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Best Forestry Bachelor's Degrees

Oct 20, 2021

The Best Bachelor Degree Programs in Forestry

Study.com researched forestry programs at major colleges and universities to bring readers a list of the 42 premier institutions offering bachelor's degrees in forestry. We dug into data from the U.S. Department of Education, studying graduation rates, tuition info, and retention stats to pick our top schools. To make sure we offer only the best to our readers, we looked at all the schools on our list, hand-picking the institutions that offer Society of American Foresters accredited programs, award-winning and expert forestry faculty members, generous scholarships for forestry students, and rigorous forestry curricula. Our list would not stand without an emphasis on hands-on experiences, which are crucial to success in the forestry field. Any of these programs would be a great launching point for a career in forestry.

1. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,115 70% 76% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

With a forestry program that traces back to 1911, and 3 bachelor's programs in forestry subjects, it's easy to see why SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, in Syracuse, NY, ranks at the top of our list of forestry bachelor's programs. Students can choose from these degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Forest Health
  • Bachelor of Science in Forest Ecosystem Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources Management

Field experience is a valuable part of forestry education, and students will find an amazing array of opportunities to get hands-on training here - either in the 25,000 acres of forest land on campus, through state-of-the-art labs and science centers, or via internships with public and private forestry agencies. Students in the forest ecosystem science and forest resources management program also participate in a summer program in the Adirondacks.

2. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,270 85% 60% 86% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Forestry students at the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point can customize their forestry education to their interests and career goals with four standout majors in ecosystem restoration and management, forest recreation, forest management, and urban and community forestry. This Society of American Foresters accredited program stands out for its dedication to hands-on training, with three field stations and numerous forestry initiatives and centers available to students, such as the Emerald Ash Borer Planning Simulator. A whopping 83% of graduates of the forestry programs at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point land jobs in their selected fields within 6 months.

3. Humboldt State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,864 92% 49% 83% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

With a campus ideally situated in the middle of a redwood forest and near a booming forest products industry, Humboldt State University, in Arcata, CA, is an excellent choice for students interested in studying forestry. The university features a premier forestry Bachelor of Science program with an impressive array of six unique concentrations:

  • Forest operations
  • Forest hydrology
  • Forest soils
  • Tribal forestry
  • Wildland fire management
  • Forest resource conservation

Some of the distinct opportunities students will find here include a demonstration tree farm, outdoor labs for the majority of courses in the program, field trips, interactions with professional forest managers, and on-campus research facilities.

4. University of Idaho

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,304 78% 56% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

Moscow, ID-based University of Idaho is home to a Society of American Foresters accredited program with more than 100 years of experience in forestry education. The Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree engages students through interactions with expert faculty both in the classroom and in the university's 8,500-acre forest. The wealth of experience gained in this university translates to high demand for graduates from the US Forest Service, Idaho Department of Lands, natural resource agencies, and forest industry organizations. Students explore a variety of topics here, including forest productivity, silvicultural practices, and plant pathology, and have the option to pursue a minor in a specific field or customize their studies to meet career goals.

5. Michigan Technological University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$17,134 74% 70% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

Michigan Technological University, in Houghton, MI, boasts a nationally recognized B.S. in Forestry program with a wealth of student-focused projects and activities, including a TreeHouse theme community, a summer research fellowship, student-run forestry projects, and an integrated field practicum that encourages outdoor explorations in a nearby forest. The program is home to a Model Forest and is based in the Keweenaw Peninsula, where opportunities for hands-on learning abound. Affordability is a key highlight here, and undergraduate students in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science benefit from an average of $7,000 per student in scholarship aid through both alumni-established and faculty-established scholarships.

6. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,722 66% 48% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

Carbondale, IL-based Southern Illinois University touts a student-focused forestry program with numerous opportunities to get outside and get involved in real-life forest experiences through 14 different outdoor labs, a summer camp, and study abroad programs in far-flung areas like Panama and Scotland. Students benefit from myriad research options available here, including undergraduate assistantships, research symposiums, and internship research positions. Student clubs focused on forestry are available too, like the Society of American Foresters and the Forestry Club. The university's Bachelor of Science in Forestry offers five specializations in forest resource management, forest hydrology, urban forest management, wildlife habitat conservation, forest recreation and park management.

