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Master’s Program

Master of Science Degree

The department offers two master of science degrees: an MS with a major in forestry or an MS in wildlife and fisheries science. The MS program in forestry offers both thesis and non-thesis options; a thesis is required for the MS in wildlife and fisheries science. 

For admission, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in forestry, wildlife, fisheries or other natural resource area. Applicants must take the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with minimum scores required. Graduate school rating forms or letters of recommendation from three individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic ability are required. 

Admission to the department is competitive. If applicants meet the minimum requirements for consideration (3.0 GPA and a GRE score of 297 on the verbal and quantitative sections combined under the new scoring system, or 1,000 on the verbal and quantitative sections combined under the old scoring system) their files are circulated to potential major professors (graduate advisors). They are admitted only if a professor agrees to advise them. As a consequence, we deny admission to many students who meet the minimum requirements for admission due to the lack of an advisor. This is especially true in terrestrial wildlife, which is most competitive.

Because of this, students are advised not to formally apply unless they have contacted a professor and have been encouraged to do so. 


Minor in Environmental Policy:
The department participates in a program designed to give graduate students an opportunity to develop an interdisciplinary specialization in environmental policy. View more information about the environmental policy minor.

For more information concerning applications, tuition and fee costs, university calendars, dates and deadlines, and more visit the Office of Graduate Admissions


A collage of graduate students working in the lab and in the field in various natural resources positions..

Additional Information

The department and University have extensive financial aid available on a competitive basis. Stipends average $12,500 per year for twelve-month, half-time (twenty hours per week) appointments. The master of science degree assistantships include health insurance for the student. Some assistantships provide for remission of tuition and fees. Graduate assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, and traineeships are offered by the department. Please inquire for additional details about these types of financial aid. Student loans and employment are coordinated by the Financial Aid Office on main campus. Almost all graduate students in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries receive financial support. Part-time and contract employment are available from several of the above-named cooperating agencies.

The flagship campus of The University of Tennessee is located in Knoxville, the major economic, industrial, and metropolitan hub of East Tennessee. Knoxville is located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in close proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority are in Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory is only 15 miles from Knoxville in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. East Tennessee enjoys a mild climate with four seasons, and students can pursue outside activities year round. With I-40 and I-75 intersecting in Knoxville, one can easily reach other metropolitan centers in the southeast such as Atlanta, Nashville, and Cincinnati.

The University utilizes more than 21,000 acres of wildlands available for teaching, research, and demonstration. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee Division of Forestry, Tennessee Valley Authority, National Park Service, US Forest Service, UT AgResearch, UT Extension, and private industries provide lands and facilities for teaching and research programs. Lands available for forestry research include the Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Centers and the 18,400-acre Ames Plantation in West Tennessee. These areas have a wide variety of forest types and wildlife habitats, ranging from boreal forest types to southern pines and bottomland hardwoods. Fisheries habitats include cold and warm water streams, large reservoirs, and farm ponds.

The department is housed in a modern, educational teaching and research complex, including the Plant Biotechnology Building, a state-of-the-art research facility. The department has other teaching and research facilities, including research greenhouses, clonal propagation greenhouses, conventional wet-lab/dry-lab space, a forest products laboratory, and a human dimensions research laboratory. A US Geological Survey Field Laboratory is located on campus, with additional facilities and scientists engaged in cooperative departmental research. Students have access to the Herbert College of Agriculture’s microcomputer laboratory and to the University computing system. The UT Knoxville libraries’ membership in the Association of Research Libraries reflects the University’s emphasis on graduate instruction and research and the support of large, comprehensive collections of library materials on a permanent basis.

The University provides excellent apartment facilities in several locations. University residence halls and off-campus housing are also readily available; however, rates vary widely. A listing of off-campus housing available to students is provided by the Off-Campus Housing Office. Many off-campus apartments are located on University bus routes. For additional housing information, visit the University Housing website or the Off-campus Housing website.

