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The School of Forestry and Horticulture offers advanced courses for the Master of Science degree in Forestry. In addition, curricula are available which permit graduate students with an interest in forestry to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree program in other units, including the Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences. The Forestry program offers Master of Science students the opportunity to tailor their program to address their interests and career aspirations. Our faculty have expertise in:

  • Forest Resource Management
  • Ecological Restoration
  • Fire Science
  • Recreation Ecology
  • Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management
  • Wildlife Conservation and Habitat Management
  • Watershed Management
  • Hydrology and Soil Science

Individual programs of study and research are developed by students in consultation with their faculty advisor and graduate research committee to ensure timeliness and feasibility. Interdisciplinary research is encouraged. Prospective students should review the description of graduate courses offered in the program. Current and prospective students should visit the program’s website for a current description of faculty interests and expertise.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Forestry


In addition to requirements set forth by the Graduate School, the Master of Science in Forestry admission requirements are:

  1. A minimum grade point average of 2.7 is required for admission (A = 4.0). A grade point average of 2.7 or higher is required for stipend eligibility when available.
  2. The student is required to provide proof of proficiency in technical writing. Normally an expository essay is required to evaluate whether the student should have remedial grammar or writing courses.
  3. Three letters of recommendation from former professors, employers, or other responsible individuals are required.
  4. Each applicant must complete the statement of interest form. This form indicates the student’s area of interest in forestry and the faculty member with whom the student desires to study. All correspondence should be directed to the program.
  5. This program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee that must be submitted with the application for Admissions to Graduate Study in Forestry. Applicants must pay this fee by credit card.

Retention and Completion Requirements

Upon the graduate student’s arrival on campus, an advisory committee of three to five members of the graduate faculty will be formed to guide the student’s work. The same committee will be responsible for preparation and administration of thesis exams and also for the review and evaluation of the thesis. The advisory committee chair and at least one other member of the committee shall be members of the program. The other members may be selected from any academic unit including forestry.

Summary of Events

  1. The deadlines for receipt of applications and official transcripts in the office of the Graduate School are: (a) the second Saturday in July for admission to the fall semester (b) the last Saturday in November for admission to the spring semester (c) the last Saturday in March for admission to the summer term.
  2. Letters of recommendation should reach the Forestry program by the same dates as above.
  3. Acceptance by the program and Graduate School should be announced one month or earlier than the desired matriculation date. A thorough review will be made by a screening committee of Forestry graduate faculty and the program adviser. Students rejected for admission will also be notified.
  4. Registration for first semester’s work after student’s acceptance by the program.
  5. Appointment of advisory committee chair, written plan for course work, and selection of tentative thesis areas all within first two months of residence.
  6. Preparation of formal written thesis outline and preparation of research proposal by the eighth week of the second semester.
  7. Completion of final, typed or reproduced review copies of thesis and submission of advisory committee at least three weeks in advance of oral defense of thesis.
  8. Oral exam to be followed by completion of required approval forms. If thesis requires modifications, this should be accomplished immediately to reach the graduate dean’s office in due time set by the Graduate School. Electronic copies of the completed and approved thesis are submitted to the Graduate School. Electronic copies should also be provided to all committee members. Additional copies may be required for projects sponsored by outside agencies.

Assistantships and Fellowships

Research assistantships are sponsored each year by the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forest Research Act and through several externally funded research projects. Teaching assistantships funded by the School of Agricultural Sciences are also available.

In addition to general awards made through the Graduate School, stipends for research studies are available from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Interior, other federal and state agencies, and private corporations.


Since the normal minimum requirement for graduation is 32 credit hours, the completion of degree work for students holding assistantships should be accomplished within four semesters (including summer) which is also the normal maximum span for financial aid.

Per Graduate Program Guidelines for the Master of Science degree in Forestry at least 16 credit hours of the approved academic program must consist of 500 level courses; and, at least three of the 500 level courses must be formally structured. 

The student must attain a grade of B or better for all courses specifically required in the student’s academic program and which are offered by the Forestry program.

To gain experience, graduate students are expected to assist in the classroom or laboratory for at least one academic semester (20 hours per week) during their tenure with the Forestry program. The remaining semesters will also involve either research or teaching at the rate of 20 hours a week.


In addition to the faculty listed in the Graduate School Catalog, several adjunct professors may also hold appointments in the Forestry program. These professors are assigned to various natural resource agencies and can serve on graduate guidance committees.

Research Facilities

SIUC is well endowed with a number of different forest types and agricultural land which are available to the Forestry program for teaching and research purposes. In particular, we are conducting or planning research and demonstration programs on forest plots and experimental fields of the 3,000 acres of the University and its experimental farms. We also have access to wooded lands of the 600 acres of the Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center and other forests.

Through various memoranda of understanding and special use permits we have use of forested lands and plots on the 43,000 acres of the Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge, the 270,000 acres of the Shawnee National Forest, and the 4,000 acres of the Trail of Tears State Forest, all of which are within an hour’s drive of Carbondale. A number of research projects are also ongoing on private lands in southern Illinois. Graduate research has also been conducted throughout the country through agreements with the U.S. Forest Service Experiment Stations and the U.S. Department of Interior, as well as internationally.

A variety of laboratories are housed within the School of Forestry and Horticulture, including those specializing in historical ecology and fire, GIS, human dimensions, and water quality. A research greenhouse operated at the Tree Improvement Center on the western side of the campus is in operation for research and graduate teaching. Greenhouses and growth chamber facilities in the agriculture greenhouses in conjunction with the other programs in the College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences are also available.