7. Louisiana Tech University

The Bachelor of Science in Forestry at Louisiana Tech University integrates biological and physical sciences with economic and social issues to prepare students for forest management careers. The program is accredited by the Society of American Foresters and offers numerous opportunities for hands-on conservation and forest management research and projects. Students at this Ruston, LA, based university can choose from concentrations in forest management or wildlife habitat management while acquiring the problem-solving, ethical decision making, and communication skills needed to work at the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, or with consulting services or environmental firms. The university offers unique partnerships with numerous forest management and product companies who bring representatives to campus to interact with students, promote internships, or offer scholarships.

8. University of Maine

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,438 90% 57% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits

Known for being the home of the longest continuously accredited forestry program in the nation, the University of Maine, in Orono, proudly offers two forestry degrees: B.S. in Forestry and B.S. in Forest Operations, Bioproducts, and Bioenergy. These programs incorporate technology into the outdoor field experiences that are abundant here, utilizing tools like LiDAR and GPS while working in the university's 15,000 acres of forested lands. Some of the field experiences students participate in here include a fall field camp that includes performing trail maintenance, using compasses to get through forests, and taking tours of lumber mills and wood harvesting projects, as well as a summer field experience that provides opportunities to take forest measurements, identify plants, use heavy equipment in forests, and suppress fires.

9. Alabama A & M University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,024 92% 30% 90% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Huntsville, AL, based Alabama A&M University is the only historically black college or university in the nation to host an accredited forestry degree program. Named a Center of Excellence by the USDA Forest Service, the program offers a B.S. in Forestry with concentrations in the forestry business, forest management, forest science, ecology, or fish and wildlife science. To enhance the real-life experience of working in forestry, this university boasts a student-run forest fighting team known as the FireDawgs. It also boasts a 90% success rate of graduates finding jobs within their selected field of study.

10. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13,691 70% 86% 65% Yes Yes AP Credits

Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, VA, offers a B.S. in Forestry that emphasizes forest ecosystem management from both a human and scientific perspective. Students are encouraged to adopt a stewardship mentality and an ethical understanding of forest land use and conservation. The program offers specializations in urban forestry, forest resources management, and forest business and operations, allowing students to tailor their program to their future career goals. The university offers a variety of clubs dedicated to natural resources and forestry topics, including the Forestry Club, Society of American Foresters at Virginia Tech, and Wildlife Disease Association.

11. Mississippi State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,910 54% 61% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

Located near Starkville, MS, Mississippi State University features a world-class, science-based forestry degree program with concentrations in forest business, forest products, forest management, urban forestry, wildlife management, and environmental conservation. Students can join the award-winning and nationally ranked Society of American Foresters club on-campus to get firsthand experiences working with forestry professionals throughout the state and nationwide. A summer field program offers additional opportunities to students in areas of forest operations, wildlife practices, and forest analysis.

12. The University of Montana

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,354 94% 45% 88% Yes Yes AP Credits

Sustainable forest management and natural resource conservation are fundamentals of the University of Montana's Department of Forest Management, which offers a B.S. in Forestry. The program combines classroom training with outdoor experiences, utilizing the university's Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, which provides a wealth of research and project opportunities, like planning sales of timber and managing fish passage patterns. The university boasts a 21,000-acre experimental forest that serves as an outdoor classroom for forestry students to hone their skills in wildlife management, prescribed burns, and forest ecology. Students can also take advantage of the numerous institutes and centers here devoted to forestry studies, like the Montana Climate Office and the Bolle Center for People and Forests.

13. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,101 45% 82% 68% Yes Yes AP Credits

Raleigh, NC, based North Carolina State University offers a forestry program where students are immersed in the study of ecology and sustainable forest management. Students spend the summer after their sophomore year in Summer Camp, where they engage in 9 weeks of study in three different forests examining silviculture, fire management, forest communities, and more. Students craving more hands-on experiences can also find study abroad programs, such as the Tropical Wildlife Ecology program in Latin American rainforests and mountains. The B.S. in Forestry program features concentrations in production or ecology and boasts a job placement rate of 93% for graduates within just 3 months of graduation.

