Best Online Master’s in Forestry

If you’re passionate about environmental sustainability and the bioeconomy, then check out the 5 best online master’s in forestry!

Best Online Master’s in Forestry

Featured Programs

You might be eager to challenge our existing fossil-based technologies and to study how our energy future can be reimagined with our planet’s sustainability chiefly in mind. If so, the institutions listed below can help you build a skillset and knowledge base to become a leader in the field of environmental preservation, ecology, and sustainability. 

What Is an Online Master’s in Forestry?

As populations increase and issues of environmental sustainability and resource conservation become greater factors on our planet, the need for trained, qualified professionals with expertise in natural resource policy and law, forest economics and forest management, and environmental ethics will become more impactful to our communities. A master’s degree in forestry is the next step after a bachelor’s degree in a related scientific field to propel participants to the heights of their environmental conservation and preservation careers. Professionals can pursue employment as foresters, conservation scientists, restoration ecologists, or, in the nonprofit sector, land stewards. 

How Much Can You Earn With an Online Master’s Degree in Forestry?

Potential earnings with a master’s degree in forestry will vary because the extended education opens a variety of occupational opportunities. For example, graduates can focus their career on making impacts as a general forester earning about $61,790 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or can focus on conservation work as a life scientist and bring in a median salary of $78,080. Alternatively, environmental engineers earn an average of $105,320 annually, and conservation scientists make about $90,930 annually. 

What Is Required For an Online Master’s Degree in Forestry?

Obtaining an online master’s degree in forestry starts with a bachelor’s degree in forestry or a related field. Similar disciplines include environmental science, engineering, rangeland management, and agricultural science. Most programs require an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher for admission and a minimum of 30 credits to complete the master’s program. While some programs require a thesis for graduation, there are others designed for a non-thesis completion. Note that many advanced degrees and career opportunities in the environmental and forestry field require the physical stamina to walk and hike in nature, to accomplish the hands-on study in the degree program, and to participate in on-site job experiences.

What Are the Best Online Master’s Degrees in Forestry?

OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program-specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.

The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.

  1. Oregon State University

    Oregon State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $12,339(in state) / $22,761(out of state)
    • Total of 45 credit hours required
    • Existing graduate certificate students transfer to program for free 
    • Accelerated Master’s program available 

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72.40%
    Admission Rate79%
    Programs offered online20

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,393
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School5.76%
    OSR Score

    For a master of natural resources degree, Oregon State University offers an interdisciplinary program for existing professionals. Areas of focus for program participants include forest and climate change, urban forestry, wildlife management and water conflict management and transformation. Students will learn to balance health and environmental interests with the economic impacts of their region.

  2. University of Florida


    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $10,770(in state) / $27,335(out of state)
    • Total of 30 credits for completion 
    • Non-thesis program
    • Final exam required

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction76.60%
    Admission Rate42%
    Programs offered online15

    Program Level

    Median Debt$16,196
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School1.45%
    OSR Score

    The University of Florida offers a master of geomatics, forest resources, and conservation that caters to the broad field of geospatial science. Students will learn advanced skills in cartographics, software development, GIS analysis and imagery analysis. Elective courses will include urban planning, soil and water sciences, environmental engineering and natural resource study.

  3. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

    NC State

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $8,492(in state) / $23,967(out of state)
    • Undergraduate degree in a related field recommended 
    • letter of reference 
    • clear statement of interest for application

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.60%
    Admission Rate51%
    Programs offered online1

    Program Level

    Median Debt$20,714
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School3.23%
    OSR Score

    If you’re looking for a master’s of forest biomaterials, North Carolina State University at Raleigh offers a fully online program that features both technical and management skills. Students will learn about building a better bioeconomy from current professionals and developing products with sustainability in tandem with nature. Graduates will learn specialized skills in lean six sigma and process engineering technology transfer. 

  4. University of Idaho

    University of Idaho

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $6,722(in state) / $23,046(out of state)
    • Total of 30 semester credits required for completion
    • Non-thesis program 
    • In-state and out-of-state tuition are the same

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75.00%
    Admission Rate73%
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median Debt$24,500
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School4.41%
    OSR Score

    The master’s of natural resources, from the University of Iowa, integrates and scales ecology management, planning, technology, tools and social policy for a comprehensive systems view of natural resources. This degree program can easily be combined with the certificate of fire ecology, technology and management program.

  5. Colorado State University-Fort Collins

    Colorado State University-Fort Collins

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $9,917(in state) / $24,312(out of state)
    • Total of 30 credit hours for completion
    • 3.0 GPA on undergraduate degree program for application
    • Non-thesis program

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate83%
    Programs offered online8

    Program Level

    Median Debt$20,502
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School2.18%
    OSR Score

    Colorado State University’s masters of natural resources stewardship degree is a fully online program that addresses forestry-related resource management challenges around the world. The combination of both a technical and human-based approach in this program supports the students’ ability to learn complex, fact-based decision making for real-world challenges.