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Systems Approach for Management of Natural Resources

This course has a multi-disciplinary focus. The students learn to unravel and deal with the complexity and large variation in NRM issues. It challenges the students to develop a common basis for the assessment of the multi-actor, multi-purpose, multi-level and multi-disciplinary nature of Natural Resources Management (NRM).

Concepts of Natural Resources Management are reviewed and discussed and particular attention is given to the importance of geo-spatial data, techniques and expertise in NRM.

Students learn to apply systems thinking and analytical reasoning when translating complex real-world situations into conceptual diagrams. This enables them to describe and develop knowledge about how ecosystems work and how human activities make an impact on natural systems. They discover how this step is essential in identifying cause-effect relationships which exist in space and time. Students are also challenged to select biophysical or socio-economic variables that need quantification and how to use remote sensing and GIS to enable assessments. Conceptualising real-world situation also helps students in identifying knowledge gaps and formulating research hypotheses.

The educational approach applies the principles of experience-based learning and adult education. Students evaluate what happened during exercises and tasks in the course. They also reflect on how this will help them in their professional context and the tasks and processes of NRM where they may become involved in.

Natural Resources Management is per default a multiple-stakeholder effort. Therefore students will often work in multi-disciplinary teams. The course is characterized by information searches in scientific and non-scientific databases, short presentations, individual and group exercises, "hands-on" learning, games and role play, backwards engineering, field exercises and learning by doing. The students themselves are stimulated to take responsibility in creating an interactive learning environment.

For whom is the course relevant?

Everyone with basic understanding of spatial information and an interest in dealing with natural resources.


Are you a mid-career professional and national of -and living and working in one of the countries listed here? You might consider applying for a scholarship from the Orange Knowledge Programme (former NFP).

Deadline intake 2019 passed
The application deadline has now passed for intake 2019. We will publish the new call for intake 2020 here. Please have a regular look at our website or follow us on faceboook or LinkedIn for further announcements!


You will learn:

  1. Relevant concepts and definitions
  2. Design conceptual diagrams to describe:
    1. the link between actors and their NRM problems, objectives and conflicts
    2. relations between elements and processes in ecosystems involved in NRM problems
  3. Systems thinking
  4. Interventions and dealing with uncertainties
  5. Hypothesis formulation
  6. Present and defend geo-information used in an NRM context

What will be achieved?

Upon completion of this course, you are able to:

  • Define NRM and describe the role of sustainable development.
  • Stakeholder behavior and stakeholder analysis in NRM context.
  • Design conceptual models illustrating how natural systems work and how humans influence them.
  • Analyze and discuss geo-spatial and temporal information for stakeholders to address NRM issues.
  • Identify researchable topics based on initial description and understanding of a system within an NRM context.
  • Apply geo-information to communicate real-life NRM issues based on scientific understanding.

About your diploma

Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive a Certificate which will include the name of the course. 

Along with your Certificate you will receive a Course Record providing the name, and if applicable, all the subjects studied as part of the course. It states: the course code, subject, EC credits, exam date, location and the mark awarded.

This certificate course is part of the accredited Master’s  Geo-information Science and earth Observation at ITC. If you decide to take the full Master’s Geo-information Science and Earth Observation at ITC, the Examination Board will give you in principle exemption from the course you followed successfully as a certificate course.

Admission requirements

Academic level and background

Applicants for the Certificate programme should have a Bachelor degree or equivalent from a recognized university in a discipline related to the course, preferably combined with working experience in a relevant field.

Some courses in the Certificate programme or separate modules require knowledge of, and skills in, working with GIS and/or digital image processing of remotely sensed data.

Skills in taught or related subjects are a prerequisite for some courses in the Certificate programme or separate modules. Even if the applicant satisfies the overall admission requirements, acceptance is not automatic.


The faculty accepts transcripts, degrees and diplomas in the following languages: Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish. It is at the discretion of the faculty to require additional English translations of all documents in other languages as well.

English language

As all courses are given in English, proficiency in the English language is a prerequisite.

If you are a national of one of the countries in this list (PDF), you are exempted from an English language test.

Please note: the requirements when applying for fellowships may vary according to the regulations of the fellowship provider.

English language tests: minimum requirements

Only internationally recognised test results are accepted.

TOEFL Paper-based Test (PBT)


TOEFL Internet-based Test


British Council / IELTS



C2 Proficiency / C1 Advanced

Computer skills

Applicants lacking computer experience are strongly advised to follow basic courses in their home countries.

Key information

5 weeks
Full-time (no part-time programs possible)
100% English taught
Enschede, Netherlands
Tuition fees
2019 / 2020
dual, institutional
€ 1.562