More than 6,000 graduate students are enrolled on and off campus at the University of Tennessee. Graduate enrollment in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries averages about forty students. The University uses a variety of modes—traditional and nontraditional—in offering quality programs designed to serve a diverse student base.

The University of Tennessee is the official land-grant institution for the State of Tennessee, with its main campus in Knoxville. UT-Knoxville is the state’s oldest, largest, and most comprehensive institution, and is the only state-supported “Research University l” (Carnegie classification) in Tennessee. The University celebrated its bicentennial in 1994; many ceremonies and special programs were conducted to reflect on 200 years of University history. Total enrollment is nearly 29,000 students with almost 1,300 faculty who teach and/or conduct research at the Knoxville campus. A wide range of graduate programs leading to master’s and doctoral degrees are available. The University offers master’s programs in 86 fields and doctoral work in 52 fields.

See our graduate course listing

421 Forest and Wildland Resource Economics (3) Production functions, supply-demand and market analysis; non-market programs and projects; economic analysis and decision models; investment and financial analysis; managerial economics; taxes; forest products marketing. Prerequisite: Forest Resource Analysis or consent of instructor. 

422 Forest and Wildland Resource Policy (3) Policy formulation; criteria for policy determination; forest and wildland law and regulation; theory of conflict resolution; formal and informal resolution. Prerequisite: Senior standing or consent of instructor.

423 Wildland Recreation Planning and Management (3) Planning processes, master and site planning, site design projects; management strategies, methods of visitor and recreation site management; case studies. Weekend field trips. Prerequisite: Wildland Recreation or consent of instructor. 2 hrs and 1 lab.

433 Wood Adhesives and Glued Wood Products (2) Theory and practice of adhesive bonding of wood; wood substrate-adhesive interface for bonding; principles of adhesion; wood adhesives; gluing of solid wood and composite wood manufacturing practices; laboratory manufacture and/or testing of adhesives, adhesive bond strength and glued-wood product performance; day field trips. Prerequisite: Wood Properties and Uses and Wood Identification, or consent of instructor. 1 hr and 2 labs.

434 Wood Processing and Machining (2) Primary log breakdown and secondary processing into major products. Fundamentals of machining technology for major types of cutting operations: sawing, boring, planing, veneer cutting, and laser machining; day field trip. Prerequisite: Wood Properties and Uses and Wood Identification, or consent of instructor. 1 hr and 2 labs.

435 Wood Drying and Preserving (2) Discussion of wood-moisture relationships. Introduction to commercial wood drying equipment and practices. Proper use, specification, and disposal of preservative treated wood. Day field trips. Prerequisite: Wood Properties and Uses and Wood Identification, or consent of instructor.

500 Thesis (1-15) P/NP only.

502 Registration for Use of Facilities (3-15) Required for the student not otherwise registered during any semester when student uses University facilities and/or faculty time before degree is completed. May not be used toward degree requirements. May be repeated.

511 Problem Analysis in Forest Resources (3) Problem identification, analysis and solution in forest resources management. Identify, analyze and prepare written report. Topic and report must have approval of graduate committee. Available only to students in non-thesis option for MS in Forestry. 

512 Seminar (1) Current developments in forestry. Required of all graduate students in residence in fall. May be repeated. Maximum 2 hrs.

515 Forest Conservation Workshop (1-3) Relation of forest biology, ecology and management to conservation issues; integration of current conservation issues into classroom work and student projects; environmental education strategies. Not available to students in forestry or wildlife and fisheries science. May be repeated. Maximum 3 hrs.

520 Advanced Forest Ecology (3) Physiological ecology and adaptations of trees; relationships between overstory structure, microclimate, and understory response; regeneration ecology; competition and effects of natural and human disturbance regimes at multiple scales; forest succession and stand dynamics. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in forestry or biological science, or consent of instructor.

