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Forestry programs prepare people to manage forests in both rural and urban areas for economical, ecological, and recreational purposes.

Forestry programs prepare people to manage forests and care for trees in urban areas and parks. Students learn the principles of tree growth, forestry laws, and wildlife protection. They also study the ecology in different forested areas and learn to protect forests from fires, pests, and diseases.

Forestry programs include topics such as:


In forestry programs, students may be able to specialize in:


Internships allow students to develop skills at companies or organizations. Some forestry programs require students to complete an internship.


Many community colleges and technical schools offer certificate and associate degree programs in forestry. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program at a community college usually takes two years of full-time study to complete.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in forestry. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in forestry. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General.

For master's degree programs, you don't necessarily need to major in forestry, forest science, or a related field to apply. However, you should take several related courses in the natural and social sciences. And you typically have to take undergraduate-level courses in forestry as a graduate student before you can start graduate-level course work.

For doctoral degree programs, you should have a master's degree in forestry, forest science, or a closely related field.

Both master's and doctoral degree programs generally require you to take the following courses as an undergraduate:

Additional requirements at many schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this undergraduate program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate course work tends to vary according to the program and your chosen concentration. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

Most programs incorporate an internship or some other type of supervised work experience in their curriculums. This gives you the opportunity to apply your classroom knowledge to hands-on, real-world forestry situations. Someone at your program typically helps you to find an internship that matches your interests.

For example, if you were interested in urban forestry, you might work in an arboretum and help label and take care of the trees. If wildlife conservation is your passion, you could work with a non-profit agency and offer advice to logging companies on environmental practices. These are just a couple of possibilities.

Whatever type of internship you choose, you benefit from the guidance and direct supervision of an experienced forestry professional.

Things to Know

Many programs tend to emphasize the forestry concerns of their geographical area. An arborist is an urban forester. Arborists work in cities to apply their knowledge of forestry to trees that people value for beauty or recreational purposes.

Some states require you to be either registered or licensed before you can practice forestry. Requirements for registration and licensure vary from state to state. However, typical requirements include getting a degree in forestry, having work experience, and passing an exam.


East Side Area

Walla Walla Community College

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Bellevue College

Green River College

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Spokane Community College

Tacoma Area

Tacoma Community College

West Side Area

Centralia College