MSc Holistic Science

Key Info

  • The only MSc Holistic Science programme in the world
  • Interdisciplinary and include philosophical approaches to wholeness
  • Live and learn in community

University Of Plymouth

The MSc Holistic Science programme at Schumacher College is approved and awarded by the University of Plymouth (UoP). Students who successfully complete the programme will receive a University of Plymouth postgraduate degree certificate and become an alumni of both UoP and Schumacher College. This unique programme integrates aspects of reductionism and mainstream science with a more comprehensive basis for seeing and knowing the natural world. At the heart of Holistic Science is Goethe’s way of involving deep, intuitive appreciation of nature’s qualities and intrinsic values integrated with the cognitive study of complexity and emergence. This holistic approach is useful for tackling challenges in ecology, biology, earth system science, physics, organisational development and health studies.

MSc Holistic Science

Over billions of years, nature evolved patterns and systems to keep our Earth habitable. But has faced a series of challenges; from the dawn of the Scientific Revolution five hundred years ago in the West, came a crusade for truth, bringing with it an emphasis on rationalism and utilitarianism. Three hundred years later science partnered with the Industrial Revolution, a powerful yet perilous combination that resulted in the global challenges we are currently facing.

To remedy this situation we need to develop an expanded science which values wisdom as much as cleverness and includes feeling, sensing, thinking and intuition as powerful research tools. We need a science that goes beyond science - a holistic science - which we can use to help solve the many urgent problems of our time.

Now in its 20th year, the MSc in Holistic Science offers you a transformative learning journey that brings soul into the very core of science. The MSc Holistic Science was the first of the college's postgraduate programmes and informs all others through its holistic education methodologies and ecological worldview. It equips you to see, think and act in holistic ways informed by nature so that you can contribute to help solve the pressing challenges we face.

You don’t need to be a scientist to benefit from this course. What you do need is a powerful urge to help the world by embarking on a profound personal learning adventure into the deepest heart of nature. The insights and experience you’ll gain will help you become a truly Earthly citizen – equipped with deep pattern recognition skills, suitable for understanding and connecting with any complex system you choose, be that an ecosystem or a corporation.

You’ll join a body of over 300 graduates of the MSc around the world who are applying their knowledge and experience of holistic science within many walks of life, ranging from economics to politics and design, from agriculture to education, from green business consulting to working with indigenous communities. What might your contribution be?

Former contributors to this course have included: James Lovelock, Lynn Margulis, Henri Bortoft, Tim Lenton, Antonio Nobre, Philip Franses, Francoise Wemelsfelder, Rupert Sheldrake, Patricia Shaw, Satish Kumar, Craig Holdrege, Mark Reigner, Mike Wride, Shantena Sabbadini, Jules Cashford and Bruce Lipton.

*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.

MSc, PG Cert

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

Overview of the Programme

During this programme you will:

  • develop an understanding of the pros and cons of using western science as a tool for gaining insights about the world
  • learn how contemporary sustainability issues have emerged and how we can successfully address them by combining rational and intuitive ways of knowing
  • gain an understanding of the importance of sensing, feeling and intuition for an expanded science
  • learn about a range of cutting edge alternative methodologies which integrate qualitative experience and quantitative measurement
  • develop an understanding of the emergent properties of whole systems through the lenses of chaos, complexity and Gaia theories, and discover how these approaches can help us deal with ecological, social and economic problems
  • understand how Holistic Science is being applied in the worlds of business, economics, health and mainstream science in the creation of a more sustainable world
  • develop a clear understanding of your own rational and emotional states and processes in the study of nature through experiential and reflective group enquiry

Course Update

The 2018 course has been reconfigured to incorporate a greater emphasis on a direct connection with nature. In addition we have introduced new approaches to offering pastoral support to students during their learning journey. There are three new Associate Lecturers, who will teach Goethean science, chaos and complexity theories, and who will assist the teaching of ecology and Gaia theory. Two of the new faculty are alumni of the programme; the third has much biological knowledge and facilitation skills to offer the programme. Join us in the transformative experience of taking part in our updated, refreshed and renewed adventure into holistic science.

Career Opportunities

Former students have taken up a variety of positions within the fields of climate change advocacy, education, scientific research, ecological design, healthcare, green business, protection of indigenous cultures, ecological restoration and sustainable agriculture. In addition many have gone on to set up up their own projects and enterprises.

