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Schumacher College, Full Time Masters Degrees

We have 4 Schumacher College, Full Time Masters Degrees

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Are you dismayed, disturbed and totally disenchanted with what is happening to the only real planetary home we have? So are we. But are you also excited by the opportunities and prospects this opens up for us to create a better, brighter and more beautiful world? So are we. Read more

Are you dismayed, disturbed and totally disenchanted with what is happening to the only real planetary home we have? So are we.

But are you also excited by the opportunities and prospects this opens up for us to create a better, brighter and more beautiful world? So are we.

Then join us in this innovative new postgraduate programme from Schumacher College in collaboration with the School of Architecture, Design and Environment at Plymouth University, the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, the Dartington Hall Trust and surrounding communities.

Ecological Design Thinking

Never has there been a more important time for a new approach for engaging with the challenging situations we face from the local to the global levels. In a rapidly changing dynamic situation, solutions rarely remain optimal for very long and continuous active participation is a necessary ingredient for success. Growing resilience in individuals and communities is the way to keep going despite the continuous change around us.

Our programme in Ecological Design Thinking embraces and explores this complex world of interactions with lively engagement and an optimistic approach. It offers powerful, practical and ecology-centred skills and knowledge to apply to a diverse range of practices from design, education and business to the more specific roles of leadership, management and consultancy.

The Ecological Design Thinking programme is trans-disciplinary, insightful and universal in its application; pragmatic and integrative in its operation. It brings together theoretical and practical discourses on ecologically inspired design, with methods of design thinking that are merged with the latest developments in anthropology, psychology and socio- political economics. It aims to create a novel ground for change makers at the forefront of our transition to sustainable societies.

Ecologically inspired design includes the study of ecological worldviews, systems dynamics and applied complexity theory alongside the philosophies and practices of permaculture and biomimetic design.

Design thinking is a well-established participatory technique grounded in the empathic understanding of the feelings, experiences and emotions of others. It engages people in lively conversations, visually stimulated interactions and playful prototyping. It frames problems as opportunities, forms insights and generates creative and collaborative solutions in complex situations.

The Ecological Design thinking programme aims to provide a nourishing environment for participants by incorporating short-courses led by internationally recognised thinkers, place-making projects in collaboration with the Dartington Hall Trust, the home of Schumacher College, and short placements offered by external partner organisations.

This programme is the fourth radical postgraduate programme developed at Schumacher College and contributes to and enhance the College’s ongoing collaborative inquiry into sustainable living – a live and networked inquiry of practice underway around the world by the College’s 20,000 alumni and others.

Who is this course for?

We would be 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 develop your understanding of a practice that is of great importance to all of our futures. We encourage applications from community practitioners and activists as well as planners, educators, architects, politicians and policy makers. You do not necessarily need a first degree in design to apply for this course. You only need to be enthusiastic, resilient and committed.

We are looking for enthusiastic agents of change who are ready to co-design new approaches to the way we live that are socially just and ecologically sustainable. We are looking for those prepared to take risks and stand on the cutting-edge of new practices in this area.

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

You Will Learn

  • The foundation of an ecological worldview through subjects such as ecology, deep ecology, systems thinking, complexity science and Gaia theory.
  • Living systems principles through the philosophy and practice of permaculture design, biophilia and biomimicry.
  • Creative and process-focused problem solving techniques by applying the methods and principles of design thinking
  • A multi-perspective appreciation of ethical issues and their implications for the future consequences of redesigning existing systems and creating new ones.
  • To apply ecological design thinking knowledge and skills to the design of social systems as a part of an emerging new economics
  • Personal and group enquiry practices to raise awareness of the interdependent relationship between the individual, society and nature and between theory and practice
  • Co-creative participatory practices and theoretical principles for new approaches to the ecological design process that include a range of stakeholders in the full lifecycle of projects, and you will apply these both in the studio, on the Dartington Hall Estate and in short placements on live projects

Special Features

An interdisciplinary programme integrating design methods with those of ecology and the social sciences.

An integrative design programme rooted in deep ecological understanding and practice and informed by cutting edge thinking in new economic approaches and social dynamics.

A balanced distribution of time and resources on skill-based and cognitive-based knowledge and between practice and theory.

Access to some of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners in design, Gaia theory, complexity, climate science, systems thinking, new economics and social change.

Short courses led by internationally recognised thinkers and researchers.

Short practical placements with a range of partner organisations operating at the leading edge of social innovation.

An immersive, integrative and transformational teaching and learning approach rooted in the principles established by Schumacher College and Dartington Hall, and engaged in a living and working community on and around the Dartington Estate in Devon.