525 Woodlot Management (3) Current technologies and management strategies concerning wise use of forest resources for private, non-industrial forest landowners necessary for decision-making and implementation. Prerequisite: 6 hrs of biological sciences or consent of instructor. Not available to students in forestry or wildlife and fisheries science. 6.5 hrs and 1 lab weekly for 6 weeks.

530 Advanced Forest Resource Management (3) Analysis of forest management problems in public and private organizations. Classical forest regulation; linear and goal programming, as applied to resource management problems; advanced forest investment analysis; decision making methods for primary forest management activities; and methodologies for incorporating non-timber values in forest management operations. Prerequisite: Senior-level forest management or consent of instructor.

540 Genetics in Forestry (3) Genetic improvement of forest trees, selection of superior phenotypes; field testing for genetic variability; tree breeding; development of seed orchards; hybridization; tree cytology and tissue culture; use of biochemical variation; planning and conducting forest genetics research. Prerequisite: Silvicultural methods and Biology 220 or consent of instructor.

550 Recreation Planning for Forests and Associated Lands (3) Planning process for recreation development on forests and associated lands; analysis and critique of specific contemporary alternatives. Overnight field trips. Prerequisite: Senior level in forest recreation or consent of instructor.

570 Management & Policy of Forest Resource Organization (3) Theory and application of management as applied to natural resource organizations: institutional direction and culture, and strategic management. Development of policy as planning tool and as results from conflict resolution. Linkage between policy development and execution, and structure and management of organizations. Prerequisite: Forest administration and policy or consent of instructor.

580 Advanced Silviculture (3) Silvical characteristics, silvicultural practices and systems applied to commercially important hardwoods and softwoods. In-depth analyses of silvicultural principles involved and tools used, prescribed fire, pesticides, in regeneration and management; computer modeling of stand dynamics, structure, growth/yield. Prerequisite: Undergraduate silviculture course or consent of instructor. 2 hrs and 1 lab. Sp, A 

585 Advanced Forest Biometry (3) Application of sampling techniques to forest inventory; fixed and variable plot sampling; list sampling; Poisson sampling; regression estimators; multistage and multiphase sampling. Growth and yield predictors for even-aged and uneven-aged forests. Prerequisite: Land Measurement Techniques and Forest Resource Inventory or consent of instructor. 

590 Advanced Topics in Forestry (1-3) Recent advances and concepts; research techniques and analysis of current problems. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. May be repeated. Maximum 6 hrs. 

593 Independent Study in Forestry (1-4) May be repeated. Maximum 6 hrs. 

630 Forest Growth and Development (3) Forest stand dynamics, analysis of changes in species composition and forest stand structure (physical and temporal) during forest succession, response of stands to disturbances (anthropogenic and natural), modeling techniques to make predictions of future stand development. Prerequisite: Undergraduate silviculture course or consent of instructor. 2 hrs and 1 lab.

410 Wildlife Habitat Evaluation and Management (3) Ecological relationships between wildlife and habitat. Evaluation, modeling, and management of wildlife habitat. Effects of land-use practices on wildlife habitat. Weekend field trips. Prerequisite: Principles of Wildlife and Fisheries Management or consent of instructor. Applicable to majors in Forestry and in Wildlife and Fisheries Science. 2 hrs and 1 lab.

416 Planning and Management of Forest, Wildlife and Fisheries Resources (3) Integrated forest and wildland resource management through developing land management plans and analyzing case studies including conflict resolution. Applicable to majors in Forestry and in Wildlife and Fisheries Science. Prerequisite: Senior standing 1 hr and 2 labs.

420 International Natural Resource Issues (2) Identification and analyses of issues regarding forestry, wildlife, fisheries and associated natural resources beyond U.S. borders: biodiversity conservation. Biophysical, economic and cultural elements impacting natural resources at international level. Cases: Northern Europe, Latin America, Indonesia and Africa. 

