Bachelor of Forestry Science
Graduate Diploma in Forestry
Postgraduate Diploma in Forestry
Master of Forestry Science
Doctor of Philosophy

Forestry student at computer


The Bachelor of Forestry Science (BForSc) is a professional degree offered by the New Zealand School of Forestry. It is an interdisciplinary degree that prepares our graduates for managing forest resources by combining the study of core science courses with management, commerce, and technologies.

Forestry Science graduates are highly sought-after by employers and follow exciting and rewarding career paths. As a graduate, you can choose a career in commercial forestry, conservation and restoration ecology, research, or policy and planning in New Zealand or overseas.

If you care about the management of natural resources and are interested in being part of a huge worldwide industry, of particular national relevance to New Zealand, then forestry could be for you.

Why study Forestry at UC?

  • UC is the only New Zealand university to offer a professional degree in Forestry.
  • The University is located near plantations and native forests, which are used for both teaching and research, and students are able to visit other forestry organisations throughout the country.
  • The School has exchange programmes with the University of British Columbia in Canada and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the USA, which allow students to complete one or two semesters of their BForSc studies at those universities while paying UC fees.
  • The BForSc equips you with a broad understanding of natural resource management issues. During the course of your studies you can specialise in a range of areas including forest engineering, wood science, forest management, forest science, forest marketing and finance, commerce, and conservation management.
  • Small class sizes make the BForSc a friendly and social programme and the Forestry Students' Society (FORSOC) organises social functions throughout the year.
  • UC Forestry students may be eligible for forestry industry scholarships. For more information contact the School of Forestry.
  • You may also enrol for both Forestry and Commerce, or Forestry and Science degrees, at the same time (double degree) or complete a Commerce degree with a strong Forestry emphasis.

Research and fieldwork

The New Zealand School of Forestry has excellent teaching and research facilities and opportunities to work in the field are maximised. Field stations located near Arthur's Pass and at Westport are also used for Forestry teaching and research.

Staff are actively engaged in research on forest management, conservation and restoration ecology, biology, silviculture, biosecurity, geospatial applications, tree and forest modelling, tree breeding, economics, harvesting and transport, timber processing and marketing.

The School of Forestry is part of the College of Engineering and has strong links with the Colleges of Business and Law, and Science, which ensures that students receive a broad education and graduate with a wide range of career options.

The Bachelor of Forestry Science is open to all students who gain entry to the University. It is recommended that prospective students take NCEA Level 3 biology and statistics (or IB/Cambridge equivalent).

You may be able to fast-track your degree and gain direct entry to the second year if you have excellent Year 13 results or a New Zealand Certificate in Science with outstanding merit. It is possible to gain exemption for parts of the Forestry Examinations with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or a New Zealand Diploma in Forestry with outstanding merit.

If you have not studied Year 12 chemistry or Year 13 statistics, or if you feel you have a weak background in these subjects, you could consider enrolling in a UC Headstart preparatory course over summer.


See all Forestry courses

100-level courses

The following are the compulsory courses for the first year of the Forestry Science degree:

The first year is best taken at UC, although it may be taken at any New Zealand university. Students considering studying the first year of the Bachelor of Forestry Science at another New Zealand university should consult the School of Forestry for their course selection, which would include the distance course FORE102 Forests and Societies.

200-level and beyond

In the second year, the main focus is on Forestry courses with some supporting Science subjects.

In the third year, more applied Forestry courses are introduced. One further subject is taken from an option schedule available to both third and fourth-year students.

In the fourth year, students are required to take four compulsory courses and three further courses from the option schedule, which can include a course from another UC degree.

Students who attain a good grade point average during the second and third years will be invited to consider undertaking honours in the final year of the degree. Those who choose to do so must complete a dissertation, which is a piece of original research on a Forestry topic usually chosen by the student.

Career opportunities

The degree is very well supported by employers in New Zealand. Students are able to make employer contacts through New Zealand Institute of Forestry meetings and lectures on campus. These contacts can also provide summer work opportunities.

Some of the biggest companies in New Zealand hire UC graduates and many students obtain work overseas. Of those choosing to enter the workforce, the majority of our graduates are employed after finishing their degree.

Possible careers include forest management or consultancy (plantation and native forests), conservation, harvesting, wood processing, planning, policy, forest science, timber appraisal, biosecurity, forest economics, sustainability and land management.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Forestry Science.

More information

School of Forestry

Phone +64 3 369 3500

Level 2, Forestry building - see campus maps

Postal address
College of Engineering | Te Rāngai Pūkaha
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Amy jackson

Amy Jackson

'It's very dynamic as I’m doing something different every day...'

Thornton Campbell

Thornton Campbell

'The chance to select my own research topic was too much of an opportunity to pass up...'