Certificate & Diploma Herbal Medicine Courses NZ

Herbal Medicine Course Structure

Through multi-platform, immersive online herbal education courses, with careful assessment and strong support, we have created clinically relevant learning journeys to help the student achieve their goals, whether that be learning how to be a good herbalist for their friends, family and extended circle, all the way up to learning how to become a good, safe and effective medical herbalist for their wider community.

Estimated Time

The estimated time required for study is going to vary a great deal, because it depends on the student’s ability to commit their time to the process as well as their speed in absorbing new ideas and information. The broad estimates below are based on an assumption that the student will be continuing to work to at least some degree and that their study time will be in addition to this.

Time for study includes watching videos, listening to audios, reading books, completing assignments and engaging in experiential learning. Some students, especially if they can commit a lot more time to their study, will be able to complete our courses faster. Some students, because of their work or other commitments, will take longer to complete our courses. It is no problem either way.

Certificate in Herbal Medicine

6 to 18 months. 

Diploma of Medical Herbalism

3 to 6 years. More details on the Diploma Curriculum can be found here


The Diploma is achieved through 4 key learning streams

  1. Educational Videos
  2. Paul Bergner’s lectures
  3. Research projects 
  4. Experiential learning


There are three ways in which Diploma students will be assessed

  1. Assignments
  2. Exams
  3. Case-studies


Students are further supported in two key ways

  1. The forum
  2. Mentoring


Herbal Medicine Courses – the 4 streams of learning

The Certificates and the Diplomas are achieved through 4 key learning streams:
  1. Educational Videos
  2. Paul Bergner’s Courses
  3. Recommended Reading 
  4. Experiential learning
1) Educational Videos

Richard Whelan presents a series of educational videos on numerous, clinically relevant and diverse topics. A great deal of valuable knowledge can be clearly conveyed in this method and the material can be easily revised if and when needed.

2) Paul Bergner’s Courses

We are delighted to be closely collaborating with world-renowned herbalist and educator, Paul Bergner, for the presentation of our Diploma. As well as being active on our faculty and forum, all of Paul’s lectures, personal writings and vast library of classic texts are included in our course and may be listened to, read and revised whenever it suits.

3) Research Projects

There are four research projects that are required to be completed over the course of the Diploma in these subjects:
Health Science
Plant Science
History & Philosophy
Nature Study

Read the more detailed notes in the diploma curriculum to get a better understanding of what these projects entail but the key point to convey here is that by being able to choose what they are most interested to learn more about, the student can form the most positive engagement with their own enquiry and so have every reason to truly engage with and enjoy the process!  

 4) Experiential Learning 

From the first lessons in the Certificate in Herbal Medicine, and all the way through the Diploma, there is a strong emphasis on the importance of personal, experiential learning. Getting to know the plants through spending time with them, understanding the healing force of nature by personal observations, engaging with health and healing in a way that makes sense at an experiential level, will be of much help when it comes time to put knowledge into practice. 


In-Person Workshops

After running for four years, SIMH hosted its first immersive four-day workshop in Christchurch in April 2021. It was hugely successful and these events will continue to happen once or twice a year, the primary goal being to help develop confidence in clinical skills for those who have the intention to complete the Diploma program in order to become medical herbalists. 

To learn more, see a detailed report from our September 2022 workshop here



Certificate students only need to complete the comprehensive assignment work in each of the three coursebooks in order to achieve their Certificate of Herbal Medicine

Diploma students also have comprehensive assignment work to complete. They will also receive assessment via research projects, written exams, case-studies and personal mentoring. Again, more details are in the Diploma Curriculum found here.



Students are supported in two key ways

  1. Forum
  2. Mentoring


The forum is an open, friendly place to ask questions and share experiences, resources and case studies. The teachers will regularly come on to the forum to participate and students are also encouraged to share their points of view and to learn from each other. Richard runs a diploma study group that meets online most months and Danielle also runs a regular online gathering nearly every month that all students are welcome to participate in. 


No two practitioners of natural medicine are ever the same. Likewise, it is understood that each student will have their own unique path to becoming a good, safe and effective herbalist.

Individual mentoring is a vital part of the Diploma courses and, as the journey progresses, students will be directed towards further learning in the areas that they and we identify as needing more attention.