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Doctor of Forest Sciences Degree Program Information

Experienced graduates with a passion for forestry may seek advanced expertise and specialization in a doctoral program in forest science. Such programs often feature hands-on experience to solidify the extensive research expected in a Ph.D. program.

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Essential Information

A Ph.D. in Forest Science prepares graduates to contribute to the field of forestry through advanced knowledge and research in ecology, biology, forest entomology and climatology. Field studies and internships in the forestry industry are emphasized. Programs require in-depth study and research of forest ecosystems and the functions of living organisms, and students must complete a dissertation to graduate. Certification and licensure options are available to graduates.

Applicants need a bachelor's and master's degrees in a related field, such as biology, agriculture, geography or environmental studies, and a high undergraduate/graduate GPA. They will need to provide an essay outlining academic and career goals, as well as professional references and several years of work experience.


Ph.D. in Forest Science

Students in a Ph.D. Forest Science program typically study a broad range of subjects including soil and wood science, natural resources and global climate. Due to the hands-on nature of the profession, coursework and research are generally combined with real-world lab studies. Common classes include:

  • Biology
  • Wildlife and plant life conservation
  • Ecology
  • Silviculture
  • Botany

Popular Careers

Graduates with a Ph.D. in forest sciences find employment in many different fields. A large number work for government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. Forest Service. Other career options include:

  • Conservation scientist
  • Wildlife ecologist
  • Forest ecologist
  • Nature preserve specialist
  • Entomologist

Employment Outlook & Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed foresters was projected to increase 1% from 2018-2028, which is as fast as the national average. Ongoing budget issues in many states will limit funding for conservation and forestry projects during this time. As of 2018, the BLS reports that foresters earned a median of $61,410 per year.

Continuing Education Information

Forest scientists can join professional organizations that promote continuing education, professional growth and research in the field of forest science. The Society of American Foresters is a national organization that offers a licensing program. Graduates can become certified foresters through passing an examination and demonstrating professional experience. The organization offers its members continuing education opportunities through online learning, online community groups and a yearly convention.

A doctorate program in forest science builds on a student's knowledge of the life sciences and provides in-depth study in an area through a dissertation. Graduates can work for the government, pursue certification and licensing, and conduct research.

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