Graduate Programs

Hands-On and Future Focused

Graduate programs in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources emphasize hands-on original research with world-renowned faculty on groundbreaking projects. Our department offers both master’s and doctoral degree tracks in specific areas of Forestry, Natural Resources, Environmental Assessment, and Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology through NC State’s Graduate School. Some programs require a formal thesis, while others accept a professional project and presentation in lieu of one.

Students with backgrounds in the biological, physical and social sciences can be admitted directly into our graduate program. However, many entering graduate students do not have a forestry or natural resources background. For those applicants, we offer a series of mini-courses that overview relevant subject areas for one credit hour. Any necessary background courses needed in science, mathematics and specialty areas can also be completed as part of the graduate student program.

Once admitted, graduate students will enroll in Forestry and Environmental Resources courses listed on the Student Services Course Catalog. All of our graduate courses are designated as 500-level or higher. It is common for students pursuing graduate degrees to follow a study program that includes courses in a variety of areas, such as botany, genetics, soil science, statistics and zoology.

Master’s, Doctoral and Technical Degree Programs

Mini Courses for Students with Limited Natural Resources Background

This series of one-credit, graduate-level mini courses offers overviews of several important subject areas.

  • FOR501 – Dendrology: Learn the identification and natural history of eastern woody species with studies of their taxonomic classification, physical characteristics and typical habits. Laboratories stress sight recognition and use of identification keys and trips to natural forest communities.
  • FOR502 – Forest Measurements: Forest measurements covers principles, terminology and practical field applications, including and area measurement, units of timber measure (cubic feet, cords, weight, board feet), estimating volume of standing trees, sampling techniques for forest inventory (strips, plots, points), measures of site quality and stand density, and methods for projecting future timber volumes.
  • FOR503 – Tree Physiology: This course focuses on the fundamental principles of physiological processes in forest trees affecting tree and stand growth and development in natural forests and managed plantations. Concepts include whole plant physiological processes, such as photosynthesis, respiration, water relations, nutrition, periodic growth, sexual and vegetative reproduction, and seedling quality with forestry examples of each process.
  • FOR507 – Silviculture: This course is a condensed version of silviculture, with a focus on ecological processes affecting the establishment and growth of forest stands, especially forest types of southeastern United States, such as forest stand productivity, how productivity influenced by site, stand, climatic factors, and application of site specific prescriptions to establish and manipulate composition, growth and health of forest stands.
  • FOR509 – Forest Resource Policy: This mini course tackles the principles of forest policies and processes, like institutional and interest group participation, forestry laws and programs, current issues, and policy analyses.