What Are the Top Forestry Schools?

Explore what you should look for in a school with a strong program in forestry. Read about three well-regarded schools with forestry programs, and check their national rankings. Get info about the forestry degree options offered by each of these schools. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Some Characteristics of Top Forestry Schools?

You might consider a school accredited by the Society of American Foresters, like the three below. Depending on your goals, you could look into programs that offer degree specializations like fire science, forest management, forest economics or policy planning in forestry. Your choice may be influenced by access to field stations, internship opportunities and laboratory facilities.

What Are Three Top Forestry Schools?

Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins

For 2016, CSU was ranked 61st nationally among top public schools by U.S. News & World Report. It was also among the top 150 world universities for natural sciences education in 2015, as rated by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Forestry majors in the Warner College of Natural Resources may select specializations like forest biology, fire science, forest management or forestry business. Undergraduate students in their sophomore or junior year are expected to complete a 6-week field experience at the CSU Mountain Campus near Rocky Mountain National Park. Seminars related to forestry are offered throughout the school year by the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship.

As a master's or doctoral program student, you could choose among several degree concentrations: forest ecology, ecosystem management, fire science, quantitative analysis of natural resource policy and management, and economics and policy analysis. Studies include an exploration of how these topics relate to the bigger picture of natural resources and the environment in general. CSU hosts the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute and the Western Forest Fire Research Center. These degrees are available:

  • B.S. in Forestry
  • M.S. in Forestry
  • Ph.D. in Forestry

Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing

MSU tied for 82nd in U.S. News & World Report's 2016 ranking of national universities, and tied for 33rd among top public schools. MSU was also among the top 150 world schools for natural sciences programs in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Forestry majors participate in the oldest continuing forestry program in the U.S., started in 1902. You'll learn to view forestry from a perspective that includes the current issues of climate change, wildlife habitats, and invasive species, as well as studying ecology, biology, economics and public policy. You might participate in a paid work study program; internships through private companies or government agencies could be available as well. MSU's Tree Research Center, established in 1963, is one of three field research stations.

Master's and Ph.D. candidates may select from one of 13 specializations, like silviculture, tree physiology, soils and hydrology, resource economics or biometry. MSU's Department of Forestry sponsors international social forestry research projects in Jamaica, China, Rwanda and Thailand. Other official degree titles include:

  • B.S. in Forestry
  • M.S. in Forestry
  • Ph.D. in Forestry

Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis

OSU was in the 150 top world schools range for the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities. OSU also tied for 71st among top public schools for 2016, according to U.S. News & World Report. The school's College Research Forests cover 15,000 acres of land near the campus in Corvallis.

Undergraduate forestry students can focus on forest ecosystems and society/conservation; forest engineering, resources, and management; or renewable materials. Within these three programs are several specialties, such as forest engineering, landscape processes, natural resources, tourism and outdoor leadership, and forestry operations. A dual Bachelor of Science program in forest engineering and civil engineering is available for qualified students. Undergraduate internships are offered through OSU's Forestry Cooperative Education Program. You could participate in an exchange program with universities in Australia, New Zealand, France, Peru, Spain or Costa Rica.

Students in the sustainable forest management graduate program can choose among the specializations forest ecosystems and society, sustainable forest management, wood science and engineering, and natural resources. Enrollment in a Master of Forestry (M.F.) program requires completion of a final project, while students in an M.S. or Ph.D. program are expected to write a thesis. The following degrees are offered:

  • B.S. in Forestry
  • M.S. in Forestry
  • Ph.D. in Forestry

10 More Colleges with Forestry Programs

College/University Institution Type Location
Humboldt State University 4-year, Public Arcata, CA
University of Washington 4-year, Public Seattle, WA
Northern Arizona University 4-year, Public Flagstaff, AZ
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 4-year, Public Syracuse, NY
University of California 4-year, Public Davis, CA
University of Montana 4-year, Public Missoula, MT
Washington State University 4-year, Public Pullman, WA
Yale University 4-year, Private New Haven, CT
University of Vermont 4-year, Public Burlington, VT
Iowa State University 4-year, Public Ames, IA

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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