All RES students must register in the appropriate RES thesis course below for every term of their program, including all summer terms:

  • RES 599 for master’s students
  • RES 699 for doctoral (PhD) students

2024W Term 1 (September 2024 – December 2024)

RES 500B: Directed Studies

Directed Studies courses are designed by a student and faculty instructor to meet the needs of a student in an area that is not addressed in the current curriculum. RES students may register in an RES Directed Studies course with the approval of their supervisor and the RES Graduate Advisor. You must have an approved RES Directed Studies Form prior to registering in this course.

RES 500H: Human Rights and the Environment

Instructor: David Boyd


Day/Time: Tuesdays 2:00 – 5:00 pm


Enrollment: RES Graduate Students. Non-RES graduate students or advanced undergraduates may register with instructor approval.


Description


One of the most dynamic and exciting areas of law and policy today lies at the confluence of human rights and environmental protection. Whether it is the right to a healthy environment, the right to water, or the rights of nature, the legal landscape is struggling to respond to the global environmental crisis precipitated by the new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene.
Through a critical examination of international, constitutional, legislative, and jurisprudential developments, the course seeks to provide participants with a strong foundation and new insights into this dynamic field. Innovative comparative research techniques made possible through the Internet and online translation tools will also be highlighted.
A central theme will be evaluating the differences between human rights on paper and their realization in practice. Students will be expected to engage in critical thinking about the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of laws, policies, and institutions intended to protect human rights, while considering the broader ecological, political, social, and economic context.

RES 500H Course Outline

RES 502: Master’s Interdisciplinary Case Analysis and Research Design

Instructor: Gunilla Öberg

Day/Time: Tuesdays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Enrollment: RES Graduate Students. Non-RES graduate students or advanced undergraduates may register with instructor approval.

Description

This is a course in which case studies are used to teach how sustainability questions are turned into researchable topics and what research methods (qualitative and quantitative) are used to arrive at answers.  The case studies will reflect the various foci of research at IRES.  The case studies will begin with simple questions and grow in sophistication and complexity.  Case studies will be used to explore similarities and differences in how questions in different domains are structured and researched. The students in the class will then be encouraged to develop the research questions and proposed methods for their own thesis by work-shopping their ideas in the class setting and through one-on-one mentoring with class instructors.

The case studies will be selected with the aim of highlighting key features of good research design, how different perspectives (theoretically, conceptually and methodologically) can lead to different kinds of research and how there is value in these different approaches, and foster the search for even better hybrid approaches.

Given the wide range of incoming academic and professional backgrounds among the students, peer mentoring will be used within the class to help bolster knowledge of and familiarity with qualitative and quantitative methods.
The goals of this course are to:

  • foster literacy in research methods and bring about familiarity with good research design;
  • initiate design of the research proposals for every student.

2023-2024 RES 502 Course Outline *Master’s

RES 510: Social Ecological Systems

Instructor: Claire Kremen

Day/Time: Wednesdays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

Description

Dynamics of environmental issues across temporal and spatial scales using disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to integrating sociological, cultural, and ecological perspectives. This course considers interdisciplinary socio-ecological approaches that allow us to consider intwined social and ecological processes together.. Course content will include exposure to core concepts and debates from SES, political ecology and allied fields associated methods that focus on the integration of socio-ecological perspectives. as well as several case studies. Attention will also be paid to the evaluation of perspectives where such integration does not occur and why this matters. Students will leave the course with an understanding of (i) how these interlinked systems and dynamics function, (ii) how existing policies, incentives, governance regimes, behaviours (individual and collective), and preferences affect these systems and processes and (iii) how new policies and institutions might learn from available research to better promote sustainable trajectories.

RES 520: Climate Change: Science, Technology and Sustainable Development

Instructor: Amanda Giang & Navin Ramankutty

Day/Time: Thursdays 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Enrollment: RES Graduate Students. Non-RES graduate students or advanced undergraduates may register with instructor approval.