14. Southern University and A & M College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,141 35% 41% 98% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Boasting a unique urban forestry undergraduate program - the first of its kind in the nation, Southern University, in Baton Rouge, LA, offers research opportunities and an emphasis on minority education in the field of urban forestry. The B.S. in Urban Forestry features specialized courses in urban tree physiology, urban forest pathology, and sustainability, to scientifically manage forests in urban areas. Students will benefit from three student organizations devoted to forestry, including the Urban Forestry Club, MANRRS - encouraging minorities in the fields of agriculture and natural resources, and the university's chapter of SAF.

15. West Virginia University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,976 84% 61% 94% Yes Yes AP Credits

Students at this Morgantown, WV, based university can blaze an educational path filled with unique opportunities to gain real-world experience and learn from forestry experts. The program boasts 13 farms and forests in West Virginia for study and research, a university forest, a tree leaf and twig herbarium, and a summer camp. Students can take advantage of the Davis College Mentor Program to form relationships with forestry professionals or faculty members that can lead to research work or teaching assistant positions. The B.S. in Forestry promotes study in wildlife habitat conservation, forested land management, and urban forest management.

16. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,943 28% 82% 63% Yes Yes AP Credits

California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo stands out for its B.S. program in forest and fire sciences. Accredited by the Society of American Foresters, this program emphasizes study in the key areas of forest resources measurement, forest resource policy and management, and forest ecology and offers opportunities for faculty-led projects and applied research. Students will find numerous options for experiential learning and student engagement here, including a fire ecology group, a logging team, and a chapter of Xi Sigma Pi, the national forestry honor society, that features community projects and a speaker series.

17. Stephen F Austin State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,844 68% 52% 86% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

In Nacogdoches, TX, Stephen F Austin State University boasts a forestry undergrad program that takes students out of the classroom and into the field through research sites and outdoor experiences in the more than 12 million acres of forestland in the surrounding area. Students can earn a B.S. in Forestry that is further specialized by choosing a concentration in agroforestry, forest management, fire management, urban forestry, natural resources, or forest wildlife management. The program features an immersive field station summer program, international research opportunities, and options to participate in national conferences through student forestry and fire ecology clubs.

18. University of Florida

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,381 37% 88% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

Based in Gainesville, FL, the University of Florida offers a robust Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources and Conservation with an impressive seven concentrations to meet students' career goals:

  • Environmental pre-law
  • Forest business management
  • Recreation resources management
  • Urban forestry
  • Watershed science and management
  • Protected areas management
  • Urban forestry

Standout traits of this program include small field lab sizes - roughly 30 students, scholarships specifically for forest resources and conservation students, access to a 2,600-acre university forest, and hands-on experience using geo-spatial tools.

19. Auburn University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,492 81% 79% 72% Yes Yes AP Credits

The SAF-accredited Bachelor of Science in Forestry at Auburn University in Auburn, AL, instills fundamental concepts of forest biology, land management, silviculture, and forest health in the 3rd and 4th years of the program, and then combines those concepts in a senior capstone project. Before starting this intensive dive into forestry topics, students are immersed in fieldwork through a summer practicum at a forestry education center. Auburn University also stands out for its cutting edge B.S. in Forest Engineering - the only one offered in the Southern U.S.

20. Northern Arizona University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,142 85% 57% 95% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Based near the oldest experimental forest in the nation and in an area that witnesses six different climate zones, Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, is ideally situated to provide a premier forestry education to its students. The university's School of Forestry is an internationally recognized research school with a B.S. in Forestry that provides students with the skills needed to protect the environment and serve as stewards of the land. Students have the option of further refining their degree by choosing a specialization in an area like fire ecology, forest health, wildlife ecology, and international forestry.

21. Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,901 81% 70% 79% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

Colorado State University offers a unique forest and rangeland stewardship major that encourages students to find the connection between forests and global economic and social systems. The university's location in Fort Collins provides students with easy access to grasslands, forests, and mountain areas to hone their skills in ecosystems, conservation, forest management, and human influences on natural areas. The B.S. in Forest and Rangeland Stewardship promotes hands-on learning through summer field courses at the university's mountain campus and offers five concentrations in areas like forest biology, forest fire science, and forest management.

22. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$15,027 57% 83% 81% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

In the B.S. in Forest and Natural Resource Management program at the Saint Paul, MN campus of the University of Minnesota, students are the focus - all students who enter the program are offered scholarships the first year they enroll. Students here also benefit from the small class sizes and expert faculty who lead the courses. The program offers three diverse tracks in park and protected area management, community and urban forestry, and forest ecosystem conservation and management. Graduates of this program have gone on to successful careers as nature center directors, forest analysts, and forestry policy supervisors.

23. Clemson University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$15,558 51% 84% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

Practical, in-the-field experiences are the keystone of Clemson University's B.S. in Forest Resource Management, and students will find numerous opportunities to learn in the field here, either in the nearly 18,000-acre experimental forest near the campus, through the competitions available in the forestry club, or via internships. Based in Clemson, SC, the university offers cutting-edge GIS and GPS systems in class and includes an 8-week summer program in the curriculum.

24. Iowa State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,320 92% 74% 90% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Forestry program at this Ames, IA, based university immerses students in forest ecosystem management, natural resource preservation, and wood products early in their tenure at the school - with a course load in the second year of study devoted entirely to forestry topics. The program combines lab work with classroom study and field experiences, including a Fall Camp - 3 weeks of hands-on training in the field. Accredited by the Society of American Foresters, this standout program offers specialization options in natural resource interpretation, forest ecosystem management, urban forestry, and conservation and restoration.

25. University of Vermont

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18,802 67% 77% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

At the University of Vermont, the outdoors serves as a primary classroom for students in the B.S. in Forestry program. In fact, the university proudly offers its students hands-on training in 10 natural areas, such as bogs, wetlands, and woods, along with four forests dedicated to research. Most of the faculty in the forestry program are active researchers, opening the doors for students to get fundamental skills through faculty-led research projects. Internships and study abroad programs are key components of the degree plan, and 30% of students participate in a study abroad project dedicated to forestry education.

26. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13,264 79% 72% 91% Yes Yes AP Credits

At the flagship Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee, students in the B.S. in Forestry program are provided with opportunities to get outside and develop the hands-on skills needed to pursue forestry careers. Not only does the university boast more than 20,000 acres of teaching and research forests, but its location also provides easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, and more. Students can choose from four concentrations in forest resources management, urban forestry, wildland recreation, and restoration and conservation science.

27. University of Kentucky

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,360 96% 66% 94% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Kentucky in Lexington offers the only forestry degree in the state with Society of American Foresters accreditation. The B.S. in Forestry combines coursework with field experiences, including courses in GIS technology and remote sensing. Students are immersed in forestry topics in the required Spring Field Semester, which includes travels to various ecosystems and forestry facilities throughout the state and outdoor classes in the nearly 15,000-acre educational forest supported by the university.

28. University of Georgia

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,080 45% 87% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

Ranked among the top forestry programs in the nation, the Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources in Forestry encourages student interactions and provides training in problem analysis and the tools needed to manage forest resources. Students can specialize further through certificate programs in water resources or GIS or through a minor in environmental law. A wealth of student clubs geared towards forestry are available here, including the SAF Forestry Club, and students will find numerous opportunities for hands-on learning through capstone courses, internships, field courses, and service-learning options.

29. Michigan State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$15,555 71% 81% 70% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Combining tenets of biology, ecology, and economics, Michigan State University's B.S. in Forestry prepares students for careers dealing with climate change, conservation issues, and forest sustainability. This accredited and nationally recognized program is one of the oldest on our list - offering students forestry education since 1902. Real-world experience is encouraged here, and more than 75% of students take part in an internship. Students point to eye-opening experiences and opportunities to explore topics they may not have considered before as key benefits of the internships available through this East Lansing, MI, based university.

