What can I do with a degree in Forestry Science?

Forestry student at computer

UC is the only New Zealand university to offer a professional degree in Forestry. Forestry Science gives students a broad understanding of the forestry discipline, and provides them with forestry-specific technical skills and the ability to communicate and work as a team player.

You will gain a broad understanding of natural resource management issues, with a strong emphasis on forestry, and can specialise in a range of areas including forest engineering, wood science, forest management, forest science, forest marketing and finance, commerce and conservation management.

Through their Forestry Science degree graduates gain a skillset that includes:

  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Project management and teamwork
  • Qualitative and quantitative skills
  • Awareness of health and safety
  • Awareness of environmental and sustainability concerns
  • Economic and commercial awareness
  • Computing skills and applied geospatial techniques
  • Bicultural competence.

Experiential learning

Students undertake 90 days of practical work experience as part of this degree. This provides you with industry understanding and the confidence to apply your skills. Learning and networking also take place during fieldtrips and an industry project. 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.

Recent UC Forestry Scientist graduates have been employed in a number of organisations such as:

  • Forestry companieseg, Rayonier/Matariki Forests, Nelson ForestsLtd, PF Olsen, Juken New Zealand
  • Plantationseg, Summit Northern Plantation
  • Forest managementeg, Hancock Forest Management, NZ Forest Managers, Timberlands, New Zealand Forestry Ltd, Forest Owner Marketing Services, Forest Management NZ
  • Log supply and timber products eg, Forests for New Zealand, Pan Pac Forest Products
  • Logisticseg, Asset Forestry
  • Government bodies eg, Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation
  • Primary industry companieseg, agriculture
  • Biosecurityeg, AsureQuality
  • Infrastructure eg, Eastland Group, Fulton Hogan
  • Engineers eg, GHD Ltd
  • Universities eg, University of Canterbury

Forestry Science graduates are employed in a number of jobs — see some examples below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

What job titles do Forestry Science graduates have?

Forestry science

  • Forester
  • Forest scientist
  • Forestry analyst
  • Utility forester

Logging

  • Timber machinist
  • Harvest and woodflow coordinator
  • Timber appraiser

Policy and planning

  • Policy and resource planner
  • Estate and environmental support planner
  • Transport planner
  • Harvest planning manager, harvest manager
  • Forest development manager
  • Forest economist

Management

  • Forest manager
  • Forestry consultant
  • System auditor

Conservation

  • Forest ecologist
  • Conservationist
  • Environmental officer
  • Biosecurity officer

Logistics and operations

  • Operations supervisor
  • Supply chain scheduler
  • Distributor
  • Forest operations supervisor
  • Logistics infrastructure manager
  • Forest operations assistant

Engineering

  • Transport engineer
  • Port operations supervisor

Research

  • Data analyst
  • Research assistant

Geospatial work

Using global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS)
Assisting the design of geospatial systems and managing equipment.

What activities could be part of these jobs?

  • Evaluates and analyses forestry issues
  • Focuses on tree breeding and genetics, tree physiology, entomology and soil science
  • Plans and supervises afforestation, reforestation, and harvesting projects
  • Manages to meet future wood demands
  • Ensures forest health via environmental protection
  • Ensures environmental and sustainable principles during forest management
  • Predicts consumption and supply trends
  • Prepares reports to help decision making
  • Selects trees for thinning and harvesting
  • Records the quality and volume of logs taken
  • Tests to identify and resolve any issues of disease or pests.

Can I use my skills to work for myself?

Entrepreneurship and innovation are an increasing part of the working landscape. Students and graduates can:

  • Develop an idea to form their own business
  • Get involved in a start-up
  • Offer their services as a consultant

Get started with Entrepreneurship here.

As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies relevant to their area of interest. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network with others in the same community.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep up-to-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the Forestry Science subject page