Forestry, Bachelor of Science in Forestry


College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

For more than four decades, Northern Arizona University has been developing and refining a distinctive forest management major designed to instill in you an awareness of the complexities inherent in contemporary wildland management and to help you develop as an involved citizen as well as a professional land manager. Our program helps you become well qualified to address the impacts that management decisions and practices have on all resources, including timber, wildlife, range, water, recreation, and scenic beauty.

This program is accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF)

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 50 units of preprofessional requirements  
  • At least 44 units of professional requirements
  • 12-24 units of certificate or individualized concentration requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA C
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 125
Additional Admission Requirements Required
University Honors Program Optional
Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

This program may lead to licensure.

Purpose Statement

Forestry is the “profession embracing the science, art and practice of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources for human benefit and in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs and values” (Dictionary of Forestry, Helms 1998). Through work in the School of Forestry, you will learn to become a professional forester and land steward. Learn all aspects of forest ecosystems and their management. Graduate prepared for a career in the private sector, with non-governmental organizations, or with a public land management agency.

Here, you will experience innovative and holistic approaches to understanding forestry. Our professional core will allow you to build a lasting career and personal relationships. The School of Forestry is a national and international leader in natural resource education and forest research, with a deep commitment to understanding and protecting the environment.  

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Communications:
    • Oral Communication: An ability in preparing, and delivering effective oral presentations.
    • Written Communication: A proficiency in English composition, technical/business writing, and writing for non-professional audiences.  An ability to read with comprehension a variety of documents, and critically evaluate opposing viewpoints.
  • Science and Mathematics:
    • Biological sciences: An understanding of the components, patterns, and processes of biological and ecological systems across spatial and temporal scales. An understanding of molecular biology, cells, organisms, populations, species, communities, and ecosystems.
    • Physical sciences: An understanding of physical and chemical properties, measurements, structure, and states of matter.
    • Mathematics: The ability to understand and use the basic approaches and applications of mathematics and statistics for analysis and problem solving as appropriate for the programs stated outcomes.
  • Social Sciences and Humanities:
    • Understanding of, and an ability to address, moral and ethical questions.
    • An ability to use critical reasoning skills.
    • Understanding that human behavior and social and economic structures, processes, and institutions are important across a broad range of societies.
    • Understanding that there are diverse dimensions of the human experience and culture.
  • Ecology and Biology:
    • Understanding of taxonomy and ability to identify forest and other tree species, their distribution, and associated vegetation and wildlife.
    • Understanding of soil properties and processes, hydrology, water quality, and watershed functions.
    • Understanding of ecological concepts and principles including the structure and function of ecosystems, plant and animal communities, competition, diversity, population dynamics, succession, disturbance, and nutrient cycling.
    • Ability to make ecosystem, forest, and stand assessments.
    • Understanding of tree physiology and the effects of climate, fire, pollutants, moisture, nutrients, genetics, insects and diseases on tree and forest health and productivity.
  • Measurement of Forest Resources:
    • Ability to identify and measure land areas.
    • Ability to design and implement comprehensive inventories that meet specific objectives using appropriate sampling methods and units of measurement.
    • Ability to analyze inventory data and project future forest, stand, and tree conditions.
    • Conduct spatial analysis (eg GIS, GPS, etc.)
  • Management of Forest Resources:
    • Ability to develop and apply silvicultural prescriptions appropriate to management objectives, including methods of establishing and influencing the composition, growth, and quality of forests, and understand the impacts of those prescriptions.
    • Ability to analyze the economic, environmental, and social consequences of forest resource management strategies and decisions.
    • Ability to develop management plans with specific multiple objectives and constraints.
    • Understanding of the valuation procedures, market forces, processing systems, transportation and harvesting activities that translate human demands for timber-based and other consumable forest products into the availability of those products.
    • Understanding of the valuation procedures, market, and non-market forces that avail humans the opportunities to enjoy non-consumptive products and services of forests.
    • Understanding of the administration, ownership, and organization of forest management enterprises.
  • Forest Resource Policy, Economics, and Administration:
    • Understanding of forest policy and the processes by which it is developed.
    • Understanding of how federal, state, and local laws and regulations govern the practice of forestry.
    • Understanding of professional ethics, including the SAF Code, and recognition of the responsibility to adhere to ethical standards in forestry decision making on behalf of clients and the public.
    • Ability to understand the integration of technical, financial, human resources, and legal aspects of public and private enterprises.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the global forces that shape professional forestry
  • Computer Literacy:
    • An ability to use computers and other contemporary electronic technologies in professional life.
    • Demonstrate an ability to use a variety of information technology tools for enhanced communication (e.g., tools for online instruction and discussion, presentation tools such as PowerPoint)
    • Efficiently acquire and effectively evaluate sources of information for professional use
  • Professional Development
    • Be effective at working in teams (e.g., they will show up to meetings, show up on time, share contact information, respond politely to teammates even under disagreement, etc.)
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of continuing education/lifelong learning

