Courses Overview >> Taught Postgraduate Programmes >> MA Ecological Design Thinking

MA Ecological Design Thinking

Key Info

  • Starts September 2018
  • Project-based with practical discipline
  • Opportunities for working experience with external partners
Transition NetworkUniversity of Plymouth  

The MA Ecological Design Thinking programme is approved and awarded by the University of Plymouth. Students who successfully complete the programme will receive a University of Plymouth (UoP) postgraduate degree certificate and become an alumni of both UoP and Schumacher College. The Transition Network supports an international movement to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities and organisations to rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions.

MA Ecological Design Thinking

We believe in a future where the things that we design no longer need to be detrimental to the wellbeing of our planet.

We believe in a future that pioneers ecological possibilities that redress social, environmental and economic imbalance.

We believe in a future that encourages creativity to explore integrated solutions that are beneficial to all-of-life.

This programme offers a dynamic new way of engaging with the challenging situations we face.   Our aim is to use ecolgical design to achieve co-created solutions which engage everyone and foster resilience in individuals and communities.

Our programme in Ecological Design Thinking 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 and pragmatic and integrative in its operation. It brings together theoretical and practical discourses on ecologically inspired design, with methods of design thinking that are blended 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.

*Plans are currently being explored to restore Foxhole, the site of the former Dartington Hall School, a short walk from the Old Postern.  Students studying within the academic year of 2019/2020 may study or stay in accommodation there.

MA, PG Dip, PG Cert

Schumacher College's educational model is unique in the world, offering a truly holistic approach that integrates place, conviviality and ecoliteracy into the learning process. As early advisors to the ecological design thinking masters and regular teachers on the curriculum, we are excited about the continuing collaboration between our two institutions, particularly in the area of transition design.

Terry Irwin, Gideon Kossoff, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University

What ideas do you wish to explore?

  • How should humans relate to nature?’
  • How to design systems that are not human-centred, but ecosystem centred.
  • How can we design objects, services and systems that aren’t just sustainable, but actually regenerate the environment?
  • How do address complex, ‘wicked’ problems such as climate change?
  • How can we get people from urban areas to connect with nature?
  • What economic models are best for both people and planet?

How is our approach different?

  • We are a project-based and practical discipline
  • We provide opportunities for working experience with external partners
  • We favour an interdisciplinary approach – students are encouraged to work with those on other courses such as Economics for Transition and Holistic Science
  • Students get the opportunity to carry out fieldwork on live projects in the UK and overseas
  • An embodied learning approach is favoured and students are encouraged to get involved in growing, processing, cooking and recycling of food, as well as pottery or woodworking exercises

What skills will you learn?

  • How to apply dynamic systems thinking and complexity theory to address a variety of design scenarios
  • How to develop personal and group enquiry practices that engage a variety of stakeholders
  • How to consider the inter-dependent relationship between individual society and nature when designing
  • How to develop design, communication, facilitation skills using a range of tools to use in project delivery
  • How to apply principles from ecology and Gaia theory and consider how they inform a variety of ecological worldviews
  • How to critically assess the cause of systemic crises and how to address them, how to advance the transition to a low carbon future
  • Understand the philosophies and practices of permaculture and biomimetic design
  • Learn established participatory techniques to understand the feelings, experiences and emotions of others
  • Visual techniques to develop the process of prototyping

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

Programme Structure

The MA in Ecological Design Thinking is a full-time one-year programme. 

The MA is made up of a total of 180 credits which includes three design thinking modules (20 credits each) in the first term, two studio workshop modules (30 credits each) in the second term and a 60 credit final dissertation.

The MA may also be taken on a part-time basis over two to three years, using three different pathways.

Ecological Design Thinking Postgraduate Programme Pathways

Programme Type and Length  
Full Time 120 taught credits
60 credit dissertation
Part Time: Over 2 years Year 1: 60 taught credits
Year 2: 60 taught credits and dissertation
Part Time: Over 3 years Year 1: 60 taught credits
Year 2: 60 taught credits
Year 3: dissertation
PG Certificate: Full Time over 4 months 60 taught credits
PG Diploma: Full Time 120 taught credits
PG Diploma: Part Time over 2 years Year 1: 60 taught credits
Year 2: 60 taught credits


PG Diploma

Students studying this PG Diploma programme will take the three Ecological Design Thinking modules of the existing MA Ecological Design Thinking programme, each worth 20 Masters Credits and the two studio workshop modules, each worth 30 Masters Credits. Students enrolled on to the PG Diploma will study exactly the same material as the MA Ecological Design Thinking students during the first term and second terms. MA and PG Diploma students will live and study together, so there is no separation between the programmes.

Students may study the PG Diploma part-time over two years, starting with the PG Certificate material (three Term 1 modules) in the first year, followed by the remaining studio workshop modules in the second year. The course must be taken sequentially. 

