M.A. Program

The SelfDesign Graduate Institute offers a Master of Arts in SelfDesign. This is a low-residency, distance education program. It includes two week-long Residencies in Washington State in August in two subsequent years and on-line courses and directed studies. In all of our courses and directed studies, learners and faculty mentors meet on-line in real time for conversations.

The program includes several Core courses:

  • SD 500 SelfDesign: Principles and Praxis (3 credits) at the first Year Residency
  • SD 501 Modes of Inquiry (3 credits) First Year, Fall Semester, online via Zoom
  • SD 502 Epistemological Foundations of Learning (3 credits) First Year, Winter Semester, online via Zoom

Once these courses are completed, every learner selfdesigns the remainder of her/his M.A. program, choosing the courses she/he wants to pursue and/or the directed studies she/he wants to create—and the faculty mentors with whom he/she wants to learn.

The program also includes a second year Residency, with enrollment in SD 503 Living in a Learning Community (3 credits).

The Master of Arts program includes 12 courses in all, 36 credits. Learners culminate their M.A. program by choosing to complete either a 6-credit or a 3-credit thesis or final project.

SelfDesign means you have the opportunity to explore your own curiosity, answer your own questions, and follow your own enthusiasms.

The Institute offers three M.A. options:

M.A. in SelfDesign—for learners who want to discover their learning path as they go along

M.A. in SelfDesign: Post-Modern Schools and Integral Learning Concentration—for learners who know they want to create or work in a learning organization or school for children and/or teens

M.A. in SelfDesign: Designing Learning Communities Concentration—for learners who want to create or work within a learning community for adults or families

The Certificate in SelfDesign is another option—for learners who already have a Masters degree or who have not yet earned a Bachelors degree.

Low residency model

All SelfDesign Graduate Institute programs employ a “low residency model.” The learner starts her/his program with the eight-day August Residency during which the faculty mentors and learners meet in class sessions in person. The First Year learners participate in SD 500: SelfDesign—Principles and Praxis. (The Institute has rolling admissions during the year, so some learners begin their course work in January or April.)

For M.A. learners the second year also begins with the eight-day August Residency. The Second Year learners participate in SD 503: Living in a Learning Community. All other courses and directed studies throughout the year are conducted via electronic media. Learners in both cohorts share meals, some activities, and recreation.

The Residency usually takes place during the third week of August. See the Academic Calendar for exact dates this year. Learners pay for room, board, and use of facilities for the week in addition to tuition for their Residency course. They also arrange their own travel to and from the Residency.

Cohort support

There is enormous value in learners beginning their M.A. or Certificate program in a cohort, learning together at the week-long August Residency and then participating together in the two Core courses online, SD 501 in the subsequent Fall Term, and SD 502 following that in the next Winter Term.

We know that in a cohort, learners support each other, learn from and with each other, and develop social and intellectual bonds that enhance their learning and growth and may last for many years beyond the earning of a degree.

M.A. Program Outcomes

Every learner is invited to author her/his own M.A. Program, so the outcomes for each learner’s program will be the ones selfdesigned by that learner. In the SelfDesign Graduate Institute’s M.A. program, you decide what outcomes you seek—and our faculty mentors and your colleagues assist you and support you in this effort.