About Us

Committed to Sustainability for More than 100 Years

The University of Montana acknowledges that we are in the aboriginal territories of the Salish and Kalispel people. We honor the path they have always shown us in caring for this place for the generations to come.

The W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation was founded in 1913, one of the first programs accredited by the Society of American Foresters. The college is respected nationally for the quality of its academic and research programs. We have educated some of the nation's finest natural resource managers.

At the undergraduate level we offer five bachelor of science degrees, six minors and five certificates. We also offer nine graduate degree programs.

Research and outreach activities are administered through the Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, a statewide agency of the Montana University System. The MFCES was founded in 1937 by the Montana Legislature and has since provided base funding for the college's active research program.

Our academic and research programs incorporate hands-on experiences to complement classroom and lab work. Students have access to the 21,432-acre Lubrecht Experimental Forest, the 3,596-acre Bandy Ranch, the Flathead Lake Biological Station on the shores of 184-square mile Flathead Lake, and the Boone and Crocket Club's Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch of 6,000 acres along the east face of the Rockies. Classes also make use of extensive Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service lands in Montana. 

Our faculty members represent the full range of natural resource disciplines, from resource management and social sciences to physical and biological sciences. Faculty research is published in prominent peer-reviewed journals and address the most pressing natural resource issues of today. Additionally, faculty actively advise and mentor undergraduate and graduate students, support our student clubs, participate in other service to the state of Montana and local organizations, and serve as leaders in their professional organizations.

Our student body includes about 760 undergraduate majors and 130 graduate students from all over the United States, Canada and many other countries.

Mission, Vision and Core Values

Mission: The mission of the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation is to advance research and education that fosters sustainability and empowers a holistic understanding of social-ecological systems.

Vision: A global leader in environmental science, conservation and sustainability

Core Values: Collegiality, community, diversity, excellence, honesty, integrity, passion

Rankings and Facts

  • 97 percent of our graduates are employed or in graduate school; 85 percent of those work in the field they studied in.
  • More than 95 percent of current students work and intern in natural resource professions while they’re earning their degree.
  • A study led by alumni Megan Kelville looked at scholarly productivity in the field of ecology. After adjusting for relative institution size, the University of Montana ranks fifth out of the 316 institutions examined for scholarly productivity in influential ecology journals. By these criteria, UM ecology faculty and their graduate students are leaders in ecological research across North America and rank among the most prestigious institutions in this field.
  • Our Wildlife Biology program is ranked #1 by Academic Analytics among programs in the U.S. and Canada. The ranking is based on faculty productivity, comparing UM wildlife biology faculty to their peers on publications, citations, research grants and notable awards.