Postgraduate study and research


Explore your options

Postgraduate courses and research opportunities exist in both Forestry Science and Forest Engineering, with academics active in numerous areas of research. Admission requirements depend on the programme you wish to enrol in, your academic background and whether you are a domestic or international student. Contact us to discuss your eligibity.

Research candidates must identify their intended research area and potential primary supervisor. Find out more about our individual research interests.

Postgraduate Diploma in Forestry

Any student who satisfactorily completes the Postgraduate Diploma in Forestry is eligible for enrolment in the second year of a two year Master of Forestry Science degree.

Master of Forestry Science

The Master of Forestry Science degree can be completed by coursework, by coursework and thesis, or by thesis alone. Candidates with a Bachelor of Forestry Science with Honours can select any of these options. Candidates with any four-year degree in appropriate subjects at an acceptable grade, or with a Postgraduate Diploma in Forestry may also be considered for all categories depending on their background and the nature of the research topic. Otherwise they will be eligible for categories A and B. Candidates who have met all the requirements for a Postgraduate Diploma in Forestry may transfer to Masters A or C without taking up the Postgraduate Diploma.

Doctor of Philosophy

Graduate Diploma in Forestry

The Graduate Diploma in Forestry provides exposure to forestry for graduates with degrees other than forestry. Applicants with a degree from any university will be considered.

  • Find out more about the Graduate Diploma in Forestry

There are exciting research opportunities 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's 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's in Forestry Science. Please contact Rien Visser to discuss your options.

Rien Visser

School of Forestry Rm145
Internal Phone: 95962

The University makes a number of postgraduate scholarships available, please check the UC Scholarship website. Depending on funding from external sources, we can sometimes offer research stipends for postgraduate students.

Please contact for information about UC PhD and Masters Scholarships and the TW Adams scholarship. In addition to these there may be scholarships available for a targeted research project. Such scholarships will be advertised in the School of Forestry news.

  • See the Scholarships database for all available Scholarships

For general inquiries contact our Co-ordinator. If you have an inquiry about research, contact the relevant academic staff member.

Jeanette Allen

School Coordinator
School of Forestry Rm 131
Internal Phone: 95881

Research topics in Forestry Science

Our research can be broadly grouped into the following areas. However, this list is not exclusive and you can negotiate other research topics with potential supervisors. Please visit the list of Areas of Research page for current research areas in the School of Forestry.

Interested in MSc or PhD research in the field of entomology? Terrestrial insects are seriously under-represented in New Zealand conservation efforts despite the fact they are undoubtedly under threat from the same factors pushing other endemic animals and plants towards extinction (land use change, invasive weeds, herbivores and predators).

Many of the tools regularly used in the management of more iconic endangered species have not been adequately adapted and applied to insects due to a lack of basic knowledge. In an effort to change this, University of Canterbury researchers are studying ways to improve the conservation management and long term persistence of threatened New Zealand insects.

We are seeking highly motivated, field-competent students with excellent academic skills to work on a variety of projects focused on threatened insect conservation, particularly in the South Island of New Zealand.

Tara Murray

School of Forestry Rm 231
Internal Phone: 95987
  1. Further develop a mechanistic model of small tree and weed interactions for pasture and brushweed-covered sites.
  2. Model tree responses to varying intensities and durations of weed control in a more abstract way using a large dataset from existing experiments.
  3. Study the mid-rotation effects of establishment practices and refine linkages between small tree models and models of older crop growth.
  4. Compare existing ways of modelling diameter over stubs with more mechanistic alternatives.

Euan Mason

School of Forestry Rm 142
Internal Phone: 92071
  1. Expand the Selwyn Plantation Board limited (SPBL) growth and yield modelling system incorporating new data, while determining the right mix of individual tree and diameter distribution models to provide the best possible tree-level projections.
  2. Link this growth and yield modelling system, SPBL's GIS system and the company's forest information system into a forest estate modelling framework. Then use this spatial estate model in a pilot study to evaluate management options for SPBL.
  3. Compare alternative strategies for mixing conventional growth and yield models with models that include a higher level of biological detail (sometimes labelled "process-level models"). Ability of any given mixture to project independent measures of tree and stand growth in permanent sample plots throughout the SPBL estate will be the main criterion for choosing a modelling strategy.

Euan Mason

School of Forestry Rm 142
Internal Phone: 92071
  1. Analysis of log price variation over time. Incorporation of stochastic log prices into forest planning and valuation.
  2. Carbon accounting. Impacts of carbon credits on forest planning and forest valuation.

Bruce Manley

School of Forestry Rm232
Internal Phone: 92407
  1. Impacts and management of insect pests of eucalypts
  2. Biological control of insect pests
  3. Understanding the behavioural characteristics of parasitoid biocontrol agents to avoid non-target impacts
  4. Mycorrhizal associations with eucalypts in New Zealand & implication for susceptibility to pests and disease
  5. Maori perspectives on Biosecurity

Tara Murray

School of Forestry Rm 231
Internal Phone: 95987
  1. Options for sustaining indigenous biodiversity within a tussock grassland used for pastoral farming.
  2. Implications of climate change for the resilience of high country ecosystems.
  3. Constraints to restoration of shrubland and woodland vegetation in the South Island high country.
  4. Determining the success of restoration. What are the best indicators of restoration success?
  5. Options for enhancing restoration in high disturbed sites.

David Norton

School of Forestry Rm233
Internal Phone: 95955
  1. Behaviour and ecology of threatened native invertebrates
  2. Implications of climate change on threatened terrestrial  invertebrates
  3. Developing evidence based management strategies for threatened native invertebrates
  4. Mammalian predator eradication for insect conservation
  5. Eucalypts as a floral resource for native insects in a fragmented production landscape

Tara Murray

School of Forestry Rm 231
Internal Phone: 95987
  1. Natural durability of eucalypts
  2. Reducing resin defects in pine (breeding/screening tools)
  3. Automated wood species identification (NIR)
  4. Finite element modelling (FEM) of wood
  5. Phylogeny and cell wall polysaccharides
  6. What makes wood tough?

Clemens Altaner

Associate Professor
School of Forestry Rm140
Internal Phone: 95949

Learn from our students' experiences

Some of our postgraduates have shared their UC stories. Find out more about their experiences studying towards higher qualifications in Forestry.