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Master of Forest Science and Management

2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

About this course

The Master of Forest Science and Management is a postgraduate qualification in plantation and natural forest management. Concerns about climate change, carbon sequestration and environment-friendly building materials have rekindled the demand for professional forest managers. Worldwide, forest management is becoming more intensive, with many forest products traded internationally as commodities. As a result, forest management agencies now require foresters with enhanced skills in strategic planning and management, which are both features of this course.

The Graduate Diploma of Forest Science and Management is also available as an entry point and is suited to graduates with a background in general or environmental sciences who wish to seek careers in government forest services, management of native forests, fire fighting, land use and parks management, mine site rehabilitation, plantation management and forestry restoration.

Career opportunities

A postgraduate qualification in forest management may lead to career opportunities in plantation and natural forest management. Graduates typically seek career advancement within the following fields:

  • Forest management
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Integrated tree cropping and farm forestry
  • National parks and protected area management
  • Environmental impact assessment and monitoring
  • Environmental education and interpretation.

Professional recognition

Masters graduates qualify for automatic full membership of the Institute of Foresters of Australia.

Major areas of study

The course structure is flexible to accommodate students who are interested in operational forestry or those who wish to pursue a research career.

The course provides targeted forest science and management education and training. It includes studies in natural resource management, measuring trees and forests, fire ecology and management, plant physiology and ecology, wood science, forest operations, silviculture, forest health and pest management. Students undertake fieldwork in eucalypt forests, rainforests, plantation forests and on farms. 

Students enrolled in the Masters course can also undertake a minor thesis, research project, or pilot study, and choose from a range of elective units including financial, strategic and project management. Of 16 units required for the degree, only four are required core units. The remainder can be chosen by the student in coordination with the course coordinator. 

Assessment methods

Assessment varies for each unit and generally comprises a mix of assessment types, including laboratory and readings-based assignments, seminar presentations, field and investigation reports, and formal practical and written examinations. Research or independent study units provide the opportunity for students to complete a literature review, a short thesis, pilot study, or research project under academic supervision.

Teaching methods

The majority of coursework units involve a lecture (two hours) and a laboratory session or tutorial (two-three hours) each week, for on-campus students. For units that are delivered by distance education, students are typically provided with a study guide, together with readings from relevant text books and journals.

Some units may be offered as intensive short courses to enable participation by professional foresters and may include formal lectures, tutorials, workshops, laboratory sessions and field trips for hands-on experience to put theory into practice.

Technical support is provided to students in the specialist laboratories and for the use of field equipment.

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you reduce the duration of your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.
  • Recognition of informal learning
    Credit may be awarded on the basis of current informal learning (that takes place through work, social, family or leisure activities).

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning visit SCU Pathways.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

MySCU is a student's point of entry to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. The portal includes unit learning sites and information sites where students can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to their studies.

The web-based study environment Blackboard Learn delivers an advanced online learning environment for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces, classrooms, and discussion boards. They can share files, presentations and applications. If a tutorial or lecture is recorded, students can view it afterwards.

Learning materials include the provision of unit information guides, study guides and readings. Students may need to purchase or access prescribed text books.

The SCU Library provides a wide range of services that include face-to-face and online help, and access to print and electronic resources. To find out more, see the Library Toolbox.

The Academic Skills team supports student learning by offering online and on-campus academic skills workshops, assignment reviews and small group or one-on-one face-to-face, phone or Skype consultations during business hours 9am to 4.30pm. Appointments can be made via the MySCU Hub ‘Connect Now’ button or on the Academic Skills home page. Students can also book appointments online in Career Hub.

The YourTutor service provides online after-hours study support for SCU students. This service is available from 4pm to midnight Sunday to Friday via the 'Connect Now' button on MySCU Hub or from a link in nominated unit learning sites. The YourTutor service offers generic writing feedback and live online chat assistance for foundational concepts and study skills.

Equipment and facilities

Southern Cross University provides students with modern well equipped teaching spaces such as lecture theatres, classrooms, and studios or laboratories tailored to meet the needs of specific study disciplines. Contemporary audiovisual equipment is standard in most teaching venues, and students have access to computer labs for individual study purposes.

Forest Science students have access to fully equipped scientific laboratories, including environmental analysis laboratories, a wood science laboratory and field forestry equipment, and geographic information systems (GIS).

Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents

Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for the award of Master of Forest Science and Management a candidate shall successfully complete not less than sixteen (16) units (192 credit points) comprising:
    1. all units listed in Part A; and
    2. five (5) units from Part B; and
    3. five (5) units from Part C.
  2. A candidate who while enrolled for a Master of Forest Science and Management:
    1. has successfully completed four (4) units comprising two (2) units from Part A and two (2) units from Part B may elect to be awarded the Graduate Certificate of Forest Science and Management following withdrawal from candidature for the Master Degree; or
    2. has successfully completed eight (8) units comprising four (4) units from Part A and four (4) units (48 credit points) from Part B may elect to be awarded the Graduate Diploma of Forest Science and Management following withdrawal from candidature for the Master Degree

Advanced standing

Candidates for the Master of Forest Science and Management who have completed all the requirements for a relevant four (4) year undergraduate award in forestry or natural resource management may be granted advanced standing for up to eight (8) units.

Schedule of units


How to apply

Domestic students

International students

Confirm you meet the entry requirements including English language and academic entry and any specific pre-requisites.

Southern Cross University accepts applications directly through the International Application for Admissions form.

Additional information on how to apply is available at SCU International. Please note applicants from some countries need to go through an Education Agent.

The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this page again before acting and see our disclaimer.

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'