Michigan Tech to Offer Transatlantic Forest Resources Master's Degree

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

In a first-of-its-kind, transatlantic graduate program, students on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean now can earn dual forest resources master’s degrees from Michigan Technological University and a Finnish or Swedish university.

Michigan Tech and North Carolina State University have received a joint $224,000 grant from the US Department of Education and the European Union (EU) to partner with the University of Helsinki in Finland and the Swedish University of Agricultural Science to offer a transatlantic dual master's degree program in forest resources and biotechnology. The program is one of 16 just funded by the new US-European partnership, called ATLANTIS (Actions for Transatlantic Links and Academic Networks for Training and Integrated Studies).

The program will enable 12 Michigan Tech graduate students and 12 graduate students from Finland and Sweden to spend one year at Tech and the other year at one of the Scandinavian partner universities. All students will meet uniform standards, and those who complete the program will receive dual MS degrees, from Michigan Tech and the Swedish or Finnish university they attend.

North Carolina State, the lead US institution in the partnership, will also conduct a similar exchange program for 24 additional graduate students.

Transatlantic faculty exchanges will also be part of the new program. Graduate students will be jointly supervised by US and EU faculty members

The new dual degree program is designed to enhance the global competitiveness of forestry in the temperate zone, to contribute to sustainable management of forests globally and to improve the quality of higher education in forestry in the US and the European Union.

A global perspective is very important, said Margaret Gale, dean of Michigan Tech’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. “We’re living in a global society, yet our perspectives and practices are quite different,” she explained. “We need to understand how other countries are managing their natural resources. This project will make the distance between us much smaller.”

Michigan Tech will pay tuition, plus travel expenses and a living stipend for Tech graduate students during their year in Finland or Sweden.

“This is a unique opportunity for graduate students to get two years of education for one year’s investment,” said Chandrashekhar Joshi, who will lead the program at Michigan Tech’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. “They will also get an international experience and a chance to learn about each other’s approach to forestry and tree biotechnology.”

Michigan Tech’s Graduate School offers a variety of options for students who are interested in having an international experience during their graduate studies. This will be only the second dual degree program officially offered by Michigan Tech. The other is a BS/MS dual degree with Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan.

"I look forward to working with Dr. Joshi and others to develop this new program" stated Jackie Huntoon, dean of the Graduate School. “Building international partnerships improves the University's ability to address the interests of students and prepare them for future leadership roles,” she noted.

Joshi praised Huntoon for her leadership and commitment to the new program. “We hope to become a model for other disciplines to conduct similar programs,” he said.

Other US universities receiving a total of nearly $1.3 million in Atlantis grants include Grand Valley State in Michigan, the University of Colorado, the University of Massachusetts, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Toledo and the University of Arizona.

Michigan Technological University is a leading public research university, conducting research, developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, forestry and environmental sciences, computing, technology, business and economics, natural and physical sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.