Department of Forestry


Lesley Schumacher-Lott
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 517-355-0091

Studying forestry helps students learn to address pressing natural resource, environmental and energy issues through coursework in the biological and social sciences. Outside of the classroom, students bolster their education through study abroad programs, independent studies and professional internships.

Covering about one-third of the land area of the United States, forests are a valuable, renewable resource. Forests play a key role in maintaining a proper carbon dioxide balance in the earth’s atmosphere.  Forests are critical to supporting human well-being (e.g., forest products, recreation) and environmental quality (e.g., carbon sequestration, biodiversity).


Foresters are specialized environmental scientists who address critical societal issues such as carbon sequestration, biofuel production, wood products manufacturing, habitat management, recreational lands management, and the development of a sustainable, biologically based economy.


Our internationally renowned faculty members guide students through active learning, preparing them to be leaders and stewards in sustainable forest management. The forestry major is accredited by the Society of American Foresters.


It prepares students for careers in forestland management, forest products industries, carbon markets, biofuel production and urban forestry. The job market is currently expanding—there are more jobs available than qualified candidates to fill them. Students dedicated to sustainable environmental management are needed to fill these positions.


Career opportunities

  • Develop plans to balance forest conservation, recreation and forest products harvest.
  • Promote a sustainable economy through renewable forest products.
  • Conserve biological diversity and habitats.    
  • Mitigate climate change through reforestation and carbon offset projects.
  • Control the negative effects of invasive exotic plant and insect species.
  • Enhance biodiversity and alleviate rural poverty through international reforestation.
  • Create and maintain urban green space and infrastructure.



Annually, more than $200,000 in scholarships is available for students majoring in forestry. Scholarship awards range from $2,000 per year to full tuition and are renewable for a total term of four years. Scholarship recipients also have the opportunity to participate in the Forests Forever Scholars Program, which provides opportunities for leadership development and further learning outside of the classroom.


Core areas of study

  • Forest resource management
  • Forest conservation
  • Urban and community forestry
  • Environmental science
  • Silviculture
  • Public policy
  • Wood products manufacturing and marketing


Supporting discipline areas

  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geographic information science (GIS)
  • Sustainability
  • Entomology
  • Social science
  • Horticulture
  • Statistics
  • Fisheries and wildlife
  • Environmental law enforcement


Study abroad opportunities

  • EARTH Consortium Summer Study Abroad in Costa Rica
  • Collaborative Governance Challenges in Forests and Protected Areas in Southeast Europe


Learn through experience

Students also have the chance to learn through teaching. Several local events throughout the year — such as the MSU Museum’s Darwin Discovery Days and the annual MSU Science Festival — are great settings for students to demonstrate to the greater community the role that forests play in our everyday lives.


The MSU Forestry Club — a Society of American Foresters student chapter —sponsors numerous activities, including maple syrup production, forestry skills competitions, camping trips and professional seminars. It is the oldest continuous forestry club in the nation.


To learn more and see course listings, visit the MSU Registrar website at