A holistic approach to ecological restoration. 

Drawing on the latest theories and innovations in the field of ecological restoration, the part-time Restoration of Natural Systems (RNS) certificate program gives you a solid background in the principles and practices relating to ecological restoration through online and hands-on learning. You'll learn biodiversity and conservation biology, legal and ethical consideration, how to plan and carry out restoration work, field techniques and more. View more ecological restoration programs here.


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Program description

This dynamic, interdisciplinary non-credit program provides comprehensive knowledge and skills to those interested in the rapidly emerging field of ecological restoration. You’ll be learning about the most current restoration practices from experienced and knowledgeable instructors, surrounded by peers that share your passion for the natural world.

The key strength of the program is its emphasis on a holistic approach, providing training that combines the research and theory of the biophysical sciences with skills for effective collaboration with communities in restoration work.

This program is supported by a unique partnership between the School of Environmental Studies and the Division of Continuing Studies, resulting in expertly designed courses that are current, comprehensive and delivered with attention to the needs of adult learners. Achieve your goals at your own pace with online and on campus course options and flexible program completion timelines.

Program partners

The University of Victoria logo

Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Environmental Studies

View our Advisory Committee

The RNS Program has received both the Award of Excellence from the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (2001) and the Ecostar Award for Environmental Education from the Capital Regional District (2005).

Program features

  • A holistic approach to ecological restoration
  • Flexible program completion timelines
  • Combination of on-campus intensive and online course formats
  • Courses instructed by restoration professionals
  • Different perspectives come together as part of a shared vision
  • A recognized university credential for professionals

Program outcomes

By the end of the program students will be able to:

  • Design and evaluate restoration projects in a broad range of subject areas
  • Use scientifically rigorous approaches to restoration projects
  • Interpret technical reports and scientific publications
  • Identify and understand the decisions and policies governing restoration work
  • Apply research methodologies to restoration projects
  • Use current mapping and sampling technologies
  • Solve problems encountered in implementing restoration projects including dispute resolution, conducting consultative processes, and building consensus
  • Understand issues of national and international restoration
  • Take human impacts into consideration when analyzing and designing restoration projects
  • Incorporate traditional ecological knowledge in restoration planning where appropriate
  • Communicate knowledge about restoration projects to the wider public

Who is this program for?

The Restoration of Natural Systems program will appeal to those who:

  • are interested in a career in environmental conservation and restoration
  • want specific information relevant to their environmental or planning work
  • want to complement their current degree program

Career options

Some of our learners pursue careers in the following roles:
  • Private Industry Environmental Consultant or Restoration Specialist
  • Municipal, Regional, Provincial or National Parks Employee
  • Provincial Government Employee (e.g. Ministry of Environment)
  • Environmental Non-Government Organization or Not-For-Profit Society General Employee
  • Graduate Student
  • Restoration Specialist
  • Environmental Project Coordinator



Additional program information

Courses & fees

You must complete eight non-credit courses in order to obtain their certificate: six core (required) courses and two electives.

With prior permission from the Academic Administrator, you may take one of the electives from outside of the program. Courses considered for transfer into the program should be at the third- or fourth-year undergraduate level and should focus on a topic related to the field of restoration.

Please see the individual course pages for descriptions and scheduling information.

Courses open for registration

Program planning

A different selection of courses are offered every term. To see our upcoming offerings, please view our anticipated course schedule. To assist in your program planning, you can also view all course descriptions

Graduation information

For students that have completed the program, graduation forms are available: Application to graduate


Estimated fees

Description Fee
Program application fee $120.00
Six required courses ($670 per course) $3,960.00
Two elective courses ($670 per course) $1,320.00
Estimated Total $5,400.00*
Fees listed in this section are an estimate. Total program fees may vary depending on delivery format, course selections, student fees, textbooks and taxes.

Application information

Admission requirements

The non-credit program is offered at the third- and fourth-year undergraduate level. You should have a minimum of two years of post-secondary studies or an equivalent preparation developed through work and life experience.

A first year ecology or biology course is recommended. If you require a biology upgrade course, we offer a low-cost online self-study option: ER099 Biology and Natural History, which is open for registration at any time.

You should also have a demonstrated interest in the environmental field, indicated by courses taken, positions held, volunteer work or hobbies.

Applicants who speak English as a second language must meet the University of Victoria's English language proficiency requirements before applying to the program.


How to apply

  1. Contact us (ecorestoration@uvic.ca) if you want to discuss your education and experience prior to submitting your application.
  2. Click the APPLY ONLINE button. You will be asked to create an account if you are new to Continuing Studies. Please fill out the application form carefully: incomplete applications will result in increased processing times. Note that you will be asked to provide a credit card number to pay the $120 application fee.
  3. Upon acceptance into the program you will receive an acceptance letter, information about how to register for courses and an updated course schedule.

Application dates

Starting in
September 2019
Accepting Applications
Apply by
Aug. 15, 2019
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Starting in
January 2020
Accepting Applications
Apply by
Dec. 1, 2019
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Starting in
May 2020
Accepting Applications
Apply by
March 31, 2020
Apply online Contact us for more info