PG Certificate

Students studying this PG Certificate programme will take the three Ecological Design Thinking modules of the existing MA Ecological Design Thinking programme, each worth 20 Masters Credits. Students enrolled on to the PG Certificate will study exactly the same material as the MA Ecological Design Thinking students during the first term. MA and PG Certificate students will live and study together, so there is no separation between the programmes.

There is no part-time option for the PG Certificate.


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 One: The Ecological Paradigm: Living Earth and the Anthropocene (20 credits)

This foundational module will explore the history and evolution of understanding of the Earth’s ecosystem, the latest understanding of critical ecological thresholds and theories of resilience, and their applications to, and implications for, design thinking.

Students will apply key principles of the ecological paradigm drawn from ecology and systems thinking, chaos and complexity science, and Gaia theory. They will explore applications (and the limitations) of applying principles from whole systems science to the built environment and the socio-cultural domain, exploring and critiquing existing frameworks and developing new approaches. The module will include deep ecology, personal and group enquiry practices to explore the interdependence between self, society, structure and nature. Students will map elements of the ecosystem of a given settlement applying and testing their understanding in the context of a particular place.

Students will be introduced to research methods such as, action research and reflective enquiry, learning journal, participatory learning methods and personal development planning.

Module Two: Social and Political Economy: From system maintenance to system transformation (20 credits)

This module builds on the understanding developed in the first module and uses it to comprehend the social, political and economic worlds as a complex and interrelated series of systems. Students will explore the evolution of social, political and economic systems, their interrelation, implication for design and the potential for design to expose and transform imbalances of power in the socio-political system.

The module will include an overview of the history of the evolution of economic thought; analysis of evidence of the systemic failings of neoclassical economics; a theoretical critique of the neoclassical economics paradigm from alternative schools of thought; and practical examples of the new economy. Students will analyse power and power structures in social, political and economic systems, explore alternative theories of social organisation, well-being, values and frames, the relationship between human behaviour and the design and evolution of settlements and systems.

These insights will be applied to future thinking and the development of a range of scenarios. Students will critique, explore and begin to propose design-based solutions to complex contemporary challenges from the way that we produce and consume energy, to patterns of work, settlements and the finance system.

Module Three: Ecological Design Thinking: Catalysing transformation (20 credits)

This module will introduce, and interrogate, key methodological approaches to Ecological Design Thinking using case studies, practical challenges and scenario planning to critically analyse and explore a range of existing methodologies and approaches, and encourage participants to develop their own. Methodologies and practices explored in this module may include industrial symbiosis, cradle to cradle design, zero carbon and energy design, biomimicry, building biology and permaculture design.

Students will explore theoretical and conceptual methods of engaging with and shaping settlements and built form, examine the nature of the built environment as a structure for lived social space; and the adaptation of form at the settlement scale by people and the elements. Studies of theoretical texts will deepen theoretical and critical understanding of a broad range of issues affecting cities such as the process of urbanisation, mobility, technology, socio-cultural patterns, political and economic dynamics, and emergent consequences locally, nationally and globally.

The module will also explore tensions between the act of design (in which interventions are often about imposing form/order) ecological principles (emergence, self-organization etc.) and social, political and economic power dynamics. Participants will be encouraged to develop approaches that might help to overcome these tensions, and to begin to explore what emergent ‘ecological design thinking’ looks like in practice.

Module Four: Ecological Design Thinking in Practice 1: Transforming the story of place (30 credits)

This module applies the understanding and practices developed in the first three modules to a particular design problem in a settlement. Students will analyse the context, develop briefs and undertake precedent analysis in developing their projects. They will critically examine the ecological, social, economic and cultural context of the given site and systematically test design solutions through a range of communication methods that address the identified issues. They will use Dartington’s and the wider Totnes (and/or Plymouth) landscape to explore different ecological design practices.

Assessments will be made of students’ ability to critically reflect on the theoretical context of their project drawn from the knowledge and practices gained in the first three modules, and to apply that knowledge in innovative and practical ways, and their ability to facilitate diverse groups and engage in collaborative processes of enquiry.

Module Five: Ecological Design Thinking in Practice 2: Transformation in action (30 credits)

The fifth module applies the understanding and practices developed in the first four modules, first through a short group project, and then in a short project placement developed in collaboration with a range of partner organisations.

Assessments will be made of students’ ability to build on knowledge and practices gained in the first four modules, and to apply that knowledge in innovative and practical ways in a dynamic live context. They will experiment with facilitating diverse groups, engaging in collaborative processes of enquiry. Students may work in small groups on a design project, a process plan, or a roadmap for a process.

Dissertation (60 credits)

The dissertation module enables students to undertake a substantial investigation that addresses significant areas of Ecological Design Thinking and practice.

