MSc Holistic Science

Schumacher College

Program Description

MSc Holistic Science

Schumacher College

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

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

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

Western science is dominated by ‘reductionism’ – the idea that natural phenomena can be explained in terms of their component parts. Reductionism is incomplete, and can be counter-productive since it suggests that by analysing the ‘mechanical’ workings of nature we can fully predict and manipulate it. Holistic science recognises the limitations of this methodology, focusing instead on nature’s qualities, complexity and intrinsic value, giving a science fit to solve global challenges.

What is Holistic Science?

The programme explores new methodologies that are gaining success in exploring natural systems. These recognise that complex systems are dynamic processes realising their emergent properties as wholes – and that these properties are conditioned, but not determined, by the system’s constituent parts.

The course provides methodologies that go beyond reductionism in understanding dynamic interactive systems, whether these are ecosystems, the weather, organisations, a plant or a developing human embryo. Students develop a holistic understanding of these systems and along the way learn to apply techniques such as computer modelling, intuitive perception and phenomenology. Of particular importance here is Goethe’s methodology as a way of meeting the whole through the parts.

The programme advocates a participatory science of interactions, qualities, values and intuition, a science that is more capable of informing some of the key movements today, including environmental restoration, spiritual renewal and community regeneration.

Holistic thinking is already revolutionising physics, earth system science, ecology, evolutionary biology, organisational development and health studies. It is generating increasing interest from scientists in many fields – especially those concerned with issue relating to sustainability. Since1998, when it first began, this Masters programme has developed a coherent methodology of holistic enquiry, proving a rigorous and ethical framework for a mature science.

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.

Our teachers have included:

  • Stephan Harding
  • Philip Franses
  • Patricia Shaw
  • Satish Kumar
  • Bill Plotkin and Geneen Marie Haugen
  • Craig Holdrege
  • Rupert Sheldrake
  • Shantena Sabbadini
  • Jules Cashford

Who is this course for?

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 implications and consequences of using western science as a tool for gaining reliable information about the world.
  • Insights about how contemporary sustainability issues have come about and the various routes we could take in addressing them.
  • Theoretical and experiential understandings of an ecological world view for transforming your understanding of your place in the world and how to act within it.
  • An understanding of the importance of sensing, feeling and intuition for an expanded science.
  • Knowledge of a range of alternative scientific methodologies which integrate qualitative experience and quantitative measurement.
  • An understanding of the emergent properties of whole systems through the lenses of chaos, complexity and Gaia theories, and how these relate to ecological, social and economic problems.
  • An understanding of how Holistic Science is being applied in the creation of a more sustainable world.
  • A clearer understanding of your own rational and emotional states and processes through experiential and reflective group enquiry.

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 of the programme have taken a broad integrated systemic approach in areas such as environmental management, education for sustainability, design, biological research, ecological business consulting, academia, healthcare, agriculture, media and film-making, NGOs and working with indigenous people.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated October 1, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
Full time
United Kingdom - Totnes, England
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
United Kingdom - Totnes, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info