College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences2021-2022


Forest Science, Doctor of Philosophy

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD) is the terminal degree offered in the profession of Forestry.  The PhD prepares students to be professional researchers and educators by extensive study of Forestry and the development of original scientific research and knowledge through the completion of the dissertation. The PhD trains students for positions such as professor, instructor, conservation specialist, post-doctoral researcher, and forest health specialist in governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations.
The PhD program is appropriate for students with a Master’s degree in Forestry or closely related disciplines.  Students lacking a Master’s but having a Bachelor’s degree may be eligible for admission if they have significant research and experience beyond the Bachelor’s degree.  PhD students are expected to generate original scientific ideas and knowledge, have a command of the literature, and have advanced skills in designing, analyzing, and interpreting research, scientific writing, and college teaching.
The PhD program emphasizes training in the focus areas of ecosystem, forest management, and forest social sciences; college teaching; research methods and statistics; quantitative analysis; professional presentations; emerging issues in forestry; and electives that provide advanced training in specific skills.  The dissertation showcases student’s command of the literature; generation of original scientific ideas; research design, execution, analysis, and interpretation; and scientific writing.

Student Learning Outcomes
Students completing the Ph.D will have the following competencies:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to apply graduate level critical thinking skills to identify, explain, synthesize and solve complex professional forestry problems through acquisition and application of fundamental knowledge of forest ecosystems and human management of forests
  2. Demonstrate mastery about a specific research topic in forest science (dissertation topic)
  3. Apply an understanding of professional ethics to forest research and professional activities
  4. Design a forestry research study including planning, organizing, scheduling and executing the project
  5. Design and execute a forest science research project that seeks to generate new knowledge and advance the scientific understanding of forests
  6. Select, implement and interpret appropriate methods and statistical analyses for research projects
  7. Effectively communicate through written, oral and visual means, a forest science research project, demonstrating the ability to communicate forest science research to technical and non-technical audiences
  8. Design and implement a college-level course in the forest sciences or related fields, using innovative and learner-centered teaching approaches
Emphasis in Ecology, Evolution & Conservation Biology (EECB)

The PhD includes an optional multi-disciplinary emphasis in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology (EECB).  The EECB emphasis provides a structured curriculum for students wanting to focus on ecology and conservation biology within the context of forest science.  The course requirements of the EECB are designed to be taken as elective hours within the PhD degree.  Students completing the EECB emphasis will have the following competencies in addition to those described above for the PhD degree:
  • Demonstrate the ability to synthesize and discuss the history and conceptual and theoretical foundations of ecology
  • Demonstrate the ability to discuss current and emerging topics in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology with peers and experts
  • Demonstrate the ability to use quantitative research approaches in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology
  • Demonstrate an understanding of ecology, evolution, and conservation biology at physiological, population, and community scales
  • Demonstrate an understanding of ecology, evolution, and conservation biology at ecosystem and global scales

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