33 Best Colleges for Forestry – 2024

April 22, 2024

best colleges for forestry

For those students who can’t ever imagine working in a cubicle, a forestry degree will put you on the path to the exact opposite type of office setting—one with fresh air and tall trees. Individuals who enjoy hands-on, outdoor work will find that this area of study can lead to a lifetime of satisfying, meaningful work. Forestry majors learn how to grow, manage, and protect forest ecosystems and find employment in the public sector protecting and preserving forests as well as in the private sector helping to manage the usage and regrowth of the timber industry. No matter your path, the colleges and universities on our list of the Best Colleges for Forestry excel in preparing undergraduates for a rewarding career.

Methodology 

Click here to read our methodology for the Best Colleges for Forestry Majors.

Salary Information

Want to know how much money graduates of the best forestry colleges make when they begin their careers? For each college listed (and hundreds of additional schools), you can view the starting salaries for forestry majors.

Best Colleges for Forestry Majors

Here’s a quick preview of the first ten finance institutions that made our list. Detailed profiles and stats can be found when you scroll below.

1) Virginia Tech

2) SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

3) University of Florida

4) North Carolina State University

5) University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

6) Oregon State University

7) The University of the South

8) Purdue University-Main Campus

9) University of Georgia

10) University of California-Berkeley

All of the schools profiled below have stellar reputations in the field of forestry and commit substantial resources to undergraduate education. For each of the best colleges for forestry, College Transitions will provide you with—when available—each school’s:

  • Enrollment
  • Cost of Attendance
  • Acceptance Rate
  • Median SAT
  • Median ACT
  • Retention Rate
  • Graduation Rate

We will also include a longer write-up of each college’s:

  • Academic Highlights – Includes facts like student-to-faculty ratio, average class size, number of majors offered, and most popular majors.
  • Professional Outcomes – Includes info on the rate of positive outcomes, companies employing alumni, and graduate school acceptances.
#1 Best College for Forestry
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

  • Blacksburg, VA

Academic Highlights: Eight undergraduate colleges that offer 110+ distinct bachelor’s degrees are housed within Virginia Tech. 33% of sections contain fewer than 20 students, and 21% of recent graduates report participating in some type of undergraduate research experience. Engineering is the area where the greatest number of degrees are conferred (23%), but business (20%) is a close second. Both disciplines are among the most respected at Tech, along with computer science. Other popular majors include the family and consumer sciences (8%), social sciences (8%), biology (8%), and agriculture (4%).

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of graduating, 56% of the Class of 2022 were employed and 18% were in graduate school. One recent class sent large numbers to major corporations that included Deloitte (67), KPMG (44), Lockheed Martin (39), Capital One (30), EY (28), Booz Allen Hamilton (18), and Northrop Grumman (12). The median salary for 2022 graduates was $67,000. Among recent grads who decided to pursue an advanced degree, the greatest number stayed at VT, while others enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, William & Mary, Columbia, Duke, and Georgia Tech.

  • Enrollment: 30,434 (undergraduate); 7,736 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $37,252 (in-state); $58,750 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1330
  • Median ACT: 29
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 87%

#2 Best College for Forestry
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

  • Syracuse, NY

Academic Highlights: There are 27 majors at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a terrific 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. An excellent 64% of class sections are fairly small, enrolling 19 or fewer students. The most frequently earned degrees are in conservation biology (12%), environmental biology (10%), natural resources management (10%), environmental health engineering (9%), and wildlife biology (9%).

Professional Outcomes: Looking at the Class of 2022, ESF had an admirable 92% career placement rate. 70% of that cohort are employed full time and 18% elected to start an advanced degree program. Top employers included WestRock, Arcadis, Environmental Design & Research, GHD, NYS Office of Parks, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and Parsons Corporation. Top graduate programs include GWU, PSU, Syracuse, UNC-Chapel Hill, and UIUC.

