Over the past few decades, permaculture has become an active movement and garnered more interest across various communities. If you’re reading this, there’s a huge chance that you’re thinking of venturing full-time into permaculture or picking it up as a new hobby.
But how exactly do you learn more about permaculture? While blogs and newspaper articles are a great way to glean information about this philosophy of unity with nature, there is not a whole list of knowledge sources in this field, especially for people looking to pursue a career in it.
From essay writers looking to switch careers to people who are simply curious about permaculture, studying it as a course is a great way to learn more about this concept. But what schools offer permaculture degree programs and related courses? Let’s find out.
How much does a permaculture course cost?
Although there’s no specific cost for a permaculture course, you could spend anything between $1000-$2000 for a two-week, intensive course in the United States. The average cost is about $1500. However, there are cheaper and, of course, higher prices as well.
Top schools that offer permaculture courses
Oregon State University
Oregon State University is one of the leading educational institutions that offers permaculture education to people eager to learn more about the movement. It offers two major options and students can make their choice depending on their career preferences.
First, there’s the standard Permaculture Design Certificate course (PDC) which follows the standard PDC curriculum and runs for 10 weeks. This option is great for a regular individual who wants to either gain basic knowledge or take up permaculture as a hobby.
However, people who want to pursue a full-time career in permaculture design will need to take a more intensive and expensive program: the PDC Pro course. This course runs for 20 weeks and involves more comprehensive training.
Regardless of your proposed career path, these courses can set you on the right track to a permaculture lifestyle and teach you everything you need to know about starting your business in this field.
North Carolina State University
If you’re looking to enroll in a PDC without paying through your nose, then North Carolina State University’s permaculture course will interest you. This freely accessible online course is titled Introduction to Permaculture and is your one-stop guide if you’re completely new to the concept.
It is hosted by Professor Will Hooker, a registered landscape architect and permaculturist. This course contains 29 video modules spanning about 90 minutes each. Although this might seem like you’ll have a lot of information to consume at once, that’s not necessarily the case. You can pace yourself and stretch out this course for as long as you want.
If you’re looking for a convenient online course that will walk you through the basics of permaculture, then Cornell University has the right package for you. This school offers three different permaculture design courses which you can choose from depending on your area of interest. These include:
Permaculture: Fundamentals of Ecological Design
Permaculture Design: Ecosystem Mimicry
While the first two courses last for 6.5 weeks each and are valued at $675, the Practicum course lasts for only 4.5 weeks and is valued at $325.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
The University of Massachusetts is very passionate about permaculture and sustainability. As such, it comes as no surprise that it offers online permaculture programs. At UMass, you can either study Intro to Permaculture or Social Permaculture for food justice.
The school takes this concept very seriously as can be seen in their permaculture initiative. Thus, expect a hands-on approach to learning rather than a theoretical one. You’ll most likely have regular class participation and response discussions which may seem overwhelming at first. However, the in-depth knowledge gained makes it all worth it in the end.
Byron Community College
If you’re looking for an immersive permaculture program, Byron Community College’s Permaculture Design Course is an excellent fit for you. Here, you’ll get a comprehensive understanding of basic permaculture ethics and principles. You’ll also get to focus on practical activities and field trips.
This two-week course has about fourteen modules and you’ll be awarded a Permaculture Design Certificate upon completion.
Wheaton Labs run an advanced Permaculture Design Course for students who already have an understanding of permaculture. The PDC is also suitable for engineers, educators or scientists and has been developed to focus on the technical aspects of permaculture and on professional landscape design. The course includes standard PDC content but goes further, to help advanced or expert students take their knowledge to the next level.The PDC is taught by Alan Booker, Helen Atthowe, Paul Wheaton, Thomas J. Elpel and Chase Jones and takes place at Wheaton Labs, Missoula, MT.
Gaia University runs an International Diploma of Permaculture Design (IDPD) program for students which involves designing and implementing real-life permaculture projects. Unlike the other courses listed above, the IDPD program runs for up to two years and features about ten design projects. As such, it’s a great choice for people looking for professional certifications.
During the course, students can earn credits towards their diploma, and also pursue a one-year Bsc or Msc in Integrative Eco-social Design if they’re successful. The course for this diploma in permaculture varies depending on your region. If you’re from a country with relatively high access to funding, you’ll need to pay about $4500 in total for this 2-year course. However, students from low-income countries only have to pay about $1980.
Pacific Rim College
Pacific Rim College offers a Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystems Diploma for interested participants. This 9-month program offers a wide range of course modules that go beyond the basic permaculture curriculum. With such a variety at hand, you’ll definitely enjoy this course if you’re looking for an intensive expert-level course.
Terra Alta is a learning centre in Europe that offers intensive two-week long Permaculture Design courses for budding permaculturists. These courses take a hands-on approach to give students a comprehensive understanding of permaculture as well as the basic practical application of this concept.
Since Terra Alta’s courses start from the basics, they’re an excellent choice for beginners who have no prior knowledge and experience in permaculture.
Learning permaculture is easy at first glance. After all, you have tons of articles and journals to guide you. However, if you really want to go past surface-level knowledge in this field, you’ll need an in-depth course. Fortunately, we’ve mentioned some of the best permaculture courses you can lay your hands on. Although some of them might seem pricey, you’ll get immense value for your money. Here’s to a fulfilling career in permaculture. Good luck!