30. University of Nevada-Reno

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,184 88% 61% 88% Yes Yes AP Credits

Reno, NV-based University of Nevada offers a B.S. in Forest Ecology and Management that emphasizes scientific reasoning and decision making, sustainability, forest restoration, and natural ecosystem conservation. Students at this university can benefit from the numerous opportunities to work with faculty who have years of experience in forest ecology, tree-ring science, forest-clearing impacts, pinon-juniper fuels, and invasive species, to name just a few. Research projects that students can participate in at this university include forest disease and regeneration, restoration ecology, and spatially explicit forest modeling.

31. Purdue University-Main Campus

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,992 60% 82% 65% Yes Yes AP Credits

Purdue University in Lafayette, IN, offers a B.S. in Forestry with four concentration options:

  • Forest science
  • Forest management
  • Urban forestry
  • Sustainable biomaterials

Forest students at Purdue have access to numerous student organizations like the Society of American Foresters student chapter or the Purdue Student Society of Arboriculture. Hands-on experiences are critical to this program, and students will appreciate the 5-week summer practicum that provides a wealth of opportunities to explore the outdoors at Iron River, MI. This program provides students with real-world studies in aquaculture, silviculture, forest valuation, and urban forestry all while enjoying a camp-like atmosphere, team activities, and recreational fun.

32. University of California-Davis

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,495 39% 87% 66% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of California-Davis stands out on our list for its B.S. in Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry. Students who are passionate about plants and looking to turn that passion into a career will be right at home in this program, which emphasizes biological aspects of plant production and plant ecosystems as well as the interaction of plants and humans in urban settings, and an emphasis on ornamental plant usage. Students can choose from three unique specializations in floriculture and nursery, urban landscape management, or biodiversity and restoration. The program encourages the development of real-world skills through internships at the UC Davis Arboretum or campus greenhouses or with nearby nurseries, non-profits, or government agencies.

33. University of Missouri-Columbia

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,477 81% 71% 89% Yes Yes AP Credits

At the University of Missouri in Columbia, students can find a B.S. in Natural Resources Science and Management with an emphasis in Forest Resources. The program is based in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, which offers a wealth of opportunities for students to get firsthand exposure to forestry activities and research, including two on-campus research centers devoted to natural resource science. Student success can often be determined by freedom from financial stress - and the department awards $80,000 in scholarships on an annual basis to students in the natural resource science and management fields.

34. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18,450 76% 71% 73% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

University Park, PA, home to Pennsylvania State University, is an ideal location to study forestry - with nearly 10,000 acres of forest area and outdoor labs within reach of campus. Students in this science-focused B.S. in Forest Ecosystem Management can use state-of-the-art technology like LiDAR and satellite images while in class or performing research in the forest. The university offers a wide variety of experiences for students to enhance their resume, including student clubs and study abroad programs in Germany or South Africa. Recent internships for undergrads include work as urban forestry interns or forestry technicians and even an internship in urban forestry at the agency in charge of Washington D.C.'s Capitol Hill.

35. University of New Hampshire-Main Campus

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18,879 84% 76% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

Students at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH, can take advantage of the university's location in one of the most heavily forested states in the U.S. The Bachelor of Science in Forestry puts students into the woods, with hands-on projects and research opportunities available in the university's forests or the nearby White Mountain National Forest. Students who want to expand their knowledge of forestry can participate in the university-sponsored EcoQuest program in New Zealand. The university hosts a chapter of the Xi Sigma Pi honors society for forestry students and boasts a successful alumni network, including a recent Educator of the Year, who was recognized for his commitment to conservation and environmental awareness.

36. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,725 54% 88% 61% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Society of American Foresters accredited program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison provides a well-rounded educational experience for students - with numerous opportunities for hands-on learning in labs or in the field, in addition to classroom work. Students in the B.S. in Forest Science program choose from three tracks:

  • Forest management
  • Forest conservation
  • Forests and the environment

A Forest Resources Practicum enhances the degree program - providing students with firsthand experiences in the field using state-of-the-art mapping technology and field survey techniques. Students are also required to complete internships or practical work experiences to further prepare them for careers in forestry, ecology, conservation, and more.

