Restoration of Natural Systems – Diploma RNS FAQ

Yes, you’ll need to apply to Continuing Studies for admission into the program, and you must also apply to the University of Victoria for credit study. Instructions for this will be provided upon acceptance into the program.

Applications for the RNS Program are accepted on a rolling basis. In general, we adhere to the following application deadlines: September entry apply by July 1; January entry apply by November 1; May entry apply by March 1. 

Once you’ve submitted your program application, the Program Coordinator and Academic Director will review it within a few weeks. We’ll contact you if additional information is required. If you meet the admission requirements, you’ll receive an electronic letter of acceptance and additional registration instructions from the Program Assistant.

We’ll send you a list of upcoming courses along with your letter of acceptance and registration information. You can register for courses as soon as you have your acceptance letter.

When you register for a course with us, you pay a $100.00 deposit to hold your place, and the remainder of your tuition is paid to UVic Tuition and Accounting.

Both programs require that you complete the same 6 core courses, but the certificate program requires that you only complete 1 elective, whereas the diploma requires that you complete 5 electives. The major difference between the programs is that the diploma program is a university credit program, meaning the courses are eligible for university transfer. The certificate program is a non-credit program, so courses taken through this stream are not eligible for university transfer. A program comparison matrix can be viewed here.

Some financial awards are available for students who are currently in the RNS Diploma program. You can consult the Environmental Studies Department Awards page here:

Funding from student loans may be available for this program. Please consult the Canada Student Loans webpage:

Course registration for program students can be done online by visiting the course description page. If you have difficulty registering online, you should contact the program assistant at If you prefer to register over the phone you can contact the Continuing Studies Registration Desk, open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm. Please call (250) 472-4747.

You should expect to spend approximately $50–$100 per course for reading material. There are occasional field trip fees for courses offered in person. You’ll receive a letter that outlines any additional fees one month prior to the start of each course. 

Credit students are also charged student fees. Please visit this website to learn more.

Yes, but priority registration is given to students that are accepted in the program. When space is available, you may register in specific courses without having to be enrolled in a program. If you want to take courses for credit, you will still need to apply to the University of Victoria.

Please contact the Program Coordinator for more information.

We send out quarterly email newsletters to let students know about upcoming courses and other program news. Please email the Program Assistant to be added to or removed from this mailing list.

In addition, a tentative course schedule is available to assist you in long-term planning. Feel free to contact us at any time to confirm which courses are coming up as the schedule is subject to changes. 

The RNS Program consists of a combination of online and face-to-face courses. The electives allow you to customize whether you prefer to study mostly online or mostly face-to-face. However, two of the RNS core courses (ER 312A and ER 312B) MUST be taken in person as they are practical field study courses.

Online courses are 12 to 14 weeks (one term) in length.

Face-to-face courses in the RNS Program are five-day intensive courses. Note that these courses typically require pre- and post-assignments, so the actual study period spans one month prior to and one month following the in-class dates for the course.

Students usually spend an average of 8-10 hours per week doing online course work. This time includes (but is not limited to):

  • reading
  • participating in discussion forums
  • preparing assignments
  • completing online quizzes

The online courses are asynchronous, so the course work can be completed as it fits into your weekly schedule as long as the course deadlines are met.

Yes, you can take the RNS Diploma while also completing a degree program at UVic. Biology, Geography and Environmental Studies are the most common degree programs paired with the RNS Diploma. In order to share courses between programs, you MUST graduate from both programs at the same time.

Please contact the Academic Director, Nancy Shackelford (, if you have questions about taking the RNS Diploma concurrently with your degree program.

You may transfer in up to four approved electives from other institutions. Courses considered for transfer into the program should be credit courses at the third- or fourth-year undergraduate level and focus on a topic related to the field of restoration. Nancy Shackelford, Academic Director, must approve any electives you plan to take as part of your RNS Program.

You can switch from the RNS Diploma Program into the RNS Certificate Program, but not the other way around. This would involve re-application to Continuing Studies, application to UVic for credit study, and repeating the courses already taken.

To switch from the Diploma to the Certificate, you need to inform the Program Office of this change in writing.

If you're not sure which program to choose, apply for the Diploma program, as it’s easier to switch into the Certificate in the future.

You can complete the RNS Diploma programs in as little as 16 months, but you may take up to six years to complete the program requirements. After six years has passed, you will need to submit a course plan for approval in order to continue in the program.

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