Courses and Timeline

The MUFL is a 25-month part-time online course-based degree program consisting of 30 credits.  The program starts in July.

  • 8 core urban forestry courses taught by experts in the Faculty of Forestry.
  • 2 intra-program courses covering transdisciplinary communication & diverse knowledge systems

Course Schedule

The program begins in July with two courses: (UFOR 500 (3 cr) and UFOR 511 (1.5 cr). This is followed by two terms, consisting of 19.5 credits of courses on leadership, project management, entrepreneurship and policy analysis, urban forestry courses, a capstone preparation course, and required laboratories. The final 6-credit capstone course is completed in the final Summer, based on individual student interests and/or their employer’s needs.

Courses are delivered through a combination of ‘live’ and self-guided content for flexibility. The final capstone provides an opportunity to explore an independent guided research project on a topic of your choosing, even one in collaboration with your employer.

Although the program is offered fully online, we organize two exciting opportunities to meet in person. The first is an optional one-week field experience in Europe to meet leading urban greening professionals. The second is an optional final week in Vancouver for social opportunities and field excursions. These will also give you a unique opportunity to meet your peers and the teaching team in person. UBC will cover accommodation and related expenses during a choice of one of the weeks for each student, but not travel costs.

Part-time Option

The timetables below for year 1 and year 2 are for the incoming new cohort.

Year One

UFOR 500 (3 cr)
Developing Green and Resilient Cities – The Urban Forestry Approach
UFOR 521 (3 cr)
Advances in Arboriculture and Urban Ecology
UFOR 522 (3 cr)
Urban Forest Resources and Benefits Assessment
FCOR 599 (6 cr)
Project Proposal Development and Proof of Concept
UFOR 511 (1.5 cr)
Geomatics Principles and Applications
FCOR 511 (1.5 cr)
Working with Diverse Knowledge Systems in Sustainable Natural Resources Management

Year Two

FCOR 599 (6 cr)
Project Proposal Development and Proof of Concept
UFOR 512 (3 cr)
Urban Forest Governance
UFOR 531 (6 cr)
MUFL Capstone Course
UFOR523 (1.5 cr)
Strategic Urban Forest Planning and Management
FCOR 510 (1.5 cr)
Professional Communication
FCOR 599 (6 cr)
Project Proposal Development and Proof of Concept

Course Descriptions

Summer Term

UFOR 500 (3 credits): Developing Green and Resilient Cities – The Urban Forestry Approach

Course Objectives

This online course focuses on the importance of urban green space and urban trees for cities. It discusses the different roles and benefits of green, while also presenting current ‘city greening’ programs across the globe. From the question of why and how we want to create greener, more resilient and healthy cities, the focus is then shifted to the role of urban forestry as an important delivery mechanism. The field of urban forestry is introduced, as is its state of the art in different parts of the world. Finally, the course also highlights the role of urban foresters and other professionals in greening our cities, while also looking into the role of other players, local communities and individual citizens.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Understand the role and benefits of green space and trees in cities.
  • Discuss different approaches to city greening, with emphasis on urban forestry.
  • Describe key aspects and characteristics of urban forestry, and its state-of-art in different parts of the world.
  • Reflect on the role of different professions, communities and other players in the greening of cities – and most importantly on their own roles.

UFOR 511 (1.5 credits): Geomatics Principles and Applications

Course Overview

UFOR 511 is an introductory graduate-level course, which covers the use and application of remote sensing, GIS, GPS and spatial data analysis. With respect to GIS, it covers an overview of general principles of GIS, analytical use of spatial information, and practical experience in map production. With respect to remote sensing, it covers the basics of the electromagnetic spectrum, digital remote sensing systems, classification and accuracy assessment. General information on geospatial data principles and GPS technologies will also be covered. The Lab components involve “hands-on” use of an analytical software package to complete GIS and remote sensing exercises. Each student will also be required to apply and integrate various GIS and RS operations involving spatial analysis, requiring some time outside of class hours.

