Frequently Asked Questions
Forestry Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies Justin Kunkle, Ph.D. and CANR Assistant Director for Undergraduate Programs Stratton Lee answer commonly asked questions from students about the B.S. Forestry major and degree program.
Q: How do you describe forestry to students? Share why students generally pick forestry over some other similar areas of study.
A: Students in our program investigate some of the world's most pressing issues: climate change, exotic invasive species, and sustainable management through field studies, independent research, and study abroad. Our students benefit from a department with a low student-faculty ratio while utilizing the advantages of a large research university; explore green urban environments through our Urban and Community Forestry minor; and develop skill sets for careers in renewable wood-based products through our new Sustainable Bioproducts Science and Technology minor. In sum, our students are passionate about sustainability issues and making a difference in the environment. In addition, we have increasing numbers of students who are double majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife and Forestry. Who will sustain forests for the future? SPARTANS WILL!
Q: What about job opportunities? What do students of forestry pursue? What are the placement rates for graduation?
A: We emphasize career building right from the beginning of the program. Students connect with our professional internship network, access forestry leaders, and graduate with a degree that has an extraordinary job placement rate. Since 2008, more than 95 percent of our graduates have found forestry-related positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, foresters and conservation scientists make on average $60,000 a year, and the industry is expecting to grow by seven percent.
Q: Are there any internship requirements?
A: The forestry program has an experiential learning requirement, which emphasizes professionalism outside of the classroom. Participating in real professional experiences makes students accountable for their words and actions outside of classroom settings and better prepares them for entry into the workplace. A key course in professional development is the course FOR 493 (Professional Internship in Forestry). The course is a partnership between (1) the student, (2) a cooperating employer, and (3) the internship coordinator (academic advisor). FOR 493 provides an off-campus learning experience in forestry that's relevant to their academic program; Preparation for employment through professional experience; Linkage of classroom theory to practical applications in forestry. Students may also fulfill their experiential learning requirement in the form of FOR 490 (Independent Study in Forestry), where they identify a specific problem in forestry to study, working one-on-one with a faculty member to address it. Students may also opt for a study abroad experience. The latter emphasizes the global context for forestry problems and solutions, including when considering forestry as practiced in the USA. We have exchange programs with academic institutions in Australia, Costa Rica, Ireland, the Netherlands, and even the Philippines.
Q: Are there any scholarships available for incoming students? What about scholarships during or after their first year, for returning students?
A: Yes! MSU Forestry has the capacity to award more than $330,000 each year. Scholarships range from $2,000 per year to full tuition. For students participating in the Forests Forever Scholars Program, scholarship support is renewable for up to four years. The Forests Forever Scholars, FFS, Program provides opportunities for leadership development and further learning outside the classroom. All FFS students develop a Leadership Through Service Project each semester. This gives students the opportunity to apply their forestry education in a broader context. FFS are leaders in the intellectual and social community of MSU Forestry. All of our scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis to both new and returning.