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School of Resource and Environmental Management | Faculty of Environment Simon Fraser University Calendar | Summer 2023

Resource and Environmental Management

Doctor of Philosophy

In the resource and environmental management doctor of philosophy (PhD) program, students gain exposure to three core areas: environmental sciences, resource and environmental policy and planning, and ecological and environmental economics. Research will integrate elements of two of these three areas.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulations 1.3 in the SFU Calendar.

PhD applicants are strongly advised to visit the University for an in-person interview. Detailed application information, including the application deadline, can be found on the department's website:

Program Requirements

This program consists of required courses, a thesis proposal, and a thesis for a minimum of 36 units. Students are required to maintain 3.67 CGPA throughout the program.

Students complete

REM 698 - Field Resource Management Workshop (3) *

An intensive field course introducing students to the diversity of issues and viewpoints concerning management of natural resources. Problem areas will include forestry, mining, fisheries and wildlife management, energy, recreation and land use planning. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Equivalent Courses: MRM698.

and courses in the three core areas (may be substituted with permission of graduate studies committee)

REM 611 - Population and Community Ecology (5)

A review of population, community, and ecosystem ecology; implications of these areas for methods of resource management and environmental assessment. Equivalent Courses: MRM611.

REM 621 - Ecological Economics (5)

Introduction to economic concepts for management of the environment and specific natural resources. Key issues are definitions of sustainability, the substitution capability between human-made and natural capital, and the appropriate application of economics to sustainable development analysis and policies. Equivalent Courses: MRM621 MRM662.

REM 644 - Public Policy Analysis and Administration (5)

Analysis of methods of policy-making and problem solving with particular emphasis on natural resource issues. Topics include goal setting, problem definition, program scheduling, policy evaluation, policy implementation and public administration. A practical analysis of the structure and processes surrounding major contemporary policy issues. Equivalent Courses: MRM644.

and a thesis proposal

REM 898 - Thesis Proposal (0)

Students will present and orally defend their proposal before an approved oral examination committee. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD

and a thesis

REM 899 - PhD Thesis (18)

Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Students with credit for MRM 899 may not take this course for further credit.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD

* Normally completed in the first fall term

Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements in four years.

Other Information

Transfer from the Master's Program to the PhD Program

A master of resource management (MRM) student who shows exceptional ability may apply to transfer to the PhD program. All university regulations governing transfers must be met. Students transferring from the master's program will be eligible to earn only the PhD degree.

Course Exemption

Students may be exempt from taking one of the core REM courses on the basis of substantial prior experience, with agreement from the supervisory committee, the course instructor, and the REM graduate studies committee. If a student receives a course exemption, the student is not required to replace the course for which the exemption was received.

Course Work

Although it is strongly recommended that students complete all three core courses in their first fall term, the timing will be determined by the student and the supervisor in conjunction with the supervisory committees.

Course selection must be approved by the supervisor or the supervisory committee, who may recommend additional courses to strengthen the student's background in areas directly related to their thesis research. Elective courses may be completed outside of the School of Resource and Environmental Management.

Thesis Proposal

No later than the end of their fifth term, each student is required to successfully defend their thesis research proposal before an approved oral examination committee comprised of the student's supervisory committee and plus an additional examiner who is not on the supervisory committee.

The thesis research proposal must show how at least two of the core areas will be incorporated into the student's research. Through the thesis proposal and oral defence, the student will demonstrate:

  • Their general preparedness in disciplines related to their research;
  • Their specific readiness to conduct the proposed research;
  • And that the proposed research is feasible, has merit, and could form the basis of a thesis if completed adequately.

If a student requires further background in either general or specific preparation, the examining committee may recommend further courses of study and/or background preparation after the proposal defence. If the candidate fails this examination and this assessment is approved by the REM graduate studies committee, the student will be required to withdraw from the PhD program.

Detailed information about the examination procedures, dates, and deadlines are provided in the REM PhD handbook.


A written thesis is based on the candidate's original research, and must meet the interdisciplinary requirements outlined above. All PhD candidates must pass the formal thesis examination, which is conducted in accordance with University regulations.

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.