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Forest Resources

M.S. Degree :: Ph.D Degree :: Contact an Advisor: How to Apply

The Graduate Program in Forest Resources is a center for advanced study and research in a broad range of topics related to forest resources, including forest ecology and management, watershed and wetlands science, urban forestry and arboriculture, building materials and wood technology, sustainable building practices, human dimensions and natural resource policy, and remote sensing/GIS applications in natural resources. In addition, collaboration with the Graduate Program in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation provides strength in forest wildlife biology with a focus on the interaction between forest management and wildlife habitats and populations at both the stand and landscape level. Because of the University's location in southern New England, much of the research in natural resources deals with complex problems involving both biological and social issues in a landscape that is a mixture of urban, suburban, and rural areas. However, research programs are not limited to these problems; graduate students conduct projects and find employment throughout the world.

For more details, read the Graduate Handbook

The M.S. Degree Program

The M.S. program has both thesis and non-thesis options in all fields within forest resources management and utilization. Each student's curriculum is designed collaboratively by the student, the faculty advisor, and the student's thesis or project guidance committee. A course distribution requirement assures that students have graduate coursework across a range of fields in forest conservation (forest biology, forest management, forest measurements/inventory, and human dimensions/policy) and building material and wood technology. Students concentrating in forest conservation must take sufficient courses in the four subject areas to meet the U.S.D.A. Forest Service requirement for Forester, if they have not already met that requirement with the courses from their undergraduate degree. The M.S. degree with thesis requires 30 credit hours at the graduate level (course numbers 500 and greater), with 6-10 of these credits earned for the thesis. The non-thesis option also requires 30 graduate credit hours total, which includes a 6-credit independent study professional project, and a comprehensive exam. In addition, there are four professional (non-thesis) options, each with a defined curriculum. Each of these options require 36 graduate credits, including a 6-credit internship with a professional agency or organization, and a final paper based on the internship experience. The four options are:

Green Building

This program focuses on professional training in environmentally responsible building practices. The program is highly interdisciplinary, combining courses from the applied sciences to public policy to the humanities, allowing students from different backgrounds to shape their own education. Topics include: energy efficient structures, engineering design with sustainable building materials, LEED-certified building requirements, solar energy conversion and public policy relating to green building. This degree will arm students with the latest knowledge in energy efficiency and environmental stewardship to help lead the way in sustainable building and construction. (Concentration Coordinator: Dr. Clouston)

» For more information, go to the BCT site

Spatial Data Analysis

This program trains students to use new technologies for collecting, storing, and analyzing spatially tagged data on natural resources, particularly wildlife and fisheries resources; these include digital remote sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), radiotelemetry, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Students also learn statistical tools for analyzing spatial data and describing animal habitat-relationships. Students take core courses in basic techniques of spatial analysis, then choose among others for enriching their background in biology, statistics, or modeling. (Concentration Advisor: Dr. Finn)

Watershed Science

This program focuses on watersheds as an interdisciplinary area of study. It is designed to provide salient training in the biological, physical, and social sciences and the analytical skills for watershed management. Students learn how terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and social, economic, and political systems interact at a watershed scale. The degree requirements of advanced graduate coursework, an internship with a federal, state, or local watershed program, and a research project or professional paper provide the depth and breadth needed for professional employment with private-sector firms, NGOs, or government agencies engaged in watershed management. (Concentration coordinators: Dr. Randhir, Dr. Barten).

Wetlands Conservation

This program focuses on professional training in wetlands ecology and conservation, and in public policy and program administration. Students will gain an understanding of wetlands, hydrology, soils, plants, and wildlife; techniques for wetland field assessments; public policy relating to state and federal wetlands regulatory programs; and public administration and analyses. The academic requirements of this concentration, in combination with an internship experience, provide students with the necessary training for employment with state, federal, and NGO wetlands programs, and private consulting firms. (Concentration Advisor: Dr. Griffin)

The Ph.D Program

There are no set course requirements for the doctoral program, except that each student must take at least one graduate course in three of the four fields of forest biology, forest management, forest measurements/inventory, and human dimensions/policy. Specific course requirements are determined by the student and her/his advisor and guidance committee to prepare for the preliminary comprehensive exam (written and oral) and dissertation research. The comprehensive exam is usually taken at the end of the second year when courses are finished, followed by completion of dissertation research and the final dissertation exam (defense). Other degree requirements are that each student must spend at least two successive semesters in residence (in full-time graduate study) at the University, and each must serve as a teaching assistant for one semester.


Dr. Brian Kane
Program Director

Room: 126 Holdsworth Hall
Phone: 413-545-6637

You can contact this advisor by using the NRC contact form.

Updated: March 24, 2010