Courses and Timeline

The program requires that 4 courses be taken, each taking 2 weeks of study time. With a total of approximately 60 hours of instruction, courses may be completed in different sessions, over a two-year time period.

The FCM program is offered in 2 sessions each year, one in the Fall (October – December) and one in the Winter/Spring (February/April). Students may register and complete all courses in one session or spread out the courses (in order of prerequisite requirements) over a 2-year time frame.


  1. Carbon Accounting (February 5 ‒ 16, 2024)
    • Module 1: Forests and the Carbon Cycle
    • Module 2: Forests and GHG Budgets
  2. Carbon Data (February 19 ‒ March 1, 2024)
    • Module 1: Where Data Comes From
    • Module 2: How Data Are Used
  3. Carbon Initiatives, Programs, Projects (March 4 ‒ 15, 2024)
    • Module 1: Context
    • Module 2: The Stages and Components of a Forest Carbon Project
  4. Carbon Policy, Finance, Markets; Challenges (April 1 ‒ 12, 2024)
    • Module 1: Policy, Finance, Markets
    • Module 2: Ongoing and Emerging Challenges

Each course includes a mixture of theory and applied examples, including case studies.

Courses must be taken in sequential order, as they build on one another, but may be taken individually, in different sessions within a two-year time frame, to receive the micro-certificate.

Timeline to Completion

FCM participants have the flexibility to set their own timeline for completion, within a maximum of two years.


Basic knowledge of ecology and natural resource-based management.

Course Descriptions

Carbon Accounting

To effectively establish and implement carbon projects and tap into relevant markets, one must first understand how carbon and greenhouse gasses (GHGs) are measured and monitored. This course starts by exploring the global distribution and dynamics of forested ecosystems – where forests are and how this has changed over time. This sets the stage for examining the global carbon cycle, including the key role that forests play. The course culminates in dissecting how GHGs are tracked over space and time and how carbon budgets are determined.

The primary learning and competency outcome is an understanding of the connections between the forest sector and climate change.

Carbon Data

Building on a foundational understanding of forest carbon accounting, this course examines the types and origins of data associated with forest carbon projects. Data types include landscape characteristics: what’s there and how it’s used, using societal data (sociocultural, socioeconomic, governance, land use and carbon rights) to contextualize how and why it’s used, and the measurements and calculations required to estimate carbon stocks. The course goes on to explore how these data are used, including mapping landscapes and monitoring landscape-level change, identifying, and mitigating negative social and environmental impacts, and using carbon stocks to model CO2e emissions under different scenarios. The course highlights pertinent resources for acquiring, working with, and applying all data types.

The primary learning and competency outcome is understanding where data related to forest carbon originates and how each type can be used as critical inputs in forest carbon projects.

Carbon Initiatives, Programs, Projects

This course begins by defining a range of terms common to the world of forest carbon projects. This is followed by defining, highlighting the differences between, and providing examples of both forest carbon initiatives and programs. Through the lens of example programs and both Canadian and international case studies, key intervention types are overviewed, and common terms are reinforced. This process includes how to access relevant information associated with projects through global and/or standard-specific project databases. Next, through the lens of the same case studies, the core components relevant to any forest carbon project (i.e., feasibility, design and development, validation and registration, implementation and monitoring, verification and issuance) are addressed in order.

The primary learning outcomes and competencies include understanding the range of different initiatives, programs, and projects, including relevance to particular geographies of interest.

Carbon Policy, Finance, Markets; Challenges

In the world of forest carbon, there exists a range of different regulating bodies, rules, and regulations. This course begins by defining and providing examples of different carbon-related policy scales (from local to international) and types (from legally binding to suggested guidance). Next, aspects of carbon finance are considered, including land-use economics, and both program- and market-based payments for ecosystem services (PES). The course then examines different carbon pricing mechanisms, including defining and comparing compliance and voluntary markets. Both Canadian and international overviews are used to illustrate all concepts. The course culminates with an overview – applicable to all previous courses – of ongoing and emerging challenges, and resources for additional learning.

The primary learning outcomes and competencies include an understanding of the current state of both domestic and internationally applicable markets, changes on the horizon, and key resources to stay informed.