Courses Overview >> Research Masters Programme >> Postgraduate Masters by Research

Postgraduate Masters by Research

Embark on a  voyage of discovery and service with our Research in Action approach

We have launched an innovative collaboration between Schumacher College and Plymouth University to convene a worldwide Community of Research offering unique Postgraduate Masters degrees. 

How is our Research Masters programme different?

  • The programme offers you the opportunity to undertake worthwhile, purposeful research in service of a better future and the web of life.
  • It enables you to choose the area of your research with support from the College.
  • It is part time to enable you to continue to work while pursuing postgraduate studies and applying your learning immediately to your work context.
  • You have the opportunity for enormous creative freedom with a programme tailormade to you, supported by individual guidance and supervision from a Director of Studies and Superivsor.
  • It is a deeper step into holistic learning than a taught Masters or undergraduate degree.
  • You are introduced to qualitative research methodologies and holistic, nature-connected learning but  we do not teach you the content area of your research.  You will discover the content of your research with the support and input of your Director of Studies.
  • You have the opportunity to join two Dialogue Intensives per year (5 or 6 days each) at Schumacher College (or a worldwide equivalent) in order to take part in cross-disciplinary exploration with other people who are also studying on our postgraduate research degree.
  • You can join exploratory dialogue with the convenors of the worldwide research community (Jenny Mackewn and Patricia Shaw), distinguished Schumacher tutors and celebrated guest presenters plus free access to Fritjof Capra’s course in the Systems View of Life, including personal virtual contact with Fritzof.
  • The programme offers you the chance to spend time at the college among a remarkable international community.

To apply you will need:

  • a good first degree
  • a passionate focus of interest in which you would like to do a research project
  • an independent nature which will relish the freedom offered by a research Masters
  • courage, and a degree of resilience and persistence that will support you through moments of academic challenge 
  • an interest and commitment to working with a Director of studies and 1 or 2 additional supervisors or expert mentors who are specialists in your area of interest
  • a wish to participate with other researchers in a world wide community of research practitioners
  • a capacity to write reasonably fluently incorporating academic thinking and referencing with relative ease.
  • ideally (but not essentially) previous experience of some form of action research or other qualitative research
  • ideally (but not essentially) previous experience of studying at Schumacher e.g. possibly via a taught Masters degree or experience of participating in a living inquiry programme such as Co-creating the Emerging Future or Right Livelihood (or equivalent)


For a short initial period, the Research Masters will cost £9,750 for two years of study.  You can normally negotiate to pay this fee in instalments.  An extension to studies can of course be negotiated - if necessary.

The Exchange

  • There will be an appointment of a Director of Studies (DoS) who will be your primary guide and supervisor (appointed by Schumacher College) and secondary supervisor (usually appointed by Plymouth) with additional mentors/advisors in your specialist areas of research - as needed. Researchers will have regular online or face to face meetings with their DoS (e.g. 15 hours per year). These meetings encompass individual and small group contact.
  • There will be an opportunity for participation in the Schumacher Worldwide Community of Research in Action which includes two annual research dialogue intensives per year, held at the college (or a worldwide equivalent), lasting five or six days attended by all researchers, by invited staff & guest contributors.  (For those joining the Research Masters there will be a total of 3 dialogue intensives during the 2 year period of study.)
  • You will have the opportunity to participate in a Research Methodology Module - which is provided partly through Schumacher facilities and partly through Plymouth facilities and is delivered partly in person and partly virtually - according to the student need.
  • There will be up to 8 online webinar conversations per year where a tutor from the Worldwide Community of Research or an invited guest will stimulate an inquiry into a particular research issue.
  • There will be ongoing virtual communication and collaboration in Research Masters peer groups with supervisor input, via dedicated sites on the Schumacher College Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
  • There will be an opportunity to participate in Plymouth University researcher training events held by the Graduate School and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
  • You will have access to on-site and virtual library facilities at Plymouth University and Schumacher College (or elsewhere within the Dartington Estate) when at the college and subject to availability.
  • We will provide accommodation and meals, for up to 20 days a year at Schumacher College (or elsewhere within the Dartington Estate) including participation on research intensives.
  • There will be an opportunity to participate in open events at Schumacher College e.g. Earth talks, when staying at the college.

Funding propositions:

Bursary support is available via Schumacher College however it is limited as participants will be continuing to work and they willl be more able to fund and sustain themselves.  However we will support you to put together a funding proposition and to look for other sources of funding, such as governments and organisations invested in particular areas of research. We particularly welcome applications from younger or emerging leaders and encourage diversity from within the research community.

We invite expressions of interest/applications from those who wish to undertake the part time Masters degree.  Please make it explicit whether or not your interest is dependent upon receiving funding for the programme.

To voice interest please email Tamsin Bailey at

To find out more, please speak to Jenny Mackewn, convenor of the Research Masters Programme