What Are the Core Courses of a Degree in Forestry?

Forestry involves conserving and managing forests through sustainable practices. Read on to learn about the core coursework that makes up forestry degree programs at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Forestry Core Course Overview

Degree programs in forestry are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's levels. Core curriculum often includes forest ecology and management, wildlife biology, soil science and environmental law, among other topics.

Important Facts About Forestry

Degree FieldForestry, forestry and natural resources, forest resource management, natural resources and environmental conservation
ConcentrationsForest biology, forestry business, forest ecology and conservation, forest fire science
Online AvailabilityRare, the degree program requires hands-on learning
Possible CareersFire and fuels manager, park ranger, resource planner, urban forester, watershed manager

Associate of Applied Science in Forest Technology

An associate degree program in forest technology prepares you for entry-level career opportunities in logging, forest fire control, forest surveying and conservation. The coursework in these programs incorporates classroom lectures with outdoor hands-on field experiences. You'll study the basic concepts of forestry management, such as the characteristics, uses, and geographic distribution of tree species. Principles of land use and sustained yield forest management are also discussed. You can typically expect to complete an associate degree program within two years. The core curriculum for this type of program usually includes courses in the following areas:

  • Silviculture
  • Forest ecology
  • Surveying
  • Timber harvesting
  • Dendrology

Bachelor of Science in Forestry

A bachelor's degree program in forestry provides you with the education needed for both entry-level and mid-level management positions. These programs emphasize the management and development of forest areas for recreational, conservation and economic purposes. You'll develop a solid understanding of the biological and physical sciences, as well as examining specific aspects of forestry science. Laboratory experiments and field experiences enhance classroom learning and allow you to develop practical skills in plant and animal identification, forest mapping, wildfire measurements and field forestry operations. You can complete a bachelor's degree program in four years. Core courses in a bachelor's degree program in forestry often include:

  • Soil science
  • Forest biometrics
  • Forest insects and diseases
  • Environmental economics and natural resource policy
  • Forest management
  • Recreational land management

Master of Science in Forestry

Earning a graduate degree in forestry assists you with getting hired for management positions and with a variety of organizations, such as government and nonprofit agencies, conservation organizations and consulting firms. Master's degree programs often have very few required courses and instead allow you to customize your curriculum, and do research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. You can typically complete a master's degree program in two years. Both thesis and non-thesis options are available. Some programs include internship components. You may choose to study topics that include:

  • Forest procurement
  • Environmental law
  • Watershed hydrology
  • Forest operations
  • Timber conservation and forestry management
  • Wildlife biology

Job Description & Outlook

Foresters work to protect and conserve woodland ecosystems. As part of the job, a forester researches and plans the best way to use a forest for timber and recreation. Other job duties include:

  • Conduct watershed management
  • Develop and maintain hiking trails and forest roads
  • Direct and supervise the cutting down of trees
  • Implement and monitor reforestation projects
  • Inspect forests for damage caused by outbreaks of insects and disease
  • Manage controlled fires and help extinguish wildfires

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles reports the job outlook and salary for common careers. The job outlook for conservation scientists and foresters careers isn't strong for the 2016 to 2026 decade with only 6% growth, but jobs should be more widely available in federal forests. In 2018, the median annual salary for these workers was $61,340.

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:

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