Course Title: Permaculture and Sustainable Living

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Permaculture and Sustainable Living

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2011,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014

Course Coordinator: Rick Coleman

Course Coordinator Phone: 0419 779 886

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: East Gippsland

Course Coordinator Availability: Email is the best contact option.

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

There are no pre-requisite courses.

You will need access to the internet and an interest in applying design principles to living sustainably. Access to a suburban or rural property is not required but is an advantage. 

Course Description

Permaculture is a design science for sustainable living.

This fully online course is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills to become a permaculture designer. Permaculture design is applicable to inner city urban landscapes, community and school kitchen gardens, small hobby farms, broadacre agriculture, overseas sustainable aid projects, and many aspects of everyday life, including designing a business enterprise. This course will provide skills that can be applied in various arenas such as redesigning your living space (land, buildings, purposes, etc.), creating a niche wellness business, or developing wellness plans with clients.

Topic areas include:
• A Framework for Design: permaculture ethics, principles and strategies
• The Real Dirt on Wellness: healthy soil, healthy people, healthy planet
• Water For Life; strategies to conserve, reuse, catch, store and distribute water
• From Roots to Shoots: growing plants to support sustainable systems
• All Creatures Great and Small: raising animals in a permaculture system
• Harvesting the Abundance: harvesting, processing and storing permaculture products
• Bringing It All Together: permaculture design for landscapes and people.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Knowledge and Understanding
You will be able to discuss the principles and ethics of Permaculture design, and identify priorities for increasing your level of sustainability. You will increase your understanding of issues facing communities due to climate change and be able to promote strategies for transitioning to a more sustainable community. You will be able to relate Permaculture to your chosen wellness field and determine relevant strategies related to that field.

You will access a range of publications, websites and videos to become an educated consumer of relevant Permaculture research. You may contribute to online Permaculture forums and consider your own research project in the field of Permaculture and wellness.

Critical analysis and problem solving
You will be able to apply analytical skills and design strategies to a range of identified issues related to permaculture and sustainability. You will integrate your knowledge in key design areas to produce a Permaculture design. You will present a Permaculture design based on a landscape or wellness business venture using powerpoint or video.

Practical skills
You will gain competence in a range of practical skills related to Permaculture including conducting a site analysis, soil tests, seed saving and raising, tree placement and planting, water harvesting and storage, and irrigation, composting and worm farming. You will be able to determine appropriate applications of these skills and apply them in your design presentation.

You will develop a range of skills including the ability to communicate appropriately about permaculture and sustainable living. Your skills in the use of online media will also improve. You will gain skills in presenting the benefits of a Permaculture approach to wellness clients.

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

• Critically explore the principles and ethics of permaculture and be able to apply permaculture principles to designing sustainable systems
• Analyse key factors in sustainable design such as zone and sector planning for energy efficient design
• Evaluate factors affecting soil fertility and design sustainable soil improvement strategies
• Investigate options for water harvesting and storage to increase productivity in urban and rural settings
• Research plant species suitable for the climate zone for a range of design uses
• Determine options for increasing food production for personal consumption or enterprise in an organic, sustainable manner
• Develop community strategies for transitioning into a reduced energy lifestyle.

Overview of Learning Activities

A variety of online learning experiences, both individual and group, will enable students to reach the learning outcomes listed above. Facilitated group work will occur through online discussions, online resources, and readings. Audio visual materials will be utilised, and participants will also upload evidence of practical skills through audio visual means.

Overview of Learning Resources

Students will be able to access course information and learning materials through myRMIT and BlackBoard. E-facilities include discussion groups, group pages, email, and links to prescribed readings, recommended websites, RMIT library, support from study skills advisors, and various learning resources. Students are also a valuable resource for each other - their varied backgrounds and life experiences make for an interesting mix of people, promoting lively discussion and exchange of views on diverse issues related to permaculture and sustainability.

Overview of Assessment

The assessments are designed to ensure that students can demonstrate knowledge of permaculture and appropriate use of concepts and terminology. To help you meet the assessment requirements, interactive online activities and discussions will provide opportunities for self-assessment and feedback from staff and/or other students. Formal assessment will be through a synthesised design task for a landscape or business. A series of assessment tasks will build the skills and knowledge necessary for completion of the final design task.