School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Forest Science—PhD

Woody bioenergy for heat and power. Shade tolerance of palms. Coupled social-ecohydrological systems.  How family legacies and community networks shape private forest management. Harvest gaps—and how to ensure the diversity to natural resource stewards of the future. Ranked second in the nation among Forestry and Forestry Sciences graduate programs, Michigan Tech offers its PhD program to candidates who intend to make significant contributions to knowledge in the areas of forest ecology, soils, silviculture, tree improvement, forest wildlife ecology and management, economics, inventory, geographic information systems, growth and yield, wood science, and forest biology. It is awarded through demonstrated mastery of advanced course work and innovative research.

Program Strengths and Opportunities

  • Advanced intensive studies range from forest vegetation dynamics, intensive silviculture, bioinformatics programming, and applied genetics to natural resources policy, coupled with facilities including 4,609 acres of our nationally recognized model research forest.
  • A scholarly, internationally active community—ranked in the top 10 percent in conservation biology research productivity among academic institutions in the United States and Canada—we are small, but with a wide breadth of expertise. Work in your area of specialization, but also interact with others in a collaborative setting with potential to diversify and expand what you do.
  • 6,500 feet of lab space, 2,000 of greenhouse, and 4,609 acres of research forest.
  • Make worldwide impact through projects involving multiple agencies, countries, and interdisciplinary models that combine our strengths. Be on the frontline of the challenge to meet economic and environmental needs of the present without jeopardizing the future.
  • Research degrees are non-specific, and we intentionally set a low number of required classes, unless your committee requires them.
  • We are situated in temperate boreal forest with significant wetland resources as well as the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world. But there are no geographical borders for where you can contribute your knowledge. Current research areas range from climate change and invasive species to carbon production and dynamics of insect and wildlife populations. Committee, advisor, and student explore their interests to define the optimal educational experience.
"It is vast. Every variable has more variables. When it comes to location and culture, the bioenergy PIRE project spans two continents, six countries, and three languages and 36 organizations."

Funding Opportunities

  • We work diligently to continuously acquire research funding—and we are successful. Our research expenditures total more than $300,000 per faculty member, the highest external funding level of any academic unit at Michigan Tech.
  • Research the researchers. Match your area of interest with a faculty member, and contact him or her directly—your best chance to be matched with an assistantship and research project.
  • Check our open research positions often, where you will also find a listing of fellowships, jobs, and other funding opportunities.