The Forest School prescribes the curriculum for two of the master’s degrees granted by the Yale School of the Environment and hosts a cohort of forestry-related PhD students.
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For Graduate Students
Master of Forestry
The Master of Forestry (MF) degree, accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF), is intended for students wishing to pursue professional careers in the management and policy of forest resources, across the span of urban to rural environments.
Master of Forest Science
The Master of Forest Science (MFS) degree is designed for students wishing to conduct scientific research that contributes toward basic and applied knowledge.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctoral students work with the school’s faculty to collaboratively design cutting-edge research projects that engage them in scientific discovery, policy, public discourse, and action. The five-year program is fully funded and independent of any faculty research grants.
The Forest School offers a myriad of experiential learning opportunities for students, including field trips, stakeholder and community engagement, on-the-ground research at multiple local and international sites, and a summer forest apprenticeship. The summer apprenticeship is a 12-week program held each summer at Yale-Myers Forest that trains students in forest management and land stewardship. TFS also offers an urban apprentice program through the Urban Resources Initiative’s GreenSkills program where students help plant trees and care for New Haven’s urban forests.
Opportunities for Funding and Assistantships
A variety of funding is available to students through fellowships, grants, and awards.
YSE offers a wide variety of resources for students, including the Yale Forest Forum speaker series, learning communities that offer robust interdisciplinary experiences and networks, and Student Interest Groups (SIGs), where students can explore shared interests. Forest-focused SIGs include the International Society of International Foresters (ISTF), Yale Temperate Forestry (YTF), the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), and the FIRE SIG. Additionally, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office works to ensure that all students feel welcome.
Student and Alumni Impacts
Mapping Panama’s Sustainable Farmlands
A researcher for the Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative, Cecilia Rogers ’22 MFS is mapping the success of ELTI’s Panama program that helps cattle ranchers incorporate sustainable practices, such as the use of forested pastureland, into their land management.
Working with fellow students, she found that the amount of sustainably managed farmland had significantly increased from 4% in 2011 to 66% in 2020.
Rehabilitating Ghana’s Forests
After a decade as director of operations for Ghana’s Forestry Commission, overseeing the country’s commercial forest plantation development and land restoration, Hugh Brown ’10 MF was named executive director of the Commission's Forest Services Division in 2022.
The Commission has begun the restoration of more than 450,000 hectares of degraded forests and planted millions of new trees under Brown's leadership — part of a major reforestation initiative by the Ghanaian government to contribute to global climate action.
Restoring Belize’s Landscapes
Ki’ila Salas ’19 MF returned to her home country of Belize to participate in its first landscape restoration initiative, helping to develop its National Landscape Restoration Strategy for the Belize Forest Department. The project is part of the country’s national restoration commitment to the Bonn Challenge, which has a global goal to bring 350 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes into restoration by 2030.
“The project gave me great pride and joy in guiding the process of how the restoration strategies should be accomplished,” Salas says.
Tracking Forest Inventory
Richard Guldin ’76 MFS, ’79 PhD has helped reinvent the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program by integrating new sampling designs, field procedures, and innovative software to create an annual inventory that has become a global model. His work earned him the Society of American Foresters’ Sir William Schlich Award.
Indigenous Restoration Approaches
As co-founder and executive director of Shelterwood, Nikola Alexandre ’18 MF, MBA leads the restoration of a 900-acre forest in Northern California with Black and Indigenous community approaches to land care.
His work creates partnerships with and between traditional conservation NGOs, Indigenous and racial justice organizations, government agencies, and private landowners to model socially just and ecologically sound pathways to protecting and restoring nature. In 2020, Alexandre was named a Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award candidate for his work.
Yale Forests — Training & Teaching Forests
Yale Forests cover nearly 11,000 acres in seven forests across New England, providing educational and research opportunities focusing on science-based management to promote ecological regeneration. At 7,840 acres, Yale-Myers is the largest of the seven School-owned forests and the single largest piece of property used for educational purposes by Yale University.
Explore Our Forests
Forest Apprenticeship Program
This 12-week program held each summer at Yale-Myers Forest, with field trips to northern forests in New England, trains up to 12 students in forest management and land stewardship and covers land use history and social dynamics, dendrology, forest inventory, silviculture prescriptions, timber harvest plans, regeneration, and technical skills, including road maintenance. Students also can train in the Pacific Northwest and South.
The Forest School In Action
YSE’s learning communities were created to offer robust interdisciplinary experiences and networks. The Forest School students often participate in the Forestry, People, Equity and the Environment, and Ecosystem Management and Conservation learning communities. They are all open to students from all degree programs.