Holistic Science

MSc, PG Cert

We are seeking highly motivated individuals who want to make a difference in the world.

Join our learning community for this pioneering programme in Holistic Science which completely re-evaluates our scientific understanding of nature, the ecological crisis we face and our role in widespread ecological, economic and social change.

Schumacher College in partnership with Plymouth University is the first in the world to offer a postgraduate programme in Holistic Science.

student on a holistic science courses

What is Holistic Science?

Holistic Science is a different way of looking at the issues we face. It combines a rigorous investigation of conventional scientific thought with cutting-edge experiential, intuitive and group learning processes to bring about a more participatory understanding of the natural world and our role within it.

Schumacher College has been the pioneering force of Holistic Science for 20 years. It has brought together the radical thinkers, practitioners and activists around the world whose ideas approach centre-stage as we collectively begin to accept the need for radical rethinking of our ecological, social and economic systems.

Information has been available for many years on issues such as the state of biodiversity, climate and global financial sustainability. Yet this alone has failed to bring about the change we need.

Experts have now agreed that information is not enough to achieve a more sustainable future. What we need at this time in history is a more emotionally-based intelligence about the state of the earth, to combine with our advanced intellectual understanding.

From this position of participation and engagement with nature we become empowered and inspired to act in the interests of ourselves and the wider world.

Join our learning community for this pioneering programme in Holistic Science which completely re-evaluates our scientific understanding of nature, the ecological crisis we face and our role in widespread ecological, economic and social change.

This is not just an intellectual enquiry. It’s a really embodied, participatory approach to nature which can help to foster a deep sense of belonging". Stephan Harding, Resident Ecologist and Head of Holistic Science, Schumacher College.

The MSc in Holistic Science has helped me view the global economy (embedded as it is in our finite earth ecology) as a complex adaptive system. In particular, as I seek to accelerate the rate of innovation and the scale of impact of our work, I am much more relaxed about throwing out new ideas and only pursuing those that seem to attract the energy of colleagues and partners. Nigel Topping, Chief Innovation Officer, Carbon Disclosure Project

It is pretty difficult to sum up what I learned in the MSc in a few sentences. The very short answer is that I better learned how the world works. How the dynamics of life in our three-dimensional reality work. I learned to see myself as embedded in a web of life that is always placed-based. I shifted my focus from things to relationships. And I will for the rest of my life be a student of these dynamics in order to live and design in harmony with them instead of opposition. Terry Irwin, Head of School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University

For me doing the MSc was definitely one of the greatest experiences I have ever had in my life. Now that I am teaching at business schools, I can really now understand the benefits of having had the immersive experience that Schumacher brings. I can see how there is a huge difference between people who understand concepts such as complexity just in terms of thinking, or in their heads, and from students who are able to know the world from a much more profound and deeper perspective. This can only really be acquired from the way in which these subjects are not just taught, but lived and experienced at Schumacher College. Simon Robinson, business educator and consultant

Our teachers include:

Who is this course for?

Are you deeply concerned about the state of the natural world?

Are you hoping to make a difference with your life and work?

Are you willing to experiment in a group learning process that makes you part of something bigger than yourself as an individual?

The primary qualification we are looking for in our students is a strong interest in nature, how it evolves and self-organises and what we as individuals, organisations and cultures can learn from it in our quest for a sustainable future.

We welcome people from all backgrounds, cultures and of any age – whether you are currently employed, unemployed, a student or retired. The diversity of our student group is a rich part of how we learn and is a reflection of the diversity of nature itself.

What will you learn?

  • A thorough understanding of the pros and cons of using western science as a stand-alone tool for gaining reliable information about the world
  • An in-depth knowledge of the sustainability issues facing the world today, how they have come about and the various routes we might take to addressing them
  • A theoretical and experiential understanding of an ecological world view which will transform your understanding of your place in the world and how to act within it
  • An understanding of whole systems, through the lens of chaos, complexity and Gaia Theory and how this can be applied to ecological, social and economic scenarios
  • How to use a range of alternative scientific methodologies which incorporate qualitative experience with quantitative measurement
  • How to use inter-disciplinary scientific information in combination with knowledge gained from sensing, feeling and intuition
  • A clearer understanding of your own rational and emotional states and processes through experiential and reflective group enquiry
  • How Holistic Science is being applied in the worlds of business, economics, community and mainstream science in the creation of a more sustainable world

As part of this programme you will also carry out an independent research project in which you can apply holistic science to your own area of interest.

This is an unparalleled opportunity to undertake high level research outside the usual constraints of academic norms. Projects can be presented as personal narrative, film, artwork, poetry or any other creative endeavor, alongside more conventional modes of delivery.

Where you will go?

Graduates from this programme will have the skills and knowledge to work for sustainable change in the public, private and NGO sectors or to set up their own projects or organisations that will be a part of the transition to a more holistic understanding and appreciation of the world.

Previous students have gone into areas such as ecological business consulting, educational projects and academia, healthcare, agriculture, media and film-making, NGOs and working with indigenous people.

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

I learnt how to appreciate the wholeness of nature and life. I learnt how to connect with that wholeness and access knowledge through all my senses (my mind, my intuition, my feelings) to make decisions (personal and professional) that are in harmony with this unity. All of this has helped me be more effective at work and apply an integral approach to everything I do. It profoundly changed me and the way I live life and share it with others. Luzette Jaimes, Operations Manager for Ashoka: Innovators for the Public in the Arab World


Chevening Scholarships Awards

A number of Chevening Scholarships are available for our Holistic Science and Economics for Transition postgraduate programmes starting in September 2015. The deadline for application is 15 November

Please click here for more details: www.chevening.org/partnerships/our_partners/schumacher