Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Degree Programs 

School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

School Overview

Director
Thomas DeLuca
107 Anderson

The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, through teaching, research, and outreach, generates and disseminates knowledge for the stewardship of natural and managed environments and the sustainable use of their products and services. Its vision is to provide internationally recognized knowledge and leadership for environmental and natural resource issues.

Founded in 1907, the school holds a position of national and international leadership in instruction and research. Its location in one of the world's largest forested regions provides students access to a unique urban-to-wildland world-class laboratory in which to study. Approximately 400 undergraduate and 175 graduate students are enrolled, taught by more than 50 faculty members. Students enjoy small classes and close association with faculty, as well as the diversity and superior facilities of a large research university.

The school's programs focus on the sustainability and functionality of complex natural resource and environmental systems, using an integrated, interdisciplinary approach across multiple scales involving the urban-to-wildland gradient. Its programs serve society generally, and natural resource professions in particular, with graduates well equipped to contribute to discussions and solutions to resource problems facing the region and the world. Interdisciplinary research and outreach centers and cooperatives include the Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR), the Water Center, the UW Botanic Gardens, which include the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Washington Park Arboretum, the Olympic National Resources Center (ONRC), the Stand Management Cooperative (SMC), and the Precision Forestry Cooperative. For current information on these centers and cooperatives, visit www.sefs.washington.edu/centersPrograms/.

Office of Student and Academic Services

Director, Student and Academic Services
130 Anderson
sefsadv@uw.edu

The Office of Student and Academic Services in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences assists prospective students with admission to the school and advises current students, including interpretation of school and University requirements and assistance in course planning. At the graduate level, faculty advisers assist students in choosing a course plan to help build an appropriate academic background for their research areas.

The office also helps to sponsor a career fair Winter quarter. Students are strongly urged to seek summer employment and internship positions relevant to their career goals.

Research Programs

Areas of research are closely tied to the school's graduate program research areas. These include bioresource science and engineering; forest ecology; forest soils; forest systems and bioenergy; restoration ecology and environmental horticulture; social sciences; sustainable resource management; and wildlife science.

Outreach Programs

The school, through its interdisciplinary centers and through collaboration with UW and external partners, undertakes and promotes continuing public and professional education for citizens of the state.

Facilities

The school occupies three central Seattle campus buildings: Alfred H. Anderson Hall, the Hugo Winkenwerder Forest Sciences Laboratory, and Julius H. Bloedel Hall. In addition, the Center for Urban Horticulture, a part of the UW Botanic Gardens, is located near the Union Bay natural area on the east side of the Seattle Campus. The center maintains a library that serves students, faculty, landscape professionals, and the public. The center's herbarium supports fieldwork in environmental horticulture, restoration ecology, and dendrology. Containing representative plant material from all parts of the United States, the collection includes dried, mounted specimens of shrubs, hardwood trees, and conifers. Another herbarium, complete in plants native to the Pacific Northwest and maintained by the Burke Museum and Department of Biology, is available for use by the school's students.

The school's laboratory facilities represent an extensive array of modern equipment for research, including optical equipment, electronic instrumentation for a wide variety of uses, gas chromatographs, spectrophotometers, and physical-test equipment. Specific laboratories are designed to study soil chemistry and soil physics, hydrology, polymer chemistry, tree physiology, genetics, wood and extractives chemistry, physics of fibrous composites, applied mechanics, wood process technology, silviculture, ecology, paleoecology, pathology, entomology, wildlife, landscape management systems, horticultural physiology, and horticultural plant materials.

The school computing facilities include computer systems and staff dedicated to specific research areas, a computer student laboratory, and a local area network with several servers offering access to the Internet and local printers.

Field Facilities

School field facilities include two major forested areas covering more than 4,000 acres, an arboretum, a natural area, and several cooperative research centers and stations. These lands offer a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic characteristics favorable to a full range of scientific investigations. They also provide a natural-science laboratory for the many disciplines in the school concerned with the research and teaching of natural resources science and management.