Assessments will be made of students’ ability to apply knowledge gained over the course of the taught elements of the Masters in innovative and practical ways in a dynamic live, or exploratory, context. Students may work in small groups on a design project, or independently. They may also produce an academic dissertation relating to the evolution of Ecological Design Thinking. Students will be provided with a list of potential titles and projects, or are free to develop their own in consultation with the Primary Dissertation Supervisor.

Examples of indicative dissertation topics include:

  • From Climate Science to Climate Policy: A strategy to communicate the consequences of climate change to policy-makers
  • DIY economy: A dynamic approach to transforming the economy
  • Communities of Transition: A proposal for reinvigorating community participation beyond transition towns
  • Designing for place: a holistic approach to urban design
  • Making Ecological Design Thinking the meta-objective for design;
  • Designing for organisational intelligence in community enterprise
  • Designing for behaviour change: using values and frames to transform society for good.

Visiting Teachers

For our 2018/2019 we are hoping to have contributions from:
Ezio Manzini   designer, engineer, architect, educator and author of, Design, When Everybody Designs
John Thackara  Writer, innovator and author of,How to Thrive in the Next Economy
Hilary Cotton  innovator, social entrepreneur and author of the forthcoming, Radical Help: How We Can Remake the Relationships Between Us & Revolutionise the Welfare State
Fritjof Capra  scientist, educator and activist and author of, The Systems View of Life, A Unifying Vision

Our Teachers

Roberto Fraquelli, Coordinator, MA Ecological Design Thinking

Roberto is our Ecological Design Thinking convener at Schumacher College. He is interested in Holistic Design and the dilemma many designers face between the pressures of economic growth and an empathy with all living systems. His current research focuses on four interrelated themes: ecological design thinking, deep empathic design, systems design thinking and contemplative inquiry. With over 20 years of professional practice, mostly working with IDEO Global Design company, Roberto has designed products, environments and experiences for clients across Europe, America, India and the Far East. He holds a number of international design awards and patents - and his work has been featured in Domus, Business Week, Design Week, The Observer, and NewDesign magazine. Roberto studied Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London.

Dr. Mona NasseriMona Nasseri Ecological Design & Sustainability Masters, Senior Lecturer, MA Ecological Design Thinking

Mona has a Doctorate and Master’s degree in Design from the University of Dundee and BA in Crafts from the Tehran Art University. She specialises in the area of co-design and since joining Schumacher College in 2014 she has helped develop and facilitate the College’s Ecological Design Thinking programme. She has taught and collaborated on a range of interdisciplinary research projects ranging from examining the integration of technology and craft to design strategies to reduce crime with Tayside Police in Scotland.

Mona’s PhD research was on the subject of embodied knowledge where she integrated her craft background with design and psychology. Her doctorate thesis is an exploration of the role of unmediated relationship with the environment in the evolution of human consciousness. Mona is particularly interested in the design-led approach to community empowerment. Her latest research in Tanzania, involves co-designing strategies with the Maasai communities to improve their social resilience in response to the impacts of climate change on their regions.

Ruth Potts, Senior Lecturer, MA Ecological Design ThinkingRuth Potts Sustainability Masters

Ruth co-ordinated the development of the MA in Ecological Design Thinking at Schumacher College and is part of the teaching team. She is a co-founder of Bread, Print & Roses, a collective engaged in seditious pamphleteering, radical walking, anarchist baking and transformative education. Previously, Ruth was campaign organiser for the Great Transition at the New Economics Foundation (NEF) where she co-developed a new model of campaign designed to kick-start the decade-long transition to a new economy and society. She is the co-author of The New Materialism, and a co-author of NEF's Clone Town Britain report. Ruth helped to organise the Green New Deal Group in 2007 and managed the launch of their first report, A Green New Deal. The concept was subsequently taken up by UNEP, and influenced policy around the globe.

Ruth is a trustee of the Pioneer Health Foundation, a charity which grew out of an early holistic model of health that would later influence the World Health Organisation. She brought together and co-hosts eco-feminist collective: the Hoydens, co-created and curated a series of events about the joy and intelligence of craft at the School of Life: Practitioner’s Parlour, and more recently helped to devise a series of poetry events celebrating unusual spaces and liminal places: ‘Somewhere in Particular.’


Term Dates – Current Academic Year 2017 - 2018

  Term Starts Term Ends No. of term Weeks Notable Dates

Autumn Term 2017
(Term 1)


Registration: Tier 4 Students only – Afternoon of Tuesday 29th August 2017

Registration UK/EU Students - Wednesday 30th August 2017

Teaching Commences Monday 4th September

Friday 15th December 2017 15 28th August 2017 is a Bank Holiday in the UK and the College will be closed
Christmas Break (3 Weeks)

Spring Term 2018

(Term 2)


Monday 8th January 2018 Friday 13th
April 2018

30th March 2018 is Good Friday

2nd April 2018 is Easter Monday

These are both Public Holidays in the UK

Spring Break (1 Week)
Summer Term
Monday 23rd April 2018 Friday 27th
July 2018

2017-18 Dissertation Submission due Friday 31st August 2018

May 7 is a Bank Holiday

 May 28 is Spring Bank Holiday. 