Learning Outcomes

The goal of the course is to provide students with the theory and the application of geospatial data, specifically within a GIS and remote sensing framework. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of geospatial data, and how it is used
  • Understand concepts of position and scale
  • Understand concepts used in GIS
  • Develop conceptual designs for GIS databases
  • Conduct spatial and logical queries on geospatial data
  • Understand the electromagnetic spectrum and its relevance to remote sensing
  • Understand the concept of the different resolution of remote sensing
  • Undertake basic remote sensing operation such as classification and rectification
  • Describe and communicate analytical findings to a non-technical audience
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of GIS and RS software capabilities
  • Understand the conceptual and practical limitations and advantages of RS and GIS

Winter Term 1

UFOR 512 (3 credits): Urban Forest Governance

Course Objectives

This course provides students with an introduction to governance theory and ways of applying a governance perspective to strategic decision-making in urban forestry. Building on environmental governance perspectives in particular, it presents an overview of frameworks and methods that can be applied to understand, and operate in urban forest governance in different contexts and at different scales. The course discusses the linkages between governance, policy and politics. Different governance models and arrangements applied to urban forestry are studied. Focus is also on the role of the urban forester in wider urban and urban-wildland interface governance. Specific attention is given to the role of community engagement in urban forest governance, and to ways for urban forestry professionals to enhance their collaboration with communities and other actors. Diversity and equity issues are addressed throughout the course.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Understand governance theories and models, especially from an environmental governance perspective.
  • Apply different governance theories and models to urban forestry, and use governance perspectives to obtain better understanding of the discourses, actors, rules of the game and resources involved in urban forestry decision-making.
  • Discuss and analyze examples of urban forest governance in different contexts and at different scales.
  • Reflect on the current and potential roles of urban foresters and other professionals in relevant governance contexts and processes.

UFOR 521 (3 credits): Advances in Arboriculture and Urban Ecology

Course Objectives

This course aims to provide an overview of the field and current state-of-art of arboriculture, with emphasis on current research and good practices. Students will learn about the role of arboriculture within the wider field of urban forestry. Moreover, an ecological and tree diversity perspective will be introduced to enhance the management and resilience of urban forests. The course covers key aspects such as urban sites and their biotic, abiotic and human characteristics; urban tree growth and physiology; tree breeding and growing, planting and establishment; urban tree vitality and hazard assessments; tree maintenance; tree preservation and retention; and tree removal. The course will also discuss professionalism in arboriculture, current certification and accreditation programs, and the collaboration between arborists and urban foresters with planners, engineers, developers, and other relevant professions.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Understand how trees grow in urban areas – and how growth is challenged by urban conditions.
  • Analyze arboricultural approaches and tools for application in different contexts.
  • Discuss the role of arboriculture in urban forest action planning and management.
  • Present the key aspects of professionalism in arboriculture, and the interactions of arborists with other professionals.

Winter Term 2

UFOR 522 (3 credits): Urban Forest Resources and Benefits Assessment

Course Objectives

This course aims to provide an overview of the state of the art of urban forest resources and benefits assessment. It builds on the GIS and/or spatial analysis skills gained in UFOR 511 to examine data sources, theoretical approaches, and tools commonly employed in urban forest assessment. Students will be introduced to examples of tool applications and will learn how to develop rigorous approaches to urban forest assessment in a variety of contexts.

Students will be taught common approaches to accessing a range of urban forest data types, including remotely sensed data, such as aerial photographs and satellite imagery, a variety of types of survey delivery and analysis methods, and community-based approaches to data gathering and analysis. Specific analysis tools and approaches covered in this class include i-Tree, InVEST, common tree inventory tools, non-market valuation, and perceptual assessments of cultural ecosystem services.

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand current approaches and tools used in urban forest resources and benefits assessment.
  • Critically assess the trade-offs associated with different approaches and tools as applied to different contexts and scales.
  • Discuss the role of urban forest inventories, monitoring, and assessment of their ecosystem services in urban forestry decision-making.
  • Use selected tools in case-based projects.

FOR 523 (1.5 credits): Strategic Urban Forest Planning and Management

Course Objectives

This course gives students an opportunity to apply the urban forestry skills and concepts learned in the previous term to the theory and practice of strategic urban forest planning and management. Students will review the principles of the planning process and critically examine how these function within various models of strategic management. Students will then apply strategic planning and management principles and processes in the urban forest context.
Specifically, this course will introduce students to the principles and practice of adaptive management and tools for planning and management such as structured decision making and monitoring and evaluation. Students will also be encouraged to develop the skills needed to guide planning and management processes through in-class exercises and assignments.