The 4,200-acre Charles Lathrop Pack Experimental Forest is located 65 miles south of the University, near Eatonville, Washington, and is home to the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest. Broad forest and soil diversity in this area has led to extensive biological, management, and engineering research. A full-time resident staff manages the facility, harmonizing its public-education objectives with academic and research objectives. Rustic but comfortable facilities which provide housing and support to research programs are also used extensively for conferences both within and outside the University. The Center for Sustainable Forestry is charged with discovering, teaching, and demonstrating the concepts of sustainable forestry, with special emphasis on the school's strategic themes of sustainable forest enterprise and sustainable land and ecosystem management in an urbanizing world.

The Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC) is a 19,000-square-foot research and education facility located on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula. The mission of the center is to conduct research and education on natural-resources management practices that integrate ecological and economic values. Innovative management methods that integrate environmental and economic interests into pragmatic management of forest and ocean resources are demonstrated. Both a forest management program and a marine program are in place to study the relationship between the terrestrial and marine environment.

The Lee Memorial Forest, approximately 160 acres, is located about 22 miles northeast of the University, near Maltby. This forested property provides valuable academic and research opportunities near the campus. Characterized by forest types and soils common to Western Washington lowlands, Lee Forest is used extensively for short field trips and for long-term research and demonstration projects especially related to changing land uses.

The Allan E. Thompson Research Center and the Joe E. Monahan Findley Lake Reserve and Research Area in the Cedar River watershed are used by the school in cooperation with Seattle Public Utilities for studies in forest ecology and soil science in representative low and high elevation forest ecosystems.

The UW Botanic Gardens include the Center for Urban Horticulture, which has offices, laboratories, public-education resources, and field sites for teaching and research along the shore of Union Bay. Its 10-acre Union Bay Gardens emphasize unusual ornamental and native woody landscape plants. The 60-acre Union Bay Natural Area, a former landfill, now a naturalized habitat, is used by University classes and the public to study principles and practices of restoration ecology. The Douglas Research Conservatory is a modern plant-growing facility with greenhouses, growth chambers, nursery, and classrooms. The Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium is dedicated to plants of urban and environmental horticultural significance. The Miller Seed Vault stores seeds of Washington's rare and endangered native plants in support of restoration and research projects. The Elisabeth C. Miller Library is the Northwest's foremost public horticultural library, with books, journals, and other materials available to the gardening public, students, and professional horticulturists. The Center for Urban Horticulture also conducts courses, lectures, and special events for the public and professionals as part of the school's outreach program. Cooperative programs are in place with Washington State University/King County Cooperative Extension, whose horticulture program is housed at the center.

The UW Botanic Gardens' largest facility is the Washington Park Arboretum, a 230-acre collection of trees and shrubs in a naturalistic setting on the south shore of Lake Washington. Managed in cooperation with the City of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, the arboretum contains some 5,200 different kinds of woody plants that are available for research and academic study, making it the third most diverse arboretum in the United States. Displays and programs educate students and visitors about woody plants' diversity, natural ecology, and urban landscape use, as well as conserving endangered natural and cultivated plants. Classes in botany, dendrology, horticulture, wildlife, and landscape architecture make use of the collections, while the grounds are used for studies in soil science, ecology, and other research projects, including many independent student projects. The arboretum, established in 1934, offers numerous formal and informal classes for the general public and, in addition, serves the community as a public park and open space.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
116 Anderson
(206) 543-3077
sefsadv@uw.edu

The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in environmental science and terrestrial resource management. Within this major, options in landscape ecology and conservation, restoration ecology and environmental horticulture, sustainable forest management, and wildlife conservation are offered.
  • The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in bioresource science and engineering. Bioresource science and engineering has ABET accreditation which is recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education as the accrediting agency for engineering in the United States.
  • Minors in ecological restoration, and environmental science and terrestrial resource management.

