Master of Natural Resources Management

The most important thing you need to know about our program is that it is interdisciplinary, and is both thesis- and course-based in order to accommodate that. While your thesis may take an ecological or sociological perspective on a resource management problem, you will also take courses in a wide variety of courses, such as ecology, human dimensions of natural resources management, conservation biology, quantitative or qualitative analyses, law, economic dimensions of natural resources management, policy, environmental impact assessments and more. We believe that this broad education is important in ensuring that graduates are prepared to make responsible, respectful and informed management decisions.

You will take 9 courses in all. This is a higher load than many masters programs, especially considering you are doing a thesis. This is necessary to ensure that students are educated in a variety of diverse disciplinary areas related to management of natural resources and the environment.

Does that make the program take longer than other masters programs? For many students, the answer is no. Time to completion of the MNRM program is not longer than the average time to completion of the other Masters programs in our faculty. The program is designed to be completed in approximately 2 years. Full-time Masters students are encouraged to take at least 7 courses in the first 8 months of their program, during which time most students will also initiate or complete their research proposal. The remaining time is normally focused on your thesis and research, and completing 1 or 2 further courses.

We strongly support this approach, because we believe that an interdisciplinary education is critical for making informed management decisions. If you are considering the NRI for your graduate education, you must ensure this balance is right for you.

Study Plan

A central feature of the Master’s program is the Study Plan prepared and developed by each student in consultation with a faculty advisor. The objectives of the plan are: (a) to define a research direction; and (b) to organize the student’s course work in the framework for integration and synthesis of interdisciplinary knowledge. The Study Plan should define an area of concentration, identify learning objectives, and set out a strategy for achieving those objectives. As the student’s ideas, interests, and learning evolve, the Study Plan is revised to reflect a program synthesis. Except in first year, students are not allowed to register in specific courses unless they have an approved Study Plan.

Faculty Advising

All students must have a specific faculty advisor throughout their academic program. Students usually select an advisor prior to applying for the program, but may be assigned an advisor during the application process. When students enter the NRI, their advisor’s role is to facilitate development of the Study Plan. Students are strongly advised to discuss their research interests and program with their advisor prior to starting their program. Students will have more success if they ensure that their research interests match those of the supervisor. As such, we recommend students select a suitable advisor prior to starting their graduate program. Throughout the student’s time in the Institute, advisors act as program consultants for the student’s individual area of study.


Students in the Master’s program follow an individual Study Plan which includes: (a) 12 credit hours of required courses; (b) a minimum of 15 credit hours of elective courses; and (c) a Master’s thesis. At least 21 credit hours must be at the 700-level, with the remaining 6 credit hours at the 400-level. In certain justifiable cases, a 300-level course may be admissible.

Required Courses

The required courses in the curriculum are offered by an NRI faculty member using specific expertise and drawing upon the interests and abilities from faculty in a wide range of University departments and beyond. Four course offerings are required (NRI 7182, NRI 7222, NRI 7232, and NRI 7262). The central academic agenda of the required set of courses is underpinned by the concept of sustainability – economic –social and ecological - and includes:

(i) assessment of the theoretical foundations and practical applications of progress toward sustainable management of natural resources;
(ii) understanding of ecosystems as self-organizing and responding systems;
(iii) examination of conventional and alternative social arrangements, including institutions and tools of governance, as means of improving human well-being and environmental responsibility.

Elective Courses

The elective set of courses provides opportunity for in-depth examination of different issues related to sustainable management of natural resources. Selection of elective courses by students will be aimed at strengthening particular areas of expertise. Most of the NRI electives are courses which have developed over time, and have been offered at the Institute for many years. Students may also choose electives from courses offered in other Departments at the University.


The MNRM program is designed to be completed in 2 years. The time to completion varies with individual students and may exceed 2 years.

Many students complete the program in 2 years. However, it varies by student. In predicting the length of time it will take you to complete your program, you should consider the following issues that tend to lead to longer programs:

(1) if you don’t have a research project in mind when you enter the program
(2) if you did not discuss research ideas or objectives with your selected graduate supervisor before applying to the program
(3) if you take fewer than the recommended number of courses in your first year
(4) if you are a part-time student
(5) if you work 20 or more hours per week or get a full-time job before the end of your program

The minimum time for full-time students enrolled in the program is one academic year (in recognition of advanced standing). The maximum time allowed for the completion of the M.N.R.M. degree is 4 years, beginning with the date of first registration in the program. Student progress is assessed on an annual basis, with the right to register in any year being subject to satisfactory academic progress.

The Master of Natural Resources Management Thesis

Candidates for the Master of Natural Resources Management degree are required to complete a thesis, and as such the Thesis Regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies apply. For the Master of Natural Resources Management degree, the thesis is an interdisciplinary research project on a resource and environmental management problem. The thesis may entail cooperation with agencies in the community at large and with other Faculties at the University of Manitoba. A minimum of two years from the date of initial registration is generally required to complete the thesis.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies has defined general rules regarding thesis requirements which can be viewed on their website. In addition to these rules, the Natural Resources Institute has a document entitled Master of Natural Resources Management Thesis Process, which outlines the stages for completion.

The thesis is an independent written research document resulting from an interdisciplinary research project, which addresses a practical problem or issue in natural resources and environmental management. The thesis should show that the student has mastery of the specific field of natural resources and environmental management under investigation, and is fully conversant with the relevant literature. The thesis should also demonstrate the candidate’s competence in completing a research project. The thesis may entail cooperation with agencies in the community at large and with other faculties at the University of Manitoba.

Academic Standing

A minimum grade of C+ is required for credit in each course. In addition, a minimum cumulative grade point average of B is required to receive the M.N.R.M. degree. Subject to the approval of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, students receiving a grade of C may either repeat a course (with the permission of the Director) or take an equivalent substitute course. The Natural Resources Institute normally requires withdrawal of students receiving a grade of C or lower in more than 6 credit hours or course work during the program. All NRI courses (NRI 7XXX) follow a standard grading system as follows:

A+ >90
A 85-89
B+ 80-84
B 75-79
C+ 70-74
C 65-69
D < 65

Students are advised that courses offered by other departments may not follow the above breakdown.

Advance Credit

Courses taken outside of previous degree programs may be accepted for advance credit. These cases are considered on an individual basis with a recommendation made to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, providing the work completed is consistent with the requirements of the M.N.R.M. program. The decision to grant advance credit must be made at the time of admission. In such cases, the student must have the prospective courses approved by the Director prior to enrolment.