Master of Forestry Curriculum 2018-2019

The course listing and program requirements will change slightly starting in academic year 2018–19 to continue to meet SAF accreditation standards.

Beginning with the 2018-2019 class, all students must submit a Pre-Enrollment and Completion Check Form to the Program Director to ensure SAF accreditation standards are met.  There may be additional courses to the ones listed below that you need to meet these standards, so talk with your Program Director.

Master of Forestry students graduate at the end of their second fall semester, or third semester.

Fall Semester (13 credits)

The first fall semester classes include fundamental forest biology, ecology, and field skills in plant identification, orienteering, GIS use, and forest inventory:

  • FW 3020 - Forest Ecology (3 credits)
  • FW 5330 - Applied Soil Science (3 credits)
  • FW 5020 - Woody Plants of North America (2 credits)
  • FW 5378 - Field Methods (1 credit)
  • FW 5540 - Advanced Remote Sensing or GIS (4 credits)


  • FW 5550 - GIS and Spatial Analysis (4 credits)

Spring Semester (9 credits)

Spring semester topics include collecting, managing, presenting, and analyzing information that helps make forest management decisions using more advanced tools and problem-solving skills. These classes are a framework for analyzing ecological, social, and financial implications of forest management decisions:

  • FW 3110 - Natural Resources Policy ( 3 credits)
  • FW 5081 - Professionalism in Forestry (1 credit)
  • FW 5088 - Economic Analysis of Forestry (2 credits)
  • FW 5201 - Forest Biometrics and Modeling (2 credits)
  • FW 5369 - Hydrology and Watershed Management (1 credit)

Final Semester—Integrated Field Practicum (10 credits)

The third semester is your Integrated Field Practicum (IFP, traditionally called Fall Camp), at the Ford Center 40 miles south of Houghton. Classes typically begin two weeks before the regular fall semester in August, and are done before Thanksgiving break.  Students also have the option to complete IFP as a summer camp in their third semester, during Track B. If you want to do this, talk to your advisor.

  • FW 5700 - Graduate Field Forestry (8 credits)
  • FW 5079 - Forest Management (2 credit)

 Although students only register for 2 classes this semester, FW5700 Graduate Field Forestry covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Silviculture—the management approaches foresters use to regenerate and grow productive forests
  • Forest health—an introduction to potential biological agents, like insects and fungi, that can attack trees and endanger forest ecosystems and how to control them
  • 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 tree-harvesting methods that preserve ecological values and sustainability while providing economically efficient timber harvest to satisfy society's needs
  • Multi-resource assessment—students exercise all the skills they have learned during the Master of Forestry program to develop a management plan for a tract of land

General Procedures for the MF Degree

Most students are coursework-only, using the approved curriculum to develop their program. A plan of work showing courses to take, is prepared by the student and the MF Program Director.  An oral defense is required to earn the MF degree.

Students also have the option to complete a report (Plan B) or thesis (Plan C) master of forestry degree. The oral defense for Plan B master's students focuses around the student's report and course work.  Plan B students must give a scheduled oral presentation before their defense. The oral defense for Plan C students focuses on their course work:

  • 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 is given to all committee members once approved by the advisory committee.
  • All graduate students must 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.
  • Early in the student's last semester, a report draft must be submitted to the student's advisor. Following review and revisions by the advisor, the report is submitted to the student's advisory committee, at least two weeks before the scheduled oral examination.