Bachelor of Science

Suggested First- and Second-Year School Courses:

  • Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management: HCDE 231, ENGL 131 (or other 5-credit English composition course); COM 220; BIOL 180, BIOL 200, BIOL 220; CHEM 120, CHEM 220; any 5-credit VLPA course; MATH 120 or Q SCI 291; ESRM 210.
  • Bioresource Science and Engineering: CHEM 142 (or CHEM 144), CHEM 152 (or CHEM 154), CHEM 162 (or CHEM 164), CHEM 237, CHEM 238; ECON 200; ENGL 131 (or other 5-credit English composition course); HCDE 231; CHEM E 260; MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126, MATH 307; PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123; Q SCI 381; BSE 150; BSE 201, BSE 202, BSE 248, and BSE 450.

Department Admission Requirements

  • Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management: Students in good academic standing may declare this major at any time.
  • Bioresource Science and Engineering: Students may apply for freshman admission or upper-division admission. Applications are available in Student and Academic Services, 116 Anderson, or through the College of Engineering, 356 Loew, or by visiting the school website. Prospective upper-division BSE applicants should have most pre-engineering coursework completed before applying (see suggested sequencing at: www.sefs.washington.edu/academicPrograms/undergrad/bse/BSEflier.pdf ), especially MATH 126 and CHEM 238. See adviser for further information. Admission is competitive; completion of requirements does not guarantee admission. Students may also apply to the chemical engineering degree program through the College of Engineering advanced admission program (see College of Engineering section for advanced admission entrance and continuation requirements).

Graduation Requirements

Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management

180 credits, to include:

  1. General Education Requirements (72-73 credits)
    1. Written Communication (12 credits): 5 credits English composition (ENGL 131 preferred); and seven additional credits.
    2. Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (20 credits): Q SCI 291, Q SCI 292, Q SCI 381; ESRM 250.
    3. Natural World (29-30 credits): BIOL 180, BIOL 200, and BIOL 220; CHEM 120 and CHEM 220, or CHEM 142 (or CHEM 144) and CHEM 152 (or CHEM 154); ESRM 210 or ESS 210 or ESS 230/OCEAN 230 (5 credits only) or ESS 201 or ATM S 211.
    4. Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts (VLPA) (10 credits): COM 202 or COM 220; five additional credits from the University VLPA list.
    5. Individuals & Societies (I&S) (10 credits): ENVIR/ECON 235 or ECON 200 or ECON 201; and five additional credits, which are satisfied by core courses shown below.
  2. Major Requirements (62 credits for the major):
    1. Core Courses (17 credits): ESRM 200, ESRM 201, ESRM 300, ESRM 304.
    2. Restricted Electives (Minimum 35 credits of 300- or 400-level courses from within the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences for the major; 35 credits may come from one of the specified option course lists): 15 of the credits must be at the 400 level.
    3. Capstone (10 credits): ESRM 462 and ESRM 463 and ESRM 464; or ESRM 494 and ESRM 496; or ESRM 494 and ESRM 495
    4. All ESRM courses must be completed with at least a 2.0 grade to count toward major requirements.
  3. Free electives: As needed to bring minimum total to 180 credits.

Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management voluntary program options:

All requirements for any of the four voluntary options are the same as for the major shown directly above. See the School's website for approved course lists.

  1. Landscape Ecology and Conservation Option: at least 35 credits from the approved list.
  2. Restoration Ecology and Environmental Horticulture Option: at least 35 credits from the approved list.
  3. Sustainable Forest Management Option: at least 35 credits from the approved list.
  4. Wildlife Conservation Option: at least 35 credits from the approved list.

