Academic Programs Catalog

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Department of Forestry

Richard K. Kobe, Chairperson

Forestry students discover their central role in sustaining forests and the ecosystem services that forests provide, including conservation of biodiversity, wood, clean water, and global climate stabilization. MSU forestry students learn to be leaders through multi-disciplinary course work, field studies, cutting-edge technology and mentorship from faculty.

The Bachelor of Science degree program in Forestry educates forestry science professionals. It integrates ecology, biology, economics and social science to help students solve some of the world’s most pressing natural resource, environmental and energy issues. Students have the opportunity to minor in Urban and Community Forestry. Students who are not majoring in Forestry can minor in Forestry or Forestry Field Applications.

Our graduate programs include a research-intensive or a professional track for individuals pursuing a wide range of careers in academia, management, public agencies, non-government organizations or the private sector. Students also have the option to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Spatial Ecology or in Forest Carbon Science, Policy and Management. 

 


Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduates study Forestry as a global, interdisciplinary science. Students learn about forest ecosystems and the myriad of services they provide, as well as how to resolve forest-centered environmental and natural resource issues. Students develop the knowledge and tools needed to restore and enhance the capacity of forests to sustain health and prosperity of humans and other organisms.

The Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry emphasizes innovation and is the longest-standing and among the leading programs in the United States. The Bachelor of Science degree is accredited by the Society of American Foresters. The Department of Forestry maintains strong connections to an accomplished alumni base to provide current students with opportunities for internships and employment in Michigan and throughout the world.

Students who are enrolled in the Bachelor of Science degree program with a major in Forestry may also elect a specialization in agricultural and natural resources biotechnology.  For additional information, refer to the Specialization in Agricultural and Natural Resources Biotechnology statement.

Forestry

“How can forest ecosystems and all their recognized values be sustained in the modern world?” This is a fundamental question for the 21st century, as forest ecosystems are facing grave threats all over the world, including large-scale deforestation, forest degradation, invasive pests and pathogens, and global climate change. In the face of these threats, forestry professionals have a great responsibility and opportunity to maintain, restore and enhance the sustainability of forest ecosystems.

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry program develop an in-depth understanding of the natural and social sciences in order to manage forest ecosystems.  Through hands-on laboratory experiences and field studies, students learn how to manage forests for a wide range of goals and acquire the skills to evaluate and ensure the ecological, economic, and social sustainability of forests.  They place emphasis on development of analytical and communications skills necessary to create a positive exchange of ideas between forestry professionals and non-technical audiences. Students who graduate from this program will possess the professional training to enable them to contribute significantly to resolution of forest-centered environmental and resource problems.

Forest professionals are employed in a variety of settings.  Many choose careers with public land management agencies, such as the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Soil Conservation Service, or state departments of natural resources.  Conservation organizations, such as the Wilderness Society and the Nature Conservancy, also hire forestry professionals.  Forestry professionals are in high demand in the forest products industry, including in sustainable production of environmentally responsible wood products and management of bio-energy plantations.  Increasingly, forestry expertise is required to combat climate change through work on forest-based climate mitigation projects, often in international settings. Forest professionals work with the Peace Corps and other international development organizations in reforestation projects.  There are also rewarding careers for forestry professionals in urban and suburban settings, with municipal forestry organizations or with private tree and shrub-care companies in promoting green, sustainable, and livable environments.  The high quality education afforded by the bachelor’s degree provides the knowledge and skills needed for the career opportunities listed above, and many others, as well as the rigorous background needed for graduate studies in forestry and related fields, including ecology, soil science, environmental science, geography, economics, social science, public policy, and law.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry

  1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry.

    The University's Tier II writing requirement for the Forestry major is met by completing Forestry 330, 404L, 405, 406L, 414, and 462. Those courses are referenced in item 3. a. below.