37. Texas A & M University-College Station

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,361 58% 82% 76% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Forestry at this College Station, TX-based university stands out for its commitment to scientific forest resource management and stewardship. Graduates of this program are pursued by top forestry organizations, with several agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service actively recruiting graduates armed with this degree. Forestry students at Texas A&M benefit from the numerous scholarships designed specifically for them, including the A.D. Folweiler Scholarship and the W. Goodrich Jones Memorial Scholarship Forestry Fund.

38. Oregon State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,715 82% 67% 85% Yes Yes AP Credits

With more than $550,000 in scholarships devoted entirely to forestry students, a state-of-the-art forestry center for research, and numerous opportunities for hands-on learning, it's easy to see why Oregon State University is on our list of the best forestry bachelor's degrees. The B.S. in Forestry at this university in Corvallis, OR, has three unique options in forest management, forest operations, and forest restoration and fire. Whether it's in the 15,000 acres of research forests here, through internships, job shadowing opportunities, or mentored employment positions, students will get plenty of practical experience in the forestry field of their choice.

39. Washington State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,841 76% 60% 89% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Earth and Environmental Sciences with a major in Forest Ecology and Management at this Pullman, WA university integrates plant science with spatial analysis and forest management to prepare students to be ready to jump into a career upon graduation. Students in this program benefit from the geospatial analysis minor that's integrated into the curriculum and the field trips, study abroad options, and a research capstone that promotes real-world experiences. Graduates of this program find rewarding careers or further study, including alumni working for the Nature Conservancy, environmental and conservation foundations, Defenders of Wildlife, and the American Conservation Experience.

40. University of California-Berkeley

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,253 16% 93% 63% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Ecosystem Management and Forestry features a forestry specialization that's been offered at this Berkeley, CA, university for more than 100 years. That tradition of excellence extends to the university's forestry summer camp, which has its origins in 1917 -making it the oldest in the Western U.S. Students here will benefit from the five research forests managed by the university, mentoring opportunities, and the ability to attend national conferences offered by the Society of American Foresters. Research at this university allows students to work with faculty in four distinct areas - biosphere, biodiversity, stewardship, and the environmental future.

41. Utah State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,659 91% 54% 86% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

With the only SAF-accredited forestry program in the state, Utah State University in Logan is a leader in forestry education and research. Students in the B.S. in Forest Ecology and Management program can participate in a variety of hands-on research opportunities, including these recent research projects in aspen genetic studies and microbial abundance in aspen and conifer soils studies. The university also offers numerous student organizations to build peer relationships and encourage service-learning, including the Forestry Club and the Student Sustainability Council.

42. University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,465 52% 84% 57% Yes Yes AP Credits

With a rich heritage of forestry and natural resources education, the University of Washington in Seattle rounds out our list of top bachelor's programs in forestry. Offering forestry education since 1907, the university's School of Environmental and Forest Resources is a top-ranked national program with an emphasis on student success. Eligible students in the School of Environmental And Forest Resources can receive scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management includes a sustainable forest management emphasis, and eligible students can also participate in a university-wide or departmental Honor's Program to further boost their resumes.

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Forestry Degrees

Forestry degrees typically give students a holistic understanding of one the largest renewable natural resources on the planet. These programs often focus on topics like forest management and conservation with an emphasis on the environmental aspect of forestry. Forestry degrees also frequently focus on sustaining forests with multiple uses in mind, like recreation or conservation. Read more to find out about the undergraduate and postgraduate degree options for forestry degrees.

What Kinds of Forestry Degrees Are There?

Forestry degrees exist at every level in academia, from associate to doctoral programs. Depending on the school, students in forestry programs may earn a degree in forestry with or without specializations. Examples of concentrations within forestry include forest management and forest operations.

Associate Degrees in Forestry

At the associate level, students can earn Associate of Science (AS) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees. The time to complete these programs is usually about two years. Students in these programs usually get a mix of classroom and hands-on experience as they learn foundational skills needed to obtain a job in forestry. Subjects may include forest ecosystem, forest protection, animal identification and forest inventorying. Some schools even offer specializations at this level in subjects, such as forest technology, forest management, or forestry and natural resources.

