Ecological Restoration

The natural world needs you.

Designed for working professionals, the programs and courses in Ecological Restoration offer a variety of options designed to advance your knowledge and skills in the field.

In these courses and programs—a partnership between UVic's School of Environmental Studies and Division of Continuing Studies—you’ll be learning about the most current restoration practices from experienced and knowledgeable instructors, surrounded by peers that share your passion for restoring disturbed or degraded ecosystems. The curriculum takes a holistic approach that recognizes the importance of both the social and biophysical dimensions of ecological restoration.

You'll learn how to: 

  • incorporate native species and traditional knowledge into restoration planning and design
  • apply an ecosystem approach to the planning and design of restoration activities
  • understand the ethics, laws and policies governing restoration work
  • work with urban ecosystems and the urban/rural interface
  • manage invasive species

Ecological restoration programs

The University of Victoria's Sustainability and Ecological Restoration programs are designed to give you the knowledge and skills you need to restore habitats to their natural state.

PROGRAM Restoration of Natural Systems Diploma Restoration of Natural Systems Certificate Ecological Restoration Professional Specialization Certificate
CREDENTIAL Diploma Certificate Professional Specialization Certificate
PROGRAM FEES* $7890.00 (domestic students); $26,000.00 (international students) $5280.00 $3125.00
PROGRAM LENGTH 16 months - 6 years 16 months - 6 years 16 months - 2 years
ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS 3rd year undergraduate standing 3rd year undergraduate standing Undergraduate degree  + 2 years of professional work in the field
BEST SUITED FOR Anyone interested in a career in restoration who needs a university credential in this area; Or an undergrad student seeking additional specialization to their degree Anyone interested in a career in restoration, who already has a degree and some professional experience in a related area Professionals working in the field of landscape architecture, design, management, agrology, biology, forestry, mining, etc., and are seeking advanced training in ecological restoration
MORE DETAILS View Program View Program View Program

*fees listed are estimated based on current rates.

Program resources

We've compiled list of student resources for the RNS certificate and diploma programs including websites, course planners and learning modules. You can access those student resources on our RNS Student Resources page. 

Social media

Stay in touch with us on LinkedIn:


Courses open for registration

Courses open for registration

Ecological Restoration

Advanced ecology training that builds on your knowledge in the field. Courses are offered online, appealing to working professionals as a means to meet their annual professional development requirements or to update their skills and understanding.
Read More

General Studies

This new flexible certificate allows you to customize a course of study to meet your specific learning needs and objectives.
Read More

Restoration of Natural Systems - Certificate

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.
Read More

Restoration of Natural Systems - Diploma

An innovative, part-time program that balances theory and practice. An innovative, part-time program that balances theory and practice across all dimensions of ecological restoration. This dynamic, interdisciplinary credit program provides comprehensive knowledge and skills to those interested in the rapidly emerging field of ecological restoration.
Read More

Restoring a Mountain Bike Trail Meets Environmental Goals

For his final RNS Diploma Program project, Todd Redding restored a section of mountain bike trail in the Three Blind Mice trail network near Penticton, BC. Redding planned and undertook the restoration of the trail with the support of the Penticton Area Cycling Association.

Read Story

RNS Advisory Committee

The Restoration of Natural Systems and Ecological Restoration Programs are supported and guided by an Advisory Committee of experts who review and make recommendations to keep our programs current.

Read Story

Spring 2018 Newsletter - RNS Programs

The beauty of spring is upon us, but it’s not too early to start planning your fall courses! Upcoming courses Fall course registration is NOW OPEN and there are still seats open in some summer courses!

Read Story

Patagonia Steppe Restoration in Chile

More than half of the earth’s grasslands are degraded from nearly a century of intensive agriculture, resource extraction, and urbanization.

Read Story

Forget the "bucket list," discover the extraordinary in the ordinary

Our relationship with nature is complex. We usually think in terms of taking from nature. It provides us with our needs and wants. But to be a part of nature we also need to give back. There needs to be reciprocity.