    Students who are enrolled in the Forestry major leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in the Department of Forestry may complete an alternative track to Integrative Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences that consists of the following courses: Plant Biology 105 and 106 combined; and Chemistry 141 and 161.

    The completion of Chemistry 161 and Plant Biology 106 satisfies the laboratory requirement. Plant Biology 105 and 106 combined, and Chemistry 141 and 161 may be counted toward both the alternative track and the requirements for the major referenced in item 3. below.

    The completion of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources mathematics requirement may also satisfy the University mathematics requirement. 
  2. The requirements of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for the Bachelor of Science degree.

    Certain courses referenced in requirement 3. below may be counted toward College requirements as appropriate.  The completion of Mathematics 124 or 132 satisfies the College's mathematics requirement.
  3. The following requirements for the major:
                   
    a. All of the following courses:    
      CEM 141 General Chemistry 4
      CEM 161 Chemistry Laboratory I 1
      CSS 210 Fundamentals of Soil Science 3
      EC 201 Introduction to Microeconomics 3
      FOR 110 Seminar on Contemporary Issues in Forests and the Environment 1
      FOR 204 Forest Vegetation 3
      FOR 222 Forestry Field Methods 2
      FOR 330 Human Dimensions of Forests 3
      FOR 404 Forest Ecology 3
      FOR 404L Forest Ecology Laboratory 1
      FOR 405 Forest Ecosystem Services 3
      FOR 406 Applied Forest Ecology: Silviculture 3
      FOR 406L Applied Forest Ecology: Silviculture Laboratory 1
      FOR 412 Wildland Fire 2
      FOR 414 Renewable Wood Products 3
      FOR 420 Forestry Field Studies 3
      FOR 462 Forest Resource Economics and Management 4
      FOR 466 Natural Resource Policy 3
      FOR 472 Ecological Monitoring and Data Analysis 3
      FW 419 Applications of Geographic Information Systems to Natural Resources 4
      PLB 105 Plant Biology 3
      PLB 106 Plant Biology Laboratory 1
      PLP 407 Diseases and Insects of Forest and Shade Trees 4
    b. One of the following courses (3 credits):  
      MTH 124 Survey of Calculus I 3
      MTH 132 Calculus I   3
    c. One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
      STT 201 Statistical Methods 4
      STT 224 Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Ecologists 3
      STT 231 Statistics for Scientists 3
      STT 421 Statistics I   3
    d. One of the following courses (3 credits):  
      FW 410 Upland Ecosystem Management 3
      FW 443 Restoration Ecology 3
      FW 444 Conservation Biology 3
    e. One of the following courses (3 credits):  
      WRA 320 Technical Writing (W) 3
      WRA 331 Writing in the Public Interest (W) 3
      WRA 341 Nature, Environmental, and Travel Writing 3
      WRA 453 Grant and Proposal Writing 3
    f. One of the following (1 to 3 credits):  
      FOR 490 Independent Study in Forestry 1 to 3
      FOR 493 Professional Internship in Forestry 1 to 3
      An approved study abroad experience 1 to 3



Minor in Forestry

The Minor in Forestry is designed to serve students in other fields who desire additional training related to understanding of the nature of trees and forests and social-biological aspects of managing forest ecosystems.  The minor is available to students who are enrolled in bachelor's degree programs at Michigan State University other than the Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry.

With the approval of the department and college that administer the student's degree program, courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for the minor may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the bachelor's degree.

Students who are interested in enrolling should contact an undergraduate advisor in the Department of Forestry.

