Forestry education and training

The Australian Research Council’s State of Australian University Research 2015 identifies eight Australian universities undertaking world leading forestry science research: the Australian National University, Murdoch University, Southern Cross University, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Tasmania, University of the Sunshine Coast and University of Western Sydney. 

All eight universities offer forestry and forest-related undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Undergraduate and postgraduate courses in environmental science and environmental management that are forest-related are offered by other Australian universities; these include Charles Darwin University, Griffith University, James Cook University, University of New South Wales and University of Western Australia. Outlines of forestry and forest-related courses offered by Australian Universities were sourced from these universities and are described below. International forestry schools such as the Faculty of Forestry University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), School of Forestry University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand), Faculty of Forest and Environmental Sciences (University of Freiburg, Germany) and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (Yale University, New Haven, USA) offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees that have attracted Australian students studying forestry, forest science and forest-related environmental management.

Australian National University, 
Canberra, offers Bachelor students wanting to study forestry a choice of either a Bachelor of Science or the Bachelor of Sustainability and Environment. Students select a Major/Minor combination of Resource and Environmental Management / Forest Science and Policy; or majors in Sustainability Studies or Environmental Science with Forest Science and Policy for forest science general and conservation oriented careers. These contemporary Bachelor degrees cover forestry, environmental science, policy and social sciences, which allow graduates to address the complex challenges of forest sustainability while providing a broad environmental and science education. (Last checked/updated: 08/08/2018).

Southern Cross University, Lismore NSW and at Mt Gambier S.A., offers a four year undergraduate course, Bachelor of Forest Science and Management. Graduates of this degree develop skills and understanding of the multi-faceted aspects of sustainable resource management. They have the opportunity to specialise in small or large scale plantations, restoration forestry, provision of environmental services, wood utilisation, forest inventory and planning, or international forestry. There are opportunities for the degree to be taken externally, although with some short periods of residence to undertake practical exercises. (Last checked/updated: 13/02/2017)

University of Melbourne - offers a Forest Ecosystem Specialisation in the Ecosystem Science Major in the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Science Extended. This specialisation combines biophysical understandings of forested ecosystems with expertise in practical land management to prepare students for careers in forestry, environmental science and land management across government and private sectors. It also provides a pathway to further study in programs such as Master of Forest Ecosystem Science and Master of Science (Ecosystem Science). (Last checked/updated: 08/08/2018).

Postgraduate study

Southern Cross University offers several options for graduate students. Those with a suitable three-year degree may enrol in the Graduate Diploma of Forest Science and Management. This requires the equivalent of one year of full time study, leading to a qualification equivalent to the normal four-year undergraduate degree in forestry. The University offers also a degree in Master of Forest Science and Management, aimed at professional development in areas of interest to the student. The University offers also Master of Science (by research) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs for suitably qualified applicants of high ability. (Last checked/updated: 13/02/2017)

Australian National University -  at post graduate level, students at the Australian National University can select Masters of Forestry (including an [Advanced] option which includes a full year of research). Under this flexible Masters, students select either a Forest Policy and Management or a Forest Science and Methods focus.

Depending on the student’s academic history, this Masters can range from 1 to 2 years in length. Alternatively, graduate students with a forestry mind at the ANU can take a Masters of Environment (again, optionally with [Advanced]) with a range of specialisations including Natural Resource Management; Biodiversity Conservation and Management; or Sustainability Science (could also choose Water Science and Management if they were interested in peat and mangrove forests). ANU graduate students can also take a Masters of Environmental Science (again, optionally with [Advanced]) specialising in Ecological Science. The broad scope of Masters program and specialisations reflects the diversity of perspectives needed for effective forest resource management. The Australian National University has a strong PhD program with many of those working on forestry related topics or landscapes dominated (or potentially dominated) by trees centred in the Fenner School of Environment and Society or the Research School of Biology. Research by these PhD scholars and their academic supervisors has allowed ANU to be consistently strongly positioned in Global rankings in the subject area “Agriculture and Forestry” (e.g. 7th in the world for this subject area in the 2015 QS Global Ranking). (Last checked/updated: 08/08/2018).