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • You do not need to apply for admission to the School of Forestry to take courses in the preprofessional program; your admission to Northern Arizona University is sufficient.

    However, application and admission to our professional program is required. You must complete all of the listed lower-division preprofessional courses before you can be admitted to and enrolled in the professional program, which starts with course numbers FOR 313, FOR 315, FOR 320, FOR 321.

    You can apply for admission to the professional program after you have completed at least 36 of the 46 units of preprofessional courses. To be accepted into the professional program, you must:

      • Have an overall grade point average of 2.75 or better in all of the preprofessional courses (excluding FOR 220, non-prerequisite liberal studies and elective courses)
      • Have earned a grade of "C" or better in:
      • If you haven't yet completed all of the preprofessional courses, you may be admitted conditionally if you meet the grade point average requirements and have successfully completed at least 36 units of this coursework. In this case, you must complete the remaining required coursework with a grade point average of 2.75 or better before you can begin the professional program courses. If your GPA is not 2.75 or better, your admission to the professional program will be canceled. If you wish to reapply for admission to the professional program the following year, please see the Forestry Academic Advisor.
      • You will find an admission application for the professional program on our website, School of Forestry. The deadline for submitting your application for fall term is March 1st of each year.
Major Requirements
  • This major requires 106-118 units distributed as follows:

    • Preprofessional Requirements: 50 units
    • Professional Requirements: 44 units
    • Certificate or Individualized Focus: 12-24 units
      • Fire Ecology and Management UCERT: 15 units
      • Forest Health and Ecological Restoration UCERT: 15 units
      • Human Dimensions of Forest Management UCERT: 15 units
      • Wildlife Ecology and Management UCERT: 19-24 units
      • Individualized Focus: 12 units

    Take the following 106 - 118 units with a Grade of "C" or better:

    Preprofessional Requirements (50 units)

    • Please note that in preparation for these preprofessional courses, you should have at least three units of high school mathematics, including trigonometry, and one unit each of biology, chemistry, and physics when you enter our preprofessional program. If you lack of any of these units, you may have to take remedial course work.

  • Certificate or Individualized Focus Requirements
    Complete an approved certificate plan or the Individualized Focus Area for the remaining 12-24 units. Certificates require a minimum of 9 units in 300- and 400-level courses. You must also earn a grade of "C" or better in each certificate or concentration area course (or "Pass" in Pass/Fail courses).

  • You will find more information about approved certificates and the individualized concentration area under academics and research at the School of Forestry.

  • Individualized Focus

    You must develop a one-page written statement describing the purpose and scope of the proposed concentration area and have the statement approved by a faculty mentor and the Executive Director. You must also complete 12 units of FOR courses, including a minimum of 6 units of upper-division courses (300- or 400-level) that support the purpose and scope of the proposed concentration area topic as outlined in the written statement.

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.

  • This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan wherein a student may start a master's degree while simultaneously completing their bachelor's degree.