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Economics for Transition (MA, PG Cert)

Course Description

Never has there been a more important time for a new approach to economics.

There is an urgent need for a radical rethink of our economic system. We need new thinking and new models that recognise the challenges we face now, rather than blindly following the path that has led us into the converging crises we now face.

These models will enable us to both mitigate the impacts and adapt to these inter-locking crises – including climate change, biodiversity loss, the peaking in fossil fuel energy supplies, financial instability, food security, poverty and so on.

They will be built on an understanding of the complementarity of ecological protection and human flourishing.

For 20 years, pioneering thinkers and practitioners have been developing alternative economic ideas, models and experiments that were once considered radical and marginal.

As we turn to face a new economic dawn, these theories and practices are now moving centre stage.

"I teach at Schumacher College because of its strong link with ecological sustainability and an approach which is based on collaborative co-creation. People are not told what to do, together they co-create their ideas. It’s a fundamentally different model of education that we can learn from and apply to the economy as well as other areas of our life."
Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly, London School of Economics

"In making the transition to a world in which we can all thrive within planetary boundaries, it is paradigm shift or bust, and nobody does paradigm shift better than Schumacher College. Its learning environment and the content of its courses make visions of a better world tangible. And, the Economics for Transition MA shows how right now we can take the first steps to get there."
Andrew Simms, Fellow of New Economics Foundation

"Schumacher College is one of the few places I know where economic questions are being asked as openly as they need to be. When I run seminars there, I learn as much as I teach."
Kate Raworth, Visiting Research Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute

Why Schumacher College?

Since 1991, Schumacher College has been pioneering radical new thinking in economics, attracting leading teachers, practitioners and activists from across the globe. We have inspired and supported thousands of organisations and individuals from many different countries in their quest to achieve a more sustainable and equitable world.

In 2011, in response to the deepening economic and related crises, we launched our first postgraduate programme in Economics for Transition in association with the New Economics Foundation, the Transition Network and the Business School at Plymouth University.

Now in its fourth year, this partnership offers you an unparalleled opportunity to learn about the cream of radical economic thinking, activism and entrepreneurship globally.

Hosted by highly respected radical economists, completed by an unrivalled visiting faculty of teachers and practitioners from across the world, you have a unique chance to join those at the forefront of new economic thinking.

Our teachers include:

Jonathan Dawson – Schumacher College
Tim Crabtree – Schumacher College
Stephan Harding – Schumacher College
Julie Richardson – Schumacher College
Anna Coote and Tony Greenham (link is external) – New Economics Foundation
Rob Hopkins, Jay Tompt & Sophy Banks (link is external) – Transition Network
David Bollier – co-founder of the Commons Strategies Group
Gustavo Esteva – founder of the Universidad de la Tierra
Fiona Ward – REconomy Project
Pat Conaty – NEF Fellow
Tim ‘Mac’ Macartney – Founder and CEO of Embercombe
Robin Murray – Industrial and environmental economist.
Kate Raworth – Senior Visiting Research Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute
Dr. Martin Shaw – Author, mythologist, storyteller and award winning wilderness Rites-of-Passage guide

Who is this course for?

We are delighted to receive your application whether you are coming directly from an undergraduate degree, taking time-out to study mid-career or wanting an opportunity to retrain in a subject area that is of huge importance to our global economic future and wellbeing.

We are looking for enthusiastic agents of change who are ready to co-create a new economy in practice. We are looking for those prepared to take a risk and stand on the cutting-edge of new thinking in this area.

Schumacher College welcomes students from all over the world in its diverse mix of cultural experience and age group that allows for rich peer to peer learning.

What you will learn?

The key sustainability issues facing the world today
How ecological, economic and social crises are systemically linked to the malfunctioning of today’s globalised economy
A critique of the dominant neoclassical, industrial growth model from different perspectives
A theoretical and experiential understanding of an ecological world-view
How to apply ecology and complexity science to the economy and social systems
The co-creation of a new approach to economics drawn from alternative schools of thought
The co-creation of future scenarios and pathways towards low-carbon, high wellbeing and resilient economies
Participation in current debates on the economics of transition
New economics tools, methods and policies and their application to real-world case studies
Self-evaluation to improve professional practice

You will also carry out an independent research project related to the economics of transition

Where you will go?

Are you ready to join a new generation of business leaders, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, researchers, consultants and activists?

Graduates from this programme will have the skills and knowledge to work for sustainable change in the public and private sectors as well as in civil society, or to set up their own projects or organisations that will contribute to the transition to a new economy.

Hear from some of our past and present students and find out how this programme has changed their lives and careers by reading our the Economics for Transition student profiles.

Visit the Economics for Transition (MA, PG Cert) page on the Schumacher College website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Luigi Russi

What had you been doing prior to beginning your PG course at Schumacher College?

Prior to my course at Schumacher, I was a Visiting Lecturer in one of London's universities: I was teaching politics and critical development to undergraduate students.

2. What was it that made you want to take the programme?

I had been wanting to participate in the Economics for Transition course since it started being advertised (I had been a short course participant at Schumacher before, and that’s how I learnt about the course). I was particularly intrigued at the possibilities the course would offer to fertilise my own knowledge of critical economics with insights and practice drawn from the experience of the Transition movement and beyond.

