Forest Science

To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains. —Mary Pettibone Poole

Forest Science—PhD

Fast Facts

  • 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.
  • In 2007, our PhD in Forest Science was ranked fourth in the nation by Academic Analytics.
  • Michigan Tech leads the world’s longest study on predator-prey relationships, the fifty year investigation of wolves and moose on Isle Royale.
  • The School is ranked in the top 10 percent in conservation biology research productivity among academic institutions in the United States and Canada.
  • Michigan Tech leads the Aspen FACE (Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment) experiment, a long-term study of the effects of ozone and carbon dioxide on northern forests.
  • The School has been designated a Regional Center for Global Climate Change by the US Department of Energy.

Learn more about the research opportunities in this program.

Graduate Programs in Forest Science

Michigan Tech’s graduate programs in forest science and ecology stress understanding of ecosystem and organismal functions. Research areas range from climate change and invasive species to carbon production and the dynamics of wildlife and insect populations.

Areas of study include forest ecology, forest soils, silviculture, tree improvement, forest wildlife ecology and management, economics, forest inventory, geographic information systems, growth and yield, wood science, and forest biology.

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.

In addition to providing a hands-on, experimental graduate education, the School also offers one of the strongest Peace Corps graduate forestry programs in the country.

Learn more about the research opportunities in this program.

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.