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2007 & 2010, The PC Diploma

mini-link to this page: http://bit.ly/wy7chK

This was presented at IPC8 in Brazil & later to EUPC10 in Europe

We Propose that we make a unified and concerted effort 
(at European level at least, preferably at international level)

To coordinate efforts also around the PC Diploma and re-design the diploma work-net proposals in light of the experiences and observations to date.    The VEHICLE for this would be a new Chaordic Permaculture Institute: see original proposal here.    However, this original proposal was met with some confusion at first (in 2005 when we circulated this document in some parts of the network), so we decided to first present the Chaordic Model, and later explain how we could implement this further.


A Short History of the PermaCulture Diploma System

Version 1 - by Tagari Publications

Designed by Bill Mollison (check?) - basically consisted of sending your work to Australia, paying the fee and having the work read  by an examiner.  If passed you got the diploma. 

Jan 2010 this was on the website at Tagari:


Thank you very much for your interest in applying for a Diploma of Permaculture Design with the Permaculture Institute. Since 2002 we have had a third party examiner assess each application and either recommend or discuss further improvement to the application. Recently this position has become vacant.

Please contact us through our contact section on this website if you are interested (Australian residents only please).

Additionally, while we search for a replacement examiner, we are re-writing the application guidelines. We therefore ask that you do not send in any applications until a new notice is posted informing of the successful completion of these new guidelines. Your patience is appreciated.


So maybe re-designs are happening. (some enteprising pre-diplomat wanting to add this collective design to their portafolio could write to them and suggest we look to join forces?)



Version 2 - The Convergence Method


Described here in full: Diploma Convergence.doc

extract from "Procedures", p.4:


  • Permaculture Diploma is to be awarded for documented good permaculture work, within one or more of the 12 categories mentioned below, and at a quantity as described below – generally after a minimum of 2 years from having received the Permaculture Certificate.
  • The application for Permaculture Diploma is to be published in the Nordic Permaculture Yearbook, prior to the presentation of the application.
  • The application is to be presented for open discussion between the certificate- and diploma-holders convening at Nordic Meeting.
  • In the process of preparing the application, three diploma-holders are to be involved: 1) One who is closely involved in the preparation process as personal adviser. 2) One who is less closely connected as adviser. 3) And one who is to adopt the role of external examiner, at the Nordic Meeting.
  • After receiving the diploma, a diploma holder can work within all aspects of permaculture, with the rights of a diploma holder, regardless of which categories the application was based on.
  • After receiving the diploma, a diploma holder has the right to perform professional counselling in relation to permaculture projects; to arrange courses in permaculture without the supervision of another diploma holder; and to represent the permaculture network externally in relation to the general public.
  • As a diploma holder, one can use the title ‘Permaculture Designer’.

We find it to be important, that diploma applications are to be presented and discussed openly in a larger forum of permaculturists.

We find it to be important that the awarding of diploma is based solely on documented professionalism, and not made dependent on financial capacity or graduation from one or another specific educational institution.

We find it to be important that the awarding of diploma is rooted in a regional context, so that the application is published in a regional publication (e.g. the Nordic Yearbook), and presented for discussion and approval in a regional gathering with official status (e.g. the Nordic Meeting)."



Version 3 - European Diploma Work-Net


Designed by AndyLangford (mainly? check), this is a brilliant design by people deeply embedded in the 'us/we' paradigm.

Unlike the idea most people (still encrusted in the 'I/me' paradigm?) have of a diploma (of it being for their own benefit mainy / to get a piece of paper / move up the ladder, etc.), this permaculture diploma was actually a very multi-functional permaculture design, designed to:

  • to collect and flush out (share) emergent permaculture knowledge as fast as possible peer-learning and assessment, encouraging people to document the work of other PC pioneers, not just their own
  • accellerating permaculture action-learning, promoting community building and group-learning: not just for the person doing the diploma
  • encourage and direct pre-diplomats to give back to the network (symmetry criteria) by helping to build the missing infrastructures and so improve the network for all
  • (incidental but perhaps useful function: seems to filter out people not very in-tune with the values of cooperation, self-responsability, people-care and humble enough to believe they may learn something from people who've been doing permaculture for a long time)


Link to PC Uk site: http://www.permaculture.org.uk/education/diploma-applied-permaculture


Old Manual: Accreditation Criteria.doc

Action Learning.doc


Current Problems

There is no effective consistent dialogue at international level (no continuity outside of convergences, where dialogues most often just personal & disconnected - lots of repeating of usual concerns - which are compiled in this proposal)

For EUPC10 (august 2010) we proposed this forum in WiserEarth but it was not used: 
This proposal is interactive! Do participate

Proposed Solutions

Version 4 - a new International Chaordic Diploma

a new Diploma Work-Net in the Chaordic Institute (International)  (the link above is in spanish, but you can try the google translator, we are working on improving the traslation!)

* integrates the benefits of all other versions *

'Process kick-start' designed by Stella with the Nodo Espiral (Spain PC Academy) teachers in 2003,

- see initial proposal here


A very potted history:  the Chaordic PC Institute originated from an idea to re-design the DiplomaProcess, but some basic infrastructures (ie. this pilot and a credible number of initial profiles) was necessary in order to move on with that idea.

