Masters in Resource Management (MRM) - Research Project

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 fields such as 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 professional careers in private or public organizations and preparation for further training for research and academic careers. 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.

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.

Core required courses for the REM Master’s program are:

REM 601-5: Social Science of Natural Resources Management
REM 611-5: Applied Population and Community Ecology
REM 621-5: Ecological Economics
REM 631-5: Earth Systems and Global Change in Environmental Management
REM 801-5: Principles of Research Methods
REM 698-3: 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.
REM 699-10: Research Project
AND one of either:
REM 642-5: Sustainable Community Planning and Regional Development, OR
REM 644-5: Public Policy Analysis and Administration
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 four graduate elective courses, usually focused on their areas of specialization. The coursework normally fills the fall and spring semesters in two consecutive academic years. Elective courses are offered in a broad range of areas, including:

• resource community planning
• water management
• environmental impact assessment
• environmental toxicology and management
• regional development
• ecological risk assessment
• sustainable energy systems
• forest ecosystem dynamics and management
• population ecology
• conservation biology and landscape ecology
• tourism planning and development
• environmental law and regulation
• political economy of environmental management
• institutional design
• fisheries management
• outdoor recreation & parks planning

Research Project (REM 699)
Because of the heavy course load, the 699 research project is usually scoped to be smaller than a Master’s thesis in a single-discipline department, but of equivalent quality. Many 699 projects result in papers that are published in high-quality journals, and many REM Master’s students have received awards for the published papers and presentations 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. Agency staff are frequently members of student supervisory committees. For a selection of completed student research projects, see Student Research.