Master Degree in Natural Resources Development

Master Degree in Natural Resources Development

2 years
Distance Learning

Natural resources are the principal economic drivers for developing countries like Nepal. Natural resources-based industries such as eco-tourism, hydropower, non-timber forest products are the contributors to socio-economic development. However, unplanned infrastructural growth and economic activities have posed negative consequences mainly in terms of degradation in environmental quality and depletion of natural resources. To address the current environmental issues and development challenges and promote structured development practices, adequately trained, informed and skilled human resources are required. 

Natural Resources and Development (NRD), a Masters Degree program of Nepal Open  University, offers an opportunity for career-oriented professionals and practitioners to develop their skills and expertise in the field of natural resources and development. It also opens up opportunities to explore various arrays on the interlinkages, interactions, and complementarities between natural resources and development sectors. This course will contribute to meet the demand of required capable human resources to deal with the emerging thirst of the 21st Century on NRD and address everyday changing contexts. 

The academic program seeks to unravel different dynamics of various forms of natural resources on the development and vice versa without compromising the environment and achieving the overall development objective of the nation. The program offers several modules on theories, concepts, and practices of natural resources management and development. After the completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate and apply the learned knowledge and skills in appropriate natural resources planning and designing developmental programs to achieve sustainable development goals.

Aim and Objectives of the Program 

The aim of the course is to enable the students to assess and learn a multidisciplinary approach of natural resources, environment, development practices, social and economic aspects, and their interlinkages in the overall development outcomes towards achieving prosperous Nepal.  

  • Equip students with the knowledge, technical know-how, and practical skills through interdisciplinary sharing-learning, observation and quasi-experiment of the concerned  subjects, 
  • Provide students with the learning opportunities in contemporary and frontier fields of natural resources  and development by utilizing knowledge of science, technology and practices; thereby developing  their skills and expertise for natural resources friendly development practices and prosperous  natural resources management interventions, 
  • Produce knowledgeable, skilful and capable human resources that are updated and informed and  are ready to take challenges in order to apply new ideas and innovations at various professions  including local government authority, local officials and development practitioners, 
  • Develop professionals capable of improving the conventional practices towards more empirical and exploring new opportunities to make the development interventions relevant in the current context.



For admission eligibility to the program, an applicant must have completed the following  prerequisites: 

  • Applicant must have completed a bachelor's degree in natural science, engineering or any science-related discipline from a recognized university, 
  • Students who have completed bachelor’s degree in humanities, management, development studies, other related field need to complete a one-year diploma in NRD; or should provide evidence of having experience of working more than five years in the natural resources and development field. 
  • Applicants will be selected from a merit list of entrance examination conducted by the Nepal  Open University. 

Curricular Structure

Course Delivery

Deliver online courses where the instructor and student and, student and student will connect virtually to build-up a system for interaction. 

Use of e-learning approach integrated into teaching and learning strategies through the use of professional online databases, the video-audio system of learning. This system will provide the learners with the interface between synchronous and asynchronous interaction.  

Learners’ future career is secured through quality education mediated by technology in a blended mode: a combination of online and face-to-face interaction at the service center. The blended model includes a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops, webinars, etc.  

Students will also participate in seminars, workshops, discussion and critiques of academic papers, case study scenarios and general discussions of academic and ethical issues. ∙ Where relevant, the students will also be connected with relevant organizations working on development and natural resources management; so that they get opportunities to interact and learn from the other practitioners. 


During the semester, 40% percent marks will be allocated for the internal assessments. This includes participation in workshops, seminars, attending lecturer's classes and reviewing the reading materials and case studies, term paper and project work assignments. The respective instructor and professor will be responsible for this formative evaluation. After the completion of the semester, 60% of marks will be allocated to evaluate the understanding and knowledge of the student on the subject matter. The student should appear in the designated examination center and take up the proctored examination.

Course Structure 

Master degree in Natural Resources and Development is divided into four semesters across two academic years. The course carries 63 credits (36 credits theory ~ around 60% and 27 credits for skill development including research ~ around 40%) with 1575 full marks and 1755 lecture hours.

The first semester offers four compulsory and a skill development course with 15 credits. The theory course includes basic knowledge on Environment and Natural Resources; Development Theories and  Development Practices; Society, Culture and Social Development; and Legal Framework and Good  Practices in Natural Resources Management. The Natural Resource and Development skill-I includes  Seminar, Workshop and Case Study and also professional development skills. Similarly, the second semester also offers four compulsory theory and a skill development course with 15 credits. The theory course includes advance knowledge on Natural Resource Economics; National Development Policies and  Strategies; Global Environmental Change; and Statistics and Research Methodology. The Natural  Resources and Development skill-II course includes Workshop, Term Paper and Case Study.  

The third semester offers four specialized (two compulsory and two optional courses) and one skill development course with 17 credits. The compulsory course includes Natural Resource Management and  Resources Conservation and Local Development Planning and Management. The optimal course includes group A: Forests Management and Biodiversity Conservation OR Landscape Planning and Landscape  Engineering, OR Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, and group B: Watershed Management OR Wildlife conflict and Conflict Management OR Natural Resource Governance. The Natural Resource and Development skill-III includes Review Writing and Proposal Writing. Finally, the fourth semester offers skills development (Project Work and Research Paper Writing) and Dissertation (research) with 16  credits. Students must complete and submit the dissertation work within six months as regular, and one year as a part-time student. In special cases, the research committee may extend the duration of the dissertation with the consent of the relevant authority.

Course Structure Matrix of Natural Resources and Development

Semester I  


Semester II 


Semester III 

Specialized (Optional)

Semester IV  (Compulsory)

NRD 501. Environment  and Natural Resources

NRD 551. Natural  

Resource Economics 

NRD 601. Natural Resources  

Management and Resources  



NRD 502.  

Development Theories  and Development  Practices

NRD 552. National  

Development Policies and  Strategies 

NRD 602. Local Development  

Planning and Management

NRD 651.  

Project Work 

NRD 503. Society,  

Culture and Social  


NRD 553. Global  

Environmental Change 

NRD 603 Forests Management and  Biodiversity Conservation 


Landscape Planning and Landscape  Engineering  


Climate Change and Disaster Risk  Management 


NRD 504. Legal  

Frameworks and Good  Practices in Natural  

Resources Management

NRD 554. Statistics and  Research Methodology 

NRD 604.  

Watershed Management 


Wildlife conflict and Conflict  



Natural Resource Governance

NRD 652.  


Paper Writing

NRD 505. NRD Skill-I  (Seminar, Workshop,  Case Study)

NRD 555. NRD Skill-II  (Workshop, Term Paper,  Case Study)

NRD 605. NRD Skill-III (Review  Writing, Proposal Writing)

NRD 699.  Dissertation 



4x3=12+3+2 =17 

2+2+12 =16