Forest Resources

Graduate Program HeadBradley Cardinale
Program CodeFORR
Campus(es)University Park (Ph.D., M.S.)
Degrees Conferred

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Master of Science (M.S.)

Dual-Title Ph.D. and M.S. in Forest Resources and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment

Dual-Title Ph.D. and M.S. in Forest Resources and International Agriculture and Development

Dual-Title Ph.D. and M.S. in Forest Resources and Operations Research

The Graduate Faculty

View

The Doctor of Philosophy and the Master of Science degree programs are oriented toward research, education, and scientific technology in the professions of forest products and forestry.

Faculty expertise, laboratories, and outdoor facilities are available to support specialization in a variety of fields. Possibilities for specialization are indicated in part by the courses listed under wood products, forestry, and wildlife and fisheries, and by related courses in:

  • agricultural economics,
  • agronomy,
  • animal nutrition,
  • biology,
  • business administration,
  • chemical engineering,
  • computer science,
  • ecology,
  • economics,
  • entomology,
  • environmental pollution control,
  • environmental resource management,
  • genetics,
  • horticulture,
  • industrial engineering,
  • landscape architecture,
  • meteorology,
  • physiology,
  • plant pathology,
  • polymer sciences,
  • recreation and parks,
  • regional planning,
  • statistics.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are not required for admission but may be submitted if desired by the applicant.

For admission, an applicant should have at least a 2.75 grade-point average, a 3.00 junior/senior average (on a 4.00 scale), and courses that are basic to the individual's field of specialization. Ordinarily, these include:

  • 12 credits in communication;
  • 12 credits in social sciences and humanities;
  • 10 credits in quantification, including calculus and statistics;
  • 8 credits in chemistry and/or physics;
  • 8 credits in biological sciences; and
  • 18 credits in forest products, forestry, fish, wildlife, or related courses.

Three reference letters and a brief statement describing the applicant's academic goals, career interests, and special qualifications are required. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces available. Exceptions to admission requirements may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests, at the discretion of the program.

Admission to the Ph.D. program in Forest Resources requires a master's degree in Forest Resources or a closely related field, or a bachelor's degree with a minimum grade-point average of 3.30 and demonstrated research ability.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science (M.S.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

A minimum of 30 credits at the 400, 500, 600, or 800 level is required, with least 18 credits at the 500 and 600 level, combined. The department requires 12 credits of 400- or 500-level formal courses in Forestry (FOR) of which 6 must be 500-level. At least 6 credits of 400- or 500-level courses (usually STAT) are required in courses that cover topics such as analysis-of-variance, correlation, regression, and design of experiments; the courses that will satisfy this requirement must be approved by the student’s committee. Participation in at least one colloquium course each semester is expected and students must complete at least 1 credit of colloquium (FOR 590). In addition, specific courses and requirements will be determined by the faculty adviser and advisory committee.

A thesis based on field or laboratory research is required for the M.S. degree and at least 6 credits in thesis research (FOR 600 or FOR 610) must be taken in conjunction with completing the thesis. The thesis must be accepted by the advisers and/or committee members, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a thesis defense.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

While a minimum number of courses for the degree is not specified, the Ph.D. committee has the responsibility of specifying courses and credits essential for the education and development of the student. Students are expected to be educated in depth in a specific subfield of Forestry (FOR) and to have a perspective of the general field. Normally, students will have 50 to 60 credits in formal course work beyond the B.S. degree.

Doctoral students are required to participate regularly in a departmental colloquium and to register for at least 1 credit of Colloquium (FOR 590) during the Ph.D. program. Ph.D. students are required to complete two separate semesters of Supervised Experience in College Teaching (FOR 602) for 2 credits total; however, these 2 credits cannot be counted towards the degree requirements. Doctoral students must pass a qualifying examination, a comprehensive written and oral examination, and a final oral examination (the dissertation defense). To earn the Ph.D. degree, doctoral students must also write a dissertation that is accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Titles

Dual-Title M.S. and Ph.D. in Forest Resources and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in HDNRE and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the HDNRE dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the HDNRE Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in HDNRE prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements for the Dual-Title M.S.

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the M.S. degree in Forest Resources, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in HDNRE, listed on the HDNRE Bulletin page.

Degree Requirements for the Dual-Title Ph.D.