Previous dissertations have pioneered the application of holistic science principles in many areas, including:
• Investigating the medicinal properties of plants
• Indigenous and mainstream science perceptions of coral reef health
• Education in schools
• Ecosystem assessment and management
• Banking systems based on insights from Gaia theory
• Creating sustainable food systems
• Forest gardening
• Developing holistic field guiding in Southern Africa
• Fire management in the USA
• Creating holistic money systems
• Organisation development
• Fostering creativity amongst leaders
• Understanding the dynamics of language

MSc Holistic Science - programme structure

Programme Structure

MSc full and part-time

The MSc may also be taken on a part-time basis over two years, using the following Programme Pathways:

Programme Type
and Length


Full Time

100 credits and 
80 credit dissertation

Part Time: Over 2 years

Year 1: 60 taught credits
Year 2: 40 taught optional credits and dissertation

PG Certificate: Full Time 60 taught credits


PG Certificate

Students studying this PG Certificate programme will take the three core modules, each worth 20 Masters Credits. Students enrolled on to the PG Certificate will study exactly the same material as the Masters students during the first term, from September to December. Masters 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.

Introductory Week

The first week of the course is dedicated to learning about each other’s life journeys which have brought us to the MSc in Holistic Science and to meeting the students on our sister Masters courses at the college. During this week we also begin to locate our learning journey in a contemporary context by examining the shape and texture of the sciences today. We learn how we came to be where we are, beginning with the medieval view of an ensouled cosmos through to the scientific and industrial revolutions which gave us our current separation between mind and matter and our increasingly specialised, detached sciences of today. We turn our gaze on science as a cultural, contextual practice which evolves hand in hand with social norms and world views, identifying gaps, needs and possibilities in the sciences of today.

Core Modules

Core Module One: 20 credits
Science with Qualities: New Scientific Methodologies.

In this module we’ll explore the philosophy and methodologies of an expanded science that values qualities as much as quantities. This way of doing science cultivates ethics together with rational thought as a means of understanding and interacting with the natural world.
One of the pioneers of a science with qualities was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) the distinguished poet, playwright and scientist. Goethe recognised important limitations in our rational approach to knowing the world and instead sought a path of science that is in tune with the subtle qualities of nature. You will practice his scientific method during this module with accomplished teachers who will help you relate to nature through the cultivation of your intuition, sensory experience and feeling.

Goethean science provides a role for imagination, inspiration and intuition in science, differing markedly from contemporary science which consciously cultivates only rational and numerical thought processes. Instead of distancing itself from a given phenomenon under study, Goethe’s methodology cultivates a continuous stream of connection between observer and the phenomenon being observed, resulting in a richly textured appreciation of the living qualities of the phenomenon - a knowing that arises between oneself and nature. In this module we learn how to apply Goethean science to a variety of phenomena, including colour, the form, shape and development of plants and animals, and its application to the human social realm. We also discover Free-Choice Profiling, an innovative tool pioneered in the animal welfare field which bridges the gap between quantitative and qualitative sciences in fields ranging from the study of landscapes, coral reefs and wild animals.

Assessment: Students are required to produce an essay of 3,000 – 3,500 words, or a creative project of equivalent standing.

Core Module Two: 20 credits
Chaos and Complexity

Until recently, science has been limited to the exploration of supposedly totally predictable ‘linear’ systems, thereby providing a vanishingly imprecise description of the universe at large. Modern computation has allowed mathematicians to peer beyond this veil into the surprisingly emergent and self-organising world of nonlinear geometry and form in nature. They explore these nonlinear dynamics through chaos and complexity theories which describe patterns of relationships rather than merely focussing on a given system's smallest component parts. As a discipline with the Holistic Science programme, the complexity approach will enable you to develop a scientific approach to nature that integrates quantities with qualities.

In this module you’ll engage in a vivid exploration of the most stimulating discoveries in science through the lens of holism rigorously integrated with chaos and complexity theories. Topics such as quantum theory, relativity and information theories and complexity in the living realm are introduced to provide you with a firm foundation in modern scientific thought and practice. Throughout the module, the boundaries of these theories are brought into question, giving you the opportunity to cultivate a creative appreciation of scientific discovery at the very edges of reason. We’ll apply chaos and complexity theories to living systems such as bee colonies, the structure of the universe and the dynamics of human organisations. Sessions are held through a synthesis of rational and intuitive methods of enquiry. In order to ground some potentially abstract concepts you will explore the foundational tenants of these intricate theories through artistic, contemplative and group exercises. Additional teaching sessions are available to students who wish to further explore the finer details of the module’s content and deepen their mathematical / computational understanding.

