Online Permaculture Design Course (PDC)

This course is delivered through our Online Course Program*1 and Zoom meetings.

Table of contents

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Online Course

This course exceeds the requirements laid out by permaculture founder Bill Mollison for the internationally recognized 72 hour Permaculture Design Course. The training provides a deep and wide overview of permaculture design, focusing on skill sets you can apply immediately. It is a thorough introduction to a subject that has many levels and areas of expertise and professional practice. Further study is available through our apprenticeship programs and advanced study.

Description of course

The online PDC course was created in response to students whose schedules don’t match up with our in-person courses or who prefer to study online. The course can be studied at your own pace, with a focus on your own site design.

Creating the opportunity for a participatory and hands-on experience is important to us, so we include practical exercises that you perform on your own site. In addition, we have live Q and A sessions and personal mentoring with instructors, and the option to share your experience with instructors and other students via photos, essays or videos.

The course addresses strategies for drylands, temperate, tropical and other climates based on the significant knowledge and experience of instructors working in those climates. It contains a bonus section focused specifically on Florida/subtropical climate because of the state’s unique ecosystem.

Students will have an opportunity to self-test their knowledge, to join discussion groups with other students, to participate in question and answer sessions on Zoom with instructors, and to get feedback from a personal mentor. There are additional in-person modules available, and special sessions that are exclusive to online training.

There are additional in-depth materials offered for each section of the course as well as a resource list where you can find more information and explore areas of interest more deeply.

Each student will complete a permaculture design of the site of his or her choice, working through it step-by-step to ensure the student has an understanding of each step of the process. Upon successful completion of the course requirements, the student is awarded an internationally recognized certificate for the course.

Online course includes

  • Mentoring with veteran designers.
  • Hands-On exercises.
  • Videos of a variety of systems and how they work.
  • Written step-by-step instructions and other material.
  • Extensive subtropical plant lists and data, lists of recommended temperate, tropical and drylands plants.
  • Top resources for further study.
  • Test your knowledge with self-testing.
  • Exercises to increase your ability to apply the knowledge you gained.
  • Discussion groups and on-line community building opportunities.
  • Q and A with mentors.
  • Data and resources on permaculture careers.
  • Links to and data about quality permaculture networks that will continue to support you.
  • Internationally recognized Permaculture Design Course certificate upon completion.

Subjects covered in the course

• Permaculture design ethics, principles and tools
• Creating abundance with natural patterns
• Grow more food with less work by working with nature
• Edible landscaping, food in small spaces
• Building food forests
• Nutrient dense “beyond organic” gardening and farming
• Agroforestry and ecoagriculture, regenerative farming
• Aquaculture
• Building rich, live soils
• Composting and vermicomposting
• Alternative pest management
• Designing sustainable water use
• Greywater and rainwater catchment
• Natural building and regenerative building technology
• Reducing energy costs in your home
• Best forms of sustainable energy
• Appropriate technology
• Boosting your career with permaculture
• Sustainable economics
• Increasing quality of life through “placemaking” design
• Designing for climate change
• Community revitalization and rebuilding
• Successful intentional communities, ecovillages and
  cohousing, urban and rural


Follow the Enroll Button below or go to Once enrollment is complete you can access the course via Student Login on the top menu.

Course schedule

The course is self paced. However, we offer live Zoom sessions with different presentations and Q and A, and instructor mentoring via email for eleven months.

The Zoom sessions begin on Tuesday following the start date and run between 7pm and 8:30pm, and every first and third Tuesday over an 8 month period. (Full details are in the syllabus sent to you after enrolling.)

The 2024 Oct course starts on Oct 14th and live sessions continue through June 18, 2024.

Course fee

Full price is $595 for this comprehensive online course. An early bird may apply see Enroll here button.
To buy the course, pay using our Store. Paying over time is often available, see the cart if available.
The online course material will remain accessible to you after you graduate.
The text book for the course is:
Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison and Reny Mia Slay. Order it here.
Our courses are an investment in yourself and your future - you will make and save far more than the course cost, to the degree you apply the information in the course.

Course timeline

This is a listing of the main topics. We often add to the course
to try to accommodate each student’s interests.

Class 1 & 2
Introduction to Permaculture
Why Permaculture
What is Permaculture
Design Principles
Design Tools
Pattern Language

Class 3 & 4
Design Methods, Water and Soil
Design for Climate
Design for Water
Regenerative Soil Building
Compost, Manures, Maintaining Fertility and more

Class 5 & 6
Food Systems
Ecology and Trees
Food Forests
Small Scale, Intensive Gardening

Class 7 & 8
The Built Environment
Built Environment
Retrofitting Existing Structures for Resiliency
Natural Building
Appropriate Technology
Low Tech Solutions

Class 9 & 10
Finance, Economics and Community
Financial Permaculture and Regenerative Enterprises
Land Access Strategies
Intentional Communities
Community Building
Regenerative Villages and City Living

Class 11 & 12
Where Do You Go From Here
Design for Disaster
Where Do We Go From Here? Careers, Networking, Further Study
Special Topics
Design Presentations
Talent Show (Online)

For the final class the lead instructor will review and mentor your submitted design and issue your certificate of completion.
Enroll here
Endorsed by PINA

* * *

Lead Instructor Koreen Brennan holds a Diploma on both Design and Education from the Permaculture Institute for North America and is also a board member of PINA. PINA supports professional development for PDC graduates through continuing education, mentorship, diploma recognition, and employment. They identify, fund, and staff critically important projects in land, community, and climate regeneration.

*1. Our Online Course Program is delivered through Open edX. edX is the online learning destination co-founded by Harvard and MIT. The Open edX platform provides the learner-centric, massively scalable learning technology behind it. Originally envisioned for MOOCs, Open edX platform has evolved into one of the leading learning solutions catering to Higher Ed, enterprise, and government organizations. Return to top

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