Bioresource Science and Engineering

  1. General Education Requirements (105 credits)
    1. Written Communication (12 credits): 5 credits English composition (ENGL 131 preferred); HCDE 231 (3 credits). (Additional 4 credits satisfied by BSE courses shown below.)
    2. Natural World (NW) (68 credits): MATH 125, MATH 126, MATH 307 (or AMATH 351), MATH 308 (or AMATH 352); Q SCI 381 or IND E 315 or STAT 390. CHEM 152 (or CHEM 154), CHEM 162 (or CHEM 164); CHEM 237, CHEM 238; PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123; A A 260; 10 credits from the University NW list (outside the major).
    3. Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts (VLPA) (10 credits), chosen from the University VLPA list.
    4. Individuals & Societies (I&S) (20 credits): ECON 200; 10 credits chosen from the University I&S list (outside the major). (5 additional credits satisfied by required BSE courses.)
  2. Major Requirements (74 credits)
    1. Bioresource Science (59 credits): BSE 150, BSE 201, BSE 202, BSE 248, BSE 391, BSE 392, BSE 406, BSE 420, BSE 421, BSE 422, BSE 426, BSE 430, BSE 436, BSE 480, BSE 481, BSE 497. All required BSE courses must be completed a minimum 2.0 grade.
    2. Engineering Electives (15 credits minimum): Taken from a list of approved engineering electives.
    3. Business Option (additional 12 credits minimum): ESRM 320, ESRM 321, and one course from approved list.
  3. Free Electives: To bring minimum total to 180 credits.

Minors

Ecological Restoration

Minor Requirements: 25 credits as follows:
  1. Introduction to Restoration Ecology (5 credits): Either ESRM 362/ENVIR 362, BES 362, or TESC 362.
  2. Capstone (10 credits): One of the following sequences: ESRM 462/ENVIR 462, ESRM 463/ENVIR 463, ESRM 464/ENVIR 464; or BES 462, BES 463, BES 464; or TESC 462, TESC 463, TESC 464.
  3. Electives: 10 credits from approved list of electives maintained by each campus.
  4. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for courses presented for the minor.
  5. Minimum 15 credits from outside the student's major.
  6. Minimum 15 credits completed at the UW.

Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management

Minor Requirements: Minimum 25 ESRM credits, 20 of which must be upper division. A maximum of 5 credits from BSE courses allowed.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: Forest resources emphasizes interactions between biotic and human systems at landscape to regional scales. It also provides a knowledge base to answer critical questions about how individual organisms and biotic systems respond to perturbations and stresses imposed by human activities, as well as how the environment affects human behavior and institutions. This knowledge enables the design of methods for the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of biotic systems, and is critical for environmental decision making.

    The goal of the bioresource science and engineering curriculum is to provide students with the training, tools, and experiences needed to be successful professionals in the paper and allied industries. At the same time, it provides a comprehensive education so graduates can effectively work and live in the world's complex society.

    The goal of the environmental science and terrestrial resource management curriculum is to present fundamental knowledge and problem-solving experiences that enable students to understand the interdisciplinary dimensions of natural resource and environmental sciences and management. The structure of this curriculum provides great flexibility for students to pursue specialized fields through the formal program options, which include: landscape ecology and conservation; restoration ecology and environmental horticulture; sustainable forest management; and wildlife conservation; or to construct individual coursework to fit their educational goals.

    Career opportunities abound in the area of environmental science and terrestrial resource management in both private and public sectors. One example is the projected need in the U.S. Forest Service, where it is estimated that one-third of the workforce will be retiring within the next five years.

  • Instructional and Research Facilities: See the main School page for details.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors). With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements or visit www.sefs.washington.edu/academicPrograms/undergrad/honors.shtml.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: The Office of Student and Academic Services regularly receives internship announcements, which are forwarded to all SEFS students via email and placed in the office's Career Corner. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue these opportunities, which include work experience with federal, state, and private organizations in environmental science, forestry, engineering, conservation, wildlife, horticulture, and other related fields.

    Undergraduate research opportunities are available. Students should contact faculty members in their areas of interest. There are also foreign study and field opportunities within the College. Some are formal study with faculty members, others are through other agencies. Contact the Office of Student and Academic Services for more information.