Assessment: Students are required to produce an essay of 3,000 – 3,500 words, or a creative project of equivalent standing.

Core Module Three: 20 credits
The Living Earth

In this module you will develop a deeply participatory understanding of the living dynamics of the Earth by combining rigorous scientific analysis with intuitive experiential work outdoors on Dartmoor, on the Dartington estate and on the South Devon coast. We’ll engage in a detailed exploration of James Lovelock’s Gaia theory, which suggests that tightly coupled feedbacks between living beings and their non-living environment give rise to emergent self-regulation at the level of the Earth.

According to Hesiod (700 CE), the ancient Greeks related to our living planet as Gaia - the Mother of All - the principle divinity of Earth and the Cosmos. Gaia found her way back into modern culture in the 1960’s and early 1970’s through the work of British scientist James Lovelock who was employed by NASA in their quest to find life on Mars.

The science of Gaia pioneered by Lovelock concerns itself with the study of the Earth as a superorganism in which living and non-living components act as a single self-regulating system involving complex feedbacks between life, atmosphere, rocks and water. The self-regulation arising from this tight coupling is seen as an emergent property that could not have been predicted from knowledge of biology, chemistry, geology or physics as separate disciplines.

Building on what we’ve learnt in the previous core modules, in this module we’ll use a synthesis of cognitive, intuitive and experiential approaches to develop a deeply felt personal connection and identification with the life of our planet as a wider manifestation of our own life and experience. 

We’ll explore key Gaian topics such as ancient images and myths of Gaia, the history of  Gaian insights in science, the qualitative behaviour of Gaian computer simulations; how globally stable states emerge from complex interactions between life, rocks, atmosphere and oceans; the role of life in the global cycles of Gaia’s key elements, such as carbon and oxygen; the role of biodiversity in maintaining the health of ecological communities and the Earth; the role of cooperation as well as competition in evolution, and climate change from seen from a Gaian perspective. We use strongly integrative experiential processes to ground this learning within your own body and psyche, with time spent in nature on field trips, Gaia-inspired meditations and solo time in the woods around the college. Throughout the module we explore the ethical and life style implications of the theory through the lens of the deep ecology approach.

Assessment: Students are required to produce an essay of 3,000 – 3,500 words, or a creative project of equivalent standing.


20 credits each

In addition to the core modules, you’ll select two elective modules from a list of four or more approved electives relevant to holistic science. The electives are three weeks in length. Students from the MA in Economics for Transition will join you in some cases. You will work with the main teaching staff on the electives to explore the relevance of the course material to your particular trajectory with the Holistic Science programme.

Dissertation Module

80 credits

By December, you will have chosen and defined your research topic in which you will have the chance to apply your knowledge of Holistic Science and its methodologies to a real research problem or question. From the New Year onwards you will focus on completing your two electives and on your research, which is submitted as a final 15 -20,000 dissertation word at the end of August.

Each student receives research supervision from a primary supervisor based either at Schumacher College or elsewhere.  Research work can be conducted individually or in teams. Students have used their research projects to explore a diversity of themes from the perspective of holistic science. They have written dissertations on, for example, renewable energy, Goethean science, molecular biology, organic agriculture, reforestation, alternative medicine, ecological education, patterns in nature, children in need, Gaian science, ecopsychology, and business and sustainability.

General Guidelines for Assessed Work

As this Masters Degree encourages novel approaches to scientific investigation, we recognise that a classic analytic-synthetic approach to learning need not be the only form it takes. Holistic investigations in science may result in very different outcomes to traditional styles of research and reporting, especially as one of the objectives of the course includes paying attention to intuitive insights and feelings that arise in the course of the work, giving significant insights into the problems being explored.

Dissertation and coursework may accordingly include alternative creative formats alongside those used in scientific writing. This includes personal narrative and experiential material woven into the written account of the investigation, and artwork related to this.  A blend of the analytic-synthetic and narrative-experiential is therefore encouraged, the one extending and complementing the other in a coherent, holistic manner.

Dr Stephan Harding FLS
Course Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Holistic Science/Estate Ecologist

Stephan oversees the MSc in Holistic Science, teaching on the core modules on many short courses at the College. Stephan was born in Venezuala in 1953 and came to the UK at the age of six. After studying Zoology at the University of Durham he then did a doctorate on the behavioural ecology of the Muntjac Deer at Oxford University. He also taught field ecology at the National University in Costa Rica from 1986 to 1989, followed by time in Nepal studying Buddhist thought and practice. Stephan is a founding faculty member of Schumacher College which opened in 1991. 