Bachelor's Degrees in Forestry

The most common bachelor's degree in forestry is a Bachelor of Science (BS). These programs typically take about four years to complete. Specialization becomes much more common at this level, as students must often pick a particular area of forestry on which to concentrate their studies. These programs normally start with basic science classes, with an emphasis on biology and chemistry, and gradually become more focused on the specific disciplines within forestry. That can include forest management, forest biology, forest economics, forest ecology, and more. Along the way, students usually get work experience, volunteer, internship, or field opportunities, and these degrees frequently culminate with a senior capstone project.

Master's Degrees in Forestry

At the postgraduate level, the first degree most students will earn is a master's. In this field, that degree is typically a Master of Forestry (MF), or a Master of Science (MS) in Forestry degree. Again, these programs may require students to focus their efforts on certain areas of forestry, like forest policy or fire science. MF degrees are intended for students who want to pursue careers in forestry in the private or public sector. A blend of classroom work and field work is normally a feature of these programs. It usually takes one to two years to earn a master's in forestry.

Doctoral Degrees in Forestry

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Forestry and Conservation Sciences, Forestry and Natural Resources, or Forestry and Environmental Resources are the highest degrees in this field. These programs focus heavily on research, and graduates go on to obtain jobs focused on research and instruction, among other options. Some schools even have specialization at this level, and others may require students to earn a minor as well. Students typically finish these degrees in a few years after writing a dissertation about their research.

Certificates in Forestry

Certificates in forestry vary in level and subject, and there are many options. There are some certificates at the undergraduate level, while others are at the graduate level. Undergraduate certificates are usually meant to help students compete for jobs in forestry while also earning a full degree, while graduate certificates are for those seeking to continue their education without spending the time and resources to obtain a full master's degree.

Some programs may even require students to earn a certificate as part of their graduation requirements, though there are numerous possibilities for getting a certificate in this subject without obtaining a degree. Subjects you may be able to get a certificate in include forestry, wildlife or forest ecology management, community forestry, and forestry health and resilience. It normally takes at least a few months to complete a certificate, as they require anywhere from nine to 15 credit hours of schoolwork.

Forestry Bachelor's Degree Concentrations

Colleges and universities do not necessarily require students to choose an area of concentration or minor to earn a bachelor's in forestry, but those who want to focus on a particular aspect of the industry can do so. Some areas of concentration or specialization exist at the major level, others will be in the form of minors or concentrations. Possible options to specialize in include:

  • Urban forestry
  • Forest management
  • Recreation resource management
  • Natural resources management
  • Forest engineering
  • Protected resources management

Curriculum for a Bachelor's Degree in Forestry

Forestry degrees often include an education in many traditional aspects of school in addition to forestry itself. Required and elective classes can cover a variety of subjects within the discipline, and some degrees may include labs. The degree programs usually culminate with a capstone project that could take the form of some real-world experience. Common course titles may include:

  • Introduction to forestry
  • Ecology of renewable natural resources
  • Natural resource management
  • Forest ecology
  • Forest management
  • Dendrology
  • Forest operations
  • Forest surveying
  • Silviculture
  • Nature and environmental writing

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's in Forestry?

Most students earn a bachelor's degree in forestry in four years. To graduate from many forestry programs, pupils must complete around 120 credit hours' worth of classes, though some schools may require a few more credit hours. There is often a fair amount of hands-on experience involved in these programs, so speeding up the process may be difficult. Some schools, however, offer accelerated programs or allow students to take classes in non-traditional times like over the summer, which can shorten the time commitment.

Accreditation for Bachelor's in Forestry Degrees

The main accrediting organization for forestry degrees is the Society of American Foresters (SAF). This group offers a comprehensive review that aims to ensure a degree program meets quality standards established by those in forestry. Accreditation demonstrates that level of quality not only to students, but to potential employers and other schools.

In addition to programmatic accreditation, it is important to choose a school that is regionally accredited. Regional accreditation ensures quality, improves the chances of credits transferring, and makes students eligible for federal financial aid. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) approves many regional accrediting bodies, so check with that organization to make sure your chosen school is reputably accredited.

