Earn a Graduate Certificate in Wilderness Management

The certificate provides students and professionals with training and expertise in the key topics related to wilderness management. Courses cover the history and philosophy of the wilderness system, wilderness law and policy, wilderness recreation management, wilderness ecosystem conservation and resource monitoring, and wilderness planning. Taken together these courses provide the necessary foundation for students to pursue careers in wilderness management. Courses are offered via distance learning (online and correspondence) through the Wilderness Management Distance Education Program in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation.


To earn a Graduate Certificate in Wilderness Management, students must successfully complete the following courses:

Course Credits
NRSM 560 American Wilderness Philosophy and Policy 4
NRSM 561 Managing Wilderness Ecosystems 4
PTRM 562 Managing Recreation Resources in Wilderness Settings 3
NRSM 563 Wilderness Planning: Theory, Management Frameworks, and Application 3

NRSM 560, 561, and PTRM 562 can be taken in any order, but NRSM 563 serves as a capstone and cannot be taken until the other three courses have been completed. In total, 14.0 academic credits are required.

Note: Each graduate course requires students to submit an original research paper.

Commonly Asked Questions and Answers

No. We offer the courses through UM’s Continuing Education Department. That allows you, the student, to take the course and receive UM academic credit (when you pay the academic recording fee) without applying to UM. To enroll you just need to register for a class to be in the program.
You must have an undergraduate degree.
No, WMDEP is a self-support program, so financial aid does not apply.
You may use the AmeriCorps Award for the tuition and books. You may not use it for the credit recording fee.
If you are taking the courses for graduate credit you can take the first 3 course in any order but NRSM 563 must be the final course.
You should commit to spending at least 8 hours per week for each course.
We recommend taking no more than 2 courses at one time. If you are working full-time then we recommend taking only ONE course at a time.
For our program, we consider one course half-time.

A course withdrawal request must be made in writing to the WMDEP/College of Forestry and Conservation and must be postmarked within 30 calendar days of the registration date (the date you paid) in order to receive a refund of tuition. 

A tuition refund (less $50 withdrawal fee) will then be processed. No refunds will be given for textbooks. If you registered for academic credit, the course will not appear on your transcript. You may not withdraw from the course after 30 calendar days of the registration date.
Yes. Once you register and pay for the course(s), we provide you with a proof-of-enrollment letter.