The MSc course format will now be fully immersive rather than a modular format allowing you to fully involve yourself in the College and community. This change will also allow a practical component to be added to the programme. The College is developing new growing areas and using experimental food production techniques that you will learn and contribute to.
There are six taught modules between January and July, followed by a dissertation period. Each module is worth 20 credits and is composed of three weeks teaching followed by 1 week for personal reading and assessment preparation. The teaching will comprise a mix of lectures, action learning, seminars, tutorials, panel discussions, practical sessions, experiential work and field visits. If you choose to be resident at Schumacher College you will also participate in the life of the community, having direct involvement alongside staff and volunteers in food production and cooking, amongst other activities.
We have also designed two other postgraduate programmes, the Postgraduate Diploma and the Postgraduate Certificate, for students who do not wish to undertake the dissertation research component of the MSc, or who are unable to commit to the programme of study required at Masters level.
All modules are assessed by 100% coursework, designed to reflect the requirements and work modes in the professions and career routes relating to this course. Assessments will take a variety of forms and can include essays, written journals, and presentations.
Module 1: Living Systems – 6-31 January 2014
Module 2: Plant Science and Botanical Diversity – 3-28 February 2014
Module 3: Ecological Design and Practices in Horticulture 3-28 March 2014
Spring Break 1-21 April 2014
Module 4: Research Methods – 22 April – 16 May 2014
Module 5: Food Systems in a Post-Carbon World – 19 May – 13 June 2014
Module 6: New Food Economy 16 June – 11 July 2014
Dissertation: 11 August – 10 November
This module explores how our awareness of sustainability is evolving – from the modernist and mechanistic towards an understanding of socio-ecological systems. It will draw upon ecology, Gaia theory and complexity theory to introduce important concepts which can be meaningfully applied to the future of food systems. You will develop your systems and resilience thinking across the food web including design
and production, diets and food cultures, society and enterprise. The module couples ecological literacy with ecological design through theory, practice and experiential work and provides the foundations for Schumacher’s approach to the future of food.
This module introduces production horticulture based on biological principles. The focus will be on the biology of plant establishment, soil ecology and soil protection, compost production and nutrient cycling, water conservation and the role of a diverse ecology in pest, disease and weed management. The module will also cover plant taxonomy, genetic resources and the importance of botanical diversity in sustainable horticulture.
This module looks at the design of horticultural systems, starting with the assessment of environmental and climatic influences and ecological characteristics in a selected area. You will learn about design and practice in productive and ecologically complex horticultural systems, in protected and field cropping, agroforestry and market garden contexts. This module will also provide an introduction to Ethnobotany and botanical conservation; both could play an important role in sustainable horticulture, as a genetic resource for developing new food crops or cultivars and for the design of agro-forestry and other diverse
Conducting quantitative and qualitative research project requires skills in experimental design and data analysis, safety assessment, project management and applying for grants. The module will also cover written, verbal and graphic communication skills for research, teaching, and public understanding of science, career mapping and development.
This module will explore current land use practice, food systems and food cultures in the UK, and evaluate the impact of future low carbon scenarios. Alternative production and processing will be considered and demonstrated. A range of practicals will enhance knowledge of implementation of alternative land use practice and diets.
Mitigating impacts of rising fuel prices and climate change coupled with a proactive focus on resilience is driving changes in the scales of production and food chains. Adapting production and optimising ecosystem services in terms of soils, water and biodiversity is expanding the diversity of foods and will influence processing, marketing and consumption. Strengthening community, both in terms of health and identity, is changing the nature of the business model and opening new opportunities for enterprise. The New Food Economy Module will explore this emerging landscape and support you in co-creating your own pathway be this you as an individual or part of a larger organisation.
As part of the MSc course you will design and undertake a 60-credit dissertation project. Generally, dissertations will be written up in the format of a report or journal paper but can also take more novel and creative form in discussion with your supervisor. A number of exciting opportunities for research exist at Schumacher College (based on the 1,200-acre Dartington Estate), Plymouth University and partner organisations, as well as outside the UK. Project supervision is provided by Plymouth University in conjunction with partners. Students are encouraged to undertake research leading to publication in peer-reviewed journals.