These are both public holidays in the UK.

New Academic Year Commences
Autumn Term


Tier 4 registration: Afternoon of 28th August 2018 **

UK/EU registration 29th August 2018 **

Teaching commencing Monday 3rd September 2018

Friday 14th December 2018 15 August 27 is a Public Bank Holiday in the UK and the College will be closed

Term Dates – Academic Year 2018 - 2019

  Term Starts Term Ends No. of term Weeks Notable Dates

Autumn Term 2018
(Term 1)

Registration: Tier 4 Students only – Afternoon of Tuesday 28th August 2018.

Registration UK/EU Students - Wednesday 29th August 2018

Teaching Commences Monday 3rd September 2018

Friday 14th December 2018 15 27th August 2018 is a Public Bank Holiday in the UK and the College will be closed.  
Christmas Break (3 Weeks)

Spring Term 2019

(Term 2)


Monday 7th January 2019 Friday 12th
April 2019 
14 19th April 2019 is Good Friday.
22nd April 2019 is Easter Monday. 

These are both Public Holidays in the UK.

Spring Break (1 Week)
Summer Term
 Tuesday 23rd April 2019 Friday 26th
July 2019


2018-19 Dissertation Submission due
Friday 23rd August 2019

May 6 is a Bank Holiday.
May 27 is Spring Bank Holiday.  
These are both public holidays in the UK.

Summer Break (4 weeks)
Autumn Term

**Registration dates to be confirmed.

Tier 4 registration: Afternoon of 27th August 2019. **

UK/EU registration 28th August 2019. **

Teaching commencing Monday 2nd September 2019.

Friday 13th December 2019 15 August 26 is a Public Bank Holiday in the UK and the College will be closed


Residential Dates for the 2018 - 2019 Academic Year

Accommodation moving in and out dates for 2018 - 2019 academic year. Discover further information about Food and Accommodation at Schumacher College.

Download the 2018 - 2019 dates as a pdf document

TERM Moving in Date Move out date
Term 1 Accommodation available from Registration.
Tier 4 students will be invited to register during the afternoon of Tuesday 28th August 2018.
UK/EU students will be invited to register on Wednesday 29th August 2018.
12 Noon, Saturday 15th December 2018
  Christmas Break (3 weeks) Accommodation-only may be available during this break at a cost of £185.00 week.
* subject to availability. International students will be given preference.
Term 2 Friday 4th January 2019 12 Noon, Saturday 13th April 2019
  Spring Break (1 week) Food & Accommodation can be booked during this break at a cost of £285.00.
* subject to availability. International students will be given preference.
Term 3 Students are all non-residential in Term 3  


We are committed to maintaining small teaching groups and to offering an extremely high level of contact time with teachers, facilitators, visiting scholars and practitioners and this is reflected in our fees.  This also includes the cost of bringing the leading experts from around the world to engage in your learning process.

As a student you can expect to be immersed in these small groups for several hours, five days a week, with opportunities for regular evening and weekend activities.

As well as teachers and academics we also bring practitioners and activists that are out there changing the world and do not teach anywhere else. They come to Schumacher College because of the high calibre of our students and the unique learning models we use.

This is what makes our postgraduate programmes unique.

Fee Tariffs

The College has two tuition fee tariffs which distinguish between students who need a student visa, and are sponsored by us under Tier 4; and students who do not need a visa. Students requiring Tier 4 visas are generally from outside of the EEA area. The higher fees reflect the additional costs to the College arising from the statutory terms of Tier 4 sponsorship, put in place by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

Postgraduate Tuition Fees 2018 -19

All Tuition, Food and Accommodation Fees are payable in advance in full on, or before, Registration.

2018-19 Postgraduate Tuition Fees Masters PG Dip * PG Cert
UK / EU Passport £14,326 £11,576 £6,946
Non UK / EU Passport (tier 4 Visa) £18,715 £13,915 £8,349

* Please note: The PG Diploma is only available as an option for the MA Ecological Design Thinking Programme and the MA Myth and Ecology Programme.

The above tuition fees do not include Accommodation and/or food fees payable.  Please see:  Residential and Non-Residential Fees tab in order to review the full cost.

All applicants should ensure they have sufficient funds to cover tuition fees, food fees, and living costs for the full duration of their course. Non-residential students must ensure they can cover food costs charged in Term 1 and /or Term 2.  Students will need to budget for travel, books not held in the library, specialist research or academic materials, clothing, stationery and other additional items and services (for example, photocopying, binding) that fall outside of course fees. Tier 4 students will also need to budget for any fee related to registration with the local Police (if required).

