Introduction to Structured Decision Making


Target Audience:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey biologists (GS 9-11-12) and managers (GS 13-14) without background or experience in structured decision making who have a tie to decision making or have the responsibility to prepare materials for decision makers on natural resource issues and projects.

Summary and Objectives:

This course provides participants with an introduction to structured decision making in the context of natural resource management problems. A solid foundation in structured decision making begins with knowledge of current practices, theory, and noteworthy case studies from the Service and USGS. Progressing from that foundation, participants will get hands-on experience using various decision tools, including decision trees, multiple objective ranking techniques, and expert panels. This course gives participants the skills to develop structured approaches to make a complicated decision making process more explicit, transparent, and clear. Participants will learn practical approaches to critical thinking, logic, reasoning, and structuring decisions that support their day-to-day work. It is recommended that participants have an understanding of conservation biology concepts or have taken Applied Landscape-Scale Conservation Biology (CSP2101) or at least one college course in conservation biology. Participants are not required to be skilled in mathematics or computing, although familiarity with how the results of models can be applied is beneficial.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate the fundamental tenets of decision analysis and current practices within the Service/USGS
  • Diagram decision problems, decompose complex problems, create objectives, and select a problem-solving approach
  • Select the appropriate decision making tool for different types of situations and problems; and
  • Identify structured decision making practices that are feasible and beneficial to incorporate into their everyday work.

Competency Addressed: 

Decision Making - Basic, Decision Support - Basic, Decisiveness - Basic, Creative Thinking - Basic, Problem Solving - Basic

Course Short Name
Course Type
Course Category
Training Tuition Cost
36.0 hours
Training Credit Hours
Semester Hours

Questions and Registration

Upcoming Sessions of this Course

Session date and time
Location Classroom
Shepherdstown, WV

Session Contact

Session date and time
Location Classroom
Shepherdstown, WV

Session Contact


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