Natural Resources & Environmental Studies (MNRES Program)

Chair of the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Graduate Program:  Dr. Ian Hartley
*Applicable Supervisors:

Annie Booth, Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Philip Burton, Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Darwyn Coxson, Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Keith Egger, Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Gail Fondahl, Professor (Geography)
Arthur Fredeen, Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Greg Halseth, Professor, and Canada Research Chair, Rural and Small Town Studies (Geography)
Ian Hartley, Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Peter Jackson, Professor (Environmental Science and Engineering)
Chris Johnson, Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Kathy Lewis, Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Hugues Massicotte, Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Chris Opio, Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Ellen Petticrew, Professor, and Forest Renewal BC Endowed Chair in Landscape Ecology (Geography)
Mark Shrimpton, Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Youmin Tang, Professor (Environmental Science and Engineering)
David Connell, Associate Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Scott Green, Associate Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Steve Helle, Associate Professor (Environmental Engineering)
Philip Mullins, Associate Professor (Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management) 
Margot Parkes, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Health, Ecosystem and Society
Paul Sanborn, Associate Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)
John Shultis, Associate Professor (Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management)
Roger Wheate, Associate Professor (Geography)
Ken Wilkening, Associate Professor (International Studies)
Pamela Wright, Associate Professor (Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management)
Jane Young, Assistant Professor (Ecosystem Science and Management)

Website: http://www.unbc.ca/nres

The Master of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (MNRES) is designed to integrate the complementary aspects of resource and environmental issues. It focuses on an interdisciplinary approach to melding traditional science with social science perspectives, and resource planning and management. This degree is designed to attract students with a diverse range of backgrounds and aspirations who share an interest in looking beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries.

The MNRES degree is one Master's degree route within the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Graduate Program (the others are an MA and an MSc). The MNRES is the only one of the three degrees that fully embraces the interdisciplinary philosophy of the Faculty. There are three factors that determine whether a student pursues the MNRES degree: 1) student's background; 2) elective courses undertaken at UNBC; and 3) thesis topic. Depending on individualized learning objectives, the MNRES degree allows flexibility in choosing a research emphasis in the social, planned or natural environments from an interdisciplinary perspective.

All students must complete Graduate Colloquia (NRES 701-.5) twice during their course of studies, take a course in integrated resource management (NRES 703-3), complete NRES 700-3 and complete a research methods course approved by their supervisor and the Chair of the NRES Graduate Program. These required courses provide students with an informed, integrated base for understanding multi-faceted resource and environmental issues. Elective courses provide students with the opportunity to pursue their specialized interests within an interdisciplinary context. The MNRES degree also requires the completion of an independent research thesis (NRES 792-12) or project (NRES 793-6).

Thesis Option

Students pursuing the MNRES thesis route must write and defend an independent research thesis (NRES 792-12) which incorporates research design and implementation addressing an integrated research problem. Candidates must complete a minimum of 3 elective credit hours at the graduate level (i.e., at or above the 600 level) that emphasize an integrated approach to natural resource issues. A maximum of 3 credit hours from independent studies can be counted towards the elective requirement. Specific details of course work are determined by the research area chosen by each student. The supervisory committee will ensure the appropriate selection of elective courses, and may require a student to complete more than 3 credit hours if weaknesses in the student's background exist (including undergraduate prerequisites for graduate courses) or if additional courses are required for professional accreditation.

Summary of Thesis Option

Core Courses19 credit hours
     NRES 700-3 Research in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies
     NRES 701-.5 Graduate Colloquia (taken twice)
     NRES 703-3 Integrated Resource Management
     NRES 792-12 Master of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Thesis
Methods Course3 credit hours
Elective Courses3 credit hours
Total Required25 credit hours

Project Option

The project option is designed primarily for students who wish to enhance their professional career skills. Students pursuing this option must complete a project (NRES 793-6) —an extended position paper, report, or plan—that addresses a major problem or issue relevant to the field of natural resources and environmental studies. Candidates must complete a minimum of 9 credit hours of approved elective courses at graduate level (I.e., at or above the 600 level) that result in a broad, well-informed and integrated exposure to natural resources and environmental issues. A maximum of 3 credit hours from independent studies can be counted towards the elective requirement. The supervisory committee will ensure appropriate elective course selection, and may require a student to complete more than 9 credit hours if weaknesses in the student's background exist (including undergraduate prerequisites for graduate courses) or if additional courses are required for professional accreditation.

Students are required to pass an evaluation of the project set by the supervisory committee. 

Summary of Project Option

Core Courses13 credit hours
     NRES 700-3 Research in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies
     NRES 701-.5 Graduate Colloquia (taken twice)
     NRES 703-3 Integrated Resources Management
     NRES 793-6 Master of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Project
Methods Course3 credit hours
Elective Courses9 credit hours
Total Required25 credit hours
Students must meet UNBC's residency requirements.

Recommended Progression

The normal time for completion of the MNRES is two academic years. While two years is the recommended timeline, it may be adjusted at the discretion of the supervisory committee to suit a particular student's research and program needs.

Research in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (NRES 700-3) is offered annually in the September Semester. Students normally enrol in this course in Year I of their program. This timing allows students to pursue their area of specialization with a methods course or elective courses during the September Semester in order to develop an interest-specific framework within which to pose methodological questions for the thesis proposal.

The Graduate Colloquia (NRES 701-.5) taken twice is offered during the September and January Semesters. Electives, the required methods course, and Integrated Resource Management (NRES 703-3) may be taken at any time during Years I and II. The sequencing of courses is determined by the student in discussion with the supervisory committee. Over the September and January Semesters of Year I, the student, under the direction of the supervisory committee, develops a thesis or project proposal. By the end of the second semester, the student should have successfully defended the thesis or project proposal to the supervisory committee, allowing the student to undertake the collection of data during the summer of Year I. The student is expected to have successfully defended the thesis by the end of Year II.

Admission, Regulations and Committee Structures

Admission Requirements

In addition to the admission application requirements outlined in Section 1.0 of the Graduate Academic Calendar, acceptance to the MNRES program is contingent upon the prospective student finding a member of the faculty to serve as her/his supervisor. Applicants must also provide a completed Teaching Assistantship Application and a completed Funding Worksheet. Both forms are included with the application material for this program. Normally, at least two of the three letters of recommendation, exclusive of any letter provided by an intended supervisor, must be from individuals who are able to comment on the applicant's academic and research potential.

Application deadlines are found in this calendar under "Semester Dates" or online at: www.unbc.ca/calendar/graduate, also under "Semester Dates." The Natural Resources and Environmental Studies MNRES Program accepts students for the September, January, and May Semesters.

For additional information about graduate admissions or to download application materials, go to the Graduate Programs website at www.unbc.ca/graduateprograms.

Transfer Students

On the recommendation of the program, the Vice Provost Student Recruitment or designate may accept courses taken at other institutions for credit toward a UNBC graduate program.

Normal Time Required for Completion

Normally, the degree should be completed in two years. Part-time students may take longer to complete the degree depending on their personal circumstances, and the nature of their research involvement.

Committee Structure

Students are advised by a supervisory committee consisting of at least three members, including the academic supervisor who serves as the chair of the committee. At least one of the committee members must be from outside of the student’s program. The committee is struck during the student's first term of study.