School of the Environment

Forest Ecology & Management

This interdisciplinary program prepares you to make a positive impact locally and globally by creating, managing, conserving, and repairing forested ecosystems.

Explore the Possibilities

The program is comprised of classroom-based science instruction and hands-on experiences that allow students to apply theory to practice through field trips, internship opportunities, and study abroad options.

Graduates are ready for careers in private industry, local, state, and federal government, and are prepared for graduate or professional school.

Foresters and forest ecologists plan, maintain, and preserve forests and forest resources. The program builds on a strong foundation in science, with an emphasis on forest ecosystems and intensive practical experience in forest measurements and sampling, and a minor in geospatial analysis (GIS) is built into the major. This curriculum prepares you to work as a professional forest ecologist, performing tasks ranging from increasing timber production to restoring wildlife habitat. 

Career Opportunities

  • Foresters
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Fire Ecologist/Wildfire
  • Reforestation & Conservation Specialists
  • Management Specialists
  • Harvest Managers
  • Geographic Information Specialist
  • Habitat Restoration Specialist
  • Forest or Park Ranger
  • Rangeland Management Specialist
  • Wildland Firefighter
Man Working on Prescribed Fire.

Quick Facts

$48-100k+ Average starting salary for a forester (, 2023)
$240k Across the SoE system we award over $240,000 a year in scholarships
11:1 Student to faculty ratio

Major Requirements

Minimum Total Credits: 120 credits

Your program may include different courses. Consult with your advisor about the best combination and order of courses for you. Visit the WSU Catalog for a list of required courses for this major and course descriptions.

General Education and Introductory Science and Math Requirements: 45–46 credits

SoE Core Requirements: 20–23 credits

Forest Ecology and Management Major Core: 48 credits

  • SOE 204: Natural Resources Measurements – 4 credits
  • SOE 301: Forest Plants & Ecosystems – 3 credits
  • SOE 302: Arid Land Plants & Ecosystems – 3 credits
  • SOE 304: Ecosystem Field Measurements – 3 credits
  • SOE 305: Silviculture – 3 credits
  • SOE 438: Natural Resources Policy & Law – 3 credits
  • SOE 450: Conservation Biology or SOE 446: Wildlife Habitat Ecology – 3 credits
  • SOE 464: Landscape Ecology – 3 credits
  • SOE 484: Forest Management and Planning – 3 credits
  • SOE 485: Disturbance Ecology – 3 credits
  • ECONS 330: Natural Resource Economics – 3 credits
  • ECONS 352: Business Management Economics – 3 credits
  • SOIL_SCI 374: Remote Sensing & Airphoto Interpretation – 3 credits
  • SOIL_SCI 468: GIS Spatial Analysis – 4 credits
  • STAT 412: Statistical Methods in Research I – 3 credits

Professional Electives Outside Major: 6 credits

The WSU Forestry program has an atmosphere that supported and encouraged me to learn about my interests. The program enabled me to expand my forestry skills and opened many doors to exciting careers. The faculty constantly treated me with respect and helped guide my growth. 

Ian Nickels, Timberlands Intern, Weyerhaeuser
Ian Nickels stands next to a cliff.