Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Natural Resources Management

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring, Autumn
  • Course codeGEO-SD660
  • Number of semesters1
  • Language


  • Resources

Main content

Level of Study


Teaching semester

Spring and autumn

Place of Instruction

Access to internet

Objectives and Content

While there exists much relevant knowledge about natural resources, they are frequently mismanaged, often with dramatic consequences for those involved. One aim of the course is to build solid intuitive understanding of the theories and principles underlying natural resources. A second aim is to help students develop the skills and competencies needed for proper management of for instance water reservoirs, fisheries, forests, animal herds, and climate, and to operate in product and quota markets.

For resource management, central topics are system descriptions, dynamics, economics, uncertainty and policy design. For management of commons problems, central topics are competitive games, regulation, and market-based institutions.

Learning Outcomes

Express knowledge and understanding

Students know about cause and effect relationships of importance for resource management and are able to express this knowledge in 'stock and flow diagrams'. They understand how cause and effect give rise to developments over time such as equilibrium, growth, goal seeking, cycles, and overshoots.

Apply knowledge and understanding

Students are able to apply knowledge and understanding to manage natural resources and to operate in markets for products and quotas.

Make judgements

Students know how to distinguish between resources and their specific needs for policies or management strategies. They know about implementation problems and the need to consider second best solutions.


Students are aware of likely misperceptions. They can use analogies, narratives, and illuminating historical data to communicate. Based on their own experience with challenging management tasks, they understand the need for proper simplification.

Develop learning skills

In particular, students develop learning skills to deal with dynamic problems. They know and can apply concepts such as stocks and flows, nonlinearity, feedback, delays, and policy in new situations. After passing the exam, simulation models and selected animations and simulators are made available for the students for personal use or for use in own teaching.

Required Previous Knowledge

All applicants are responsible for checking that they have the needed background knowledge and computer equipment. Before applying for the course, download and take the following Readiness-test, for more help download the FAQ: http://sddownloads.uib.no/readiness_test/FAQ.pdf 

If you pass the test and are committed to take the course, we recommend you to apply for the course.

Note that the course software is not compatible with the latest operating system (OS) on Mac computers. Make sure that you have an alternative computer available before you apply for the course.

Access to the Course

The course is open to students worldwide. Applicants must meet the minimum entrance requirements for higher education in Norway or they must be older than 25 years of age. There is no tuition.

Teaching and learning methods

The course is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) for everybody 25 years or older. Since the course gives full university credit, students below 25 years of age must document minimum entrance requirements for higher education, see below. The course utilizes a number of new online teaching tools to help students develop deep understanding. Study at your own speed answering questions, solving problems, and watching videos.

The course is organized in six chapters, four concerning resource management and two dealing with markets and policies to deal with commons problems. Each chapter has three main parts: Challenges, Learning-by-doing, and Applications.

In Challenges students either answer questions or make decision in simulators or multi-player games. In Learning-by-doing sessions, students are led by questions and hints to develop understanding on their own. Answers prompt immediate feedback. Debriefing videos summarize and generalize what has been learnt. Early chapters make extensive use of animated analogies to build experience/intuition before using formal simulation models. Later chapters rely on simulation models and an interactive tool to explore policies under uncertainty. In Applications, students make use of what they have learnt in realistic case studies, where own decisions may be compared to historical decisions.

A chat option allows students to engage in discussions.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Students must go through the entire course and answer all questions in order to be allowed to take the exam.

Forms of Assessment

Assessment of student performance has two components. First, there is an online exam at the end of the course. Questions are varied randomly among students to unable collaboration. Second, students may be selected for an oral examination using Skype, where they must present a valid photo identification card. The probability of being selected is high if there is a big discrepancy between answers in chapters and in the exam. The grade is based on the online exam, however to pass the course, selected students must receive a passing grade on the oral examination. When the course is taken as part of a program at a university or college, that institution may organize the exam according to own rules.

Grading Scale


Assessment Semester

Spring and autumn

Course Evaluation

Students receive an Internet based evaluation form.


Department of Geography