Learning Outcomes

It is expected that at the completion of this subject and lab program students should have learnt the following:

  • Apply a strategic mindset to urban forest planning and management
  • Understand the principles and process of planning, and common models of strategic resource management
  • Apply different perspectives, approaches, and tools across a range of contexts commonly encountered in urban forestry

Winter Term 1 & Winter Term 2

FCOR 510 (1.5 credits): Professional Communication

Course Overview

This hybrid course is focused on providing students from different course-based master’s (CBM) programs (MGEM, MSFM, MUFL, and MIF) with epistemological agility. Evidence shows there is a lack of sufficiently effective communication skills among early career graduating professionals to speak to diverse audiences. This course will provide applied opportunities for students to engage in and hone their cross-boundary communication skills. Bringing all the CBM students together will provide opportunities for students to communicate with people and stakeholder groups outside of their topical niche. Students will practice professional communication skills demanded of individuals, and as part of diverse teams, in the field of forestry. This course aims to have students identify audiences, core messages, positionality and practice communicating through diverse media.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Identify, analyze, and investigate diverse audiences in the field of forestry
  • Demonstrate communication of specialized topics in a manner appropriate to the specific audience groups
  • Develop a core message to communicate and convey this core message consistently through multiple communications and/or media
  • Appraise their individual communication, positionality, and conflict style, address how this may influence their approach to communication, and demonstrate how to account for these factors in communication approaches or strategies
  • Critique power and bias in professional communication and develop strategies to identify and address these issues in their own communication
  • Compare and demonstrate different tools for managing difficult conversations in a professional setting
  • Determine a core message and identify/analyze an audience, and for this scenario elucidate the pros and cons of different communication forms and media, selecting the most appropriate form
  • Develop insight into the objectives and perspectives of the different course-based masters programs in Forestry, through collaboration and communication with other members of the CBM community

FCOR 511 (1.5 credits): Working with Diverse Knowledge Systems in Sustainable Natural Resources Management

Course Overview

This hybrid course aims to enhance the awareness of diverse knowledge systems (including western scientific, local, Indigenous) and their implications for decision-making and policy among students in the Faculty of Forestry’s four course-based master’s programs (MGEM, MSFM, MUFL, and MIF). It addresses power dynamics between these knowledge systems and introduces strategies for equitable co-production of environmental management decisions. The course emphasizes the need to confront and navigate different worldviews, ethical practices, and norms related to credible knowledge within systems marked by power imbalances.

CBM students will have practical opportunities to engage with and discuss these issues through individual and group activities. This collaborative approach will foster communication with peers from varied knowledge backgrounds, promoting the development of professional skills and the ability to work effectively in diverse teams.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Distinguish how knowledge is contingent and shaped by social, historical, and values-based elements
  • Appraise distinct forms of knowledge; media for communication / transmission; sharing of new knowledge; rights of access; confidentiality and Intellectual Property Rights
  • Reflect on your own worldviews and ethical and political values and how this shapes your approach to knowledge production
  • Assemble a range of approaches for achieving cooperative decision making and knowledge in diverse resource management settings/contexts
  • Critique the central issues relating to data ownership and sovereignty, and identify best practices
  • Reflect and develop a robust understanding of professional ethics in practice as concerns knowledge co-production – including and beyond institutional ethics
  • Collaborate and communicate with other members of the CBM community to value the objectives, perspective, and approach of each CBM to these challenges

FCOR 599 (6 credits): Project Proposal Development and Proof of Concept

Students learn how to develop, write and deliver an effective project proposal. They will form a project proposal around a topic of interest and will present both a written proposal and oral presentation for assessment.

Winter Term 2 & Summer Terms

UFOR 531 (6 credits): MUFL Capstone Course

Course Objectives

This course aims to tie together the concepts and skills learned in the previous two terms and give students the opportunity to apply them in a project-based learning experience. Students will work with their faculty mentors to review, revise as necessary, and implement their project proposals developed in FCOR 599 (Project Proposal Development and Proof of Concept).

This course may take a variety of forms, as long as the project proposal is approved by the Program Director and students’ faculty mentors. Students are encouraged to find an external partner early in the first term and to work with them to develop the project proposal and implement the project during the capstone period.

Students will develop project management and leadership skills during the implementation phase of the project and will strengthen their proficiency in written and oral communication. The final week of the project will take place at the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest or a similar venue, where students will meet to share their project outcomes, reflect on lessons learned during the program, and welcome the following year’s students into the program.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Apply the skills and knowledge developed in previous terms to an urban forest-related project
  • Manage a defined urban forest project within a set time frame
  • Collaborate effectively with others
  • Communicate project outcomes in both written and oral formats