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Why do the diploma?

Completing the diploma in Applied Permaculture Design will make you a better designer, potentially open up new work opportunities, help you to live more sustainably, and is an opportunity to make new friends.

  • Creating and reflecting on your designs will improve your professional practice and provide an opportunity to explore areas that interest you.
  • During the diploma you will develop a portfolio of design work that can demonstrate your skills to future employers and potential clients.
  • The diploma is also a big step towards becoming a permaculture teacher; once you have the diploma and a teaching qualification you can award Permaculture Association's PDC Certificates.
  • After graduating from the diploma, you may also train to be a diploma tutor, and earn an income from guiding others on their diploma journeys.
  • Many graduates of the diploma note that it is a great way to examine your own lifestyle, and to help you to lead a more sustainable life.
  • You can attend the Diploma Gathering, usually held every nine months. This, plus local diploma support groups are great ways to meet new people and make friends.


About the course

The Diploma is a course of self-directed study that takes a minimum of two years (no pressure though - some people take a lot longer than this, but please note an annual fee of £10 per year is payable for every additional year you spend on the Diploma). During the course, you will prepare ten designs that demonstrate your ability to apply permaculture ethics and principles and show your competence at using a range of design methods, tools and skills.

Supported & Independent Routes

You can choose to take the Supported route or the Independent route. The Supported route includes tutorial support and gives you much more guidance and feedback on your design work. We now also offer the Supported Route Plus, which includes two extra design support tutorials.

The Independent route is primarily for those people who already have an extensive body of work that they wish to get accredited or for people who feel they don't need so much support.

There is more information in the diploma guidebook - see below - or feel free to contact Cath at the office if you've any queries.

Entry requirements

To register on the diploma, you need to hold a PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate) and be a member of the Permaculture Association for the duration of your study.

Diploma Community

There is an active network of diploma apprentices, holders and tutors who meet at the Diploma Gathering to share design work, host workshops, hold tutorials and socialise.

There is also an active diploma facebook group.


There are tutors throughout the UK and overseas. Please check the diploma tutor register for their details. Many tutors are happy to conduct tutorials via Zoom/Skype so don't be put off if you can't find a tutor local to you. 


Independent Route: £465 + membership

Supported Route: £755 + membership

Supported Route Plus: £885 + membership

Whichever Diploma option you choose, we operate a flexible payment system - monthly instalments over two years - to make it more affordable, or you can pay upfront if you prefer. If you take longer than two years to complete your Diploma, a fee of £10 is payable for each additional year to stay registered on the system. 

Proposed changes to the Diploma finance system

Diploma fees were fixed in October 2013 when the Fees Guide was published and no review or increase has taken place in the seven years since then. Please take a moment to read more about the changes which will affect new registrations from Autumn 2020. All existing apprentices will have until Autumn 2022 to complete their Diploma under their current scheme or they can switch to the new system at the end of the transition period. Exact dates and payment information will be confirmed shortly.


To register for the diploma, simply sign up online here

Useful Documents