Forestry Licensure & Certification

At least 15 states require individuals to obtain a license to practice forestry. Those states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont and West Virginia. Requirements for licensure vary, though they typically include proof of at least some continuing education in forestry. Some certificate programs may count towards that, as do college credits. Be sure to check your state to make sure you meet the appropriate requirements.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Forestry?

Graduates with a bachelor's in forestry can work in a number of areas within the field. Careers can focus on conservation, research, education, recreation, forest services, and more. Possible job titles include:

How to Become a Forester

Becoming a forester normally starts with earning at least a bachelor's degree in forestry or a related field, like agricultural science, natural resources management, or environmental science. It is important for foresters to learn practical skills and theory in these programs. Qualities important for foresters include analytical, critical-thinking and management skills, along with the physical stamina to be able to perform this sometimes-arduous job. Some states may require foresters to be licensed.

Once all that is done, individuals can begin working as a forester, and manage the quality of forests, parks, rangelands, and similar natural resources. Responsibilities can include supervising forest and conservation workers, choosing and preparing places for new trees, monitoring forests as they regenerate, clearing land through practices like controlled burning, and planning ways to keep forests free of harm caused by disease, insects, and wildfires. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reported in 2019 that the median salary of foresters was $61,970, and that the employment of foresters is projected to grow 5 percent in the next 10 years; this growth is faster than the average for all occupations.

How to Become a Conservation Worker

A conservation worker is usually a step lower on the organizational ladder than a forester, as this is an entry-level job. These individuals measure and improve the quality of forests, in addition to developing, maintaining, and protecting forests. Physical labor is often a defining feature of these jobs, as duties can include planting trees, reforesting land, clearing brush and debris, removing desired and undesirable trees, and injecting plants with insecticides and herbicides. The BLS reported in 2019 that the median annual pay for conservation workers was $31,770. The job is expected to show little or no growth (0%) between now and 2029.

Conservation workers normally need at least a high school diploma to qualify for employment, though some employers want these individuals to have an associate's degree. On-the-job training is also typically provided in this profession. Some states require that these workers get a license as well.

Financial Aid & Scholarship Information for Bachelor's in Forestry Degrees

To begin searching for financial aid, students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form shows students what they qualify for in regards to federal loans, grants or work-study. Completing the FAFSA may require myriad documents including the applicant's social security number, parents' social security numbers, driver's license number and federal tax information.

There are also numerous scholarship opportunities available to forestry majors. These can be specific to certain groups, like minority groups, or for specific purposes. They can be specific to schools or certain areas of the United States. The value of these scholarships varies wildly, as does the application process. Examples of nationwide scholarships include the Gregory Award and Student Diversity Scholar Program, while school-specific examples are Bartlett Tree Foundation Scholarship at Purdue. Check your chosen school and organizations like the SAF to see what options are available to you.

Professional Organizations in Forestry

There are a host of professional organizations in forestry that seek to educate the public, lobby the government, provide networking and professional development opportunities for those in the industry, and help protect forests. Many states have specific forestry associations, and several national organizations exist. National groups include:

  • The Society of American Foresters - The SAF is arguably the most prominent organization in forestry because it works in virtually every area of the industry, and it is a widely-respected accrediting body.
  • National Association of State Foresters - This association is a nonprofit whose members are the directors of forestry agencies in each state, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia. The goal of this group is to manage and protect the nearly two-thirds of the nation's forests that are state and privately owned.
  • American Society of Consulting Arborists - The ASCA describes itself as 'the authoritative experts on trees.' Its aim is to ensure the safety, health, and preservation of trees.

State Resources for Forestry

In addition to state-specific chapters of the SAF or associations for foresters previously mentioned, state governments are among the largest employers of forestry professionals. These can take the form of forestry commissions, standalone services, or branches of a larger department. One example would be the department of environmental protection in many states. State government groups seek to educate the public and manage the state's forests. They may also provide workshops, seminars, and related professional development opportunities for forestry professionals. Similarly, they offer programs that educate the public about forestry, which can be a way for forestry professionals to give back to the community. Research the private and governmental resources in your state to see what is offered.

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