DURHAM, N.C.-- The Master of Forestry (MF) program at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment has earned reaccreditation by the Society of American Foresters (SAF) through 2032.
Being accredited by SAF signifies that an MF program’s curriculum meets the standards set by licensing, certification and registration boards in the forestry profession and produces graduates who are well prepared for success.
Duke’s MF program has been accredited by SAF since 1939.
Programs seeking accreditation or reaccreditation undergo rigorous evaluation on five key criteria: program purpose and learning outcomes; administration and institutional support; faculty; curriculum; and student development and support. The year-long review process includes a site visit by an external review team appointed by the SAF Accreditation Committee and extensive interviews with employers, alumni, faculty and current students.
In accrediting the Nicholas School’s MF program for another 10 years, the SAF committee noted that the program benefits from excellent teaching facilities and a highly engaged Career and Professional Development Center; a passionate and committed faculty; outstanding opportunities for outdoor instruction and experiential learning in Duke Forest; an active student SAF chapter; a supportive and engaged alumni community; and strong support from Toddi Steelman, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School, and her leadership team.
Other noted strengths included the program’s culture of inclusion—the number of women enrolled in it has doubled in recent years—and its emphasis on enhancing students’ understanding of real-world forestry practices and challenges through practicums, field trips and internships as well as coursework.
Students’ ability to customize their course selections to emphasize specific resources (e.g., forest hydrology or wildlife) or analytic approaches (e.g., geospatial analysis or finance) was also cited as a strength, as was the opportunity for them to combine their MF with a concurrent Master of Environmental Management or other professional degree from Duke.
“It’s extremely gratifying to have the SAF Accreditation Committee affirm that our program continues to provide students with the in-depth, interdisciplinary training needed to work on the emerging frontiers of forest management, conservation and policy,” said MF co-chair Jeff Vincent, Clarence F. Korstian Professor of Forest Economics and Management.
Ram Oren, Nicholas Distinguished Professor of Earth Systems Science, who co-chairs the program with Vincent, said, “As demands on the world’s forests grow, managing forest resources increasingly requires knowledge of biology, ecology and economics as well as skills in field measurements, silviculture, finance, geospatial analysis, multi-resource assessment, and policy analysis. Our program has evolved to meet these needs. Though our roots stretch back more than 80 years, our curriculum is firmly focused on the future.”