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Forest Resources, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in HDNRE, listed on the HDNRE Bulletin page.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Forest Resources and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the HDNRE program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both Forest Resources and HDNRE. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a Forest Resources and HDNRE dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the HDNRE Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in HDNRE, the member of the committee representing HDNRE must be appointed as co-chair. The HDNRE representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in Forest Resources and HDNRE. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Title M.S. and Ph.D. in Forest Resources and International Agriculture and Development

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Graduate students with research and educational interests in international agriculture and development may apply to the dual-title degree program in Forest Resources and International Agriculture and Development. The goal of the dual-title degree FORR and INTAD graduate program is to enable graduate students from FORR to acquire the knowledge and skills of their primary area of specialization in FORR, while at the same time gaining the perspective and methods needed for work in the international agriculture. Graduate study in this program seeks to prepare students to assume leadership roles in science, engineering, outreach, and project management anywhere in the world. Students acquire a broad perspective on how to apply their research findings in the context of the broader international community. Thus, the dual-title will allow students to master their field of specialization from an international perspective so that they can effectively engage in agricultural development activities within various countries and regions.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in FORR and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program.  After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the INTAD dual-title program.  Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the INTAD Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in INTAD prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements for the Dual-Title M.S.

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the M.S. degree, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title M.S. in INTAD, listed on the INTAD Bulletin page. Up to 6 credits of INTAD approved courses can be applied to fulfilling FORR program requirements. Final course selection must be approved by the student’s advisory committee.

Degree Requirements for the Dual-Title Ph.D.

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the Ph.D. degree, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title Ph.D. in INTAD, listed on the INTAD Bulletin page.  Some courses may satisfy both FORR program requirements and those of the INTAD program. Up to 6 credits of INTAD approved courses can be applied to fulfilling FORR program requirements. Final course selection must be approved by the student’s Ph.D. committee.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from FORR and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the INTAD program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may service in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both FORR and INTAD. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed on semester beyond the normal period allowable. 

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a FORR and INTAD dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the INTAD Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may service in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in INTAD, the member of the committee representing INTAD must be appointed as co-chair. The INTAD representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination. 

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in FORR and INTAD. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School. 

Dual-Title M.S. and Ph.D. in Forest Resources and Operations Research

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Operations Research and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Operations Research dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Operations Research Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Operations Research prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements for the Dual-Title M.S.

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the M.S. degree in Forest Resources, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Operations Research, listed on the Operations Research Bulletin page.

Degree Requirements for the Dual-Title Ph.D.

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Forest Resources, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Operations Research, listed on the Operations Research Bulletin page.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Forest Resources and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Operations Research program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both Forest Resources and Operations Research. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a Forest Resources and Operations Research dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Operations Research Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Operations Research, the member of the committee representing Operations Research must be appointed as co-chair. The Operations Research representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in Forest Resources and Operations Research. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Minor

A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Forestry (FOR) Course List

Learning Outcomes

Master of science (M.S.)

  1. KNOW: Graduates in these three masters programs will have obtained knowledge of core theories and methods as demonstrated by courses completed and grades earned at the bachelor’s level. Graduates will exhibit breadth and depth of understanding in their respective disciplines in courses completed at the master’s level.  
  2. APPLY/CREATE: Graduates in these three masters programs will be able to clearly synthesize literature and theories in their disciplinary areas and/or in their specialized thesis topics.  Such synthesis will help generate new ideas or methods to develop unique solutions to the problems in the three disciplinary programs.
  3. COMMUNICATE: Graduates in these three masters programs will effectively communicate ideas, arguments, and rationales in clear, concise, well-organized publications (abstracts, papers, proposals) and presentations (conferences, seminars, and research meetings) .
  4. THINK: Graduates in these three masters programs will be able to critically analyze the work of others in their field of specialty. Such analyses will help graduate students to demonstrate proficiency in designing a research strategy to answer important questions and to improve their own work.
  5. PROF. PRACTICE: Graduates in these three masters programs will demonstrate the highest ethical standards and core values (including Penn State Core Values) within their discipline and other diverse scientific backgrounds.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

  1. KNOW: Graduates in these three doctoral programs will have obtained the knowledge of the core theories and methods at the bachelors and/or master’s levels. Graduates will exhibit breadth and depth of understanding in their respective disciplines in courses completed at the doctoral level.
  2. APPLY/CREATE: Graduates in these three doctoral programs will be able to clearly synthesize literature and theories in their disciplinary areas and/or in their specialized thesis/dissertation topics.  Such synthesis will help generate new ideas or methods to develop unique solutions to the problems in the three disciplinary doctoral programs.
  3. COMMUNICATE: Graduates in these three doctoral programs will effectively communicate ideas, arguments, and rationales in clear, concise, well-organized publications (abstracts, papers, proposals) and presentations (conferences, seminars, and research meetings) .
  4. THINK: Graduates in these three doctoral programs will be able to critically analyze the work of others in their field of specialty. Such analyses will help graduate students to demonstrate proficiency in designing a research strategy to answer important questions and to improve their own work.   
  5. PROF. PRACTICE: Graduate students in these three doctoral programs will demonstrate the highest ethical standards and core values (including Penn State Core Values) within their discipline and other diverse scientific backgrounds.

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Bradley Cardinale
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Margot Wilkinson Kaye
Program Contact

Diane Monteith
Dept of Ecosystem Sci Mngmt
319 Forest Resources Building
University Park PA 16802
dxm66@psu.edu
(814) 863-7221

Program Website View