His work focusses on ways of translating scientific concepts and understandings about nature into deeply experiential learning which helps students to feel the earth as their own body and psyche, giving them the inspiration, motivation and insight for acting sustainably in the world at this time of severe crisis. Stephan has collaborated with many of the world’s leading ecological thinkers and activists, including James Lovelock, Lynn Margulis, Arne Naess and Fritfof Capra. He is the author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia.

Harding S.P. 2017 Harding SP, Burch S.E., Wemelsfelder F. 2017. The Assessment of Landscape Expressivity: A Free Choice Profiling Approach. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169507. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169507
Harding S.P.  2015 Towards an Animistic Science of the Earth.  In: Handbook of Contemporary Animism. G. Harvey (ed.) Routledge.
Harding S.P. 2011 (ed.) Grow Small, Think Beautiful: Ideas for a Sustainable World from Schumacher College. Floris Books.
Harding S.P and Margulis, L.  2010 Water Gaia: Three and a half thousan million years of wetness on planet Earth. In: Gaia in Turmoil. MIT Press.
Harding S.P. 2009  Animate Earth. (2nd ed.). Green Books, Dartington, UK. (also published in Brazil, Catalonia, Italy ,Germany, USA, South Korea and Thailand).
Harding S.P. and Lovelock J.E. 1996 Exploiter-mediated coexistence and frequency dependent selection in a numerical model of biodiversity. J.Theor. Biol. 182: 109 -116.

Associate Lecturers

Dr Jean Boulton FInstP

Jean’s earlier career was in physics. She came across complexity theory in the 1990s and was fascinated by its new take on science and its relevance to the social world. She has been working with these ideas ever since. She is lead author of ‘Embracing Complexity’ (2015:OUP), a book designed to explain the theory and explore its practical implications. She teaches complexity theory in a number of universities and institutes and is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow with the Department of Social and Policy Sciences at the University of Bath, and a Visiting Fellow with Cranfield School of Management.  She is also a fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP). Her research interests include impact assessment, global governance and the implications of complexity for organisation design.

Jean was formerly chair of Social Action for Health in East London and of Sustain Ltd in Bristol.  She is currently a town councillor in Frome, Somerset, an independent council, which she cites as 'a great experiment in localism, a theme in tune with complexity thinking'. Her consultancy practice takes the ideas of complexity theory into organisations and she has been involved in strategy and policy development, change management and programme design, all with a focus on how to deal with volatility and uncertainty in complex environments. She is currently working on another book looking at the connections between science, spirituality and psychology.

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. A writer known for his critical approach, he is the author of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom and a range of academic papers on subjects as diverse as fairies, animism, folklore, bardism and Druidry. He wrote the companion volume to The English Magic Tarot. A folk musician, he plays English bagpipes and Dark Age lyre, and for ten years fronted psych-folk band, Telling the Bees.

Teaching Assistant 

Phoebe Tickell : Phoebe has a BA in Biological and Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, where she specialised in plant, algae and microbial systems.  She has worked as a research assistant and lab technican at Imperial College London. She finds the biological world fascinating and awe-inspiring, especially by its 'pattern language', and the behaviour of biological networks, communities, symbioses: i.e. the biology of relationships - from the micro to the macro.She is part of various systems-change projects where she puts her understanding of networks, systems and cooperation into practice: Future Farm Lab, which creates learning opportunities and experiments that re-wire the food system, and Enspiral, a de-centralised and DIY social enterprise network. She is also a facilitator of Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects.  She speaks Hungarian and Spanish.

Guest Teachers

Craig Holdrege is the director of the The Nature Institute, USA and spearheaded its founding in 1998. His passion is to develop what Goethe called "delicate empiricism" — an approach that learns from nature how to understand nature and is infused with a cautious and critical awareness of how intentions and habits of mind affect human understanding. His research takes two directions. In the first, he carries out studies of animals and plants that tell the story of these organisms as dynamic and integrated beings within the larger web of life. He has written monographs a book and many articles.


Mark Riegner has been teaching in the Environmental Studies Program at Prescott College since 1988. His courses offer a strong foundation in the biological sciences and combine theory with an experiential emphasis. This is especially the case in his field courses in Mexico and in Costa Rica, but his on-campus courses also include numerous field trips and, in many instances, hands-on laboratory exercises. In all his teaching, he strives to weave together an understanding of ecological principles with evolutionary theory so that students can cultivate an appreciation for the origin and maintenance of biological diversity.