Read Story

Managing urban lighting may help migrating birds

More than half of all North American bird species are migrants, moving seasonally between their breeding and wintering grounds. In his final research project for the RNS program, Andrew Elves analyzed how artificial light in Beacon Hill Park exacerbates habitat fragmentation, interfering with the circadian rhythms of migratory birds.

Read Story

Julian Anderson Lead Steward for Cuthbert Holmes Park

Julian enrolled in the RNS program in 2002 thinking he’d learn better ways to pull broom, but instead he learned much about planning, and especially the importance of community involvement in ecological restoration. Whenever the courses allowed, he would do his studies and reports about Cuthbert Holmes Park.

Read Story

Youth and Ecological Restoration Program helps vulnerable youth gain a sense of worth, belonging and place

Restoration of Natural Systems Program alumni, Wendy Kotilla, founded the Youth and Ecological Restoration Program (YER) in 2004 based on her own experiences of being surrounded by the healing powers of nature.

Read Story

Innovative “Native Plant Forage Forest” harmonizes ecological restoration and permaculture

Bringing together ecological restoration and permaculture while also incorporating traditional ecological knowledge held by the Penelakut Tribe is the goal of Adam Huggins’ final project for his RNS Diploma.

Read Story

From Neglected Boulevard to Native Plant Space

"If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered species: the child in nature." -Richard Louv, 2005

Read Story

Balancing the Books – Ecological Restoration Programs at the University of Victoria take People and Nature into Account

The University of Victoria offers two programs in ecological restoration benefitting from a partnership that brings together content expertise from the School of Environmental Studies (SES) and the sensitivity to adult learner needs and online teaching expertise from the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS).

Read Story

Layered Landscapes and Ecological Restoration in Cities

Ecological restoration depends critically on context. In addition to the ecological perspective, ecological restoration in cities needs to consider social and political layers that have impact on a site as well. Context for the site design is critical for a project to endure. There is no single prescription for restoration. To really work, a design requires that we understand the layers of a site’s past history, current influences — both on- and off-site and future impacts.

Read Story

Fall 2017 Newsletter – Sustainability and Ecological Restoration

Spring course registration is NOW OPEN. Courses fill up fast, so be sure to register early to get your seat.

Read Story

Summer 2017 Newsletter – Sustainability and Ecological Restoration

There are lots of exciting courses and events coming up – read on for details! Upcoming courses Fall course registration is NOW OPEN and Spring course registration will open August 1, 2017.

Read Story

Upcoming Event: Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team Research Colloquium

The RNS Program is sponsoring the 12th Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team (GOERT) Research Colloquium on November 18th at UVic! Join us for a full day of presentations...

Read Story

Our RNS Program turns 20!

2016 marks the 20 year anniversarry of our Restoration of Natural Systems (RNS) Program and we are thrilled to applaud the contribution this award-winning curriculum has been making in the field of ecological restoration since 1996.

Read Story

A Short Walk

Dr. Emily Gonzales is an Ecological Restoration Specialist at Parks Canada where she coordinates conservation programs, develops policy and provides scientific advice for ecological restoration projects in national parks. She has also worked for Environment Canada as a Biodiversity Analyst and was the Director of Science AL!VE, a non-profit organization for science education.

Read Story

New Program: Certificate in General Studies

Have you ever wanted to design your own credential? Have you ever struggled to find a program that meets your specific interests and needs? Then you might be interested in our newest program: the Certificate in General Studies.

Read Story

Kristina Coleman

Like many in her program, Coleman works full time and is five courses into the 12-course program. As a chemist, her day job is analyzing data for an environmental laboratory in Sidney. "I wanted to know more about the environment and systems and how it all fits together," she says. "I thought this program would be a little flaky, like maybe it won't be anything I can use (in life or work). But it definitely is."

Read Story

Gina Anderson, Program Assistant
Tel 250-721-8458
Valentin Schaefer, Academic Administrator
Tel 250-472-4387