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Master of Sciences in Environmental Sciences and Natural Resources

Program Overview

Environmental Sciences and Natural Resources (ESNR) is an interdisciplinary program that deals with diverse aspects of environmental sciences and natural resources. The program rests on integrating various scientific disciplines offered in other AGU programs. The focus of the program is the sustainable management of terrestrial, aquatic, and urban ecosystems in GCC countries.

ESNR program is academically accredited by the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES), the education committee of the international environmental institutes (IES).


ESNR program is recognized for excellence in education, research, and community services that focus on environmental sciences and sustainable management of ecosystems at the regional and international scale.


Through its unique interdisciplinary curriculum and research plan, the ESNR program is offering an opportunity for students to acquire advanced, up-to-date knowledge and conduct applied research in environmental sciences and natural resources to resolve problems related to human interactions with natural ecosystems and their resources.

Program Objectives

  1. Provide students with the required knowledge and skills in the field of environmental sciences and natural resources management.
  2. Conduct research in applied environmental sciences.
  3. Acquaint students with projects and research opportunities.

Learning Outcome

Graduates of the Program will be able to:

  1. Monitor ecological and environmental changes in various environments.
  2. Analyze the human-environment linkages and the fundamental drivers underlying ecological and environmental transformations.
  3. Conduct integrated analyses of ecological and environmental changes in various ecosystems.
  4. Use acquired competencies, integrate and evaluate information to manage natural and urban environments.
  5. Acquire theoretical and empirical skills in designing and conducting a scientific inquiry.

Program Outline

Students study 28 credit hours, inclusive four credit hours for a diploma project to earn a diploma degree and 36 credit hours, inclusive a master thesis, equivalent to 8 credit hours for the degree of MSc. The courses can be selected from the list below. Students may take up to 9 credit hours of specialized courses from other programs of the technical sphere of the graduate college upon the recommendation of the academic supervisor and approval of the academic committee.  Students are expected to earn their degrees with one year for a diploma and two academic years. Full-time students are required to register for a minimum of 9 Cr.hr. per semester and a maximum of 12. In exceptional cases, the number of credit hours can be increased to 15 if added courses have a lab or fieldwork.

​Outline of Courses​

NRE Core Courses

Course CodeCourse TitleDiplomaMasters
Credit HoursCredit Hours
GS 500Islamic Culture00
GSTS 501Computer Applications00
GSTS 502English Language00
GSTS 510Scientific Writing11
GSTS 520Research Methods22
GSTS 521Applied Statistics22


Environmental Sciences and Natural Resources specialized courses

Course CodeCourse TitleCredit Hours.
NREES 530Environmental Sciences3
NREES 5*9Lab and Field Case Studies1- 4 
NREES 510Seminar1
NREES 520Biodiversity Conservation 2
NREES 521Applied Ecology2
NREES 522Environmental Geology2
NREES 531Arabia Range and Woodland Ecosystems 3
NREES 532Arabia Aquatic Ecosystems 3
NREES 533Environmental Pollution3
NREES 534Urban Environment System3
NREES 535Analytical Techniques3
NREES 536Integrated Environmental Assessment 3
NREES 540Diploma Project4
NREES 6*9Lab Field and Case Studies 1-4
NREES 610Seminar1
NREES 620Climatology and Climate Change2
NREES 621Integrated Coastal Zone Management2
NREES 622Society and Environment2
NREES 630Protected Areas Management3
NREES 631Water, Environment and Ecosystem 3
NREES 632Environmental Education and Awareness 3
NRESS 680M.Sc. Thesis8


NRE Elective Courses

NRE 520Environmental Impact Assessment
NRE 521Water Resources Development and Management in Arid Regions
NRE 620Natural Resources and Environmental Economics


Note: NREES 5*9/6*9 Lab, Field, and Case Studies: the * to represent 1 to 4 credit hours (not to exceed 4 Cr. Hrs. of total credit hours taken toward a degree). It can be registered as NRESS 519, NRESS 529, NRESS 539, NRESS 549, NRESS 619, NRESS 629, NRESS 639, and NRESS 649.

