Forests cover about one-third of the land area of the United States and about half of Kentucky. Would you like to know more about the forests that make camping, hiking, and fishing enjoyable and play a vital role in our nation's economy and way of life? If so, a variety-filled career in forestry might be for you. Foresters are professionals who manage renewable natural resources, including wood, water, and wildlife. They provide for sustainable use of these natural resources both now and for future generations.

Your College Courses

As a forestry major, you will take a wide variety of course work in the UK Department of Forestry and other departments. You will study the natural and social sciences related to forestry as well as communication, management, processing, group problem-solving, and administration.

Much of your learning will take place outdoors. In several of your forestry courses you will visit Robinson Forest, a 15,000-acre school forest located in eastern Kentucky and managed by the UK Department of Forestry. In an intensive eight-week summer field camp after your junior year, you will live at Robinson Forest and develop the practical field skills needed by foresters.

The capstone of the forestry degree program is a course on integrated forest resource management during your final semester at UK. In this course, together with other students, you will apply all you have learned in order to develop a management plan for an actual piece of forested land.

Your Professors

Forestry faculty members, responsible for teaching and advising forestry students, are also active researchers, so they will teach you the most up-to-date strategies available for forest management. You will also learn from practicing professional foresters through guest lectures and field trips.

Our low student-to-faculty ratio leads to a friendly, small-college atmosphere within the department. Your advisor will share your interests and advise you about course scheduling, careers, job contacts, and other questions or academic concerns.

A Professional Degree

The forestry degree is considered a professional degree, because graduates have learned how to combine knowledge from many different disciplines. UK’s undergraduate forestry degree is accredited by the Society of American Foresters, a national organization that is the specialized accrediting body for forestry education in the United States. National accreditation ensures that your degree will be recognized by employers wherever you choose to work in the United States.

My classes have already been so useful that I was able to get a summer job in my career field. I'm in CERES, the women's fraternity of agriculture, and I get a lot of encouragement to do well in my classes from my fellow members. In the College of Agriculture you get to know a lot of people and make friends you will have for a lifetime.

Sarah Fraley

The variety of classes kept me interested, never bored, and in my internships I learned a lot while getting paid. I met professional foresters and technicians through the Society of American Foresters. I'm very happy with my job as a forester. If you want to help manage and protect natural resources, get into forestry.

Kristy Whitaker

UK has a great agriculture program with excellent professors. The forestry courses gave me a complete understanding of trees, so now I'm able to gain the confidence of customers. Through my extracurricular activity in Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences, I was able to network and get to know the people in my field.

Dwight Cooke

Potential Career Pathways

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Student Groups Associated with this Program

Our college supports dozens of organizations to help students apply their learning outside the classroom and gain valuable work and leadership experience.  To learn more about the organizations listed below, click here.

  • UK Forestry Club
    promotes the practice of forestry, through involvement in conclave events, fire cats, tree plantings, and service

  • Environmental Science Club 
    join like-minded students that share a common interest in all things environmental; hiking, potlucks, service

  • UK Greenthumb
    engaged in environmental activism on campus and beyond

  • Student Sustainability Council
    supervise the distribution of resources to responsibly advance the theory, practice and reality of sustainability 

Forestry on Social Media

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Pre-Professional Tracks

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has specialized advising services for students planning to attend professional school (Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Law, etc.).  

In addition to helping students fulfill foundational coursework, the college's pre-professional advisor also helps student secure relevant experience such as internships, volunteer opportunities, and job shadowing positions. 

For more information on the college's pre-professional advising, click here.