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Economics for Transition - achieving low carbon, high well-being, resilient economies

MA (full and part-time) and PG Certificate programme (approved and awarded through Plymouth University)

Schumacher College is the first in the world to offer a postgraduate programme in Economics for Transition.

The programme has been developed in association with the new economics foundation and the Transition Network and is offered through the Business School at Plymouth University.

Application, Admissions and Fees >>

Full programme details >>

PG Certificate programme details >>

Part-time programme details >>

For more information about this programme please email

Click here to download our Student Handbook >>

Economics for Transition is about creating an economic system fit for the ecological, social, economic and spiritual challenges of the 21st century as we make the great transition to low carbon, high wellbeing and resilient economies.

VIDEO Click here to see what Economics for Transition students have been doing this term on their elective ‘The Economics of Happiness’

Click here for blogs from our course contributors: Jonathan Dawson, Julie Richardson and Satish Kumar

As the world struggles to recover from the most severe and synchronised downturn since the Great Depression, the reputation of economists has rarely been lower. For many, economics was a big part of the problem and so cannot be part of any solution.
New Economics Foundation, 2010

E.F. Schumacher was a pioneering economist who, in 1973, set out a new approach that put values and compassion, people and planet, at the centre of our economic system. To this day, Schumacher is known as the grandfather of the new economics who has inspired a generation of leading thinkers, practising economists and environmental and social activists who have been growing the shoots of the new economy ever since. Now is the time to make these visible and to co-create the great transition towards low-carbon, high well-being, resilient economies.

The ethos of Schumacher College, the strong link to ecological sustainability and an approach that is based on co-creation of ideas are exactly what makes it such a good place to rethink economics. It offers a fundamentally different model of education that we can learn from and apply to the economy and to other areas of our lives. It’s about looking at things holistically, being open to new ideas and experiments and not being frightened by uncertainty.
Eve Mitleton-Kelly, London School of Economics

This transition is happening inside and outside. My values are changing and what is important in life is becoming clear. Having this experience is the best thing I have chosen in my life. I knew that coming here would be a transition and that it would help me to take a step forward. Now I’m here, there’s no way back. It’s choosing a new life, something that’s more real than life was before.
Tabata Marchetti Villares, Brazil, MA student 2012

Thus far, as a total experience, the course has been excellent. The content has been very stimulating and the format has been sufficiently diverse to allow many ways of seeing and exploring the topics. The group dynamics are a large part of why the experience has been meaningful.
Chris Tittle, USA, MA Student 2012

I chose this MA because I think that in order to make the Great Transition, we need practical examples of how to make change happen. I thought the Schumacher College combination of broad theoretical exploration, practical creativity and community living seemed the perfect combination for delivering that change in the wider world. I hoped the College would be an ‘action training centre’ for Transition and the people and practices here have far exceeded my expectations.
Ruth Potts, UK, MA student 2012

The time has come to go beyond the business models that have been taught at business schools. With a masters in Economics for Transition, I am glad that we will soon have people who can look reality in the eyes and design a pathway to a better – a much better – future.
Professor Gunter Pauli, Entrepreneur

The principles and ethos of the co-operative movement acknowledge the need for a transition to low carbon, high well-being and resilient economies. Completion of this MA course would invariably provide students with valuable skills for both employment and business development within the co-operative and mutual movement. Co-operatives UK welcomes this initiative and looks forward to seeing the course thrive.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General, Cooperatives

Economics for Transition

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.

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 third 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, Tim Crabtree and Stephan Harding – Schumacher College

Anna Coote and Tony Greenham – New Economics Foundation

Rob Hopkins, Jay Tompt & Sophy Banks – 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 ConatyNEF 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

Schumacher College believes in a radical and rigorous approach to learning that develops the whole person through intellect, emotion, ethics and practice. We value trans-disciplinary approaches, different ways of knowing and creative forms of expression.

Reflective enquiry, participatory learning methods, learning journals and personal development planning are among the tools we use in our small-group learning model.

Become immersed in a transformative postgraduate programme that is geared towards both external and inner transition.

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.

Studying at Schumacher College

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.

MA course programme

Click here to go straight to full programme details

Click here to go to part-time programme details

Click here to go to PG Cert programme details


Click here for details of the Fees & Application Process

Associated institutions

Since 1991 Schumacher College has been pioneering radical new thinking in economics, attracting participants and inspirational teachers from around the globe.

nef (the new economics foundation)

Nef was founded in 1986 by the leaders of The Other Economic Summit (TOES) which forced issues such as international debt onto the agenda of the G7 and G8 summits. They combine rigorous analysis and policy debate with practical and innovative solutions to economic, environmental and social issues.

Transition Network

The Transition Network supports an international movement to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities and organisations to rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions.

Business School at Plymouth University.

Plymouth University Business School are committed to social and environmental enterprise and were top of the People and Planet Green League of Universities in 2010.

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Schumacher College is part of the Dartington Hall Trust, a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and as a charity (company no. 1485560, charity no. 279756). Registered office: The Elmhirst Centre, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EL, United Kingdom