​Method of Assessments

Summative and formative assessments are used to evaluate  students' learning and skills acquisition and academic achievement during the defined instructional period.

Admissions Requirements

ESNR program enrolls graduates in life sciences, agriculture, environmental sciences, chemistry, environmental management, and geography. Applicants from other disciplines can be considered if they have scientific credentials or research backgrounds with the approval of the academic committee.

General Requirements

  • The applicant must be a citizen of one of the GCC countries. Applicants from other Arab countries, who are residents of any country, can apply and might be accepted in available positions.
  • Applicants from GCC countries should submit their nomination from Ministries of Education in their country. Citizens of other Arab countries, who are residents of any GCC country, can submit their applications directly to the admissions office at AGU.
  • The applicant has to meet all the department's requirements and pass any tests and interviews that the academic program requires. S/He must pass the medical exam and submit a certificate of decent behavior from his/her competent authority in his/her country.

Academic Requirements

Diploma and MSc. degrees

Applicants must have concluded their undergraduate studies at an AGU recognized institution. Her/his Grade Point Average (GPA) should be 2.0 or more on a scale of 4.0 or the equivalent of good to apply for a diploma degree. To apply directly to the MSc. program, the applicant must have a GPA of 3.0 or more on a scale of 4.0 or the equivalent of (very good). Those holding a Diploma from the ESNR program can apply for an MSc degree if their GPA is 3.0 or more.

The applicant should hold a degree in the following specializations:

  • BSc and/or MSc degree in natural sciences, engineering and technology, and agricultural sciences.
  • BA and/or MA in social sciences related to the fields of the programs of the department.

In all cases, the Academic Committee of NRE must approve the application to join the MSc Degree.


Graduation Requirements

  1. The general requirements for graduation are to complete a minimum of 28 credit hours for Diploma (24 credit hours of course work and 4 credits for Diploma Project); and 36 credit hours for MSc degree (28 credit hours of course work and 8 credit hours for MSc thesis).
  2. The equivalent of at least two semesters of full-time residency is required.


Program Faculty

  • Mohammad S. Abido, Professor of  Ecology and Biodiversity
  • Thamer Al-Dawood,  Professor of  Marine Biology
  • Ahmed O. El-Kholei, Professor of Urban Planning
  • Asma Ali Abahussain, Professor of Geology and Geochemistry (Adjunct)



This program is accredited by the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES), the education committee of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES). CHES is the collective voice of the environmental sciences academic community and serves to enhance the quality of environmental education worldwide. A program accredited by CHES is assured to meet high standards, contain a strong component of practical, field and theoretical activities, and have excellent opportunities for training, work experience and links to the professional environmental sector. Students enrolled on CHES accredited programs can apply for free Student Membership of the IES and for a fast-track route to membership once they graduate, starting on a route towards becoming a Chartered Environmentalist or Chartered Scientist.​  