  • Department Scholarships: For majors, the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences has a strong scholarship program that provides in-state tuition to students, based on merit or need. Application information can be found at www.sefs.washington.edu/academicPrograms/scholarship/index.shtml.

    The Washington Pulp and Paper Foundation provides scholarships for students enrolled in the bioresource science and engineering curriculum. For information, contact Professor Rick Gustafson in Bloedel 364 or visit the foundation website at: depts.washington.edu/wppf/.

  • Student Organizations/Associations: The School has student organizations which organize student symposia, field trips, parties, slide shows and talks, public service projects, and other social activities. Current SEFS student organizations can be found at www.sefs.washington.edu/people/organizations.shtml.

Of Special Note: Some classes include field trips or require laboratory supplies or material duplication at student expense.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Adviser
116 Anderson, Box 352100
(206) 543-7081
sefsadv@uw.edu

Graduate programs in forest resources are designed to accommodate a wide range of education and career objectives. A student may concentrate on development of advanced professional skills and knowledge or on exploration of forest-related science.

Graduate programs offered in forest resources lead to the degrees of Master of Environmental Horticulture, Master of Forest Resources in Sustainable Forest Management, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy. Graduate students may center their study in one of the special fields within the school's divisions.

Master of Environmental Horticulture

Admission Requirements

  1. Evidence of academic readiness for the program.
    1. Minimum 3.00 GPA in last 60 semester or last 90 quarter hours.
    2. Type and level of courses completed (generally, students are not admitted if their academic performance has been below average or they do not have sufficient course background in their intended program of study).
    3. Adequate Scores on the GRE (550-Verbal, 600-Quantitative, 5.0-Writing, or 156-Verbal, 148- Quantitative, 5.0-Writing for tests after August 2011 recommended).
    4. International applicants only: Minimum TOEFL score of 580 (237 for computer-based test, 92 for internet-based, and 7 for IELTS tests).
  2. Evidence of knowledge of intended area of study.
    1. Clearly written statement of objectives in pursuing further education.
    2. Ideally, work or field experience in the planned area of study.
  3. Supporting evidence from reference persons (three recommendations total).
    1. Recommendations from references familiar with applicant's academic ability and potential.
    2. Letters of recommendation from employers in field related to applicant's educational goals.

Degree Requirements

45 credits, as follows:

  1. SEFS 500 (1), SEFS 503 (6), SEFS 549 (2), SEFS 561 (2), ESRM 411 (3), ESRM 451 (5), ESRM 480 (5), ESRM 481 (2); and 13 credits of restricted electives.
  2. Internship/independent research: A formal public presentation and written professional paper are required. A member of the EHUF faculty will advise the student on his/her project, which is completed as SEFS 601 (9 credits minimum)
  3. Electives (7 credits)

Master of Forestry - Sustainable Forest Management

Admission Requirements

  1. Evidence of academic readiness for the program.
    1. Minimum 3.00 GPA in last 60 semester or last 90 quarter hours.
    2. Type and level of courses completed (generally, students are not admitted if their academic performance has been below average or they do not have sufficient course background in their intended program of study).
    3. Adequate Scores on the GRE (550-Verbal, 600-Quantitative, 5.0-Writing, or 156-Verbal, 148- Quantitative, 5.0-Writing for tests after August 2011 recommended).
    4. International applicants only: Minimum TOEFL score of 580 (237 for computer-based test, 92 for internet-based, and 7 for IELTS tests).
  2. Evidence of knowledge of intended area of study.
    1. Clearly written statement of objectives in pursuing further education.
    2. Ideally, work or field experience in the planned area of study.
  3. Supporting evidence from reference persons (3 recommendations total)
    1. Recommendations from references familiar with applicant's academic ability and potential.
    2. Letters of recommendation from employers in field related to applicant's educational goals.