Payment of Tuition, Food and Accommodation Fees

Full fees are due at or before Registration. A deposit of £1,500 is requested from all students who accept an offer in order to secure their place on to their chosen programme. This will be deducted from the remaining balance of tuition fees due. Details of how to pay these fees are sent to students when they are formally accepted on their chosen programme.

Part-Time Fees

Due to the immersive nature of the programmes offered by Schumacher College, we are unable to offer a traditional part-time route of study.  Each programme can be broken down in to shorter periods of focused study; the minimum commitment in Year 1 is the first term (PG Certificate) which runs from September through to December.  Please see individual programme pages for information concerning part-time routes available on your programme. 

Important Financial Information

  • Schumacher College does not have provision for student hardship funding, such as support for living costs.
  • Tier 4 students/Short Term visa students to work, volunteer, or bring dependents whilst studying with us.  Please see the International Student tab for further information.
  • We do not offer any discounts for Plymouth University alumni.
  • Schumacher College does not have Federal Aid Accreditation. This would be a requirement of the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programme for any US student applying for a loan in order to help fund their studies. Therefore, any US student needing a loan in order to take up a place on our programmes should not apply to the FSA programme.
  • Postgraduate Taught Loans are not currently available to students studying at Schumacher College as it is a private Higher Education (H.E) provider and not an Higher Education Institution (H.E.I). Forthcoming changes to Higher Education regulation in the UK may allow the college to be eligible at some point in the future.  Please sign up for our newsletter if you would like us to keep you informed of any changes.

Last updated: 06/12/2017

An important part of studying at Schumacher College is our philosophy of 'learning by doing' within the College community.

As a student we think you will benefit more from living on-site during Term 1 and Term 2 to fully immerse in this important period of study.  It gives you the opportunity to network and collaborate with other students and the many international visitors who come to the College.  We have also seen it can be harder to fully engage in all aspects of College life for students who choose to live off-site. 

However we realise there may be reasons some students wish do not wish to live on-site and we fully support that.  In busy periods accomodation may be limited so we encourage students to let us know their requirements as soon as possible.

2018 - 2019 Residential Fees

Term 1

Term 1 & Term 2

Term 3

PG Certificate

PG Diploma and  Masters Students *

Masters Students *



By request.
Subject to availability.


Residential Fees Information

  • If you are a Diploma or Masters student and you choose to be resident, your contract will cover Term 1 and Term 2. These are the minimum terms for on-site accommodation.
  • Residential Fees quoted include bed, breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. For further information about what is included in accommodation please visit the Food and Accomodation page.
  • Accommodation contracts will cover the period from Registration through to 12 noon Saturday 13th April 2019 (excluding Christmas).
  • Christmas Break: If not travelling home, most students choose to use this time to stay with new friends and acquaintances however accommodation-only may be available at Dartington during this 3 week period, at a cost of £185.00 week. *subject to availability.  International students will be given preference.
  • Accommodation will be allocated to you at either The Old Postern or Higher Close. Rooms at The Old Postern are limited and are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Where accommodation at The Old Postern is fully allocated, you will automatically be given a room at Higher Close
  • No refunds* are available on Accommodation for Term 1 & Term 2. *Exceptional circumstances will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Term 3: Students live off-site in Term 3 whilst working on their dissertations.  If you would like to request accommodation into Term 3, please complete an Accommodation Request form at least 1 month prior to the end of Term 2. 
    Food and Accommodation would be charged monthly; with a 1 month notice period.  The cost for food and accommodation would be charged at £285.00 per week. 

2018 - 2019 Non Residential Students - Considerations

If you are considering non-residential study, please note the immersive nature of the programme.  You will be expected to be at the college for all Taught Weeks and to ‘live’ alongside the residential learning community.  To see a typical day, please view the typical Post Graduate Day page.

2018 -2019 Non Residential Fees

Each programme timetable is scheduled independently so that programme coordinators can run their programme of study in a way that best supports the students. The number of Taught and Study Weeks within each programme is therefore variable. The College only charges non-residential students for Taught weeks and this shown below. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to e-mail:

PG Cert, PG Diploma, MA Ecological Design Thinking 

Taught Weeks only Term 1 & Term 2
Taught Weeks Only
Term 3
PG Certificate
Masters Students *
Masters Students *
Meals Bookable subject to availability.


Non-Residential Fees Information

  • Non-Residential Fees quoted include all meals you may wish to join during taught weeks of the programme including:  breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks for taught weeks only.  Outside of these weeks, meals are bookable and are currently charged at £5.00 for breakfast, £5.00 for lunch, £5.00 for dinner.
  • In order for you to engage fully with College life and Community, you will be expected to aim to be here each day for breakfast and a Community Meeting at 8.30am and to join in with community responsibilities including cooking, cleaning and gardening.  Supper is usually served at 6.30pm. Students remain on-site to enjoy supper.
  • During the evenings there are opporutnities to network and there are also regular talks and events. There is also a College Bar on site, bar drinks are not included in your fees.

