Bachelor of Science Degree Program (BSc)

natural buildersGaia University bachelor's degrees are suited to young adults who are seeking to transition from the more typical other-directed (teachers, professors, parents) learning approaches found in conventional education to becoming discerning, self-foraging action-oriented learners and unlearners capable of substantial self-direction. This transition to autonomy is highly significant. Many adults in our conventional culture never make this leap as it involves us facing up to the fears and oppressions that prevent us coming into our own power in a culture which prefers us as powerless consumers.

The journey is likely to be bumpy and scary at times (which is why we recommend re-evaluation counseling for its capacity to assist us in noticing and releasing what is getting in the way of our full emancipation) and Gaia University is structured to provide good levels of peer and advising support for the willing adventurer.

Meanwhile, we lay out a clear development pathway, called Integrative Ecosocial Design (IESD), which is intended as a liberating structure. IESD provides a broad professional foundation for your subsequent career and livelihood choices. Within IESD, you are expected to learn and practice permaculture design skills sufficient to generate an understanding of ecological systems. This foundation, a practical understanding of ecology developed through hands-on engagement, is a core principle of our approach. It notices that human culture is a wholly owned subsidiary of the planet (to use a corporate metaphor) and not the other way round. It is through the development and inner integration of this sensibility that you will build your capacity to design human systems that are both ecologically and socially regenerative.

An additional advantage of this earth-based approach is that you acquire meaningful hard skills in such critical areas as soil building, gardening, food storage and processing, a variety of manual crafts, ready for increased self-reliance and cooperation in the post-petroleum era. Gaining these hard skills goes a long way to resolving the tough issues that many young adults experience. These issues arise from the current mainstream educational direction. When we arrive at young adulthood, filled with a lot of mainstream education including expectations of professional livings, we notice that we have very few skills that have practical value in the world. 

You will have the opportunity to learn good people skills, project management, documentation, and digital skills – all highly desirable and much needed in the world change field (as well as in conventional employment fields). You could imagine yourself becoming a project volunteer who is a desired, delightful team member due to your combination of practical competence; ability to complete jobs you take on; capacity for emotional intelligence; and reflective, purposeful attitude toward learning. Often such volunteers are rapidly invited to become sponsored interns and the transition to paid leadership positions in leading-edge projects with the opportunity to further develop as a designer – perhaps in readiness to create your own projects that will fill in some of the gaps in the global ecosocial worknet.

Length of Program: 3 - 4 Years

Our 4-year bachelor's degree program includes an optional 'Career Year'. Depending on your pre-program experience and your in-program performance, we may ask you (or you may choose) to add this third year into your program to create a US-style 4-year bachelor's degree program. Previous relevant experience and good in-program performance may allow you to bypass this year and complete your program in three years. You always have the option to take Year 3 before entering your capstone (final) year.

Accreditation for Prior Learning and Experience

Accreditation for Prior Learning and Experience (APL/E) is the means through which learning previously acquired by formal means (e.g. college attendance) or informal means (e.g. work experience, specialized trainings) is valued and offset against credit requirements for a Gaia University qualification. Young adults with well developed skills in self-directed learning (home schoolers for example) and/or who have one or two years of conventional college experience (that includes transition towards autonomy) can apply for accelerated bachelor's degrees. At our discretion, and in consultation with you and your references, we may reduce the required years in program with Gaia University. Options include commencing your program in Year 2 or rarely, Year 4. You can indicate your request for APL/E in your application form.

eden vardy with ugandan kidsIn addition, one of the strong features of the Gaia University/IMC accreditation system is that people with more relevant life experience than an average young adult may not need to start at bachelor's level if they do not already have an undergraduate degree. Gaia University may, after reviewing your application for prior experiential learning, course records, and life experience, accept you directly into a master's program. If you strongly feel you qualify for a master's program you are welcome to apply directly for that program with the intention of discussing it during your applicant interview.

Program Requirements and Available Services

The table below outlines the services available to bachelor's associates as well as the minimum requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to graduate. It is important to understand that it is up you, as the associate, to access our available services. The main advisor is your primary and most regular contact point and will assist you in assessing and initiating these services. Not accessing them, however, does not warrant requests for refunds. If you are on our Premium Program you are purchasing a well-thought-out, complete package of services with your Gaia University tuition. It is up to you to maximize your access and utilization.


Pre-Capstone Phase
1st Action Learning Cycle (Min: 12 Months)

Pre-Capstone Phase
2nd Action Learning Cycle (Min: 12 Months)

Career Phase (Optional)

Min: 12 Months

Capstone Phase
(Min: 12 Months)

 Online Orientation      
 Main Advisor
 Skill-flex Advisors  

 Learning Support & Specialist Advisors

 Output Packet Review  
 Mid-Phase Presentation  
 End-of-Phase Presentation  
 Gaia Radio Content Calls
 Internal End-of-Phase Review    
 External Review      
 E-Portfolio access and instruction (access can be extended post-program by becoming a Friend)  √  √
 Optional extras to add to program:        
      Annual Graduation Event      

A standard pattern exists for all programs which you can review on our Program Cycle page. An overview of requirements specific to the bachelor's program follows. You will also receive detailed information regarding all services and requirements during your orientation workshop.

kyle in kids classroomWorkshops - Prerequisite, Required, and Recommended

  • A Permaculture Design Course, Ecovillage Design Course or equivalent design study is a course required to be completed during the first Action Learning Cycle or, if credits are sought for the first cycle, is a prerequisite to program commencement. This is not a course offered through Gaia University; it needs to be completed with an organization of your choice. Proof of completion and/or certification will be required.
  • A content workshop is required at the beginning of each Action Learning Cycle except the first one. This is a workshop chosen by you with the approval or your Main Advisor. To give you maximum flexibility to choose your topic and to negotiate workshop fees (like work trade) we have not included it in your tuition fees.
  • Highly Recommended: Re-Evaluation Counseling Fundamentals Course (additional fees apply) 

You will need regular internet access to fulfill the requirements of this program.

Click here for how to apply.