520 Natural Resource Issues at International Level (2) Identification and analyses of issues regarding forestry, wildlife, fisheries and wildland park resources beyond U.S. borders. Political, economic, social, and biophysical elements impacting natural resources in different parts of world: Northern Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and South America. In-depth case study and class presentation required by student teams. Not available for students who have taken 420.

525 Applied Natural Resource Statistics (3) Review and application of advanced statistical techniques to address several quantitative issues encountered within natural resource research and management. Much of the course will focus on analyses of students’ current graduate project data, leading to variability from year to year regarding the specific statistical methods covered.  Possible topics explored may include, but are not limited to the following: advanced regression, likelihood principles of inference, multivariate statistics, nonparametric methods, modeling, simulation techniques, bootstrapping, repeated measures, trend analysis, and finite population sampling. Prerequisite: Statistics  531 or Statistics 537, or Plant Sciences 461/561, or an equivalent  comprehensive introductory, graduate-level statistics course.

535 Environmental Impacts to Natural Ecosystems (3) Current environmental problems impacting natural ecosystems: climatic change, acidic deposition, air pollution, species declines, and introductions of exotic species. Management methodologies to mitigate environmental problems. Overnight field trips. Prerequisite: 416 or equivalent or consent of instructor. Applicable to majors in Forestry and in Wildlife and Fisheries Science.

540 Seminar on Integrated Resources Management in Biosphere Reserves (2) MAB program, UNESCO-sanctioned global conservation initiative. Analysis of integrated resources management practices that demonstrate concept of sustainable development. Environmental policy and application of science to management practice. Applicable to majors in Forestry and in Wildlife and Fisheries Science.

590 Advanced Topics in Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries (1-3) Recent advances and concepts, research techniques, and analysis of current problems. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. May be repeated. Maximum 6 hrs.

600 Doctoral Research and Dissertation (3-15) P/NP only.

601 Teaching Methods in Natural Resources (3) Review of teaching and learning methods in natural resources education at collegiate level. Methods for conducting lectures and laboratories in natural resources. Methods for student evaluation. Practicum in teaching. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. 

610 Seminar in Natural Resources (2) Selected issues in natural resources and natural resource management at regional, national, or international level. Development of interdisciplinary approach to addressing problems: evaluating current state of knowledge, developing alternative actions to address problems, and identifying criteria for evaluation of alternatives. 

612 Seminar in Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries (1) Current issues and developments in forestry, wildlife and fisheries. Required of all doctoral students in residence during fall. May be repeated. Maximum 3 hrs.

440 Wildlife Techniques (3) Methods of wildlife damage control, forest, farmland, wetland wildlife habitat management, identification of wildlife field sign, wildlife capturing techniques and management plan preparation. Weekend field trips. Prerequisite: Principles of Wildlife and Fisheries Management or consent of instructor. 1 hr and 1 lab or field. 

442 Fisheries Techniques (3) Active and passive sampling techniques for fish and aquatic organisms; population estimation methods; fish handling and transport; food habits analysis; marking and tagging techniques; age determination and incremental growth analysis; stream assessment; equipment and instrumentation usage and maintenance; safety in sampling methods. Weekend field trip. Prerequisite: Principles of Wildlife and Fisheries Management or consent of instructor. 1 hr and 1 lab or field.

443 Fisheries Science (3) Quantification and management of freshwater fisheries: population estimation, age and growth, biological assessment, and stocking. Prerequisite: Principles of Wildlife and Fisheries Management or consent of instructor. 2 hrs and 1 lab.

444 Ecology and Management of Wild Mammals (3) Biological and ecological characteristics of game mammals and endangered mammals. Current principles and practices of wild mammal management. Prerequisite: Principles of Wildlife and Fisheries Management or consent of instructor. 2 hrs and 1 lab. One weekend field trip required.

445 Ecology and Management of Wild Birds (3) Biological and ecological characteristics of game birds, endangered birds, and bird pests. Current principles and practices of wild bird management. Prerequisite: Principles of Wildlife and Fisheries Management or consent of instructor. 2 hrs and 1 lab.

