Courses Overview >> Postgraduate Programmes >> Engaged Ecology - MA, PGDip, PGCert

Engaged Ecology - MA, PGDip, PGCert

Key Info

  • April 2021 - January 2022
  • £8,000 UK, £15,000 International full time
  • £4,500 UK part time

Engaged Ecology is a radical new experiment in embodied learning for students looking to reconsider their relationship with the more-than-human, and find solutions to the environmental and social crises of our time.

The course equips you with the skills to engage practically in the field, while also allowing you the time and space to develop a personal understanding of the interconnected nature of the world and your place in it.

Due to the hands on nature of this course we are pushing back the start date for teaching until 19 April. This means we are still able to accept applications for Engaged Ecology, so do get in touch or apply now to make the most of the opportunity.

Please email your applications to us as soon as possible to secure one of the remaining places.


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Engaged Ecology asks three fundamental questions: What is place? Who are we? And, what, then, can we do?


If the climate crisis is too enormous a problem for any of us to grasp, we all nonetheless have a relationship to place, the immediate world about us. Through various ecological practices of deep observation and immersive engagement, through making and theoretical reflection, we will question what we mean by place and discover the historical, economic, cultural and ecological entanglements that together create a sense of place. We will discover for ourselves the meaning of terms like ‘ecology’, ‘nature’, ‘anthropocene’, ‘Gaia’, ‘participation’, ‘craft’, and ‘self’.

By developing competence in various practices of making we will explore cultures of production. The exact practices will vary according to availability, but might include weaving linen fabric that’s been grown from seed and prepared at every stage by hand; or felling a tree to hand carve a cup, a spoon, or a bowl; or writing, designing, typesetting and printing a magazine. How do these practices enrich our understanding of, or highlight our dislocation from, place?

Rather than approaching these questions from an epistemological framework of ecophilosophy, Engaged Ecology builds a scaffold through the radical assertion that higher education must first and foremost be a physical engagement with our shared socioecological/material world. It is through first-hand experience of place that we build an immersively tactile ontology that will serve as the foundation for the conceptual framework we develop through the arc of the programme.


Using various practices, so-called ‘technologies of the self’, we will examine what we mean by ‘the self’. Can there ever be an ecological self, or are we ordained by biology, or culture, to be atomistic individuals? What happens if we entertain indigenous or posthuman ideas in which the boundaries of the self are regarded as porous? What role does spirituality play in shaping or shaking up the self? Why is it that as social beings, who come together in community, we exclude even as we include, on the basis of sexuality, gender, race, class, ability, or species even? How can we (can we even?) reconcile living in community with a decentralization of human identity? Can we fully permeate the boundary between ego and eco? By living, learning and working together in community, here at Schumacher, we will ask what we mean by community and consider how it could be done differently in the world.


Finally, we challenge students to address how they can best act in the world. We examine theories of change, movement building, and non-violent direction action and ask if there are different ways of being ‘activists’ that do not replicate the very thing we are trying to change. Must change always involve opposition? Is there such a thing as post-activism? The final project or dissertation gives students the opportunity to dive deeply into these questions and to begin to envisage a career path after graduation.

Throughout this radical programme we give students the space to learn experientially, to reflect on what they’ve done, to consider abstract theory, and to experiment with new possibilities. Students will be able to draw on and immerse themselves in the rich history of growers, makers, craftivists, radical thinkers, social entrepreneurs, pedagogues, adherents of alternative spiritualities, not to mention the land itself, that together comprise the Dartington experiment.

Engaged Ecology is the cutting edge of Environmental Humanities, an interdisciplinary arena that brings together leading progressive thought within science and the humanities to address the great problems of our age.

Engaged Ecology is currently passing through the validation process with our partners, the University of Plymouth. Full details of the programme will be published as soon as they are available.

Explore leading-edge thinking about the nature of being human in a more-than-human world
Grapple with ecological problems through hands-on learning and deep reflection
Develop the tools to become a leader in ecological, economic, and social decision-making conversations
Fortify existing practice with a robust theoretical framework
Be able to apply a deep and critical understanding of place in a broad range of contexts.

Graduates leave to work in:
NGOs: especially those tackling climate emergency
Nonprofits: building relationships between people and place
Permaculture: agroforestry, land management and community
Business: making systems more resilient and regenerative
Education: teaching in multi-disciplinary disciplines

This programme can be taken full-time or part-time


Programme information / apply now

IMPORTANT: Please ensure you consult our Applicant Information for full information on tuition fees and other key information about our courses.

You can then return to this page for programme-specific information and to make your course application.

Engaged Ecology - MA, PGDip, PGCert

Click below to download the application and email your completed form to
Due to staff and faculty working from home, we ask that you email your application form, and not post. This will help ensure we receive your application in a timely manner.


Click here to download a checklist to help you with your application (pdf).

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

Please provide the following supporting documentation after your application

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 that are not in English MUST be accompanied by a full translation then certified by a public notary or solicitor. All translations must be accompanied by the certificate or transcript in the original language.