Students with disabilities or additional needs can speak in confidence to the Postgraduate Administration team who can support you by making specific or alternative arrangements. Contact for further information.

The Alternative Guide to Funding

The Alternative Guide is designed to show how you can get additional help to fund your degree from the voluntary sector. Many charities are willing to make grants to students to help further their education.

The Alternative Guide contains lists of funding opportunities as well as guidance and help on how to successfully apply.  It's free for all applicants to Schumacher College wanting help to fund their Masters Degree. If you are a prospective student who has applied to the College, please email to get an access PIN.

Schumacher College Bursaries - applications are now closed

The Schumacher College Postgraduate Bursary Fund exists to enable those with potential and in financial need to participate in our postgraduate programmes.

All students are eligible to apply for the Tuition Fees Bursary. The bursary fund is dependent on fundraising and varies each year. The maximum level of award is typically £2,000.00 however we ask that you share the full level of support you need. 

You may submit a bursary application with your postgraduate application. Your bursary will be considered if you are offered a place on your chosen programme.

Please click here to download the Postgraduate Bursary Application Form
Please read the Terms and Conditions and instructions given on the application form.

Please download and save the application form to your computer and complete using the latest version of Acrobat Reader

Schumacher College Scholarships 2018 - 2019 - applications are now closed

Schumacher College is able to offer one partial scholarship for each full-time Masters programme. Each scholarship is an award of £5,000 which is deducted from the tuition fees.  We welcome scholarship applications from all students who are not being considered for bursary applications. The decision on the award will be made by the faculty. 

To apply for a scholarship please complete a written statement to the questions 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.  All applications for scholarships must be received by the closing date of March 29, 2018.

Who is eligible to apply?
To apply for a Schumacher College scholarship applicants must apply for the full programme on a full-time basis; they do not have to be resident at the College. The decision will be based upon a combination of:

  • what is deemed by the programme coordinator as the best response
  • the course application form
  • a successful interview
  • evidence the individual can cover the remaining fees.

The decision is not based on financial need.  Scholarship applicants are also able to apply for a bursary at the same time.  Scholarship statements are to be sent to:  Please read Terms and Conditions for Postgraduate Scholarships.


Ecological Design Thinking 

The David Orr Scholarship
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.

It is now more than 25 years since the principles of ecological design were enunciated yet the practice of ecological design thinking has been slow to follow. Why do you think this is so and what would you do to improve the situation?


Chevening Scholarships Awards

Chevening is the UK government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders. Funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations, Chevening offers two types of award – Chevening Scholarships and Chevening Fellowships – the recipients of which are personally selected by British Embassies and High Commissions throughout the world.

The opportunity to apply for one of these awards is open to MA Economics for Transition, MA Ecological Design Thinking, MSc Holistic Science postgraduate programmes starting in September 2018. The deadline for application to Chevening is 7 November 2017. You need to make a separate application to the College and we highly recommend you make an application to Schumacher College and to Chevening at the same time.

Please visit the Chevening website for more details:


The MA Ecological Design Thinking aims to create a new generation of designers, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, educators, 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 transformation of society.

Hear from some of our past students and find out how this programme has changed their lives and careers.

Meet Michael MartinStudent Profile - Michael Martin

From all of the Masters Programmes Michael researched, he found they did not go beyond the use of sustainable design processes and materials. The Masters in Ecological Design Thinking (EDT) is the only Masters course that he found that went beyond sustainability, and a conventional way of seeing design as a problem solving tool, to seeing design as a way of thinking about the world that can be used to catalyse change on a larger systems level.

Discover more about Michael


Ana SiqueiraStudent Profile - Ana Siqueira

After 15 years working in advertising and marketing, Ana was disillusioned with creating campaigns that encouraged people to buy what they don't need, with money they don't have. She was looking for a inner transformation. When she came across  Schumacher College, she knew it that was the right place to go.

Discover more about Ana


Sam ChavelierStudent Profile - Sam Chavellier

Since leaving the college, Sam has worked as a presenter for a wildlife programme in South Africa explaining concepts he explored during his time at Schumacher College. He  also started a company called Rewild which creates educational media for a changing world.

Discover more about Sam


Kate BowmanKate Bowman

Before coming to the College, Kate was working as a Potter within the Pottery at Garvald Edinburgh, a creative organisation for adults with learning difficulties. Find out about what brought her to the college and her experiences whilst studying this programme.

Discover more about Kate


Luis LlabresStudent Profile - Luis Llabres

Luis had been working as a graphic designer for a number of years doing corporate design. However, before taking the MA in Ecological Design Thinking, he had become increasingly convinced that he had to do something more than just contributing to growing human greed.

