Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology

Few scientists acquainted with the chemistry of biological systems at the molecular level can avoid being inspired. —Donald Cram

Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology—MS, PhD

Fast Facts

  • Faculty play a leadership role in the Aspen FACE project, the only open-air facility in the world where scientists can study the joint effect of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and ozone on forest ecosystems.
  • Job placement rate -100 percent.
  • Faculty in the School are among the most productive in the nation, according to independent studies published in the Journal of Forestry and released by Academic Analytics.
  • Graduate students have been coauthors in articles appearing in high-impact journals such as Science, Nature, and Plant Cell.
  • The School has long-standing research collaborations with forest biotechnology industries and has received $10 million in research funding from government agencies.

Learn more about the research opportunities in this program.

Graduate Programs in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology

The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science is an internationally recognized program that leads the world in managing more sustainable ecosystems here on earth.

Graduate students join faculty in research initiatives include functional genomics, gene expression profiling at the whole-genome scale, and production of genetically improved trees for sustainable biofuel production. Molecular biological tools are also employed to uncover the impact of anthropogenic operations on wildlife.

New facilities allow for in-depth studies of forest trees using whole plant, subcellular, and functional genomics approaches. State-of-the-art molecular biology facilities combined with functional genomics instrumentation enable studies in comparative gene expression and genomic analysis.

Our major research facilities include DNA sequencing and microarray labs, metabolome and genome profiling labs, tissue culture and tree transformation labs, and ecological genomics labs. A total laboratory space of 6,500 square feet and 2,000 square feet of greenhouse space provide opportunities for research that make a positive difference in today’s challenged environments.

Learn more about the research opportunities in this program.

Master's Degree: Thesis Option

This option requires a research thesis prepared under the supervision of the advisor.  The thesis describes a research investigation and its results. The scope of the research topic for the thesis should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. 

The minimum requirements are as follows:

Course work (minimum)20 credits
Thesis research6–10 credits
Total (minimum)30 credits
Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

 

Programs may have stricter requirements and may require more than the minimum numbers of credits listed here.

Master's Degree: Report Option

This option requires a report describing the results of an independent study project. The scope of the research topic should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. 

Of the minimum total of 30 credits, at least 24 must be earned in course work other than the project:

Course work24 credits
Report2–6 credits
Total (minimum)30 credits
Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

 

Programs may have stricter requirements and may require more than the minimum numbers of credits listed here.

Master's Degree: Course Work Option

This option requires a minimum of 30 credits be earned through course work. Research credits may be used on a case-by-case basis following the approval of the graduate program director. 

A graduate program may require an oral or written examination before conferring the degree and may require more than the minimum credits listed here:

Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)18 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

PhD Requirements

To complete a doctoral degree, students must complete the following milestones:

  • Complete all course work and research credits (see credit requirements below)
  • Pass Qualifying Examination
  • Pass Research Proposal Examination
  • Prepare and Submit Approved Dissertation
  • Pass Final Oral Defense

The minimum credit requirements are as follows:

Total Credit Requirements 
MS–PhD (minimum)30 credits
BS–PhD (minimum)60 credits

 

Individual programs may have higher standards and students are expected to know their program's requirements. See the Doctor of Philosophy Requirements website for more information about PhD milestones and related timelines.