Jon Young is a nature connection mentor, naturalist, wildlife tracker, peacemaker, author, workshop leader, consultant, public speaker and storyteller. As a leader in the field of nature-based community building over 30 years, Jon’s research into the impact and significance of nature on human intelligence and development has influenced thousands of people worldwide.
Trained from an early age by renowned animal tracker Tom Brown Jr.,by Lakota elder Gilbert Walking Bull and by many other indigenous leaders, Jon has delved deeply into the arts of nature awareness, holistic tracking, bird language and ancestral living skills– fundamental knowledge that shaped the formation of human neurobiology and the way our species connects and learns. He has appeared as an expert in numerous documentaries and teaches throughout North America, Europe, Australia and southern Africa.

Jon has authored and co-authored several seminal works on nature connection and connection mentoring, including What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World (2013), and Coyote’s Guide to Connecting to Nature (2007). In 2016, he received the Champion of Environmental Education Award for his innovative work, which has led the growth of the nature connection movement around the world and inspired a regeneration of nature-based cultural knowldege. As co-founder of the 8 Shields Institute and OWLink Media, Jon has established an international network of consultants, trainers and mentors  in communities and organizations.

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. 

We Can Help

If you are interested in one of our programmes but cannot cover the fees above, the College offers:
Limited bursary funding available to assist students who would not be able to study without financial assistance. Further information can be found on our Bursaries, Scholarships and Help With Fees tab.

  • One competitive scholarship per programme of £5000 deducted from tuition fees. Further information can be found on our Bursaries, Scholarships and Help With Fees
  • Access to the Alternative Guide for Postgraduate Funding:  When we receive your application we will send you an individual pin number to give you access to the site; allowing you to create a personal profile and search for funding opportunities. 

Chevening Scholarship:  In addition to the above, MA Economics for Transition, MA Ecological Design Thinking and MSc Holistic Science programmes are also eligible for those applying for a Chevening Scholarship. Further information can be found on our Bursaries, Scholarships and Help With Fees tab

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 our International Students 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, MSc Holistic Science  

Term 1
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, however 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.


The Arne Naess Scholarship for Holistic Science
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.

Arne Naess coined the term ‘deep ecology’ as an attempt to point out that Western culture needs to reconnect to something more satisfying and enduring than yet more economic growth fuelled by increasing levels of material consumption. Building on this insight, what is your current understanding of the meaning of ‘deep’ in ecology? Do you see a role for science in developing the senses of ‘deep’ that you perceive?



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:

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

Student Profile Teresa CohnStudent Profile - Teresa Cohn

Teresa is now an assistant professor of Science Communication at the University of Idaho. Find out what her experiences were of the College and the programme back in 1999-2000.




Student Profile - Simon Robinson

Read about Simon Robinson who took the MSc Holistic Science and has since developed a teaching and consultancy career in Brazil.

Discover more about Simon



Student profile - Mirella FerrazStudent Profile - Mirella Ferraz

Before coming to the College, Mirella had been studying Forestry Engineering, in Brazil.

Discover more about Mirella



Student Profile Juliana SchneiderStudent Profile - Juliana Schneider

Juliana came from Brazil to take part in the MSc Holistic Science after working for a multinational where she led on many communication projects.

Discover more about Juliana



Student Profile Evelyn RoeStudent Profile - Evelyn Roe

After completing ethnobotanical research in southern Africa, Evelyn studied the MSc Holistic Science during 2012/13.

Discover more about Evelyn



Student Profile Emma KiddStudent Profile - Emma Kidd

Emma had previously worked as a Lingerie Designer and Product Developer in Hong Kong. She left her career in search of more satisfying and sustainable ways of living and found the College. Find out about her experience studying the MSc and what it has led to.

Discover more about Emma


Student Profile Adriana PuechStudent Profile - Adriana Puech

Adriana Puech hails from Colombia. After a career as an environmental engineer she attended a short course at the College and then took the MSc Holistic Science.

Discover more about Adriana



Student Profile Galeo SaintzStudent Profile - Galeo Saintz

Galeo came from South Africa to the College with a background in conservation and an interest in Systems Theory. His time at the College proved invaluable, offering him a chance to explore pure scientific enquiry whilst engaging with deep ecological study.

Learn more from Galeo

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 (link sends e-mail) 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 up-to-date 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:

 MSc Holistic Science

  • Applications are Open

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 information pages.
  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