What can I do with a degree in Forest Engineering?
Through their Forest Engineering degree, graduates develop a valuable set of skills that are transferrable to a range of careers, including:
- Creativity and innovation
- Logical and quantitative thinking
- Analytical and problem solving skills
- Practical application of engineering technology and science
- Balancing ecological and environmental needs with economic and societal requirements
Forest engineers have a wide skill-set that provides work opportunities both at home and abroad. Forest Engineering graduates are in high demand both in New Zealand and overseas. Significant numbers are employed by the major forestry companies, forestry contractors and forestry consultancies. Others work within local and regional government - often for authorities that are involved in commercial forestry. For a number of Forest Engineering graduates, a career path lies in the forestry aid projects found in a number of developing countries.
Current world issues have significant forest engineering opportunities. Woody-based biomass has been identified as a key source of alternative energy for the future. Forests store carbon and are a major part in any governmental carbon plan. With water becoming a serious resource issue in many countries, people are finding that watersheds where commercial forestry is practiced can provide high quality dependable water supplies.
While many Forest Engineering graduates go on to exciting careers in private forestry companies, a number also find a good place to work in the various governmental agencies. Some work for contractors or consultants, some set themselves up in their own consulting or contracting businesses. Some forest engineers find work in positions in overseas development.
In addition to professional Forest Engineering roles - often centred on plantation-based harvesting system and transportation system design work - graduates from this discipline can be found in research positions. Here they are working on the investigation and development of improved methods for harvest planning, transportation systems and techniques for the reduction of the environmental impact of forest operations. Postgraduate study can also lead to an academic career pathway in teaching and research. Other graduates may move in to related roles in the engineering sector, for example, local government, highway or natural resource engineering.
UC’s Guide to Job Hunting offers a variety of career resources including employer information.
For more information about UC student and graduate opportunities, go to UC CareerHub
As they progress in their studies and into a career, our students and graduates often join professional bodies specific to their area of interest. These organisations offer graduates the opportunity to network and collaborate with others within the same community. Other relevant organisations are also listed.
- New Zealand Institute of Forestry
- Forest Industry Engineering Association
- Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand
- The Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand Inc.
- New Zealand Forest Owners Association
Social media networks, such as LinkedIn (including LinkedIn groups), Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues for students and graduates to keep up-to-date with current industry knowledge and 'best practice', networking opportunities, industry-related events and job vacancies.
It is possible to study at postgraduate and graduate level in subjects both directly and indirectly related to your degree. For a list of postgraduate and graduate study options, go to Courses, Subjects and Qualifications
There are exciting research opportunities for completing a masters and or a doctorate in Forest Engineering. Questions about how best to maximise production efficiency of mechanised operations, or how to minimise the environmental impacts of forest operations, or about how to integrate new technology still need to be addressed. The Forest Engineering programme enjoys a very high level of support from the New Zealand forest industry, with many companies and harvesting contractors prepared to help out.
Currently we are able to offer a PhD degree in Forest Engineering, but no specifically endorsed Forest Engineering master degree. For students with an engineering background the most suitable path is to enrol in Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering. Students with a forestry background should enrol in a Master of Forestry Science.
Carefully consider your motivation for study, how it fits in with your long-term career plans and whether it is likely to enhance your employment prospects.