How does the programme work?
Researching Holistic Approaches to Agroecology is a distance learning course with optional face-to-face intensives. It offers a flexible pathway of study allowing students to undertake a postgraduate diploma with the option of undertaking further studies in order to obtain a full Master’s degree. The course is supported through online tutorials, individual supervision with one of the Crossfields faculty and optional intensives.
The course is designed to foster and support research in the practical and social dimensions of agroecology (organics, permaculture, biodynamics, urban agriculture etc.) The course content does not generally address specifics of theory, practical application or implementation of any one of these approaches. Rather the course assumes some background in one or several approaches to agroecology or that students will gain the necessary knowledge and experience alongside the content for this research course.
The Researching Holistic Approaches to Agroecology course is delivered in the format of modules. Content for each module is made available to students on the Crossfields VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). A student undertaking the postgraduate diploma will complete the following modules:
- Holistic Science
- Research methods
- Research design
- Sustainable Practice 1
- Sustainable Practice 2
- Communicating Holistic Approaches
Should students decide to undertake further studies in order to obtain an MA they can do so (provided they have completed all requirements for the postgraduate diploma). Studies for an MA will include completing three general studies modules (Ethics and Professional Practice, Social Research Methods, Consciousness Studies) and a dissertation.
Each module will be delivered in the form of study notes written by our faculty along with exercises, literature, and media files. This self-directed aspect of the course is supported through online tutorials with fellow students and faculty, though individual supervision with a course tutor and through intensives.
Each student’s area of research will be different, students follow an individualised learning journey (within the framework of the modular structure) that is accompanied by an assigned member of the core faculty. In addition to this, students are supported to develop their own field mentoring relationships with an outside circle of practitioners who have the relevant specialist expertise. This learning is also brought back into the group through student presentations and seminars.
The course is designed to help you broaden your understanding and practice in a given area of holistic agroecology (permaculture, for instance) while also deepening you own field of interest. This is facilitated through modules which invite you to study theory and practice which is not familiar to you and which may introduce quite different approaches to your own practice (this part of the course is specifically addressed in Sustainable Practice 1).
You are enabled through the course to deepen your own practice and understanding of a particular approach (i.e. urban agriculture) through module assignments and the research that will contribute to your dissertation.
Whatever your area of interest and initiative, you will be studying on Researching Holistic Approaches to Agroecology with colleagues from different parts of the world, with different levels of expertise, and with different approaches to the subject matter and its application. This makes for a very rich and rewarding forum for research.