The program will provide curriculum that includes the following:

  • Core content courses: 18 units
  • Topical electives: 16 units
  • Technical and professional skills courses: 18 units
  • Technical and professional workshops: 8 units
  • Group Capstone Project: 12 units


The MCRS is a 2-year program, consisting of 6 full time quarters (each 12 units).  The 72 total units are broken down as follows:

  • Experience in core ecological and evolutionary principles underlying conservation and restoration
  • Interdisciplinary training in the earth and environmental sciences important for a modern perspective on system-based conservation and restoration
  • Training in professional skills required for effective practice and success in leadership positions in non-profit, institute, for-profit, and agency settings
  • Experiences in solutions-based research and/or projects to create links between communities of research capacity (universities, institutes, agencies) and need (non-profits, land management agencies, private land-holders, and governments)
  • Exposure to social, political, and economic principles that guide the application of science to conservation and restoration

Course Descriptions

(Core Content Courses)

EE203B. Conservation & Restoration Science TutorialThis course introduces the practice of conservation and restoration science by providing fieldwork opportunities. Through this course, students are exposed to important aspects of active adaptive management, including field-based research and monitoring, to help develop skills in the application of theory to practical work situations.
EE205. EcologyThis course focuses on the principles of ecology to support the practice of implementing ecological research within an adaptive management framework. This framework is used to explore the complexities of ecological systems, including working with multiple stakeholders, incorporating changing weather and climate conditions, and using experiments to compare conservation and restoration techniques.
EE264. Conservation BiologyThis course focuses on the causes and consequences of changes in biological diversity and the concepts and theories in ecology that have the greatest potential for conserving biological diversity. The recurrent question will be: how can we apply ecology to improve conservation of species and ecosystems and maintain the services they provide? In this class, students explore the scientific evidence showing how and why Earth’s biological resources are being altered and focus on identifying creative applications of ecology and areas of research that will mitigate human impacts on biodiversity.
EE265. Restoration EcologyThis course focuses on the principles of restoration ecology to support the practice of implementing restoration within an adaptive management framework. Students learn about the science of designing and implementing restoration and how restoration can inform basic ecological concepts. The primary goals are to help students understand restoration as a scientific process and to develop the practical means of executing an ecological restoration project using an adaptive management approach.
ESS264. Ecosystem EcologyThis course explores concepts in ecology with potential for conserving biological diversity and identifies creative applications of ecological research that mitigate impacts of rapid human population growth and habitat destruction on biodiversity. Course topics include ecosystem development, element cycling, and interactions with plants and microbes.

Technical Skills Courses

EE207. Quantitative MethodsThis course is designed to train students in quantitative methods and experimental design. Students learn how to craft well-designed hypotheses, design questions in tandem with analyses, principles of designing experiments and analyzing long-term data sets. These skills are highly applicable to emerging questions of management and used in professional settings.
EE268. Technical WritingThis course focuses on the skills and practices needed to effectively write technical communications in the modern era. The course relies heavily on developing habits of good writing, effective use of style, narrative, and illustration, and appropriate leverage of technology and multi-media platforms. These elements will be applied to specific technical document examples contributing to additional components of the Masters in Conservation and Restoration Science program.
EE270. GIS for Environmental Research & ConservationThis course is an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for ecologists, with an emphasis on specific applications for the conservation and restoration science. Course topics include fundamentals of cartography, creating/editing GIS data, linking spatial and tabular data, georeferencing, map projections, geospatial analysis, spatial statistics, and the development of GIS models. Course examples are drawn from hydrology, ecology, and geology.
EE266. Restoration TechniquesThis course provides an overview of methodologies used when planning for and implementing ecological restoration. Because methodologies are context dependent, the course emphasizes sourcing and acquiring reference materials applicable to a variety of restoration contexts and then explores these approaches in more depth with specific examples and case studies.

Professional Skills Courses

EE262. Professional WorkshopThis course focuses on the knowledge, skills, certifications, and licenses needed by professionals in the field of conservation and restoration.  The primary goal is to provide students with opportunities to explore educational opportunities related to professional and/or technical skills in more depth.
EE269. Project ManagementDiscover the planning, design, implementation, and aftercare phases of managing a conservation or restoration project. Students will project cost, manage risk, analyze sites, evaluate and review projects, and become familiar with common permitting and consultation requirements.
EE203A. Science CommunicationThis course focuses on the skills and practices needed to convey information related to conservation and restoration in a way that has broad appeal and/or effective messaging for non-scientific audiences by assessing the audience, developing effective storytelling, and deploying a persuasive information campaign.

Integrated Knowledge Courses

EE286. MCRS CapstoneThe capstone project is designed to prepare students to produce meaningful solutions to today’s environmental problems. Over the course of the year, student teams complete a project in collaboration with a local partner/stakeholder to address a current management need and/or solve a real environmental problem. To complete the project, students apply the knowledge and skills learned in this program to a practical professional setting, working directly with practitioners to plan, implement, and evaluate the project. All projects must be solution-oriented and nested within an active adaptive management framework. (Students take 2 units in the Fall quarter, 4 units in the Winter quarter, and 6 units in the Spring quarter.)

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