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Admissions Policy

Specialist information for different applicants

International Applicants

You apply in the same way as UK applicants. You will need to satisfy our general entry requirements, along with a specified level of ability in English language. Find out full details in the International Students tab  and view the Language Requirements tab

Applicants With Support Needs

For information on Learning and Mental Health support, visit the Learning and Mental Health Support page.

Applicants With Criminal Convictions

If you have a relevant criminal conviction that is not spent, you are required to declare this on your application.
Declaring a relevant criminal conviction does not automatically exclude you from our application process. 

Schumacher College requires all applicants to demonstrate competence in the English language before they begin their proposed course of study. Students must be able to converse and write fluently in English. Below you can find what your language requirements are.

Do you have a UK passport or are from the UK?

All students from the UK should hold at a minimum a GCSE English Language qualification at Grade C or above.

Do you hold an E.U. passport?

E.U. students who do not require a Tier 4 (General) visa to study in the UK should have the following:

IELTS Academic (B2 level) achieving 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 for each component: reading, writing, listening and speaking.


Pearson Test of English (Academic) achieving 62, with no less than 46 in each section.

Are there any exceptions to this requirement?
Students who do not require a visa to study in the UK and are nationals of a majority English-speaking country may be accepted without an English qualification. Please email to confirm if this exception relates to you.

Do you live outside of the E.U.?

To meet requirements for a Tier 4 visa to study at Schumacher College, you need to take the UKVI IELTS Academic at an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) centre .

The entry standards are as follows:
You need to achieve a 6.5 overall with a minimum of a 5.5 for each component: reading, writing, listening and speaking. This is equivalent to a B2 level.

You can find detailed information about Tier 4 visa English language requirements, including a list of approved centres here:

Are there any exceptions to this requirement?
There are few exceptions. To check if any apply to you, please check the up-to-date information provided by the Home Office here: . If you believe you are exempt, contact us at

Where can I book my UKVI IELTS test?
To book an IELTS ACADEMIC UKVI test:

How long is my test certificate valid for?
Test results are valid for 2 years.

When should I book my test?
We highly recommend booking a test as soon as you make an application to Schumacher College. UKVI IELTS test sites can become very busy and it may be difficult to find a convenient date and location.


Information for International Students applying for a Postgraduate Course

If you need a visa to come to Schumacher College as a postgraduate student please name The Dartington Hall Trust as your Tier 4 sponsor.
The University of Plymouth and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David are the two awarding bodies for our master degrees.

Will I need a visa to study in the UK?

If you have previously studied in the UK on a programme at Level 7 (Masters Level) or above, we are not allowed to sponsor you to study in the UK. We can only sponsor students for a new course if it represents academic progress from your previous course of study. 

Information about Short Term Study Visas (PG Certificate Courses)

If you are studying for a course of 6 months or less you may be able to apply for a Short Term Study visa.  For further information see:-

What are the disadvantages of a Short Term Study Visa?

It is important to note that a Short Term Study Visa cannot be extended. UKVI rules mean that it would not be possible to return to the UK to complete a further period of postgraduate study with Schumacher College.  If you are considering a PG Diploma or our Masters programmes you will need to apply for a Tier 4 (general) student visa. 

Information about Tier 4 (General) student visas can be found here:  We do our best to keep all information uptodate but please check with the UK Government website. 

See our frequently asked questions for more information

Entry Requirements

Students will normally possess a first degree in design or the natural or social sciences, or equivalent professional experience. As places are limited we will select candidates who we think will benefit most from the programme, and who will actively pursue transformative practice. In addition to considering individual candidates according to these criteria, the prospective MA, PG Diploma and PG Certificate group will be considered as a whole, for which we strive to create a balance of interest, gender and background.

Important: On 1 April 2009 changes to the UK’s Immigration Law came into effect. Please ensure that you have a legitimate right of entry into the UK.

For further information please visit the UK Visas and Immigration website

Apply for a Postgraduate Programme

Please download and save the relevant application form listed below to your computer and complete using the latest version of Acrobat Reader.
If you experience any issues when completing the application form please let us know by e-mailing:

MA Ecological Design Thinking

  • Accepting late applications

Download the application form
(editable PDF Document)

Email completed applications to

As the College believes in small group learning, places on each programme are limited to up to 17 students; we would therefore recommend making an early application. Your application will not be considered until we have received all of your supporting documentation. If you have any queries please e-mail:

Before You Apply

  1. Choose your course by visiting the Postgraduate Programmes listing page.
  2. Consider whether you meet the entry requirements:
    International entry requirements
    English language requirements
  3. Check the specific admissions and entry requirements for the course you are interested in. Every course has a dedicated web page containing admission details and entry requirements, as well as other useful information in the full course information section.
  4. Check the Postgraduate Tuition Fees and Residential and Non-Residential Fees .
  5. Contact the Postgraduate Team if you need any advice about a particular course.
  6. Consider the supporting documents you might need to send as part of your application.