Where you will go?

Ecological Design Thinking can be applied to a wide range of contexts, from the personal to the societal. This programme aims to create a new generation of designers, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, educators, researchers, consultants and activists. Graduates 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 transformation of society.



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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. Read more
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.

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Western science is dominated by ‘reductionism’ – the idea that natural phenomena can be Stephan Harding, Head of Holistic Science at Schumacher Collegefully explained in terms of their component parts. Read more
Western science is dominated by ‘reductionism’ – the idea that natural phenomena can be Stephan Harding, Head of Holistic Science at Schumacher Collegefully explained in terms of their component parts. Although it is a useful tool in certain circumstances, reductionism as a world view is incomplete and can be dangerous on its own since it suggests that by analysing the ‘mechanical’ workings of nature we can fully predict and manipulate it entirely for our own benefit.

Holistic Science integrates the useful aspects of reductionism and mainstream science by developing a more comprehensive basis for seeing and knowing. At the heart of this is Goethe’s rigorous and systematic way of involving the imagination in an appreciation of nature’s qualities, complexity and intrinsic value. Holistic thinking is stimulated by exercises using phenomenology and in tackling challenges related to physics, earth system science, ecology, evolutionary biology, organisational development and health studies. Since 1998, when the programme was pioneered at Schumacher College, it has developed a coherent methodology of holistic enquiry, providing a rigorous and ethical framework for a mature science.

The MSc takes you into a profound personal transformative learning journey helping you to join a growing group of international alumni contributing positively to ecological, economic and social change.

“Interactive, experiential and participatory learning encourages novel approaches to scientific investigation. Various non-traditional teaching formats, learning experiences and assessments are facilitated. Investigations are holistic in the sense that they are embodied as well as rational/intellectual and often result in different outcomes to traditional styles of research and reporting.”

- Philip Franses, Senior Lecturer of Holistic Science

Programme Overview

Develop an understanding of the pros and cons of using western science as a tool for gaining reliable knowledge about the world.
Learn how contemporary sustainability issues have come about and how we can successfully address them by combining rational and intuitive ways of knowing.
Gain an understanding of the importance of sensing, feeling and intuition for an expanded science.
Learn about a range of cutting edge alternative methodologies which integrate qualitative experience and quantitative measurement.
Develop an understanding of the emergent properties of whole systems through the lenses of chaos, complexity and Gaia theories, and discover how these approaches can help us deal with ecological, social and economic problems.
Understand how Holistic Science is being applied in the worlds of business, economics, health and mainstream science in the creation of a more sustainable world.
Develop a clear understanding of your own rational and emotional states and processes in the study of nature through experiential and reflective group enquiry.

Our Teachers and Guest Contributors Have Included:

Rupert Sheldrake
Patricia Shaw
Satish Kumar
Craig Holdrege
Mike Wride
Shantena Sabbadini
Jules Cashford
Bruce Lipton

Career Opportunities:

Our graduates from around the world have used their skills and knowledge for sustainable change to become eminent and important contributors to many fields, including climate change advocacy, education, scientific research, ecological design, healthcare, green business, protection of indigenous cultures, ecological restoration and sustainable agriculture. Working in in public, private and NGO sectors, many have set up their own projects or organisations.
What Past Participants Have Said:

“What I learnt and experienced from the MSc is that everything is ever changing. Working with the concepts of holistic science I experienced living with complexity and change as a way of life rather than as a stage I had to survive. For me, the gift of holistic science was to learn to appreciate the inherent potential in all situations. This has taught me to more effectively think, act and live with the tension of transitions through multidisciplinary approaches.”
- Anne Solgaard, Green Economy for UNEP/GRID-Arendal

“During my MSc in Holistic Science I learned a comprehensive qualitative approach to science that binds natural and cultural phenomena. It was a unique experience that transformed my own inner way of relating to complex circumstances and empowered me with the tools necessary to develop the way of life I’ve always dreamed of.“
- Sebastian Eslea Burch, founder of Gaia y Sofia

“The MSc certainly opened my eyes to new ways of doing business in a complex world. Both the formal teachings and the tremendous networking potential of the College have helped me in forging a professional life that I feel reflects my ideals.“
- Sophia Van Ruth, co-founder Urban Edibles

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An invitation. A ship is setting sail from England. It’s a very old, very particular kind of ship. It’s the magnificent, creaky timbered, curly roped, burgundy sail kind. Read more

An invitation

A ship is setting sail from England.

It’s a very old, very particular kind of ship.

