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Ecological Restoration Program | Faculty of Environment Simon Fraser University Calendar | Summer 2023

Ecological Restoration

Master of Science

Simon Fraser University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) collaborate on the master of science (MSc) in ecological restoration, a full-time professional graduate program offering a combined emphasis on applied technical experience and advanced theoretical foundations of ecological restoration. This joint BCIT-SFU credential requires students to satisfactorily complete coursework at BCIT and SFU. For further information visit:

Admission Requirements

The MSc in ecological restoration is administered by SFU and BCIT. Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulations 1.3 in the SFU Calendar.

The student must hold a four year bachelor's degree in ecology, plant science, animal science, soil science, environmental science, resource science (land, water, fish and wildlife, forestry), physical geography, environmental engineering, or a related program from a recognized post-secondary institution.

In addition, students must have completed:

  • One introductory course each in ecology and statistics;
  • Two upper level courses; in biology, ecology (plant, fish, wildlife, restoration/reclamation, etc.), statistics, plants science, soil science, physical geography (hydrology, geomorphology, limnology, etc.), forest science, natural resource management, environmental science, or related courses.

See Graduate General Regulations for English language and reference requirements.

Program Requirements

This program consists of core courses, specialization courses, and an applied research project. A minimum of 15 units are completed at SFU. ECOR courses are based at BCIT. ECO courses are based at SFU.

Students complete a minimum of 36 units, including all of

ECOR 9100 - Concepts of Ecological Restoration and the Physical Environment (3)
ECOR 9110 - Planning and Monitoring for Ecological Restoration (3)
ECOR 9200 - Field Applications of Restoration Principles (3)

ECO 611 - Concepts of Ecological Restoration and the Biological Environment (3)

A review of general ecology, including theories relevant to the individual, the population, and the community, and their interaction and their relationship with the physical (abiotic) environment. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the M.Sc. Program.

ECO 621 - Graduate Seminars in Research Methods (3)

An examination into the general philosophical foundations of science, the nature of scientific disputes, and the relevance of these to ecology. Topics covered include the following fundamental concepts: science, the scientific method, reliable knowledge, poor science, hypothetical-deductive approach, hypothesis testing and experimental design. Prerequisite: ECOR 9100 - Concepts of ER & the Physical Environment; ECO 611 - Concepts of ER & the Biological Environment; ECOR 9110 - Planning & Monitoring for ER.

ECO 622 - Project Management and Policy for Ecological Restoration (3)

An examination of project management in ecological restoration with an emphasis on managing uncertainty, risk assessment and communications. Reviews the legal system that governs use and protection of natural resources and the environment in Canada. Prerequisite: ECOR 9100 - Concepts of ER and the Physical Environment; ECO 611 - Concepts of ER and the Biological Environment; ECOR 9110 - Planning and Monitoring for ER.

ECO 641 - First Nations & Social Perspectives of Ecological Restoration (3)

An exploration of human-nature relationship from multiple perspectives to the practice of ecological restoration. Special emphasis on First Nations. Covers knowledge of ecological restoration and how to compromise among diverse perspectives, protocols. Prerequisite: ECO 622 - Project Management & Policy for ER; ECOR 911O- Planning and Monitoring for ER.

and one of

ECOR 9210 - Restoration of Terrestrial Ecosystems (3)
ECOR 9220 - Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems (3)

and applied research project I and II

ECOR 9300 - Applied Research Project I (3)
ECOR 9400 - Applied Research Project II (3)


ECO 630 - Applied Research Project I (3)

In ECO 630 (Applied Research Project 1) students select a specific site and develop a professional relationship with their chosen client. Students will conduct reconnaissance surveys of their target ecosystem and appropriate reference ecosystems to identify the primary issues and stressors associated with their target ecosystem. They will then develop a proposal detailing the general approach to developing a restoration plan, all the while interacting with their client to ensure the approach and deliverables meet the client's needs. Prerequisite: ECO 611, ECO 621. If students are enrolled in ECOR 9300 at BCIT they cannot enroll in this course for further credit.

ECO 640 - Applied Research Project II (3)

ECO 640 is a continuation of ECO 630 (Applied Research Project I). Students will develop their proposal from ECO 630 into a detailed restoration plan (or similar deliverable) specific to the client’s needs. Students will design a restoration plan that is scientifically defensible by drawing on the best current knowledge available to alleviate the stressors and restore the degraded ecosystem. They will identify the uncertainties present with the specific site, and include an approach to minimize the risk associated with these uncertainties. When possible, students will detail a research design that will reduce these uncertainties, should the restoration plan be implemented. Students will orally defend their restoration plan. Prerequisite: ECO 611, ECO 621. If students are enrolled in ECOR 9400 at BCIT they cannot enroll in this course for further credit.

Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements in five terms.

Other Information

Course Work

Students enrolled in ECOR 9300 and ECOR 9400 cannot enroll in ECO 630 or ECO 640 for further credit. Students enrolled in ECO 630 or ECO 640 cannot enroll in ECOR 9300 or ECOR 9400 for further credit.

Six units of electives are required to meet the 36 units degree minimum.

Three of these six units must be SFU graduate units in order to meet the SFU 15 graduate unit requirement. Students are encouraged to access SFU graduate courses offered by the Ecological Restoration program, Geography, Biological Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Resource and Environmental Management.

The other three units of electives can be completed at BCIT, SFU, or through a University course approved by the Ecological Restoration program through the Western Dean's Agreement.

Selection of courses should be done with advice from an ER faculty member and complement the area of specialization, either Terrestrial or Aquatic.

Course enrollment will be dependent on course availability and permission of the instructor.

Applied Research Project

In the applied research project, students will conduct extensive fieldwork, normally in collaboration with industry partners and academic supervisors.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.