Degree Requirements

45 credits, as follows:

  1. SEFS 500 (1), SEFS 509 (3), SEFS 526 (3)
  2. Directed electives: 24 credits distributed among the following four areas, with at least two classes required in each area: forest biology/ecology, forest management, forest measurements, forest policy and administration. See adviser for list of approved courses for each area.
  3. Unrestricted electives: 9 credits
  4. Capstone project: SEFS 600 (5) or SEFS 601 (5)

Master of Science

Admission Requirements

  1. Evidence of academic readiness for the program.
    1. Minimum 3.00 GPA in last 60 semester or last 90 quarter hours.
    2. Type and level of courses completed (generally, students are not admitted if their academic performance has been below average or they do not have sufficient course background in their intended program of study).
    3. Adequate Scores on the GRE (550-Verbal, 600-Quantitative, 5.0-Writing, or 156-Verbal, 148- Quantitative, 5.0-Writing for tests after August 2011 recommended).
    4. International applicants only: Minimum TOEFL score of 580 (237 for computer-based test, 92 for internet-based, and 7 for IELTS tests).
  2. Evidence of knowledge of intended area of study.
    1. Clearly written statement of objectives in pursuing further education.
    2. Ideally, work or field experience in the planned area of study.
  3. Supporting evidence from reference persons (3 recommendations total).
    1. Recommendation from references familiar with applicant's academic ability and potential.
    2. Letters of recommendation from employers in field related to applicant's educational goals.

Degree Requirements

Minimum 45 credits, to include:

  1. Orientation: SEFS 500 (1)
  2. Social and Natural Sciences Applied to Natural Resource and Environmental Issues: SEFS 509 (3)
  3. Disciplinary Knowledge: minimum 10 credits from list of approved courses according to interest area
  4. Research Design and Quantitative Analysis: minimum 8 credits from list of approved courses according to interest area
  5. Current Topics: 2 credits (500 level), topics vary from year to year
  6. Thesis Research: SEFS 700 (9 credits minimum)

Current interest groups are:

  • Forest ecology
  • Forest soils
  • Bioresource science and engineering
  • Restoration ecology and environmental horticulture
  • Social sciences
  • Sustainable resource management
  • Wildlife science

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

  1. Evidence of academic readiness for the program.
    1. Minimum 3.00 GPA in last 60 semester or last 90 quarter hours.
    2. Type and level of courses completed (generally, students are not admitted if their academic performance has been below average or they do not have sufficient course background in their intended program of study).
    3. Adequate Scores on the GRE (550-Verbal, 600-Quantitative, 5.0-Writing, or 156-Verbal, 148- Quantitative, 5.0-Writing for tests after August 2011 recommended).
    4. International applicants only: Minimum TOEFL score of 580 (237 for computer-based test, 92 for internet-based, and 7 for IELTS tests).
  2. Evidence of knowledge of intended area of study.
    1. Clearly written statement of objectives in pursuing further education. PhD applicants should have earned a master's degree; most apply for the master's and then continue on to the PhD.
    2. Ideally, work or field experience in the planned area of study.
    3. Publications written by the student related to the planned area of study.
  3. Supporting evidence from reference persons (3 recommendations total).
    1. Recommendations from references familiar with applicant's academic ability and potential.
    2. Letters of recommendation from employers in field related to applicant's educational goals.

Degree Requirements

90 credits, to include:

  1. Same as for Master of Science degree (above) with one additional course in each of the categories:
    1. Disciplinary knowledge
    2. Research design and quantitative analysis
    3. Current topics
  2. Qualifying examination
  3. General examination
  4. Dissertation research: SEFS 800 (27 credits minimum)
  5. Final examination

Financial Assistance

The school has a limited number of appointments for teaching and research assistantships that provide a stipend, tuition waiver, and benefits. Teaching and research assistant responsibilities are half-time, allowing time to pursue a full academic load. Students may contact faculty directly about available research assistantships.

Fellowships without teaching or research obligations are also available. Requests for consideration must be submitted by December 31 for the following academic year. Applications are in the school's admissions packet, available on the school's website at: www.sefs.washington.edu/academicPrograms/graduate/applicant.shtml.