  • NREES 5*9/6*9 Lab, Field, and Case Studies (* = 1 to 4Cr): Students may work on specific environmental problems/issues of particular interest to him/her or in a specific field not covered by courses.
  • NREES 510 Seminar (1Cr) (110): A student may research or investigate a topic and exchange results with other students through the presentation, reports, and discussions under the supervision of a faculty member.
  • NREES 520 Biodiversity Conservation (2Cr) (220): Biodiversity concept and levels, importance, assessment and monitoring, site survey, hotspots, ecological principles, and regulatory frameworks concerning biodiversity conservation, biodiversity threats, and mitigation techniques.
  • NREES 521 Applied Ecology (2Cr) (211): Ecological principles governing terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, ecological site assessment, quantitative methods, data analysis and interpretation measuring habitat, human impact on nature, remedial actions.
  • NREES 522 Environmental Geology (2Cr) (220): Introduction to geological concepts and processes, natural geologic hazards, environmental problems related to mineral and energy resources development, and geologic hazards.
  • NREES 530 Environmental Sciences (3Cr) (321): Foundations of ecological and environmental sciences, earth's ecosystems, issues and topics related to relationships between human populations and natural resources, strategies for sustainable management of the environment and natural resources.
  • NREES 531 Arabia Range and Woodland Ecosystems (3Cr) (321): Nature and distribution of rangeland and woodland ecosystems in the Arabian Peninsula, ecological and biological processes, key species, spatiotemporal dynamics of plant communities, current status, the impact of the current use, challenges and opportunities for managing range and woodland ecosystems.
  • NREES 532 Arabia Aquatic Ecosystems (3Cr) (321): Nature and distribution of aquatic inland, coastal and marine ecosystems, concepts, processes, analytical approaches, ecological and biological processes, key species, current status, and anthropogenic impact.
  • NREES 533 Environmental Pollution (3Cr) (321): Pollution of air, water, soil, and food chain, processes of pollutant release into the environment, dispersion mechanisms, the hazards associated with different types of pollutant, pollution prevention, and remediation of contaminated media.
  • NREES 534 Urban Environment System (3Cr) (321): Demography of the population, the evolution of cities, urbanization and urban sprawling, urbanization and the environmental problems, urban sustainability, smart and resilient cities, case studies.
  • NREES 535 Analytical Techniques (3Cr) (312): Sampling, sample preparation, instrumental analysis methodology, spectrochemical methods, automatic air quality measuring devices, statistical treatment of analyzing data.
  • NREES 536 Integrated Environmental Assessment (3Cr) (321): concept of integrated assessment, analysis framework, integrated environmental assessment processes; data, criteria and indicators, policy analysis, and scenario building; application of the IEA in natural resources.
  • NREES 540 Diploma Project (4Cr): A student is expected to spend 64 hours engaged in specified learning and assessment activities in environmental sciences and natural resources. By the end of work, the student is expected to present his/her learning outcomes that reflect a thorough understanding of the chosen topic using sound methodologies.
  • NREES 610 Seminar (1Cr) (110): A student may research or investigate a topic and exchange results with other students through the presentation, reports, and discussions under the supervision of a faculty member.
  • NREES 620 Climatology and Climate Change (2Cr) (220): Introduction to Climatology, meteorological factors, climate classification schemes, climate cycles, climate change; socioeconomic and ecological impacts of climate change.
  • NREES 621 Integrated Coastal Zone Management (2Cr) (220):  Introduction to process associated with the implementation of ICZM, planning and management, related laws and conventions, plans and programs, case studies from the region and worldwide.
  • NREES 622 Society and Environment (2Cr) (220): The course examines the dynamic relationship between humans and the environment.  It concentrates on the interactions of socioeconomic, political, cultural behaviors of society and individuals on the natural environment components. Particular emphasis is given to the effect of geographical setting on human behavior.
  • NREES 630 Protected Areas Management (3Cr) (321): Principles, techniques, and practices of terrestrial and marine protected area management, management plans, management of cultural, social, economic, and ecological factors affecting protected areas, indigenous and cultural heritage.
  • NREES 631 Water, Environment and Ecosystem (3Cr) (321): Water flow processes in the ecosystem, and the influence of ecosystem components and their conditions on the quality and flow of water.
  • NREES 632 Environmental Education and Awareness (3Cr) (321): Environmental issues in the context of ecosystems, awareness and sensitivity to environmental challenges; knowledge and understanding of environmental issues; attitudes, skills and participation in the dissemination of information and resolving environmental challenges; environmental impacts and mitigation, environmental laws, regulations, and associated regulatory agencies.
  • NREES 680 Master Thesis (8 Cr): A student is expected to spend 128 hours engaged in specified learning and assessment activities in the field of environmental sciences and natural resources. By the end of work, the student is expected to present a thesis that reflects a thorough understanding and analysis of the chosen topic using scientific methodologies.