1: Learning Online with Gaia U  
Module 2: Project Design and Management √ 
Module 3: Life & Career Review  √ 
Module 4: Learning Intentions & Pathway Design   
Module 5: TALC, Element 1: Learning & Unlearning  
Module 5: TALC, Element 2: Exploring Worldviews  
Module 5: TALC, Element 3: Leaderful Communities  
Module 5: TALC, Element 4: Generating Fabulous Output Packets  
Main Advisor sessions (PreCAP: 5.5; CAP: 5)
Permaculture Mentor sessions (PreCAP: 4.5; CAP: 5)
Output Packet Review (5 per phase)
Gaia Radio Content Calls (unlimited - access can be extended post-program by becoming a Friend)
Gaia Radio Community Calls (unlimited - access can be extended post-program by becoming a Friend)
Internal End-of-Phase Review
End-of-Phase Presentation
E-Portfolio access and instruction (access can be extended post-program by becoming a Friend)
Optional extras to add to program:    
     Gaia Radio Special Series    
     Accreditation by Gaia U (for those seeking entry to Degree programs)    
     Annual Graduation Event    


The pace:

The pace is chosen by you. The Diploma program can either proceed at a pace determined by you or you can buy tuition and review in Pay-as-You-Go mode, only engaging when you have the time, motivation and internet access. There is no limit to how long you can take to complete a program. With this style a program year may extend over 2 or 3 calendar years. This approach suits, for example, nomads and barefoot permaculture people very well.

Even while you are not 'in-program' you can buy mentoring sessions to support you in developing a successful permaculture livelihood and/or practice.

Alternatively you can scrum down and barrel through the program in a traditional non-stop style in which case a program year corresponds to a calendar year and the Diploma takes a minimum of 2 years.

You can switch from one track to another by arrangement.


Your ePortfolio is developed on the same platform (Mahara) that is used across Gaia University so that you have access to all Diploma and Degree associates for social networking and collaborative group working. Mahara includes an easy-to-use export function that means you can, at any time, export your entire portfolio ready for upload to any content management system of your choice. Thus you are not locked in to Mahara.

How to enroll:  Unlike for degree program applicants, there is no formal admissions process. To enroll, go to our online registration form, create a username and password, and then follow the link to the diploma registration form. Once you have filled out the form, follow the link to the catalog to choose your payment plan and make your first payment. You will receive correspondence from us upon completion of your registration. Feel free to Contact Us if you have questions.