3. Describe your time at the College?

The time at the College was nothing short of transformative. It was deeply insightful, and I felt like I really came into my own as a scholar and as a person. To this day, lessons learnt at the College have afforded me with prompts to find an orientation in really challenging situations, both of an intellectual and of a personal sort. The maturation I sensed occurring in me during my time at Schumacher was both an outcome of the teaching itself, but also of the residential setup, which has certain relational abilities (taking risks, being propositive, engaging diplomatically, articulating dissent) simply ‘grow on’ course participants.

4. What have you gone on to do since leaving the College?

Since leaving the college I have gone on to write a book on the economics of the Transition movement, and I have joined a PhD programme. Most importantly, I am still working through the flurry of ideas the time as an E4T student has kicked up.

(Student Profile)

Amrita Bhohi

What had you been doing prior to beginning your PG course at Schumacher College?

I was working for a few months for the environmental lawyer Polly Higgins on her 'Eradicating Ecocide' campaign, focusing on the political engagement leading up to the Rio Earth Summit. Prior to this I was working voluntarily to organise a local TEDx event focusing on themes of Transition etc.

2. What was it that made you want to take the programme?

I had the feeling and knowing that the current dominant mainstream approach to 'change' was superficial and inadequate relative to the multiple crises we are facing. I had begun to develop an interest in Economics, seeing this system as central to many of the problems I cared about, environmental and social justice issues, and wondering how it could be radically different, what would this look like. All of this resolved in an instant as soon as I saw the programme! It represented a different future, one that I wanted to be a part of. It strove to embody the values that it was teaching about a more beautiful world. It was a space for true creativity and free-thinking. Eternally grateful for the synchronicities that brought me there.

3. Describe your time at the College?

Joyful, creative, abundant, beautiful, profoundly challenging, heart-opening, heart warming world-changing, transformative, constant learning, inspiring, nourishing...

4. What have you gone on to do since leaving the College?

I have since been working as a Project Coordinator at St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace . The project that I came on to manage was called the 'City Forum' which seeks to offer a platform for courageous dialogue, action and a community of practice for those challenging the status quo in the financial world.

Since September I have been leading a project called Project Phoenix, which focuses on young adults and new economics.

Through a 6 month training programme, we aim to bring together a new generation of young leaders to explore how to live the 'new paradigm' of inter-dependence and oneness, and what this means in practice in our economic system and in the context of a destructive and outdated culture. We hope to support young people to manifest their visions, initiatives and enterprises so as to contribute to and lead the growing of the re-generative/new economy.

(Student Profile)

Chris Tittle

What had you been doing prior to beginning your PG course at Schumacher College? What was it that made you want to take the programme?

It wasn’t until attending a lecture by Fritjof Capra, whose books I had read during a pilgrimage, that I learned about Schumacher College and the opportunity to join the first cohort of a new program exploring ecology, economics, and social change. At that time, I had been trying, unsuccessfully, to decide between two other Masters programs in the US with a more mainstream focus on environmental science. I can only describe the moment I read about this new Economics for Transition course as one of intense clarity, a resounding inner “yes!” It seemed to offer things I didn’t even know I was looking for in an educational experience, such as communal living and a more holistic and systemic exploration of non-traditional thought.

Describe your time at the College?

The coursework was incredibly stimulating and provided essential foundations in ecology, systems thinking, and a broad understanding of dominant and alternative economic thinking. As importantly, I deepened some essential personal and interpersonal skills that have proved incredibly valuable to me since, including reflective inquiry, group facilitation, and how to thrive in both an intimate community and a wider and more uncertain world. World-class scholars, a deep culture of inquiry and exploration, and a nourishing community of peers...all that can only be topped by the food!

What have you gone on to do since leaving the College?

I now co-direct the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) along with seven colleagues, in what is best described as a worker self directed nonprofit. We are a democratically run organization based in Oakland, California cultivating the legal roots of more just and resilient local economies. We provide direct legal services to projects creating community resilience in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as offer public education, legal research, and statewide legislative advocacy to enable community control of the economy.


The E.F. Schumacher Scholarship - Single Award

The E.F. Schumacher ScholarshipFor Schumacher, writing 50 years ago, questions of scale were of the utmost importance to the transition to a humane and sustainable future. In what ways do you think his insight remains relevant to the world of the early 21st century?'

Value of Scholarship(s)



We welcome scholarship applications from all students, unrelated to bursary applications. The decision of the award will be based on what is deemed by the faculty to be the best response.

Application Procedure

Please answer the following question. Your statement should be no longer than 500 words and submitted alongside or preceding your application to study at Schumacher College. To apply for a scholarship, please complete a written statement to the questions asked below for the programme of your choice. The statement should be no longer than 500 words and submitted alongside or preceding your application to study at Schumacher College. Applications must be received by the closing date: 31st March 2017.Please email scholarship statements to [email protected] (link sends e-mail) (link sends e-mail). The Postgraduate Admissions team will e-mail you to acknowledge safe receipt of your scholarship application.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Students will normally possess a first degree in the social or natural sciences, or a background that is equivalent, and be able to demonstrate a keen interest in the subject-matter. As places are limited we will select candidates who we consider will make optimal use of the learning experience afforded by the programme, and who will actively co-create the foundations of a “new economy.” In addition to considering individual candidates according to these criteria, the prospective MA and PG Certificate group is considered as a whole, for which Schumacher College strives to create a balance of interest, gender and background.

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