Master's of resource management

Master's of Resource Management (MRM) — Project

  • Per term regular fee program

  • Five to seven terms to complete

  • Supervised by a member of faculty

  • Eleven courses  

  • Some original research

  • Library submission required; journal publication possible

Master's of Resource Management (MRM) — Thesis

  • Per term regular fee program

  • Six to nine terms to complete 

  • Supervised by a member of faculty and a committee

  • Six courses 

  • Original research

  • Library submission and journal publication

Master's of resource management — Project

Program overview

This program is designed for recent graduates from a range of disciplines and for individuals with experience in private organizations or public agencies dealing with natural resources and the environment. Some students enter directly from undergraduate programs, but most have had some work experience between their undergraduate degree and REM.  

Relevant disciplines of undergraduate training or experience include: biology, engineering, chemistry, forestry and geology, as well as business administration, economics, geography, planning and a variety of social sciences.  

The MRM degree provides training for careers in private or public organizations and preparation for further training for research and academic careers. Students take an integrated sequence of courses in complementary fields, pursue further courses in their area of specialization in the School and throughout the University, and complete a research project on a topic involving more than one traditional discipline.  

The aim is to increase familiarity and competence in understanding the dynamics of natural resources, the strategies and techniques of natural resource and environmental planning and management, and the biological, physical, social, economic and institutional implications of resource decisions. Students also become familiar with various quantitative methods of analysis and aids to decision making. In the field of natural resources, in particular, it is important that an academic program stress problem-solving as well as creative and critical thinking skills, rather than focusing solely on subject matter such as fisheries, resource economics, or forestry.

Some courses are scheduled in the evenings or for week-long blocks. The optional Co-operative Education Program allows students to work in a private organization or a resource management agency to gain first-hand experience while obtaining their degree.

Core courses

REM 611: Applied Population and Community Ecology (5)

REM 621: Ecological Economics (5)

REM 631: Earth Systems and Global Change in Environmental Management (5)

REM 801: Principles of Research Methods (5)

REM 698: Field Resource Management Workshop — This is a mandatory workshop that is held in late August for new REM students. It provides an opportunity for students and faculty to get acquainted, and to introduce students to a variety of resource management issues that are discussed in the program. (3)

REM 699: Research Project (6)

AND one of either:

REM 642: Sustainable Community Planning and Regional Development (5), OR

REM 644: Public Policy Analysis and Administration (5)

In exceptional cases, if a student provides evidence of advanced education that is equivalent to one of the required courses, a waiver may be granted for that course, thereby reducing the number of required courses by one (see the Course Waiver Policy for details).


In addition to these required courses, students take five graduate elective courses, usually focused on their areas of specialization. The coursework normally fills the fall and spring terms in two consecutive academic years, and students spend the summer term working on their research. In consultation with your supervisor, elective courses can be selected from REM, other related SFU departments, or through the Western Dean’s Agreement with other local universities.

Example MRM Student Schedule

Fall Spring Summer Fall Spring Summer
REM 801 (5) REM 644* (5) or elective REM 699 (6) REM 699 (6) REM 699 (6) REM 699 (6)
REM 621 (5) REM 631 (5)   REM 642* (5) or Elective Elective  
REM 611 (5) Elective        

*Students may choose to take REM 644 or 642

Research project (REM 699)

Because of the heavy course load, the research project is usually scoped to be smaller than a Master’s thesis in a single-discipline department, but of equivalent quality. Many projects result in papers that are published in high-quality journals, and many MRM students have received awards and presented at conferences.  

Student research projects are intended to incorporate methods and/or ideas from more than one discipline. Student research often evaluates the effectiveness of existing natural resource management policies and, where appropriate, develops alternatives. Innovative strategies often emerge from research into the biological dynamics of natural resources, or the institutional, social, economic or public policy aspects of their management.

The emphasis in course materials and research programs is not simply to identify and describe resource and environmental problems, but to better understand causes and design acceptable solutions. Researchers apply a range of approaches, including cost-benefit analysis, simulation modeling, legal and institutional assessment frameworks, and social surveys to address critical and emerging natural resource management issues on local, national, and international scales.

Student research is often conducted in collaboration with resource management agencies to facilitate implementation of research results. For a selection of completed student research projects, see student research.

Master's of resource management — Thesis

Program overview

Applicants hoping to be accepted into the MRM Thesis stream need to apply to the program under the same criteria and requirement as the Project and Planning Stream applicants with the same deadlines and intake dates.

Students in the thesis stream complete seven courses and a master’s thesis. Both the Project and Thesis MRM streams require high-quality research and writing, but the thesis stream is more research intensive, producing a final thesis document that is larger in scope and makes a distinct original contribution to the academic knowledge base in their field. Students are expected to complete the program in 6 semesters (2 years).

Core courses

Students complete one of

REM 611: Population and Community Ecology (5)

REM 631: Earth Systems and Global Change in Environmental Management (5)

and one of:

REM 642: Sustainable Community Planning and Regional Development (5)

REM 644: Public Policy Analysis and Administration (5)

and all of the following:

REM 621: Ecological Economics (5)

REM 801: Principles of Research Methods (5)

REM 698: Field Resource Management Workshop (3)

and two graduate elective courses (6 units minimum chosen in consultation with the student’s senior supervisor)

REM 697: MRM Thesis (18)

The thesis course is considered "In Progress" until it is approved at an oral defence.