Master of Forestry (MF)

Most students entering the Nicholas School seek professional degrees, preparing for careers as expert environmental problem-solvers.

The Master of Forestry Management (MF) degree differs from traditional MS/PhD programs both in terms of the career goals of students and in terms of curricula. The MF is normally considered a “terminal” degree, equipping graduates to begin or advance in a professional career related to environmental policy and management. Most MF graduates hold management and staff positions in which they are expected to compile, analyze and interpret natural and social science information and then use it to formulate a plan for action. The MF curriculum reflects these employment goals. The emphasis is on coursework that provides a strong scientific and analytical foundation for management oriented decision making. A Master’s Project supplements the coursework by allowing students to demonstrate their organizational and analytical skills in solving an environmental management problem in their areas of specialization.  Students follow the Master's of Forestry concentration.


  • Landscape-scale focus
  • Focuses on ecosystem management
  • Big-picture application
  • Students easily personalize the curriculum for professional application
  • Strong courses in forest economics, environmental law, social sciences
  • Carbon is an important component of the curriculum--especially sequestration,
    markets, and biomass
  • Potential to pursue the understanding of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to
    an advanced level, including remote sensing
  • Active student body that have meaningful input and influence
  • Emphasis in analysis and quantitative methods
  • SAF accredited program
  • Basic forestry tools - measurement, management, biology, language, ability to write a management plan

Extra Curricular

  • Society of American Foresters (SAF)
  • Student coordinated annual symposium brings together students and
  • Association for Fire Ecology (AFE)
  • Proximity to the Duke Forest
  • Research
  • Work Study and Assistantships - management of recreation, research, and
  • Partnerships between Forestry students and the Climate Change Policy Partnership, the Center for Global Change and the Nicholas Institute
  • Forestry students can have close collaboration with faculty

After Graduation

  • Great alumni network
  • Alumni work in many different capacities, i.e. land conservation, international
    development, consulting, TIMOs/REITs, industry, PhD programs, land surveying,
    federal and state parks and forests, USDA Global Climate Change Office,
    Environmental Defense, TNC, international forestry
  • SAF Candidate Certified Forester eligibility
  • The MF program creates leaders with a progressive outlook in the forestry field
    What sets us apart from other Forestry programs is the Credibility in working with land owners and forestry professionals
  • Forestry is looked at as a tool in the context of environmental and resource
    management (holistic)
  • Strong focus on economics and policy--which creates stronger resource managers,
    communicators and therefore leaders
  • Focus on the landscape scale, which leads graduates to think about forestry in a
    broader context
  • Proximity to Duke Forest - significantly closer to forest than other schools
  • The Duke Forest manager is a valuable asset to the program. He Teaches practicum, assists in student networking, leads field trips and provides work and research opportunities