MPM Courses

The MPM program uses strong applied approaches to learning and discussion of biological principles, and provides experience interfacing science with problems facing society. Its curriculum uses theory to guide practice but recognizes guidance must be effective and workable. A core of graduate courses, while theoretically based, extend the principles of biological systems to practices that reduce the impact of pest organisms. Additionally, field courses where pest biology and management are examined and assessed within their environmental and human contexts, are an integral part of the program.
The program requirements are:

  • Four classroom-based graduate courses
  • Two graduate field courses
  • A research-based thesis
  • Electives & Other Courses

Graduate Courses

Students must take four classroom-based graduate courses. Of these, two must be BISC 847 Pest Management in Practice and BISC 844 Biological Controls, and two additional 800 level courses must be selected from the following list of BISC graduate courses that are particularly relevant to pest management. One of these courses can be substituted by an 800 division elective (three units) or STAT 650-5 Quantitative Analysis in Resource Management and Field Biology.
Courses of Particular Relevance to Pest Management
These graduate courses are usually offered biannually during the fall or spring semesters, depending on faculty availability and student demand. Some courses may not be offered in every two-year cycle.
BISC 838 - Population Dynamics and Demography (3)
Theory and practice of population modeling and demographic analysis.
BISC 841 - Plant Diseases and Plant Biotechnology (3)
An examination of the major factors that lead to development of plant diseases, control practices and the applications of plant biotechnology to disease management.
BISC 846 - Insecticide Chemistry and Toxicology (3)
The chemistry of insecticides, with emphasis on their toxicology, metabolism and molecular mechanism of action.

BISC 852 - Ecological and Molecular Interactions between Insect Vectors and Parasites (3)
Interactions between parasites and their arthropod vectors. Emphasis is placed on recent advances in our understanding of the interactions, including aspects that can be exploited to reduce parasite transmission.
BISC 884 - Special Topics in Pest Ecology and Management (3)
A course that provides graduate students with an in-depth analysis of a topic in pest ecology and management. The course content will change from year to year to reflect student interests and topical research, and can be taught by any faculty member of the Department of Biological Sciences.

Graduate Field Courses

The field courses combine classroom lectures with field demonstrations and problem-based learning. The students are provided with an overview of pest control methods as they are currently practiced in agriculture, forestry, and urban environments. The courses include visits to working farms, commercial forest operations, grain elevators, and research laboratories. Instruction is supported by specialists from government agencies, extension services, industry, and pest control companies. When feasible, students participate in pest management activities, such as field sampling, diagnosis of pest problems, and calibration and use of equipment.
Students must take two field courses (8 days each):

BISC 601-2: Agriculture, Horticulture and Urban Pest Management
A broad range of agricultural pests and their management, with emphasis on insects, crop diseases, and weeds in greenhouses, orchards and field crops. Pest problems in urban environments, including stored products in and near buildings.
BISC 602-2: Forest Pest Management
Management of insect, microbial, vertebrate and plant pests of forests and forest products, including seed orchards, nurseries, dryland sorting areas. Emphasis is placed on diagnosis, decision-making, interactions and techniques for forest pest management.


Students enrol in BISC 849 and write a laboratory or field-based research thesis. The thesis involves some aspect of pest biology and management. In their theses, students are encouraged to include sections where their research is interpreted to offer guidance for the management of pests. The M.P.M. thesis has an applied orientation, which distinguishes it from the M.Sc. program.
BISC 849: Master of Pest Management Thesis
An independent research thesis based on laboratory or fieId-based research and focused on some aspect of pest management. The research may be supervised by any faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences. The research can be conducted in collaboration with other organizations or institutions willing to sponsor the project.

Electives & Other Courses

Refer to the official SFU calendar for information on other courses of interest to prospective M.P.M. students.