Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (MA Program)

Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Graduate Program Coordinator: Dr. Roger Wheate (2023), Dr. Zoë Melitis (2024)
ESM: Ecosystem Science and Management
GEES: Geography, Earth, and Environmental Sciences
ORTM: Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management
SPS: School of Planning and Sustainability
Environmental Studies
Annie Booth, Professor (SPS)
David Connell, Professor (ESM)
Tara Lynne Clapp, Associate Professor (SPS)
Balbinder Deo, Associate Professor (Business Management)
Karima Fredj, Associate Professor (Economics)
Zoë Meletis, Associate Professor (GEES)
Philip Mullins, Associate Professor (ORTM)
Tristan Pearce, Associate Professor (GEES)
Catherine Whalen, Associate Professor (Education)
Guido Wimmers, Associate Professor (Engineering)
Rylan Graham, Assistant Professor (SPS)
Loraine Lavallee, Assistant Professor (Psychology)
Ramla Qureshi, Assistant Professor (Engineering)
Greg Halseth, Professor, and Canada Research Chair, Rural and Small Town Studies (GEES)
Neil Hanlon, Professor (GEES)
Catherine Nolin, Professor (GEES)
Margot Parkes, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Community Health/Environmental Health/Rural, Remote, Aboriginal and Northern Health (Health Sciences and Northern Medical Program)
Roger Wheate, Professor (GEES)
Sarah de Leeuw, Associate Professor (Northern Medical Program)
Mark Groulx, Associate Professor (SPS)
Zoë Meletis, Associate Professor (GEES)
Outdoor Recreation, Conservation and Tourism
Mark Groulx, Associate Professor (SPS)
Philip Mullins, Associate Professor (ORTM)
Catherine Whalen, Associate Professor (Education)
Jennifer Wigglesworth, Assistant Professor (ORTM)
The Master of Arts in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies [MA (NRES)] offers students the opportunity to pursue studies of the social dimensions of human-environment interactions, from a community-based or regional perspective. The degree is distinguished by its focus on human perspectives on historical and contemporary resource and environmental issues. It encourages the study of the social, cultural, ethical, economic and political dynamics of resource and land use, and environmental change in northern ecosystems.
Students must choose from the following areas of study:

  • Geography
  • Environmental Studies
  • Outdoor Recreation, Conservation and Tourism

All students must complete Graduate Colloquia NRES 701-0.5 twice during their course of studies, NRES 700-3 and a research methods course approved by their supervisor and the Chair of the NRES Graduate Program.These required courses will provide students with an informed, integrated base for understanding multi-faceted resource and environmental issues. Elective courses will provide students with the option to pursue their specialized interests.
Candidates must complete a minimum of 6 elective credit hours at the graduate level (i.e., at or above the 600 level) that emphasize the human dimensions of resource or environmental issues. A maximum of 3 credit hours from independent studies can be counted towards the elective requirement. Specific details of coursework 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 6 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.
The MA (NRES) degree also requires students to write and defend an independent research thesis (NRES 794-12).

Core Courses 4 credit hours
Methods Course 3 credit hours
Elective Courses 6 credit hours
MA Thesis 12 credit hours
Total Required 25 credit hours

Students must meet UNBC's residency requirements.
Recommended Progression
The normal time for completion of the MA (NRES) is two academic years. While this 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 enroll 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 701-0.5) is offered during the September and January Semesters. Students are required to enroll in this course, which lasts two semesters, once during their degree program.
Electives and the required methods course may be taken at any time during Years I and II. The sequencing of electives 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 proposal. By the end of the second semester, the student should have successfully defended the thesis 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 General Admission of the Graduate Academic Calendar, acceptance to the MA program will be contingent upon the prospective student finding a member of the faculty to serve as their 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 Admissions and Regulations, or online at: (under Semester Dates). The Natural Resources and Environmental Studies MA Program accepts students for the September, January, and May Semesters.
For additional information about graduate admissions or to download application materials, go to the Office of Graduate Administration website at
Transfer Students
On the recommendation of the program concerned, the Dean 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 would usually take longer to complete the degree depending on their personal circumstances and the nature of their research involvement.
Committee Structure
Students will be advised by a supervisory committee consisting of at least three members, including the academic supervisor who will serve as the Chair of the committee. At least one of the committee members must be from outside the student’s program. The committee will be struck during the student’s first term of study. 

Updated: July 13, 2023