Graduate Students Johanna Arrendondo and Fletcher Meadema measuring the Appalachian Trail under Dr Jeff Marion research.

Graduate Students Johanna Arrendondo and Fletcher Meadema measuring the Appalachian Trail under Dr Jeff Marion research.
Graduate Students Johanna Arrendondo and Fletcher Meadema measuring the Appalachian Trail under Dr Jeff Marion research.

The Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation (FREC) at Virginia Tech is one of the top programs in natural resource management in the United States. Our graduate science and management programs are diverse and approach critical natural resource issues from many disciplinary perspectives. From the management of protected areas and economic policy to forest soil productivity, urbanization, and genomics, we seek to discover new knowledge and technology to address the global challenges to come.

Graduate students are enrolled in the areas of:

Forest Biology, Forest Biometrics and Geomatics, Forest Economics, Policy, and Management, Forest Genetics and Biotechnology, Forest Hydrology and Watershed Management, Forest Operations and Business, Forest Soils, Silviculture, and Ecology, Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management, Natural Resource Recreation, and Urban Forest Ecology and Management

The department is housed in Cheatham and Latham Halls on the central campus, where the bulk of teaching and research activities take place. Specialized research facilities for plant physiology and biochemistry, forest soils, remote sensing and spatial data analysis, water resources, and computer applications are maintained in Cheatham and Latham Halls. In addition, the department maintains a 710-acre field research facility for biological investigations at the Reynolds Homestead Forest Resource.

The M.F. is a non-thesis degree aimed particularly at practicing professionals who desire to further their education. Minimum residency requirement is two semesters. Candidates must prepare a degree paper for which 3 to 6 credits will be given toward the 30-credit-hour minimum for the degree.

An M.S. degree prepares the individual to seek employment in his or her area of specialty, or it may provide background for continuing study toward the Ph.D., since it is research-based.

Minimum requirements for the M.S. include 30 total semester hours of credit, of which at least 20 hours must be graded. Research and thesis credits for the M.S. range from 6 to 10 hours.

The Ph.D. is a research degree in which students specialize in a supporting discipline. The Ph.D. prepares candidates for employment primarily in teaching and/or research.

Each Ph.D. student must complete at least 90 credit hours, with a minimum of 30 graded hours and at least 27 5000-level or higher hours. In addiditon to the course work and research requirements, Ph.D. students are required to successfully pass the preliminary and the final comprehensive examinations.

Additional Ph.D. options are available through the college-wide Geospatial and Environmental Analysis (GEA) program and the inter-college Molecular Plant Sciences (MPS) Program. In both programs, students are assigned the same home department as their major advisor. GEA combines cutting-edge geospatial science with environmental analysis to enhance research on a broad range of contemporary natural resoure and environmental issues.

For further details visit In the MPS program, students use molecular approaches to understand how plants grown and interact with their environments.

Students must apply online. Applicants must pay a $75 non-refundable fee. Students are encouraged to contact faculty in their research interest area prior to application. Additional information is also available at

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) General Test is required for all applicants to the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. Also required is a passing grade on a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for applicants who did not receive their bachelor's degree from an American, Canadian, or British university and who's language is not English.

Test scores should be sent to the Graduate School. Scanned transcripts will be required during the online application process; however, please do not mail official transcripts until you have received an offer of admission from Virginia Tech.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to have online recommendations completed. Names and email addressed for each reference may be provided in the online application. If applicants choose to have paper letters of recommendation submitted, the letters should be sent directly to the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental
Conservation, Attn: Graduate Coordinator, 313 Cheatham Hall (0324), Blacksburg, VA 24061 U.S.A.

Email us at with comments or if you have technical problems. Thank you.

We offer very competitive stipends for graduate students pursuing M.S. or Ph.D. degrees; on occasion, stipends may also be available for non-research M.F. degrees.

All students on assistantship receive a waiver of academic-year tuition, and highly qualified students are considered for several departmental fellowships or awards:

Robert S. Burruss Fellowship

William J. Dann Fellowship

Virginia Tech offers enhanced benefits to graduate students on assistantship by covering 90% of the cost of an individual student medical policy at the $100,000 rate.   Additional details are available on the Graduate School website.