Description

This course will introduce students to the policy debates and responses created by climate change, which has emerged as the most complex environmental challenge facing the planet. On the one hand, changes in global climate are likely to have significant impacts in many parts of the world, and while a small number of regions / sectors may benefit many others could be devastated. On the other hand, reducing greenhouse gas emissions poses significant technological, economic and political challenges. Reductions of greenhouse gas gases will be made in the presence of incomplete information and continued scientific and economic uncertainty. Changes in human behaviour and technological innovations of the magnitude needed to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions may be difficult to achieve.

2021-22 RES 520 Course Outline

 

2024W Term 2 (January 2025 – April 2025)

RES 500B: Directed Studies

Directed Studies courses are designed by a student and faculty instructor to meet the needs of a student in an area that is not addressed in the current curriculum. RES students may register in an RES Directed Studies course with the approval of their supervisor and the RES Graduate Advisor. You must have an approved RES Directed Studies Form prior to registering in this course.

RES 500E: An exploration of quantitative methods for use in interdisciplinary contexts and socio-ecological systems research

Instructor: Mark Johnson


Day/Time: Tuesdays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm


Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)
Description


This course will explore quantitative methods and data used in interdisciplinary contexts including social-ecological systems and related research. Topics will include commonly used approaches from a range of fields. The course is designed to be accessible to students without prior expertise in quantitative methods while also providing opportunities for in-depth exploration of topics and methods for more experienced students.


We will cover topics from field data & instrumentation, community science (i.e., citizen science), geospatial (e.g., GIS) and remote sensing data, network data, time-series data, and systematic reviews & meta-analyses. Specific topics and methods to be covered during the term will be adjusted based on student interests. The course will also touch on some philosophical aspects that people might not otherwise cover in their training (e.g. “What is data”?) and provide students with exposure to strategies for effective and ethical data collection, management, and integration.

500E Course Outline

RES 507: Human Technological Systems

Instructor: Stephanie Chang

Day/Time: Tuesdays 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Enrollment: RES Graduate Students. Non-RES graduate students or advanced undergraduates may register with instructor approval.

Description

The influence of science and technology on public policy is bidirectional. Science and technology (S&T) is influenced by policy decisions (policy for science) and in turn influences public policy (science for policy). The course introduces students to basic models for understanding this bidirectional interaction. We will draw upon literature in a wide range of disciplines including: economics of technological change, philosophy of science, environmental science and engineering, social studies of science, and history of technology. We will also rely upon the extensive writings of scientists and engineers in their role as policy observers and advisors. This year’s case studies will focus on the on-going energy transition. We will draw upon energy transition cases from across the world — from both industrialized and developing countries.

2018-2019 RES 507 Course Syllabus
Sample RES 507 project: LNG White Paper, 2020, by Mauricio Carvallo Aceves (IRES), Nigel C. Deans (IRES), Cristian Hernandez (UBC Graduate Program in Science and Technology Studies), and Muhyee Nyera Bakini (UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs).

RES 508: Ecosystem Services

Instructor: Kai Chan

Day/Time: Thursdays 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Enrollment: RES Graduate Students. Non-RES graduate students or advanced undergraduates may register with instructor approval.

Description

Coming Soon

RES 602: Interdisciplinary Research Design for Sustainability Impact (Doctoral)

Instructor: Jiaying Zhao

Day/Time: Wednesdays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Enrollment: Graduate Students

Description

In this course, students will learn how inchoate ideas and topics of interest are turned into researchable topics that are concrete, well-defined, and precise, and what research methods (qualitative and quantitative), rules of evidence, and strategies of proposal development are used to arrive at answers. Topics include research design, presentation, theory, research questions and policy relevance.

The course will begin with the evaluation of published papers and successfully funded proposals. The remaining portions of the course involve an explicit focus on students’ own research designs, which will develop in stages and be iteratively peer-assessed. By the end of the class, students will complete a solid, review-ready proposal for their own thesis work.

Given the wide range of incoming academic and professional backgrounds among the students, peer mentoring will be used within the class to help bolster knowledge of and familiarity with qualitative and quantitative methods. This is an interactive seminar, where robust and consistent participation and attendance is expected of all students. Each week, the class may include lecture, discussions, group problem solving, design workshops, identifications of core ideas, scenario-based learning, and proposal evaluations.

602 Syllabus

 

2025S Summer Session (May 2025 – August 2025)

No formal RES courses taught in the summer session.