Curriculum

The Master of Forestry has a large number of classes that are required to satisfy accreditation standards. These classes are offered only once per year, which makes it critical to take classes in the specified order. Students graduate at the end of the second fall semester.

Fall Semester (9 credits)

The first fall semester classes include fundamental forest biology, ecology, and field skills. The classes during this term are:

  • FW 5020—Identification and Biology of Forest Vegetation (2 credits)
  • FW 5040—Ecological Processes of Forests (2 credits)
  • FW 5060—Forest Soil Science (3 credits)
  • FW 5377—Forest and Environmental Resource Management (FERM, 2 credits)

Spring Semester (13 credits)

Spring semester topics include collecting, managing, presenting, and analyzing information that helps us make forest management decisions. These classes involve more advanced tools and problem solving skills. As a unit, they provide the framework for analyzing the ecological, social, and financial implications of forest management decisions. The specific classes are:

  • FW 5311—Natural Resource Policy for Professionals (2 credits)
  • FW 3540—Remote Sensing/Geographic Information Systems (4 credits)
  • FW 5032—Integrated Forest Inventory and Data Analysis (3 credits)
  • FW 5088—Advanced Forest Economics and Finance (3 credits)
  • FW 5800—Masters Graduate Seminar (1 credit)

Fall Semester—Fall Camp (8 credits)

The second fall semester is called fall camp and is taught at the Ford Center about 40 miles south of Houghton. Classes begin two or three weeks early and are completed before Thanksgiving break. 

Although students in the Master of Forestry program sign up for only one 8-credit class, FW5700 Graduate Field Forestry, a wide range of topics are covered that include:

  • Silviculture—covers the management approaches foresters use to regenerate and grow productive forests
  • Forest health—introduces the potential biological agents, such as insects and fungi, that can attack trees and endanger forest ecosystems and their control
  • Wildlife habitat—focuses on the ecological requirements of wildlife species
  • Land Measurement and GPS—develops GPS skills for collecting spatial information in the woods and incorporating that data into mapping software
  • Timber harvesting—addresses methods of harvesting trees that preserve ecological values and sustainability while providing economically efficient timber harvest to satisfy society's needs
  • Multi-resource assessment—allows the students to exercise all the skills they have learned during the Master of Forestry program to develop a land management plan for a tract of land
 

Housing at Fall Camp

Most students choose to live at the Ford Center for the term. Master of Forestry students generally live together in one of the Center’s houses. The houses sometimes accommodate both Master of Forestry and Peace Corps Master’s International students.

General Procedures

A plan of work showing the courses to be taken, the topic of the report (Plan B), and the report format (Plan B) will be prepared by the student with his/her advisor. The student's advisory committee will review the design of study (Plan B) by the end of the second or third semester. For a Plan B master's, the study plan must be presented to the student's advisory committee no later than the end of the second semester in residence. A copy of the approved study plan will be given to all committee members once approved by the advisory committee. All graduate students are required to be enrolled each academic semester, except summer, until completion of all degree requirements. A full-time student must enroll in a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester except for the semester with 8 credits of Field Forestry.

All master’s students will go through an oral defense, which is required to earn the MF degree. The oral defense for Plan B master's students will focus around the student's report and their course work. Early in the student's last semester, a draft of the report should be submitted to the student's advisor. Following review and revisions by the advisor, the report should be submitted to the student's advisory committee at least two weeks before the scheduled oral examination. Plan B students must give a scheduled oral presentation before their defense. The oral defense for Plan C students will focus on their course work.

Advisory Committee Role

The advisory committee must approve the report (Plan B), and the necessary course work to successfully complete the project. The student's advisor is responsible for ensuring the report (Plan B) is within the capability of the student and can be completed within a reasonable period of time. The advisor and the advisory committee are responsible for ensuring the report (Plan B) and course work (Plans B and C) fall within the master's program selected by the student and the student's advisor. The role of the advisory committee for Plan C students is to help the student choose course work, keep track of the student's progress in his/her course work, and to test the student's knowledge on his/her course work at the student's oral defense.