Requirements for the Minor in Forestry

Students must complete the following requirements (16 to 19 credits):

1. All of the following courses (8 credits):
FOR 204 Forest Vegetation 3
FOR 222 Forestry Field Methods 2
FOR 330 Human Dimensions of Forests 3
2. One of the following courses (3 credits):
FOR 101 Michigan’s Forests 3
FOR 202 Introduction to Forestry 3
3. One of the following courses covering social aspects of Forestry (3 or 4 credits):
FOR 405 Forest Ecosystem Services 3
FOR 414 Renewable Wood Products 3
FOR 462 Forest Resource Economics and Management 4
FOR 466 Natural Resource Policy 3
4. One of the following courses covering biological aspects of Forestry (2 to 4 credits):
FOR 404 Forest Ecology 3
And
FOR 404L Forest Ecology Laboratory 1
FOR 406 Applied Forest Ecology: Silviculture 3
And
FOR 406L Applied Forest Ecology: Silviculture Laboratory 1
FOR 412 Wildland Fire 2
PLP 407 Diseases and Insects of Forest and Shade Trees 4



 

Minor in Forestry Field Applications

The Minor in Forestry Field Applications is designed to serve students who desire additional training in field biology as it relates to the management of forested ecosystems.  The minor is available to students who are enrolled in bachelor's degree programs at Michigan State University, other than the Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry.

With the approval of the department and college that administer the student's degree program, courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for the minor may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the bachelor's degree.

Students who are interested in enrolling should contact an undergraduate advisor in the Department of Forestry.

Requirements for the Minor in Forestry Field Applications

Complete all of the following courses (16 credits):

FOR 204 Forest Vegetation 3
FOR 222 Forestry Field Methods 2
FOR 404 Forest Ecology 3
FOR 404L Forest Ecology Laboratory 1
FOR 406 Applied Forest Ecology: Silviculture 3
FOR 406L Applied Forest Ecology: Silviculture Laboratory 1
FOR 420 Forestry Field Studies 3


 

Minor in Urban and Community Forestry

The Minor in Urban and Community Forestry is designed to provide students with an understanding of the social, biological, and administrative aspects of managing urban and community forests.  The minor serves students interested in careers with public agencies, the private sector, and non-profit organizations.  The minor is administered by the Department of Forestry and is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in bachelor's degree programs at Michigan State University.

With the approval of the department and college that administer the student's degree program, courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for the minor may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the bachelor's degree.

Students who are interested in enrolling should contact an undergraduate advisor in the Department of Forestry.

Requirements for the Minor in Urban and Community Forestry

Students must complete the following (20 to 22 credits):

1. All of the following courses (8 credits):
FOR 222 Forestry Field Methods 2
FOR 461 Urban and Community Forestry 3
HRT 213 Landscape Maintenance 2
HRT 213L Landscape Maintenance Field Laboratory 1
2. One of the following courses covering social aspects of urban and community forestry (3 credits):
CSUS 301 Community Engagement for Sustainability 3
FOR 330 Human Dimensions of Forests 3
FOR 405 Forest Ecosystem Services 3
SOC 361 Contemporary Communities 3
SOC 375 Urban Sociology 3
3. One of the following courses covering biological aspects of urban and community forestry (3 credits): 
FOR 204 Forest Vegetation 3
HRT 211 Landscape Plants I 3
HRT 212 Landscape Plants II 3
4. One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):
FOR 404 Forest Ecology 3
HRT 361 Applied Plant Physiology 3
PLP 407 Diseases and Insects of Forest and Shade Trees 4
5. One of the following courses covering administrative aspects of urban and community forestry (3 or 4 credits):
CSUS 433 Grant Writing and Fund Development (W) 3
PLS 310 Public Administration and Policy Making 3
UP 201 Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning 4
WRA 453 Grant and Proposal Writing 3



 

Graduate Study

The Department of Forestry offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in forestry, and plant breeding,  genetics and biotechnology—forestry. The department also offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree program in forestry—environmental toxicology and a Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy and Management, and a Graduate Certificate in Spatial Ecology.

Students in the Master of Science degree program in forestry are eligible for the dual Juris Doctor (JD)  program with Michigan State University - College of Law.

Students who are enrolled in Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in the Department of Forestry may elect specializations in resource economics. For additional information, refer to the statement on Interdepartmental Graduate Specializations in Resource Economics.

