Continuing Education

The MSU Department of Forestry is pleased to offer non-credit course options for individuals interested in online, self-paced learning. These courses are a great fit for those looking to expand their knowledge on topics of forestry outside of a degree-granting program. These courses are taught at both the graduate and undergraduate level. All participants that complete a course will receive a “Certificate of Completion."

Available Non-credit Courses

Forest Biogeochemistry and Climate Change

(Available Summer Session I: May 13 - June 27)

    • This course will cover biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nutrients within forest ecosystems. Disturbance, harvesting and forest management effects on the exchange of greenhouse gases between forest ecosystems and the atmosphere.
    • This course is taught at the graduate-level by Dr. Akihiro Koyama,


R Programming for Data Sciences

(Available Summer Session II: July 1 - August 15)

    • This course teaches programming in R and use of associated open source tools. Addressing practical issues in documenting workflow, data management, and scientific computing.
    • This course is taught at the graduate-level by Dr. Andy Finley,



Michigan’s Forests

(Available Summer Session I: May 13 – June 27, Spring Semester: Jan 7 – April 26)

    • This course will cover the ecological, social and economic roles of Michigan's forests in historic and contemporary context. Geographic similarities and differences in forest resources.

    • This course is taught at the undergraduate level by Jim Rivard,



Introduction to Forestry

(Available Summer Session II: July 1 – August 15, Fall Semester: Aug 28 – Dec 6, Spring Semester: Jan 7 – April 26)

      • This course will cover the historical development of forestry. Forest growth, protection, management, and products. Relationship of national and world economy and policy to forestry. Emphasis on multiple uses of forests.

      • This course is taught at the undergraduate level by Jim Rivard,



Consulting Forestry

(Available Summer Session II: July 1 - August 15)

    • Through a combination of online lectures, discussions, exercises, field trips and projects students will gain the knowledge necessary to run their own consulting business while working in an ethical manner to manage forests while generating a profit. Several field trips are included in this course, including a county courthouse visit to review resources used in boundary establishment and a site visit with a consulting forester and private landowner. Dates for these field trips will be set within the first few weeks of class based on student availability/schedules.
    • This course is taught at the advanced undergraduate level by Jim Rivard,


Available Non-credit Short Courses

Understanding Forest Carbon Management

(Available starting July 15th, 2019 – rolling registration and enrollment)

    • Understanding Forest Carbon Management is an online short course designed to provide a robust introduction to the benefits of forest land management specific to carbon while offering clear action paths. Topic areas include carbon cycle and storage science, domestic and international policy overview, project case studies, management considerations, measurement basics, and available tools and support.

    • This course is led by the MSU Forest Carbon and Climate Program (FCCP) and is offered in partnership and with funding from the USDA.

    •  Additional details can be found on the Forest Carbon and Climate Program short courses page.




How do I enroll?

Enrollment is a very simple 3 step process:

  • Step 1 – Purchase the course of interest at our cashnet storefront.
  • Step 2 – Our online education specialist will create your course access and will share additional details with you via email at the address used to purchase the course.
  • Step 3 – login to to D2L (Desire 2 Learn) to access your course homepage. Your course will be available on the first date of the academic semester. View academic calendar


Any questions can be directed to the online education specialist.

For-credit versions of these courses are available to MSU undergraduate and graduate students. If you are interested in participating in a formal degree-granting program through the Department of Forestry, please visit our undergraduate page or our graduate programs page to learn more.


Course Refunds and Administrative Policies

A course refund is available for participants that withdraw from a short course within a specific timeframe from the date of the course start date. The MSU Department of Forestry non-credit course program follows the University-wide policy regarding course fee and tuition refunds, which can be viewed in full through the MSU Office of the Controller.

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