Interested in the Diploma
How does the diploma work?
Below you can find answers to the most common questions about the diploma.
There you also find a link to the Diploma Guidebook which has a lot more detail in it and is the main reference for our apprentices.
In this video, you can listen to recent graduates Jenni and Barry going through some of these questions in more detail.
How do I sign up?
Have a good look through the information on these webpages.
You could have a look at some other people’s portfolios.
If you have further questions about permaculture learning options and how the diploma fits in, you could book an orientation tutorial.
Once you’re ready to sign up, head over to the tutor register and find a personal tutor.
And then start to connect with other apprentices and maybe book onto an event.
How much does it cost and how do I pay?
The standard fee is £12 per month, payable by standing order for the duration of your diploma. The minimum time is one year, but 3 or more years is very common.
Fees for tutorials and assessments are paid directly to the tutors.
How do I connect with other apprentices?
You can link with other apprentices in your area, or ones who have similar interests to you. These Action Learning Guilds can be a powerful way to support and encourage each other, solving challenges along the way. As an apprentice you will have access to a list and map of all apprentices.
National Diploma gatherings take place in early March each year. These weekends are brilliant opportunities to connect with others, see inspiring work and get support from different tutors to your own. We also encourage people to organise local or regional diploma events.
There is a very active facebook group for the Diploma. This is a design geek's dream space, where you can ask almost any question and discuss issues related to your designs and pathway.
How do I find a tutor?
The Association website has a list and map of all diploma tutors
We recommend that you make a shortlist of tutors that you could imagine working with. Contact them to find out whether they are taking apprentices at the moment, and to find out if you have compatible ways of working.
Once you have agreement with a tutor, the next step will be an Induction tutorial that will set you on your way through the diploma.
How do I submit my work?
Most apprentices submit documents electronically, by email or file sharing. If that is a barrier for you, you can also send paper documents to your tutors.
What format should my work be in?
Be creative! You can submit videos, posters or cartoon strips as well as more conventional formats of text and images. The important thing is that your documentation shows clearly how you have applied permaculture design in solving challenges in your life and work.
What are the expected standards?
You are encouraged to start simple, to get a feel for the design process and to get into the habit of documenting your work. Having a design assessed early on will give you a lot of valuable feedback for your further work.
As you progress it is likely that your projects become more ambitous and extensive.You will use a wide range of tools and methods and a variety of design frameworks. Over time you are encouraged to develop a specific way of designing that works for you.
Throughout your portfolio, you will produce a range of designs with different themes. These can be land based or non-land based, for example designs for teaching, personal health or business planning. By the end, your portfolio should include a mix of both land-based and other designs, though it can be weighted towards one or the other.
How is my work assessed?
Each design is assessed individually by an experienced tutor. This can be your personal tutor or another qualified tutor of your choice.
After five designs you have reached the halfway point in your portfolio, which will be assessed at this point.
Once you have produced ten designs you submit your completed portfolio for the final assessment, whcih is carried out by two tutors separately. They will give you feedback and may ask for additional work to be carried out. Once this is finished, you are ready for accreditation.
Will there be a final exam?
There is no written or oral exam. The function of assessing and acknowledging your competence as a designer is fulfilled by the two-stage final portfolio assessment.
The assessment is followed by an accreditation event, where you have the opportunity to share your success and learning with others in the diploma, and anyone else you would like to invite. This can be at a diploma gathering or convergence, or you can arrange a separate event in a location of your choice.
What if I get stuck along the way?
Your personal tutor is your first port of call - do check in with them even if you think you "haven't done anything worth looking at". Helping you get through creative blocks is one of the important roles of your tutors.
You can also book tutorials with other tutors to get a different perspective.
You can connect with other apprentices to find out how they solve similar problems, and form learning guilds for mutual support
As an apprentice you have access to a range of helpful videos and documents on the Resources section of the website.
Still unsure? Book an orientation tutorial! An orientation tutorial costs £50 (including a £5 donation to the Permaculture Association) and covers the cost of the tutor's preparation time, the tutorial itself and any follow-up notes.