Hands-on Learning

Our program gets you outside to bring to life what you learn in the classroom

Many Forestry classes will get you outside to connect with the resources you are studying in the classroom. 

The following required courses have significant field components:

FORS 130 - Introduction to Forestry Field Skills is open to all forestry majors. Take this field-based class to develop field skills such as orienteering, map reading, GPS, tree measurements, fire and fuels management, recreation, human dimensions, hydrology, wood products, and careers possible with a forestry degree. 

NRSM 210N – Soil, Climate, and Water includes weekly field labs the first half of the fall semester will be used to introduce you to fundamental concepts in climate, hydrology, and soil science.

FORS 241N – Dendrology makes extensive use of the Montana State Arboretum on the UM campus and of surrounding neighborhoods to give students live examples of North American trees.

FORS 330 – Forest Ecology makes use of the many forested areas within a short drive of Missoula to illustrate ecological concepts during weekly field labs.

FORS 340 - Forest Products Manufacturing tours manufacturing facilities within the state to support a survey of wood-based product production.

FORS 341 - Timber Harvesting and Roads takes weekly excursions to active harvesting operations and forest road projects within the local area to bring to life the harvesting systems and road management concepts discussed during in-class lectrues.

FORS 349 – Practice of Silviculture uses Lubrecht Experimental Forest to demonstrate silvicultural concepts and to give students experience designing silvicultural prescriptions.

FORS 440 – Forest Stand Management is a UM-designated service learning course and serves as the capstone for the Forestry degree. This course is built around a semester-long stand-level planning project entirely conducted by teams of Forestry students for a local forestland owner/manager. The class is structured as one 1-hour lecture and one 6-hour lab each week to give students ample time to complete field work on their planning site.

Several elective courses within the Forestry degree are also designed around significant time in the field:

FORS 434 – Advanced Forest Roads is offered during the first half of the fall semester and includes an all-day lab that enables students meaningful time in the field to practice forest road design skills and concepts.

FORS 435 – Advanced Timber Harvesting is offered during the second half of the fall semester and includes an all-day lab to visit active forest operations throughout western Montana and northern Idaho and to work with forest managers on timber harvesting design problems in the field.

FORS 447 – Advanced Silviculture is offered alternate falls and includes several all- and multi-day tours of silviculture in practice throughout western Montana and northern Idaho.

FORS 495 - Wildland Prescribed Fire Practicum is offered during wintersession to students with fire experience. Students learn how to apply ecological burning for forest restoration in the southeastern United States.