Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University


Belize Sunset
NRSC 4250

Tropical field studies in Natural Resources

An interdisciplinary course open to students in different programs

This course examines the issues, approaches and people involved with natural resource management in a tropical country. We run this course in Belize, Central America, because the country is relatively accessible and English is the main spoken language (we incorporate a large number of guest speakers from Belize into the course). Belize also has good facilities, and many of its diverse natural resources are in the early stages of development. Students in this course are not stationed at one specific location for the duration of the course. Instead, we make short-term trips to various sites throughout the country, in order to examine a wide array of areas, concepts and subjects. Some, but not all, of the resource sectors we investigate are animal and plant conservation, costs and benefits of ecotourism, government policies, cultural resources (e.g. Mayan temples), industrial development, fisheries, and agriculture.

Course highlights

  • Course length is approximately 14 days in Belize, Central America
  • English is the main spoken language
  • Features many guest speakers from Belize
  • Students make short-term trips to various sites throughout the country
  • Enrollment is open to students in various degree programs at TRU and other universities and colleges
  • TRU students are eligible for a $500 bursary from TRU World
View photos from our recent trips to Belize

This course is listed as NRSC 4250 in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at TRU, but a diverse student body contributes to the overall learning experience. Hence, enrollment is open to students in various degree programs at TRU and other universities and colleges. We have had students in the course come from an array of degree programs, including tourism, sociology, geography, forestry, economics, business, anthropology, biology, other sciences, and of course, natural resources.  However, the size of the class is limited, so students need to submit a simple application that includes a short explanation of why they believe the course is relevant to their studies and/or future career aspirations.

The length of the course is approximately 14 days. In general, the course start close to the end of April, and students are able to return to Canada approximately two weeks later (unless they elect to stay longer in Belize after the course is completed, which many do). NRSC 4250 is considered a winter semester course at Thompson Rivers University). Credit for the course can be obtained in time for students who need it to convocate in June of the same year.

The students that have taken NRSC 4250 all agree: the experiences obtained through this course far exceed what you could hope to get by traveling on your own.  Plus, you can get credit for your trip! Thompson Rivers University students are eligible for a $500 bursary from TRU World that can be applied towards the cost of the trip.

So, do you want to learn more about the course?

If you would like further details on the course, such as an outline, agenda, and cost estimate (or access to slide shows and videos on the course), simply email and state your interest. If you are a TRU student, send your student number and you will be patched into the Blackboard information site for the course. We are currently making arrangements for our Spring 2016 offering of the course, but we still can fit in a couple more students. If you are interested, send an email right away to the above address so we can provide you with more information.