Important notes for students requiring a Student Visa

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will only accept original copies of your documents during the visa application process. We are happy to accept originals, but it is safer to post certified photocopies which meet the above guidelines. Please bring the originals with you to enrolment if offered a place.

UKVI also require a full translation of any documents that are not in English.

Schumacher College is licensed under Dartington Hall Trust as a Student Visa Sponsor. To comply with our sponsorship duties, we are required to check other aspects of your application in addition to your academic achievements. We will look at previous studies in the UK and other aspects outlined in 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. 

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 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 by email attachment.  The letter should be written on headed paper and sent directly to the College by your referee, from their work email address. The e-mail should be sent to with Subject line: Reference for [applicant's name]

6) If English is not your first language

you must take the IELTS test - International Tier 4 applicants - you must take the UKVI IELTS test.

EU applicants - you must take the IELTS Academic test

Please post an original or clear copy of your IELTS certificate, or send a scanned copy to  All copies are verified online using the IELTS verification service.                      

Translations of documents which are not in English

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.

Documentary requirements for Student Visa applicants can be found here. Please read the Guidance and Appendix at the bottom of the page.  

Programme Structure
There are two terms of timetabled teaching periods when you must live on site (or nearby in Totnes or the vicinity) and participate in the learning community. We have a limited number of residential places available for international students. Apply as early as possible.
Term 1
Engaging with Ecology – 30 credits
Gain a greater understanding of our ecological predicament, and its historical and philosophical rigins, through a blend of experiential and more traditional learning. Building on different practices of paying attention to the world about us – Western and non-Western, orthodox and unorthodox – it introduces critical terms and maps out key developments in ecological thought from science and the humanities.
Making Connections – 30 credits

This module invites students to explore creatively a variety of making practices so as to experience the interconnectedness of place, ecology and cultural products. Students will consider making as a form of reflective practice and critically engage with theories of making, production and of Capitalism. The module also asks what role there is for the sacred in a world where techne has given way to technik.
Term 2
Living Together – 30 credits
This module examines the social ecological implications of living together and asks what it means to be in community or to belong. It seeks to understand how communities at once include and  xclude, through the often invisible exercise of power. It considers the implications of extending the definition of community to include the other-than-human and investigates the role of structure and ritual in maintaining community.
The Ecological Self – 30 credits
This module considers questions of action and agency through the notion of ecological citizenship. Using theories of change, with an emphasis on Complexity Theory, and situating ecological citizenship within the history of action, activism and social movements, it asks students to reflect on how best to act. It interrogates the notions of Sacred Activism and asks what role spirituality has in the creation of a more just world.
Term 3
Dissertation or Final Project - 30 credits

Undertake a substantial investigation that addresses significant areas of Engaged Ecology.
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 or independently. They may also produce an academic dissertation relating to tEngaged Ecology. 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.

Taught Dates – Academic Year 2020 - 2021

19 April - 25 June 2021: Teaching Weeks at Schumacher College
5 July - 10 September: Teaching Weeks at Schumacher College

10 January 2022: Final Project/Dissertation Deadline

Contact us for details of part-time programme patterns and deadlines.

Dr Andy Letcher

Dr Andy Letcher is writer, performer and scholar of religion who began life as an ecologist, completing his D.Phil in Ecology at Oxford University. After a spell as an environmental activist during the 90s, especially during the anti-roads protests, he moved across to the humanities, completing a PhD at King Alfred’s College Winchester. He is an expert on contemporary alternative spiritualities, especially modern Paganism, neo-shamanism and psychedelic spiritualities.

Dr Sarah Elisa Kelly

Sarah comes from a background in cultural theory and environmental humanities, specialising in philosophies of meaning-making via the field of deconstruction and French feminism.  Her research draws heavily on subversive arts thinking, alternative practices of imagination, forms of unknowing, non-dominant cultural cosmologies and modes of everyday creative resistance. She has also trained extensively in somatic and movement practices and is passionate about embodiment politics. She is an apprentice teacher with the school of Movement Medicine and facilitates sharing circles and eco-somatic explorations under the moniker “Embodied Ecologies”.

Dr Pavel Cenkl 

Pavel has worked for more than two decades in higher education in America. and has always been drawn to colleges and universities whose curriculum fully integrates learning with practice and thinking with embodiment. For nearly 15 years he served as Dean at Vermont’s Sterling College.

As well as extensive published work, Pavel continues to pursue research in ecologically-minded curriculum design and teach courses in environmental philosophy. Pavel is also a passionate endurance and adventure runner and has set himself a personal challenge, Climate Run, to highlight the enormous volumes of ice melting from our glaciers. He has covered hundreds of miles in the Arctic and subarctic in order to bring attention to the connections between our bodies and the more-than-human world in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

MA Engaged Ecology has a programme specific fee of £500 per year, which is additional to the main tuition fee. This additional fee covers the course fieldtrips.