International Diploma of Permaculture Design

The International Diploma of Permaculture Design (IDPD) is designed to offer the "What's Next" step after you have completed your Permaculture Design Course. Most people emerge with their PDC Certificate in hand and excited to put their newly-acquired permaculture skills into practice, only to find a void in the support network. The best opportunity for a freshly-minted Permaculture Designer to keep on a steep learning curve is to combine hands-on project design and work with documentation, expert mentoring, and skillful feedback. The structure we have developed for the IDPD allows you to hone your Permaculture skills in a focused and productive way.

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

  • to serve those permaculture learners who seek mentorship and constructive feedback for their project work and documentation
  • 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, and who appreciate the portfolio systems and quality assurance oversight developed by Gaia U that are 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

Elements included in full IDPD program  Pre-Capstone Phase Capstone Phase
All Elements of the Online Orientation  
Main Advisor sessions
Permaculture Mentor sessions
Output Packet Review (5 per phase)
Gaia Radio Content Calls
Gaia Radio Community Calls
End-of-Phase Presentation
Internal End-of-Phase Review
E-Portfolio access and instruction (access can be extended post-program by becoming a Friend)
Optional extras to add to program:    
     Accreditation by Gaia U (for those seeking entry to Degree programs)    
     Gaia U Gather-In Attendances    


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 at 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 into 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.