The bridge to a healthier ecological future.

Knowing where we are headed, from an ecological standpoint, requires an understanding of environmental impacts and recovery strategies. The Restoration of Natural Systems program provides a bridge that connects this knowledge with the practical skills needed to solve complex restoration issues. The program’s holistic approach will empower you, as someone who is passionate about the environment, to make a difference in how we connect with the natural world.

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Program description

The Restoration of Natural Systems (RNS) diploma is a dynamic, interdisciplinary, credit program that provides comprehensive knowledge and skills to those interested in the rapidly emerging field of ecological restoration. Learn about the most current restoration practices from experienced and knowledgeable instructors, surrounded by peers who share your passion for the natural world.

If you have completed at least two years of an undergraduate degree, or its equivalent, and are looking for a recognized credential that will demonstrate your ability to undertake successful ecological restoration projects, this program is a good fit. If you already have an undergraduate degree in a related discipline, you might consider the shorter RNS certificate program.

This RNS 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.

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).

The program can be taken part-time or full-time.

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 partners

The University of Victoria logo

Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Environmental Studies

View our Advisory Committee


United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Regional UN logo

Regional UN logo, designed by W̱SÁNEĆ/Coast Salish emerging artist Sarah Jim
Learn more

Video - Restoration of Natural Systems and your career

Restoration of Natural Systems and your career

Watch this video to see how RNS can benefit your career

Video - RNS and the ecological restoration field

RNS and the ecological restoration field

Watch this video to hear how you can make a difference in the world with ecological restoration skills

Video - RNS: practical, hands-on and real-life

RNS: practical, hands-on and real-life

Watch this video to learn how RNS can give you the practical skills to get out into nature and make a difference

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 RNS diploma 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 with a recognized industry credential

Career options

Some of our learners pursue careers in the following roles:
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Restoration Specialist
  • Parks Employee (Municipal, Regional, Provincial, National)
  • Provincial Government Employee
  • Environmental Organization/Not-For-Profit Employee
  • Environmental Project Coordinator


News and resources

Courses and fees

Students must complete 12 credit courses (18.0 credit units) in order to obtain their diploma: six core (required) courses and six electives. 

With prior permission from the Academic Administrator, students may take up to four of these 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. Courses transfered from a concurrent undergraduate degree are not double counted, and in each program, the student must successfully complete the required number of units.

Diploma students also have the option of a one- or two-term co-op placement. More information about co-op placements can be found on the UVic Environmental Studies Co-op page

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, contact the Program Coordinator at 

Estimated fees

Description Fee
Program application fee $120.00
Six required courses ($695.00 per course for domestic students; contact us for International tuition fee estimate) $4,170.00
Six elective courses ($695 per course for domestic students; contact us for International tuition fee estimate) $4,170.00
Estimated Total $8,460.00*
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 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.

The program may edit or change application deadlines without notice, depending on seat availability. As such, we strongly encourage early application to the program. Acceptance into the program does not guarantee registration in individual courses.

How to apply

  1. Contact us ( 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, an updated course schedule and information about how to apply to UVic.

Application dates

Starting in
January 2022
Not Currently Accepting
Apply by
Dates TBD
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Starting in
May 2022
Accepting Applications
Apply by
March 15, 2022
Apply online Contact us for more info
Starting in
September 2022
Accepting Applications
Apply by
July 1, 2022
Apply online Contact us for more info