 


Forestry - Master of Science

The Master of Science degree may be earned either in a professional program in forest management or administration or in a forestry specialty program.

The professional program in forest management or administration is viewed as an extension of general forestry, and, therefore, requires a bachelor's degree with a major in forestry as a prerequisite or a collateral program of study in undergraduate forestry courses. There is, however, considerable flexibility in the program to meet individual student needs and objectives.

A forestry specialty program, on the other hand, is as readily open to nonforesters as to foresters. It includes some forestry courses but draws mainly from other departments in the university to provide courses appropriate to forestry specialties: forest biometrics, tree physiology, forest soils, forest recreation, forest management, forest business management, forest economics, forest influences, forest ecology, forest genetics, forest entomology, forest hydrology, and wood science and technology.

Qualified students with undergraduate degrees in forestry can usually complete the requirements for the Master of Science degree in forestry in one year. The student must meet the requirements of the University and of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The student must also complete additional requirements for the program as specified by the student's academic advisor. The student may elect either Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis). A total of 30 credits is required for the degree under Plan A or Plan B.

 


Forestry - Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy degree program with a major in forestry is open to nonforesters as well as foresters. Forestry specialties are studied in depth.

Qualified students with undergraduate degrees in forestry can usually complete the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in forestry in six semesters. The student must meet the requirements of the university and of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The student must also complete additional requirements for the program as specified by the student's academic advisor.

Program requirements are highly variable, depending on the student's background of study and experience. In all cases, the student must complete an acceptable dissertation incorporating the results of original research.

 


Forestry - Environmental Toxicology

Doctor of Philosophy

For information about the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in forestry—environmental toxicology, refer to the statement on Doctoral Program in Environmental and Integrative Toxicological Sciences in the Graduate Education section of this catalog.

 


Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology - Forestry

The Department of Forestry offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology–forestry. Students meet the requirements for admission and the requirements for the degree as specified in the statement on Interdepartmental Graduate Programs in Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology.

Additional information about graduate study may be obtained by writing to the Department of Forestry.

 

 


Forest Carbon Science, Policy and Management - Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy and Management provides students with interdisciplinary training necessary to plan, manage, monitor and evaluate climate change mitigation projects that seek to retain or sequester carbon in forest ecosystems. Students will gain specific expertise needed internationally to participate in market-based, climate change mitigation activities such as the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). The graduate certificate is available online only.

Admission

To be considered for admission into the Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy and Management, applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree in forestry, natural resources, environmental sciences, or a related field. For additional information, refer to the Admission section in the Graduate Education section of this catalog.

Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy and Management

 
               
Students must complete all of the following courses (9 credits):
FOR 833 Human Dimensions of Forest Carbon Management 3
FOR 835 Forest Carbon Policy, Economics and Finance 3
FOR 837 Measurement and Monitoring of Forest Carbon 3

Spatial Ecology - Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Spatial Ecology provides interdisciplinary training necessary to develop inference about ecological phenomena using appropriate spatial theory, statistics, modeling approaches, and data management tools. Students gain the necessary skills to address tomorrow’s complex ecological challenges.

The graduate certificate is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in master’s or doctoral degree programs at Michigan State University.

Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Spatial Ecology

                       
1.     The following course (4 credits):  
      GEO 866 Spatial Data 4
2.     One of the following courses (3 credits):  
      FOR 870 Spatial Ecology 3
      FW 840 Landscape Ecology 3
3.     One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
      CSS 921 Geostatistics 3
      FOR 867 Hierarchical Modeling and Computing for Spatio-temporal Environmental Data 3
      FOR 870 Spatial Ecology 3
      FW 840 Landscape Ecology 3
      GEO 865 Advanced Quantitative Methods in Geography 4
      GEO 869 Geosimulation 3
      Forestry 870 and Fisheries and Wildlife 840 may not be used to fulfill this requirement if used to fulfill requirement 2. above.