School Profile

Mission Statement

We foster excellence in forestry and ecological science.

Vision Statement

  • We will be a premier community of scholars who investigate ecological processes from molecular to global scales and their relationship to society.
  • We strive to be internationally recognized educators of creative scientists and those who develop both technologies and strategies for sustainable natural resource management.
  • We educate students in the maintenance of healthy ecosystems through intensive field-based training and cutting-edge interdisciplinary research programs.


The School is the largest forestry program in Michigan accredited by the Society of American Foresters. SAF, the scientific and educational organization representing the forestry profession in the US, is responsible for the accreditation of postsecondary degree-granting programs in forestry.

Accreditation is a voluntary, non-governmental, peer-review process that assures the educational quality standards set by the profession are being met by a postsecondary degree-granting program of study. Graduation from an accredited program signifies adequate preparation for entry into the profession.

By the Numbers


The forestry department at Michigan Tech was established nearly 75 years ago.


100 percent placement rate for graduates of the applied ecology, forestry, and wildlife ecology programs


254 students enrolled in the School’s undergraduate and graduate programs


$28.7 million in total extramural research funding, with an average of $1.5 million per tenure track faculty member (as of June)

$5.8 million in research expenditures across approximately 291 active projects (as of June)

Blair Orr is named a winner of the Distinguished Teaching Award and joins the ranks of the School’s six past recipients: U. J. Noblet; Vern Johnson; Helmuth “Hammer” Steinhilb; Gene Hesterberg; Marty Jurgensen; and David Flaspohler.


Michigan Technological University was founded in 1885 in response to to the first mining boom in the US—the clamor for Michigan's copper preceded the California Gold Rush by several years. The Department of Forestry (now the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science) was founded in 1936. Housed in the Hubbell School, the original department had two faculty members: Ubald J. Noblet and Bob Miller. The first graduating class numbered twelve in 1940. As of December 2009, the School had awarded 2,987 alumni a total of 3,210 degrees and certificates, including 2,666 bachelor’s degrees, 385 master’s degrees, and 89 doctorates.

The Institute of Wood Research was established by legislative action in 1947 "to develop industry and further employment in the forest areas of Michigan."

The Forest Resources and Environmental Science Building was constructed in the mid-1960s and occupied in 1967, being renamed the U. J. Noblet School of Forestry and Wood Products Building in 1994 to honor the department’s founder.

In 2002, with the dedication of the building expansion project, the School of Forestry and Wood Products became the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.

Graduate degrees were offered beginning in 1967, with the establishment of a master’s program. The doctoral program was established in 1987. The BS in Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences and the BS in Wildlife Ecology and Management degree programs were added to the School’s curriculum in 1999 and in 2004, respectively.

Points of Pride


The School’s faculty was ranked number one in scholarly productivity by the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2007.

Dean Peg Gale was appointed by Michigan’s governor to the Great Lakes Wind Council.


Undergraduate research is strongly encouraged! The $1,000 Earn and Learn assistantship provides incoming students with the opportunity to integrate themselves into the School’s research community.

Four School faculty members are past recipients of the Research Excellence Award: Joseph Bump (mentoring grant), Andrew Burton (infrastructure enhancement grant), Molly Cavaleri (research seed grant), and Audrey Mayer (grant for Social Sciences–related research).

Researchers from the School are involved in the longest-running predator-prey study ever conducted, which focuses on the interdependence of moose and wolves at Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park.


Over 5,500 acres of School-owned research forest is used for teaching and conducting research.

The Mesocosm, an underground process research lab located on campus, is a collaborative project between the School and the US Forest Service. The lab allows researchers to study below-ground systems and their responses to global climate change and serves as a teaching facility.

The School boasts comprehensive Geographic Information Systems labs.


Our degree programs are hands-on and field-oriented, with one entire semester dedicated to field practicum.

The School has the largest forestry program in Michigan accredited by the Society of American Foresters.

The School established the first Peace Corps Master’s International Program at the University.


Michigan Technological University is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, an area attractive to students and faculty who thrive in a rugged and beautiful environment.

Houghton, home of the University, lies in the heart of Upper Michigan's scenic Keweenaw Peninsula. The campus overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway, a long, winding ribbon of water that divides the peninsula. Just a few miles from campus, on either end of the waterway, lies Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area.

Houghton is part of the Houghton-Hancock twin-city center of approximately 12,000 residents. The University's more than 7,000 students from many states and nations make the area a vibrant, multicultural community. Houghton is home to many exciting cultural activities, including the annual fall Parade of Nations, a celebration of the community’s diversity.

Only minutes from campus, the Tech Trails offer nearly 40 miles of well-maintained hiking, biking, skiing, and snowshoeing trails located in the six-hundred-acre recreational forest adjoining Michigan Tech's campus.

The University’s own 5,583-acre research forest is located just 40 miles south of campus. Sharing this scenic location is the Ford Center, a live-in education and research facility. Together, they create the ultimate outdoor educational experience. Students have the opportunity to explore unparalleled natural resources at this complex, which plays host to the semester-long field practicum.

Wetlands are abundant in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, covering approximately 11 percent of the western part of the peninsula. The diversity and pristine nature of wetlands in the local area—ranging from riverine fringe wetlands to boreal peatlands to swamp forests to graminoid marshes—provides unparalleled opportunities for exciting research.