The major in Conservation is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students for careers in the conservation of natural resources. The program provides students with a solid foundation across several disciplines including the natural and social sciences underlying the conservation and management of natural resources, an appreciation for the political and socioeconomic contexts that affect the design and outcomes of conservation and management strategies, and a working knowledge of technologically advanced tools and quantitative techniques available to renewable resources planners and managers. Throughout the program, emphasis is placed on developing communication skills, both oral and written, including approaches to public participation in natural resources planning.

Students must select one of two specializations upon completion of second year:

  • Science and Management
  • Global Perspectives

The Science and Management Specialization focuses on the conservation and management of renewable natural resources, and landscape and local level planning for both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. A notable feature of this major is the Integrated Field School, a semester-long course divided into modules, each concentrating on a particular component of B.C.'s environment.

The Global Perspectives Specialization focuses on the conservation and management of renewable and non-renewable resources, policy formation, and planning within a global context. Two notable features of the major are the international education that students receive through term-long study abroad or through an intensive short-term international field school, and the global issues capstone course which uses case studies and modelling approaches to explore the effects of decision-making on resource sustainability. Acceptance into the Global Perspectives specialization may be limited by demand, in which case acceptance will be based on academic standing at the completion of second year.

Upon successful completion of this Major, the notation “Major in Conservation" will be placed on the student's transcript."

Degree Requirements

First Year
APBI 200 3
BIOL 121 3
CHEM 111 or 121 4
ECON 101 3
ENGL 110, ENGL 111 or NRES 2251 3
NRES 150 OR WRDS 150 3
GEOS 103 3
MATH 1002 3
NRES 100 OR 1103 3
NRES 103 1
Electives 3
Total Credits 32
Second Year
CONS 200 3
CONS 210 3
NRES 200 3
NRES 201 3
NRES 210 3
NRES 211 3
NRES 2314 3
NRES 232 3
SOCI 101 or 102 3
Elective 3
Total Credits 30
1 NRES 225 does not count toward the dual degree with Education. Students interested in this option should take ENGL 110 or 111.
2 Students without previous knowledge of calculus may take MATH 180 or 184 (4 credits), or MATH 110 (6 credits) if a grade of 80% in MATH 12 (or equivalent course) was not achieved, but the credit difference cannot be applied towards program elective requirements. MATH 190 may also be taken, but is a terminal course and not recommended for students who would like to take further MATH courses.
3 NRES 110 is restricted to students in the Land One cohort.
4 Could be replaced with BIOL 300.

Specialization in Science and Management

Third Year
CONS 330 3
NRES 241 3
CONS 481 3
FRST 3181 3
FRST 385 3
FRST 386 3
FRST 395 3
SOCI 360 or GEOG 310 3
Elective 3
Elective4 3
Total Credits 30
Fourth Year
CONS 440 3
CONS 4512 15
NRES 341 3
FRST 495 3
CONS 486 3
CONS 498 or Elective3 3
Total Credits 30
1 Could be replaced with ECON 371 or 374 (3 credits).
2 An integrated course taught in Term 1. Registration is restricted to this course only during Term 1 and only to students in fourth year if NRC program.
3 Must be a course numbered 300 or higher.
4 Elective must be a course numbered 300 or higher. To be chosen in consultation with the program advisor.

Specialization in Global Perspectives

Courses which meet the requirements in each of the following areas may be requested from the program administrators.


Third and Fourth Years
NRES 341 3
CONS 330 3
NRES 241 3
CONS 452 12
Core Areas1 15
Resource Systems2 9
Language Courses3 6
Electives4 9
International Experience5  
Total Credits 60
1 One 3-credit course for each of the following topic areas: (i) resources and economics; (ii) resources and society; (iii) international policy/governance and resources; (iv) indigenous perspectives; and (v) globalization. Acceptable courses are listed on the Major's website.
2 One 3-credit course in three out of the following four topic areas: (i) oceanography/fisheries/water systems; (ii) aquaculture/food systems; (iii) forestry systems; and (iv) energy/mineral systems. Acceptable courses are listed on the Major's website.
3 Credits may be obtained in any non-English language courses, but students are encouraged to learn a language that would help them in their study abroad term. Students who can pass an oral proficiency test for a non-English language relevant to their study abroad term would be exempt from this requirement and the language credits will be replaced by 6 credits of electives. The NRC program director would coordinate the proficiency test and approve the electives.
4 3 credits of electives must be selected from the Resources Systems list. 6 credits of electives may be general, of which at least 3 credits must be at the 300-/400-level. An undergraduate thesis (CONS 498) may be taken in place of 3 credits of general electives.
5 The international experience requirement may be met by a minimum of one term study abroad, a two-four week international field school, an international co-op placement, or by an international internship.

Courses Toward Registration as a Professional Forester in BC

Students who wish to work toward membership in the Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) are advised to contact the ABCFP or the Director of Student Services in the Faculty of Forestry for information on appropriate courses to add to their program.

Courses Toward Registration as a Professional Biologist in BC

Students who wish to work towards membership in the College of Applied Biology of BC (CABBC) should contact the College of Applied Biology for course and other membership requirements.


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