It’s the magnificent, creaky timbered, curly roped, burgundy sail kind. You’ve seen bigger ships surely, and certainly more streamlined, but this one is hard to get over. It’s the kind that straightens your back and brings a tear to your eye as you shyly lift your gaze to its regal shape. This is the kind of ship that shouldn't exist anymore. 

Standing on the dock in the dusking light, you can hear singing carried over the waves, and excited laughter. Figures are calling to you from the deck, beckoning to you, calling to you in your old names. These are the names no one should know, the ancient names, how can this possibly be happening?

The evening moon is emerging from behind clouds. But let us lean forward, the captain is lifting her lantern: To all scholar-explorers and heretical investigators … there is something pressing to say, something urgent. This is an invitation.

We are setting sail to un-map the world.

Join us for this voyage … the world’s first postgraduate programme in Myth and Ecology – The Mundus Imaginalis.

Background

In a time when every square inch of the globe seems to be neutered, quartered and googled, we intrepids are journeying out to glimpse the Otherworld that is secreted most wonderfully in this one - to peer into the steaming foliage and bright feathered world that still exists underneath the grid - whilst we still can. The hour is late.

This is an Otherworld that wriggles in your fist like the archaic trout of the smoky Thames and disappears (carrying all of Shakespeare in its scales) when we attempt to tell it what-it-is. This right-by-our-side Otherworld causes ink to slide off the page and evaporate when we produce the T-square too avidly.

We set sail to do nothing less ambitious than to court the mysteries: the small and gentle ones, the elaborate and complex gnashing teethed ones, the ones you glimpsed at the edge of your garden when you were little. We set sail to un-map our presumption that we know what the earth is.

When we un-map the world, we start the un-colonising of our own imagination and we move from personal fantasy to an imagination that is bigger than ourselves. We understand that psyches don’t only dwell within, we dwell amidst them, and their imagination help create our reality every day. When we un-map the world it starts to talk back to us, we begin to trail not trap. We start to witness not just thinking about the earth, but thoughts from the earth.

Our travels through the waters of time and place will bring us to people and traditions where the weaving of the human and non-human are at their most permeable, their most acute and most sophisticated. In the end, we will trade our tired maps for the best compass of all, the one that really matters - a truth north - what the Troubadours called ‘the educated heart’. It is time, as the poets say; ‘to think in ways we’ve never thought before’. It is time to trade comfort for shelter.

Make no mistake, study awaits. An un-gridded world reveals not just knowledge but wisdom, an un-mapped world will reveal not chaos but cosmos. With that wisdom, with that cosmos, comes tangible learning and focused application. Be prepared. This will be the most exacting journey. Take not one single step towards the gangplank without knowing that we take no passengers. So, here we stand on the dock. It is night, but the scholar-explorers are preparing to raise anchor. The captain leans forward with her lantern one more time, peers towards us and asks:

“Shall we go?”

Aboard The Ship


This is a residential and immersive postgraduate programme that takes imagination seriously. It is delivered by Schumacher College, and is validated by University of Wales Trinity Saint David and led by mythologist Dr Martin Shaw and anthropologist Dr Carla Stang. Carla brings her knowledge of different cultures, her fieldwork and phenomenological study, Martin brings mythology and two decades of work as a wilderness rites-of-passage guide. As they rove through mythology, anthropology, philosophy and poetics, they will also invite guest teachers on a module by module basis.

This is a year-long programme where you will walk in and out of other centuries. It will be a deep and exacting study of image, cosmology, storytelling, myth and lived experience that reaches out to an earth that is profoundly more than human. From Amazonia to Siberia, from the Hermetic, Troubadour, Sufi and Romantic faiths and traditions, we are journeying out to study cultures that celebrate a world ensouled, alive and radiating intelligence.

The main counterweights of the year will be a progression through western mythologies (many hidden or barely remembered), and the lived philosophy of the Mehinaku people of Amazonia. There will be the study of many other lifeworlds, together with which we will learn how people in different times and places have and do respond to an earthy consciousness of extraordinary wonder, regarding such as both magical and utterly ordinary. Such experiential study is how we will begin to tune our ear.

Cloistered in the beautiful setting of the Dartington estate and upon the wild moors of Devon, England, is the chance to apprentice to subtle and often secret knowledge, the reason being that we are living in a time when many of these secrets need to become public, need to be practiced and need to be lived. In doing so we encounter the wonder of ordinary reality and that far from being a rarefied state available to only a few, we will find that a dynamic relationship to what the neo-platonists called the ‘Anima Mundi’- is our natural state.



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