FES Graduate Program

The Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society is replacing the old Forest Science Graduate Program with this new program. Graduate students entering beginning winter term 2012 will be in this new program. Students may transfer into the FES Graduate Program beginning fall, 2011.

Our program objective is to develop interdisciplinary thinkers, highly capable scientists, and natural resource leaders who are prepared to solve complex socio-ecological problems.

This graduate program combines a strong social science faculty with a strong biological and ecological science faculty and so provides, in addition to standard ecological and social science studies, an unusual opportunity to focus on the interface of social science and ecology. The FES graduate program provides specific disciplinary opportunities in both ecological and social sciences in the natural resource setting but also strives to develop interdisciplinary skills and knowledge. The students will be able to identify and contribute to collaborative solutions in ecology and natural resources-related social science.

The FES Graduate Program offers 3 different types of degrees:

The Master of Forestry (MF) degree is a non-thesis degree designed to meet the continuing education and promotion needs of working professionals.  This degree typically takes 12-15 months to complete and requires the student work on a capstone project.

The Master of Science and PhD degrees in Forest Ecosystems and Society are structured specifically for those interested in careers in research, teaching, and specialized areas of forest science, social science, and the interface of the two.  These degrees require a thesis or dissertation.  The MS degree is typically completed in 24 months; the PhD degree can take 4-5 years.

Student in forestMaster of Forestry (MF) in Forest Biology

Management of natural resources is an increasingly complex and technical undertaking. In some cases, breadth or depth of specialization beyond the BS degree is required or is highly desirable in entry-level professional forestry positions or for advancement in non-research professional forestry positions. The MF in Forest Biology program emphasizes graduate course work in one of five areas of emphasis in forest biology, with supporting work in another area. The program can be completed in 12 months, but it may be extended in accordance with personal needs and the policies of the OSU Graduate School.

Master of Forestry (MF) in Silviculture

The MF in Silviculture program provides graduate-level preparation in the full range of disciplines essential for analyzing opportunities, solving problems, and making decisions in silviculture and forest resource management. Graduates from this program must demonstrate competence in the preparation of well-documented silvicultural prescriptions and in the supervision of prescription implementation. The program also provides the background for sustained career development in forest resource management.


Doctor of Philosophy or Master of Science in Forest Ecosystems and Society - Areas of Concentration

Native American's fishingThe PhD and MS degrees have seven areas of concentration: forest, wildlife and landscape ecology; genetics and physiology; integrated social and ecological systems; science of conservation, restoration and sustainable management; social science, policy, and natural resources; soil-plant-atmosphere continuum; sustainable recreation and tourism. However, these areas of concentration have no specific entrance requirements or course requirements and do not appear on transcripts or diplomas. We present them here not to constrain any student to a particular area but rather to illustrate the breadth of possibilities within the graduate program. Students do not need to try to fit into one of these areas; hybrids and overlaps will be common. A student with his/her advisor and committee will decide what the specific course and other requirements are for the individual degree. The program as a whole has specific competency requirements for graduation.

  1. Forest, Wildlife and Landscape Ecology. The many dimensions of biodiversity are the topic of this area of concentration. Species and communities of species, act, react and interact at many spatial and temporal scales. These dynamics take place in an environment that can change gradually or quite rapidly and that can have a large impact on dynamics through direct and indirect effects on species and inter-specific relationships.
  2. Genetics and Physiology. The genetic and physiological mechanisms, from the scale of molecules and tissues to whole organisms, populations, and species, that determine how plants grow, reproduce, respond to environment, and are managed and modified for human benefit.
  3. Integrated Social and Ecological Systems. Many issues in the broad natural resources arena are truly interdisciplinary across the biophysical and the social sciences. This area of concentration focuses on the integration of these sciences in developing basic concepts and in resolving management issues.
  4. Science of Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Management. The bases for these integrated sciences are found in the more basic biophysical and social sciences but their application to these complex goals generates new scientific challenges. This area of concentration seeks to develop these new scientific understandings.
  5. Social Science, Policy, and Natural Resources. Exploration of social, human dimensions, and policy aspects of natural resource issues by examining linkages among humans, society, and the natural resources on which humans and society depend.
  6. Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Continuum. The movement of energy and matter within and among ecosystems controls how these systems function and the services they provide. This area of concentration investigates the mechanisms controlling ecosystem behavior over a range of levels from the whole-plant to the globe.
  7. Sustainable Recreation and Tourism. Social and/or ecological topics in sustainable recreation and tourism including recreation and tourism behavior; social and/or ecological impacts; and planning, management, and policy.

Competencies for the FES Graduate Program.

All Forest Ecosystems and Society graduate majors can be utilized by students in the College of Forestry's Peace Corps Master’s International Program.

For more information, contact the head of the department or any faculty member.  A list of potential major advisors for graduate students can be found here.