490 Ethics in Wildlife and Fisheries Management (1) Ethical bases for decision-making and application of methodologies in practice of wildlife and fisheries management. Seminars by ethicists, wildlife and fisheries scientists and managers, and foresters to acquaint students with diverse perspective of ethical behavior in practices of wildlife and fisheries management. Lectures, panel discussions, and case studies. Team taught. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

500 Thesis (1-15) P/NP only. E

502 Registration for Use of Facilities (3-15) Required for the student not otherwise registered during any semester when student uses University facilities and/or faculty time before degree is completed. May not be used toward degree requirements. May be repeated. S/NC only.

512 Seminar in Wildlife and Fisheries Science (1) Current developments in wildlife and fisheries science. Required of all graduate students in residence in fall. May be repeated. Maximum 2 hrs. S/NC only.

515 Seminar in Avian Ecology and Management (1-2) Readings and discussion based on current literature on contemporary topics in avian ecology and management. Additional credit awarded for writing review paper on contemporary topic of interest to student. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

520 Planning and Administration of Fisheries and Wildlife Programs (2) Factors influencing policy and program planning activities of fisheries and wildlife agencies. Decision-making policies, case histories.

525 Endangered Species Management and Conservation of Biodiversity (2) Status, ecology and management of endangered wildlife and plant species. Historic aspects, policy implications and philosophical issues surrounding recovery efforts. Approaches to monitor and manage for biodiversity. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

530 Wildlife Diseases (2) Necropsy of birds and mammals. Recognition of various diseases and methods of preparing pathological materials in field and lab. Investigative procedures concerning wildlife diseases. Prereq: 1 yr biology, 444 or 445, or consent of instructor (same as Comparative and Experimental Medicine – Veterinary Medicine 530).

531 Wildlife Physiology and Nutrition (3) This course is an introduction and overview of the endocrine and physiological mechanisms important behind the regulation of wild animal populations (primarily wild birds and mammals). You will gain an understanding of the importance of wildlife physiology and nutrition for monitoring and managing wildlife. 

535 Floodplain Ecosystems (3) Ecology, restoration and management of floodplain ecosystems: biotic and abiotic processes, social considerations, and wildlife and forest management; Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Valley. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

540 Predator Ecology (2) Dynamics of terrestrial vertebrate predator populations in human-altered and relatively unaltered environments. Prerequisite: 444 or 445 or consent of instructor.

545 Population and Habitat Analysis (2) Detail characteristics, assumptions, and current technologies for fish and wildlife population analysis. Technologies, methodology and goals for wildlife habitat analysis. Use of computers. Prerequisite: Animal Science 571 or Statistics 538 or consent of instructor.

550 Fish Physiology (3) Mechanisms of gas transfer, circulation, excretion, osmoregulation, locomotion, and neural/hormonal control of these systems in fishes. Comparisons and contrasts with physiology of terrestrial animals. Practical applications of fish physiology to aquaculture, pollution assessment, and fisheries management. Prerequisite: Senior or graduate standing in life sciences. 

555 Fish Culture (3) Principles, concepts and techniques of culturing economically important fish and shellfish species. Prerequisite: 443 or consent of instructor. 2 hrs. and 1 lab.

556 Recirculating Aquaculture (3) Growing fish in intensive, indoor systems with reconditioned water. Techniques of solids removal, nitrification, and gas balance. Practical experience with operating system. Prerequisite: 443 or consent of instructor.

560 Advanced Topics in Wildlife and Fisheries Science (1-3) Recent advances and concepts, research techniques and analysis of current problems. Prerequisite: 443, 444, 445, or consent of instructor. May be repeated. Maximum 6 hrs. 

593 Independent Study in Wildlife and Fisheries Science (1-4) May be repeated. Maximum 6 hrs.