Our Master of Forestry (MF) program equips graduates for careers as expert environmental problem-solvers in forest ecology and management. Our goal is to create leaders with a progressive outlook in the forestry field.
During this two-year (four-semester) program, students gain the skills needed to manage forests for a variety of uses, including timber, nontraditional forest products, and conservation. Students enjoy close proximity to Duke Forest and benefit from hands-on experience as they pursue their coursework and complete a master’s project.
Course Planning Worksheets
How to Apply
The MF program gives students a strong scientific and analytical foundation for management-oriented decision making. We value a holistic view of forestry as a tool in the larger context of environmental and resource management.
Duke’s forestry program has educated leaders in forestry fields for more than 70 years. Our MF degree is accredited by the Society of American Foresters, the United States’ largest professional forestry organization.
Our curriculum combines a core set of forestry courses with resource-oriented electives in students’ specific areas of interest. Students also complete a master’s project, allowing them to apply their organizational and analytical skills to solve an environmental management problem in their area of specialization.
Graduates of the program leave with the following core skills and expertise:
- A broad knowledge base in the ecology and management of forest resources.
- A deep understanding of biology and the physical sciences; silviculture; forest measurement; and resource policy, economics, and administration.
- Relevant quantitative and analytical skills, such as statistics, forest measurement, geospatial tools, applied mathematics and quantitative modeling, and decision analysis.
- Management skills and the ability to work effectively in cross-disciplinary settings with a high degree of professional ethics.
- Oral and written skills to communicate management plans to a wide audience and the ability to critically evaluate opposing viewpoints.
In addition, students benefit from a number of unique program attributes, opportunities for specialized experience, and the overall Nicholas School community. For example:
- Students can easily personalize the curriculum to align with their specific career goals.
- Students are part of an active student body that has meaningful input and influence.
- An annual symposium brings students together with professionals in the field.
- Students enjoy close proximity to Duke Forest, which serves as an outdoor laboratory for forestry research and teaching.
- Students closely collaborate with faculty members, including serving as assistants in research, silviculture, or forest recreation roles.
- The curriculum has a unique focus on landscape-scale, big-picture applications, with an emphasis on ecosystem management, analysis, and quantitative methods.
- The program offers strong courses in forest economics, environmental law, and social sciences in addition to basic forestry tools such as measurement, management, biology, language, and the ability to write a management plan. This diverse knowledge base creates stronger resource managers, communicators, and leaders.
- Carbon is an important component of the curriculum, especially sequestration, markets, and biomass.
- Interested students can pursue an advanced understanding of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), including remote sensing.
- Students can take advantage of opportunities and partnerships with the Society of American Foresters, the Association for Fire Ecology, the Climate Change Policy Partnership, the Center for Global Change, and the Nicholas Institute.
Our graduates are equipped for positions in industry, conservation organizations, government agencies, and other groups involved with the use and conservation of forests. 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.
Our students benefit from a strong and diverse alumni network, which includes leaders at a wide range of organizations, from those interested primarily in conservation to those who manage forests for fiber products. Many graduates apply to become a Candidate Certified Forester through the Society of American Foresters.
Students can pursue the MF degree concurrently with another degree at the Nicholas School or other school. Joint degrees with the Master of Environmental Management (MF/MEM), Master of Business Administration (MF/MBA), Master of Public Policy (MF/MPP), and Juris Doctor (MF/JD) are especially popular. Adding a concurrent program will increase the program’s overall length; for example, the joint MF/MEM degree typically takes 5-6 semesters to complete. See Concurrent Degree Programs for details.
The MF degree requires a minimum of 48 credit hours, which are distributed among required courses to develop core competencies and electives to develop a field of specialty. See MF Curriculum & Courses for details.
Students must also complete a master’s project, which may be done individually or in a group and typically culminates in a paper and presentation in the program’s final semester.
Faculty members serve as course advisors to help students determine their optimal course of study. Each student also works with a master’s project advisor to develop the master’s project.
COURSE PLANNING WORKSHEETS
course planning for students incoming Fall 2014 >
course planning for students incoming Fall 2013 >
course planning for students incoming Fall 2012 >
course planning for students incoming Fall 2011 >
These distinguished faculty members teach courses in forestry and related specializations and serve as advisors to MF students.
Nicolette Cagle, 613-1268
Judd Edeburn, 613-8013
Pat Halpin (shared with CEM), 613-8062
Lynn Maguire (with EEP), 613-8034
Ram Oren (Program Chair), 613-8032
Sari Palmroth, 613-808
Subrhendu Pattanayak, 613-9306
John Poulsen, 668-4060
Dan Richter, 613-8031
Jennifer Swenson, 668-0606
Dean Urban, 613-8069
Rebecca Vidra, 613-8199
Jeffery Vincent, 613-8025
The program is also supported by other faculty within the Nicholas School (Randy Kramer, Bob Healy), affiliate and adjunct faculty members (Coleman Doggett), forest scientists at the USDA/FS Research Station in Research Triangle Park (Tom Holmes, Evan Mercer, David Wear), and the Forest History Society (Steve Anderson). Students who work with advisors outside of the Nicholas School should consult with regular program faculty on matters of academic advising and other administrative details that might be unfamiliar to our affiliates in other institutions.
HOW TO APPLY
See Application Materials & Requirements for upcoming deadlines and detailed instructions on applying to the MF program.
To be considered for the MF program, students must have a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university or have completed at least three years of study in an institution participating in the Cooperative College (3-2) Program.
We also expect that applicants will have:
- Some previous training in the natural or social sciences related to your area of interest;
- At least one semester of college calculus; and
- A college statistics course that includes descriptive statistics, probability distributions, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, correlation, simple linear regression, and simple ANOVAs.
In addition to the school-wide prerequisites, the MF program requires:
- At least one introductory college course in principles of ecology, and
- An introductory college economics course that includes microeconomics.
See Prerequisites & Required Courses for details.