This is the result of the DiplomaGroup investigating and listing the various Diploma systems in existence (over the last few years) and asking lots of questions in the Diploma Lab (which all are still very welcome to participate in).


((Gaia University is also organising a new diploma version (with some US organisations), which we hope they will wanto integrate with the Chaordic Institute's design.   A good interview with Andy Langford about ActionLearning and the Earth Action Mentor diploma))


The idea is that it is COLLECTIVELY (chaordically) DESIGNED by the interested Chaordic Institute members. 

Some work on this was done in the DiplomaGroup of the Institute (mainly observation) and we hope that some enterprising pre-diplomats choose to incorporate this as a collective design into their portafolios.


of combining all other versions:

  1. it's not an 'either-or' system: you can be in ANY of the other systems and it can fit with this one - Integration rather than Separation - we're evolving!!  So its a wider platform where we can all meet and cooperate
  2. it gives some serious low-Carbon options: tutors and peers can see your portafolio on the web, if you can easily go see them of course you can but you don't have to: your tutor/s and peers can be anywhere on the planet, you can design yourself a planetary diploma award presentation by presenting your diploma at a local PC group (or in your home) and invite others to participate via internet, you can simply ADD internet tools to anything you're already doing where it makes sense (for your pocket, for climate change, for your busy life, etc.)
  3. most of the advantages of the Conference models even if you can't make it to conferences (which can be very elitist or exclusive: this is mostly about inclusion)
  4. less delays: organisational bottlenecks - much more self-organized, you don't need to wait around for anyone to make decisions about your pathway or portafolio: just do it.  Eventually: whilst we get this organized (it's still being designed) there will be some delays of course, but if you find them, plse just help design how to avoid them!
  5. a self-organising pool of Colleagues, Mentors and Tutors, limited only by your imagination.   Check the profiles of  experienced permaculture designers on the Chaordic Institute site (there will be a diplomats page soon), decide which has the wealth, breath or specific practical experience and CV that would most benefit your work, and just ask them: come to any arrangement that suits both of you and off you go.   Or you can join any of the set-tutors prepared by any of the other diploma pathway systems around the world (see listing here)
  6. decrease consumption: NO paper or bulky foulders (which then very few people get to see ...) needed, save trees and resources (but only if you use existing resources: use a friend's / library's internet connection if you don't have one at home / work)
  7. chaordic: NO centralising or decentralising structures - designed to be chaordic, and also to chaordicise existing networks (making fertile connections between any parts we find, uniting without forcing anything > helping to move us all up the evolutionary scale by integrating and transcending the existing structures
  8. less expense - it will be much cheaper to run, eventually (in time, resources, money...).  As we set up more self-organising systems and incorporate the alternative currencies we're designing (eg Permis)
  9. transparent methods (you get to design it with us, it's all documented on the web)
  10. choose your tutors and peers for support group from a much larger (international) pool
  11. transparent diploma standards (tutor and peer-assessment also open to view, no 'decisions behind closed doors' about what is or is not up to diploma standard)
  12. more accessible to people who don't live anywhere near teachers, peers, etc.
  13. simultaneously building your e-CV
  14. you automatically get one extra challenging design to develop: how to present your portafolio is up to you but it will be counted as a design to be assessed (look at Design Criteria..)
  15. .. and with some additional big benefits for the whole network, also: see below ..




  • Combining all the advantages of the other versions of the Diploma, with as few as possible of the disadvantages, hopefully thus
  • uniting disparate sides of the network but without standarising or centralising power (infact distributing power throughout the network by opening up the system
  • students with multimedia diploma portafolios on the web,
  • internationally peer assessed by any amount of designers,
  • with multiple tutors (easily chosen by you from their CPI profiles and stated availability),
  • with any amount of the content of your portafolio that you wish, open for perusal (by permies and non-permies alike, whatever you wanto stay private can do) to peruse and learn about permaculture design in practice (the process as well as the results)
  • incorporating a new community currency for the PC network (Permies)
  • .. add your own criteria / visions? ..
  • ..
  • ..
  • can we make it even more multifunctional? (keep adding to this list!)



Diploma Evaluation

will be by the Conference Method (as in Version 2) but without the obligation to travel to a particular Conference (if you can afford to go to one it's great, but not obligatory)



The clear (and also brilliantly designed) evaluation criteria from Version 3 designed to develop

  1. Theory to Practice
  2. Design Ability
  3. Walking the Talk
  4. Symmetry


Joining up

will be greatly amplified by the slight shift sideways to e-portafolios joining up with the already happening (but much less purpose-full or directed: 99% decentralized) growth of individual perma-publications on the web

As if that weren't all enough ...  having not only all the new wealth of (catalogued) permacuture content but also visible diploma standards out there totally in the open (as opposed to stored and assessed behind closed doors) AND over a long time (not just during the award event) ... will slowly bring on many other benefits, eg.



Benefits for the PC Network

  1. more collective learning
  2. more fertile connections (eg. meet other diploma students doing similar work to yours and collaborate), and
  3. a steadily increasing and equalising + international diploma standards (with minimal bureocracy: a self-managing and upward regulating system)
  4. chaordicising the network
  5. incorporates and transcends (real evolution) all the other versions and so can potentially unite us more
  6. growing standards of design .. (accelerating natural successions all over..)


Actions & Actors

Resources Required

Examples of Online Diploma Portfolios