After You Apply

Once we have received your application, the Postgraduate Admissions Team will contact you by email to confirm safe receipt of your application and to explain next procedures and discuss any supporting documentation still required. We will ask all shortlisted applicants to attend an interview. You may be asked to come to the College, or to conduct a telephone or Skype interview if you are not able to visit the College. We will select our MA, PG Diploma and PG Certificate students and offer places on the outcome of these interviews.

We will acknowledge receipt of all applications by email on receipt, and will contact applicants to either arrange an interview or advise that their application will not be taken further. We aim to do this within two to three weeks of receipt of an application.

Additional Documentation in Support of your Application:

After you have submitted your application please send all necessary supporting information listed below as soon as possible to allow us to process your application.

Documents should be sent by post to: 
Postgraduate Admissions
Schumacher College
The Old Postern

We recommend tracked, signed for, or recorded delivery.

1) Certificate(s) or transcript(s) of first degree or equivalent qualifications: these can be Original or certified copies:

Photocopies MUST be certified by a public notary or solicitor (with contact details provided for them).

Any documents which are not in English MUST be accompanied by a full translation then certified by a public notary or solicitor.  When sending any translation(s) the Certificate or transcript in the original language must also be supplied; meeting the guidelines noted above.

Important notes for Tier 4 students concerning Certificates and Transcripts: 

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will only accept original copies of your certificates or transcripts during the visa application process. Whilst we are happy to accept originals to support your application to us, it is safer to post certified photocopies which meet the above guidelines. You will be asked to bring the originals with you to enrolment if offered a place.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) also require a full translation of any documents that are not in English that can be independently verified by the Home Office. Further information and relevant links can be found at the bottom of this page.** To avoid paying a Translator twice we would recommend any translations provided to us meet the UKVI guidelines in full and that you hold an additional copy yourself in readiness for any visa application.   

2) A recent passport-size photograph

3) A copy of the front cover and information page of your current passport (inform us immediately if you get a new passport at any time before you come to the UK to study).

4) A copy of any previous or current UK visa.

5) Two references:

One academic/employer reference to comment on your academic ability and suitability to undertake postgraduate study. We will accept an employer’s reference where you have not been recently engaged in academic study.

One personal reference to comment on your ability to contribute to shared research and/or your experience of living or working in a community setting.

Please submit your references as original documents on headed paper in sealed envelopes signed across the seal by the referee. Alternatively, your referees may scan and email the letter on headed paper directly to the College from their official work email address. The e-mail should be sent to with Subject line: ‘Reference for [applicants name]’

6) Non-native English speakers:  Please view the language requirments information tab above                                                                                 

If you have taken an:-

IELTS test: (English Language Requirements can be viewed herePlease note: Tier 4 students must take an Academic IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration purposes.)                                                                                            

Please post an original or very clear photocopy of your IELTS certificate. Alternatively IELTS can send an original copy directly to Schumacher College on your behalf.

If you have access to a scanner, we will accept a scanned copy; this should be e-mailed to  If sending by e-mail please type the following in the subject line: ‘Supporting Document –  IELTS test - (followed by your name)’.Important to note: All copies are verified online using the IELTS verification service so please ensure the scan is clear and all information visible.

If you have booked, or plan to book an English Language test:

Please inform us of the date your test is to be taken. This may be a note with your papers, or you can e-mail:  Please ensure the subject line of the e-mail says: Supporting Documents – Further information – (Followed by your full name)                       

If you require sponsorship for a Tier 4 (General) visa **

Translations of documents which are not in English.

UKVI requirements can be subject to change, so it is important you check for any updated guidance, however, as at August 2014 UKVI require all documents which are not in English to be accompanied by a full translation that can be independently verified by the Home Office. The original translation must contain:

  • confirmation from the translator/translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • the date of the translation
  • the translator/an authorised official of the translation company’s full name and signature, and
  • the translator/translation company’s contact details.

Even at point of application it can be useful to make yourself familiar with the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) with regard to Tier 4 (General) visa applications. Please note that you cannot apply for a Tier 4 visa without first being offered a place and given a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Student number). Further information is contained within our offer letters.

Tier 4 (General) Student visa information page:

Documentary requirements can be found here: Please read the Guidance and Appendix at the bottom of the page.  Information concerning proof of finances is of particular importance as the required funds need to be in place for 28 days** prior to your visa application. (** correct as at: August 2014; please check current UKVI requirements as these can be subject to change).

Important information:  Schumacher College is licensed under Dartington Hall Trust as a Tier 4 Sponsor under the Points Based System. To comply with our duties as a Tier 4 sponsor, we are required to check other aspects of your application in addition to your academic achievements. That means we’ll look at previous studies in the UK and other aspects outlined in UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) guidance for sponsors. Information you provide on your application form will be passed on to the UKVI once you have been offered a place and Schumacher College agrees to sponsor you.


Help & Enquiries

 Admission Enquiries
email us  
+ 44 (0) 1803 847237