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Forest ecology and management

Foresters plan, maintain, and preserve forests and forest resources for public and private The Forestry major at WSU is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students to make a positive impact locally and globally by creating, managing, conserving and repairing forested ecosystems. The program builds on a strong foundation in science, with an emphasis on forest ecosystems and lots of hands-on experience in forest measurements and sampling.

A minor in Geospatial analysis is built into the curriculum.


Your Experience in Forestry

  • The Forestry major prepares you to work as a professional forester, performing tasks ranging from increasing timber production to restoring wildlife habitat.
  • The major combines a strong background in the plant sciences with a strong emphasis on spatial analysis including landscape ecology and GIS
  • Graduates are expected to be field ready with a strong background in plant identification, forest measurements, and forest stand management
  • Students benefit from an integrated common core of course work rooted in the environment, taken in concert with students majoring in related disciplines.
  • Hands on experience in on-campus and off-campus laboratory exercises and internship opportunities
  • Students may elect to complete a minor in geospatial analysis along with a major in forestry.
forest view
Yosemite field trip
students measuring forest

Get prepared for your future in forestry by learning skills and meeting with industry experts. Join the Forestry Club!

Learn the fundamentals of silviculture, forest dynamics and timber production and harvest.

Gain hands-on experience working in forest systems.

Your Course of Study

  1. University general education requirements (UCORE)
  2. Basic biology, chemistry, physics, math & statistics classes
  3. Earth and Environmental Science integrated common core classes
    • SOE 300 Natural Resources Ecology OR BIOL 372 General Ecology
    • Introduction to GIS (SOILS 368)
    • SOE 210 Earth History & Evolution OR ENVR_SCI 250 Intro to Earth System Science
    • SOE 312 Nat Res & Society OR POL_S 430 The Politics of Natural Resource & Environmental Policy
    • SOE 315 Water & Earth OR SOE 460 Watershed Management
  4. Forestry core classes
    • Natural Resource and Forest Measurements (SOE 204 & 304)
    • Forest and Arid Land Plants & Ecosystems (SOE 301 & 302)
    • Silviculture (SOE 305)
    • Remote Sensing & Airphoto Interpretation (SOIL SCI 374)
    • Sampling Terrestrial Ecosystems (SOE 404)
    • Wildland Fire (SOE 430)
    • Natural Resources Policy & Law (SOE 438)
    • Conservation Biology (SOE 450) or Wildlife Habitat Ecology (SOE 446)
    • Landscape Ecology (SOE 464)
    • ArcGIS & Spatial Analysis (SOIL SCI 468)
  5. Experiential
    • SOE 419 Yosemite Practicum
  6. Forestry electives
    • Environmental Geology (SOE 303)
  7. Professional electives, minor or internships that match your interests and enhance your career goals

Students acquire a minor in Geospatial Analysis as part of the Forestry curriculum.

Forestry Advising Sheet (pdf)

When you have completed your Forestry major you will be able to:


NEEDS UPDATE In preparation for in-demand careers, forestry students will find themselves equipped with a strong set of knowledge and skills in:

  • Geospatial Analysis
  • Plant and Ecosystem Sciences
  • Silviculture
  • Resource Economics
  • Wildland Fire
  • Forest Measurements
  • Terrestrial Ecosystem Sampling
  • Environmental Policy

Your Hands-on Experiences

The program is comprised of both classroom- based science instruction and out-of-classroom experiences that allow students to apply theory to practice through field trips, internship opportunities, and study abroad options. Students are also supported in investigative problem-solving learning with opportunities for undergraduate research through a capstone course taken in the final year.

Your Career Options in Forestry

WSU Forestry graduates are ready for careers in private industry, non-government organizations, and local, state, and federal government as:

  • Foresters
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Wildfire Management Specialists
  • Reforestation Specialists
  • Harvest Managers
  • Geographic Information Specialist
  • And many others

More Careers and Opportunities

Forestry Club

The Forestry Club provides the opportunity for students geological sciences to learn local & regional forest practices, to interact among students, faculty, and industry leaders, and to involve relationship development among students, faculty and members of the community.

Activities include field trips, attending lectures/seminars of interest, scientific demonstrations, and monthly club meeting.

If you are interested in joining the Forestry Club contact Faculty Advisor Dr. Mark Swanson email:

Washington State University