Graduate student with a moose

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 research topics in Forest Science:

  • 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 research topics in Wildlife Science:

  • 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


Forest and Wildlife Science Requirements

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
  • Masters Research Thesis (NR 391) or Masters Project (NR 392) credits - at least 6 credits for thesis; 3-6 credits for project
  • 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
  •  acceptability to a potential faculty advisor holding an appointment in the Rubenstein School and the UVM Graduate College.


Learn More - For more information about the Rubenstein School Master's Program, contact the RSENR Graduate Program coordinator at or the Rubenstein School main desk at 802-656-2911.