University of Melbourne - School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences - The Master of Ecosystem Management and Conservation is a new degree, to start in 2019, based on the principles of sustainable forest and land management. Students will build hands-on, practical skills and understanding of the biophysical world while learning to successfully consult and collaborate with communities and other stakeholders to achieve positive outcomes for ecosystems and the services they provide.

Students will study core subjects in areas such as landscape ecology, spatial system, ecosystem measurement/analysis, bushfire science, soil and water interactions and community consultation while able to explore forest dynamics, silviculture, climate change science, agroforestry, plantation forestry, international and landscape restoration through a set of elective subjects. Students will also benefit from connections and experiences with forest, land and fire agencies and non-government organisations (NGOs), and share the broad range of local and international working practices while also establishing networks with academics, industry and peers. (Last checked/updated: 08/08/2018). The Master of Science (Ecosystem Science) is a coursework degree that provides students with the opportunity to undertake independent research in one or more fields of their choice within ecosystem science, including Forestry and Forest Sciences. This degree also allows students the flexibility to undertake a wide range of coursework subjects, including discipline focussed subjects and a professional skills modules, providing a pathway to PhD study or the workforce. (Last checked/updated: 08/08/2018). The Graduate Certificate in Bushfire Planning and Management (six months if full time) meets an urgent need to equip professionals working in bushfire related fields with world's best practice skills in planning for developments and managing and responding to fire risk in urban fringe areas and forest ecosystems. This program has a management and planning stream. (Last checked/updated: 08/08/2018).

The Master of Urban Horticulture and Graduate Certificate in Arboriculture also provide pathways into Urban Forestry and Urban Tree management. Through these programs you will build skills in urban forest planning and tree care by studying tree growth and function, plant identification and selection, pests and diseases, and environmental stress, such as climate change. These programs are based of the Burnley Campus where students will be able to get practical hands on experiences through the extensive collection of trees – both native and exotic – and the urban forestry and arboriculture research stations.

The University of Melbourne also offers the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy in the fields of Forestry and Forest Sciences. These degrees involve the completion of a substantial piece of original research that demonstrates command of knowledge in relevant fields which is undertaken in collaboration with an academic supervisor and in a research environment for a prescribed period. (Last checked/updated: 08/08/2018).

University of the Sunshine Coast - offers the Masters of Business by Research (specialising in Forestry) and PhD of Forestry programs. Candidates with a bachelor degree with at least Honours Class 2 Division II from a recognised higher education institution, or completed a bachelor degree as well as subsequent work and study of a standard equivalent to at least Honours Class 2 Division II, may enrol in the Master of Business by Research. This program is offered in both internal and external mode to domestic and international students, and requires the equivalent of two years full-time or four years part-time. Students can apply and start throughout the year, subject to program requirements. Scholarships for Masters of Business by Research (specialising in Forestry) are advertised regularly and can be found here. (Last checked/updated: 08/08/2018). Prospective candidates applying for admission to Doctoral Research programs (PhD of Forestry) are normally required to hold a research masters degree or a bachelors honours degree with at least Honours Class 2 Division I from a recognised higher education institution. Applicants who have completed a bachelors degree and have achieved by subsequent work and study a standard equivalent to at least Honours Class 2 Division I may also be considered. (Last checked/updated: 08/08/2018). Post-graduate research students at University of the Sunshine Coast have the choice of studying in a broad range of forestry related areas, including genetics and genomics, silviculture and stand management, forest health and pest management, ecology and biodiversity management, timber and biomass harvest and haulage, fibre quality and value, timber processing and biorefinery, renewable energy and biofuels as well as timber construction materials. The Forest Industries Research Centre (FIRC) also offers short research projects (SRP), honors and internship programs to undergraduate (and graduate students) from Australia and overseas to explore novel research ideas and gain further analytical skills within ongoing research projects. (Last checked/updated: 08/08/2018).

Western Sydney University
- offers Master and PhD programs that have been taken up by students in Forest and Ecosystem Science.

Most of these are delivered by the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment ( ). (Last checked/updated: 08/08/2018).