Forestry Science Degree and Training Programs

With an undergraduate or graduate degree, you could qualify for a number of careers in the forestry and land management industry. A degree program in forestry or forest science teaches students how to preserve forests and natural resources, including wildlife and its habitats. Keep reading to learn more about forestry science programs and career options. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Forestry science degree programs are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctorate level. As a forester, you may work for the government, or private organizations in a range of careers, including logging, sustainable forestry, manufacturing, ecosystem protection and forest recreation. With an advanced degree, you may work as a research scientist in the field.

Degree Options Bachelor's degree, master's degree, Ph.D.
Training Options Internship, part-time seasonal work, overseas apprenticeship
Career Outlook (2016-2026) Conservation scientists and foresters are expected to see job growth of 6%, which is about as fast as average

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Forestry Science Degree Programs Are Available?

Bachelor's degree programs in forestry science prepare you for positions in the industry or continuation into graduate studies in the field. A Bachelor of Science in Forestry may be offered. Some schools offer you the option to specialize undergraduate electives in various areas of forestry, such as resource management, forest products or restoration. At the bachelor's level, you'll take courses in the following areas:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Dendrology
  • Tree biology
  • Forest operations
  • Wildlife management
  • Conservation

What About Master's Programs?

Master's degree programs in forestry or forest science are available with an emphasis in such areas as ecology, resource management, sustainability and genetics. By completing a master's degree, you can add a specialization to your fundamental bachelor's degree education. You'll take a variety of core courses in addition to specialized electives in a chosen concentration. Some of the following topics may be covered in your program:

  • Global change
  • Environmental policy
  • Silviculture
  • Urban forestry
  • Forest management

What About Doctoral Programs?

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are largely research-based and allow you to extend your academic studies in specialized areas. You'll spend much of your time in a doctoral program performing research based on your specialization in addition to exploring these topics:

  • Data analysis
  • Research methods
  • Environmental law
  • Forest resources
  • Tree physiology

Are There Online Programs?

A few universities that belong to the Natural Resources Distance Learning Consortium provide you with a few online courses and degree programs in forestry science. By taking courses over the Internet, you'll be able to schedule them around personal or professional obligations and add flexibility to your education. Fewer specialization options currently exist for online forestry science programs than on-campus curricula, though you might be able to integrate the two options in a personally customizable program.

What About Practical Training?

You can work as an intern or participate in apprenticeship training through several schools, forestry companies and environmental organizations. Depending on your career goal, volunteer and paid training options are available that prepare you for logging, manufacturing, sustainable forestry, management and recreational careers. Some programs offer part-time or seasonal work that give you experience while you're still in school; others are designed for college graduates and last a year or more. Overseas opportunities also exist, and most programs require that you hold at least a bachelor's degree.

What Are My Career Options?

If you'd like to work as a forester, you might need to obtain state certification, licensure or register with a state board. You'll find several outdoor jobs in the field, such as forest manager, activity director, arborist or procurement forester. Depending on your position, you could be responsible for pest removal, wildlife management, ecosystem protection and timber harvesting. Administrative options could include planning and development, land sales or natural resource conservation.

With a graduate degree, you'll usually qualify for more advanced positions of research and scientific application. You could find positions with corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations or universities studying genetics, tree physiology or forest biotechnology. By completing a Ph.D., you can also become a professor at a postsecondary institution.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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