University of Vermont

RSENR M.S. Forest & Wildlife Sciences

RSENR M.S. Concentration in Forest and Wildlife Sciences

Christine Peterson conducts field research.Forest and Wildlife Sciences are unique in that the faculty have maintained a distinction between Forest Science and Wildlife Science to allow graduate students to identify themselves, and research can still follow these traditional lines. However, the faculty have chosen to collaborate and have meetings as a whole to encourage more interdisciplinary work. Students work with faculty who conduct research in forest and field ecosystems on broad landscape-based projects or projects at the tree or wildlife species level.


Forest Science

Forest Science has a long history at the University of Vermont with courses dating back to 1888. Graduate students wishing to concentrate in the area of Forest Science today can study a diversity of topics related to faculty expertise and including but not limited to: sustainable forest management, forest ecosystem health, invasive species, tree physiology, forest carbon and bioenergy, and remote sensing of forest landscapes.

Recent graduate students concentrating in Forest Science have been involved in the following research topics for their thesis or project work:

  • Impacts of climate change and forest management on forest biodiversity
  • Influence of climate change and environmental stress on tree physiology
  • Quantifying the influence of winter injury on carbon sequestration of forest trees
  • Effects of wood bioenergy harvesting on ecologically important characteristics of forest structure
  • Forest carbon storage and effects of harvesting frequency and intensity
  • Rehabilitation forestry and carbon market access on former industrial forests
  • Remote sensing of forest health trends
  • Remote sensing of spring phenology
  • Forest pathology and entomology, including management of invasive pests

Wildlife Science

Wildlife Science also has a long history at the University of Vermont. Current faculty are engaged in research or management projects that center around terrestrial ecosystems: the processes that drive these systems, their management, and their conservation. Topics students work on vary broadly and include population dynamics, sustainable forest ecosystem management, wildlife behavior, wildlife-habitat relationships, and landscape ecology. Some students might pursue research projects on wildlife species that occur in wetlands or other aquatic environments; there is also faculty expertise in these disciplines and involvement with faculty in other concentrations such as Aquatic Ecology and Watershed Science.

Recent graduate students focusing on Wildlife Science have been involved in the following topics through thesis or project work:

  • Effects of agricultural management on wildlife populations
  • Trophic level interactions
  • Effects of land use change on wildlife populations
  • Avian foraging ecology
  • Effects of forest structure on carnivore populations
  • Habitat associations of wetland-dependent bird communities
  • Predicting species occurrences through remote sensing
  • Predicting biodiversity through landscape analysis
  • Genetics of black bear populations
  • Habitat use by Indiana bats

Degree Requirements

  • Envisioning a Sustainable Future (2 credits, currently NR 306)
  • Applied Ecology, Environment and Society (2 credits, currently NR 385)
  • A minimum of 30 credit hours, including NR 378 (6-9 hours of thesis research, 3-6 hours of project research)
  • A comprehensive examination with both a written and oral component
  • An oral defense of thesis or project

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements include:

  • undergraduate degree in forestry or a discipline related to forest science OR in wildlife biology/management or in biological sciences
  • satisfactory scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination
  • acceptability to a potential faculty advisor holding an appointment in the Rubenstein School and the UVM Graduate College.


For more information about the Rubenstein School Master's Program, contact Carolyn Goodwin Kueffner, RSENR graduate program student services specialist at cgoodwin@uvm.edu or 802-656-2511.

Last modified November 03 2014 11:18 AM