MF Prerequisites & Course Requirements

These are the courses you’ll need to complete before you start your degree program. See our Statement of Prerequisite Coursework for details. 

Prerequisites for All MEM Students

  1. Some previous training in the natural sciences or the social sciences related to the student’s area of interest.
  2. At least one semester of college calculus.
  3. A college statistics course that includes descriptive statistics, probability distributions, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, correlation, simple linear regression, and simple ANOVAs.

Elements Specific to the MF 

  1. In addition to the school-wide prerequisites, the MF requires at least one introductory college course in principles of ecology, and an introductory college economics course that includes microeconomics. Deficiencies must be made up in the student’s first year in residence; prerequisites do not count toward degree requirements. 


The MF program requires a total of at least 48 credits and four semesters of enrollment. A student pursuing the MF concurrently with the MEM will need at least five semesters of enrollment to earn the minimum of 72 credit hours and fulfill degree requirements. If the joint degrees do not substantially overlap in coursework, it might take six semesters to complete both degrees. During the fourth and fifth semesters the student will complete the course requirements and devote time to the completion of the Master’s Project. A Master’s Project paper and presentation will be made at the end of the fifth or sixth semester. 

Required courses for all Nicholas School students are:

  • ENVIRON 896 Professional Communications (1/2 credit)
  • ENVIRON 897 Writing a Master’s Project (1/2 credit)
  • ENVIRON 898.01 MP Seminar (1 credit to be awarded at the end of 4 semesters)
  • ENVIRON 899.01 Master’s Project (4 to 6 credits)

Successful completion of online Introductory Master’s Project Tutorials is also a requirement. The tutorials offer information on various types of MPs and principles of research design.

The MF degree requires 48 credits that comprise courses in five core areas, electives, field trips and seminars, and the Master’s project.  Examples of such courses include (required courses in bold):

1. Forest Ecology and Biology (10+ credits):

  • ENVIRON 705L Silviculture, 3 credits (S)
  • ENVIRON 708 Silviculture Prescription, 2 credits (S)
  • ENVIRON 503 Forest Ecosystems, 3 credits (S)

One additional course in forest science from the options below:

  • ENVIRON 714 Landscape Ecology, 3 credits (F)
  • ENVIRON 721L Soil Resources, 3 credits (F)
  • ENVIRON 734L Watershed Hydrology, 3 credits (F)
  • ENVIRON 505 Functional Ecology of Trees, 3 credits (F)
  • EOS 723 Landscape Hydrology, 3 credits (F)

2. Measurement of Forest Resources (4 credits):

  • ENVIRON 731 Dendrology, 2 credits (F)
  • ENVIRON 701 Forest Measurements, 2 credits (F)

3. Management of Forest Resources (3+ credits):

  • ENVIRON 806 Duke Forest Practicum, 2 credits (S)
  • ENVIRON 763 Forest Management Traveling Seminar, 1 credit
    (rotating topics: forest regeneration, harvest effects on water and soil, and fiber utilization; may be taken up to three times for credit)

4. Forest Policy and Administration (6+ credits):

These two required courses in forest/resource economics:

  • ENVIRON 520 Resource and Environmental Economics I, 1.5 credits (F)
  • ENVIRON 680 Economics of Forest Resources, 1.5 credits (F)

(NCSU’s course FOR 519 can replace ENVIRON 520 & 680)

One course in forest/resource policy from the options below:

  • ENVIRON 577 Environmental Politics, 3 credits
  • ENVIRON 550 Land Use Principles and Policies, 3 credits
  • LAW 235 Environmental Law, 3 credits

This required course in forest policy and administration:

  • ENVIRON 727 Forests in the Public Interest, 1 credit (F) (may be taken up to 3 times for credit)

5. Quantitative Analysis (6+ credits):

One required course in statistics:

  • ENVIRON 710 Applied Data Analysis for Environmental Science, 3 credits (F)

One course from the options below:

  • ENVIRON 559 Fundamentals of GIS and Geospatial Analysis
  • ENVIRON 724 Landscape Analysis and Management
  • ENVIRON 761 Geospatial Analysis for Conservation & Management
  • ENVIRON 857L Satellite Remote Sensing for Environmental Analysis
  • ENVIRON 859 Advanced Geospatial Analysis
  • ENVIRON 832 Environmental Decision Analysis

One methods-oriented statistics course is required. One or more courses focusing on Geographic Information System/Geospatial Analysis are highly recommended to satisfy the Quantitative Analysis requirement or as Specialized Electives (next section). Quantitative courses are also taught by the Duke Department of Statistical Science (formerly called ISDS), Fuqua School of Business, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Departments of Biology, Economics, Political Science, Sociology, and Evolutionary Anthropology. In addition, various departments at NCSU and UNC offer graduate-level quantitative coursework that is of very fine quality.

6. Specializing Electives
Electives should be chosen to help develop a special perspective or area of specialization. This is done in consultation with the advisor and program chair, with some thought as to the topic of the MP. The identification of a specialization is usually done over the course of a student’s first two semesters.

7. Forestry Field Trips (encouraged)
All MFs are ensured a place in ENVIRON 766A, Ecology of S. Appalachian Forests, a 1-credit readings and field trip course held every other fall. A 1-credit Western Forestry Field Trip, ENVIRON 760A, is given each spring and may be repeated twice for credit (itinerary alternates annually between the east side and the west side of the Cascades).

8. Seminars

  • ENVIRON 898.01 FRM Seminar, 1 credit (F – including two sessions on Ethics; S)

A variety of other topical seminars are available to MFs.

Other courses are detailed on the Advising webpages, updated each semester.