  • Enrollment: 1,621
  • Cost of Attendance: $29,276 (In-State); $41,306 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: N/A
  • Median ACT: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 80%

#3 Best College for Forestry
University of Florida

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL

Academic Highlights: With 16 colleges and 100 undergraduate majors to choose from, educational experiences are exceptionally diverse. The Warrington College of Business and the Wertheim College of Engineering are highly respected, so it’s no surprise that those two programs confer the greatest percentage of degrees—12% and 14%, respectively. Biology (11%), the social sciences (11%), and health professions (8%) are next in popularity. 53% of sections enroll fewer than 20 students, and 33% of students partake in an undergraduate research experience.

Professional Outcomes: By graduation day, 66% of the Class of 2022 had already procured a first job. The top occupational areas were engineering (13%), health care (13%), computer science (5%), and marketing (4%). 200+ Gator alumni can be found at top corporations like Google, EY, Raymond James, Deloitte, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, and PwC. The average salary for all 2022 grads was $69k, with a high of $100k for computer science majors. Of those pursuing advanced degrees, a master’s degree was the most popular pursuit (63%) followed by law school (11%).

  • Enrollment: 34,552 (undergraduate); 20,659 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $23,530 (in-state); $45,808 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1400
  • Median ACT: 31
  • Acceptance Rate: 23%
  • Retention Rate: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 90%

#4 Best College for Forestry
North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University

  • Raleigh, NC

Academic Highlights: NC State offers more than 100 majors and 120 minors. 64% of sections enroll 29 or fewer students. Engineering is the most popular area of concentration as 24% of Class of 2022 graduates earned a degree in that field. Business/marketing comes in second at 17% followed by biology (10%) and agriculture (7%). NC State has an exceptional regional reputation and an expanding national one with the College of Engineering near the top of many rankings. Programs in design, architecture, and animal science are also very strong.

Professional Outcomes: 54% of students graduating in 2022 had already accepted full-time jobs before exiting; 27% were heading to graduate/professional school. Members of that class reported an average starting salary of $62,024 (with a slightly higher median). Including all graduating years, the companies employing the largest number of alumni are Cisco, Red Hat, SAS, IBM, Lenovo, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, Google, Deloitte, Facebook, and Salesforce. Many recent grads also work for the university itself and for the Wake County Public School System.

  • Enrollment: 26,254 (undergraduate); 10,446 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $27,451 (in-state); $51,662 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1340
  • Median ACT: 28
  • Acceptance Rate: 47%
  • Retention Rate: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 86%

#5 Best College for Forestry
University of Minnesota–Twin Cities

University of Minnesota–Twin Cities

  • Minneapolis, MN

Academic Highlights: There are 150 majors available across eight freshman-admitting undergraduate colleges. 65% of class sections enroll 29 or fewer students. The most commonly conferred degrees are in biology (13%), business & marketing (11%), engineering (10%), the social sciences (10%), computer science (9%), and psychology (8%). The College of Science and Engineering and the Carlson School of Management have strong national reputations, and the chemistry, economics, psychology, and political science departments are also well-regarded.

Professional Outcomes: The top seven companies snatching up the largest number of recent grads are all companies headquartered in the state of Minnesota: Medtronic, Target, 3M, United Health Group, US Bank, and Cargill. Google, Apple, and Meta all employ hundreds of Twin Cities alumni. The mean starting salary for recent grads was $50k. With 130 graduate programs in science, art, engineering, agriculture, medicine, and the humanities, the University of Minnesota retains many of its graduates as they pursue their next degrees.

  • Enrollment: 39,248 (undergraduate); 15,707 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $33,032-$35,632 (in-state); $54,446-$57,046
  • Median SAT: 1370
  • Median ACT: 29
  • Acceptance Rate: 75%
  • Retention Rate: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 84%

#6 Best College for Forestry
Oregon State University

Oregon State University

  • Corvallis, Oregon

Academic Highlights: Across its 11 colleges, graduate schools, and Honors College, OSU offers close to 200 degree programs. While 28% of classes have fewer than 20 students another 21% of sections enroll more than 50 individuals. The three most commonly earned degrees are in engineering (17%) computer science (15%), and business (15%). Other popular areas of study are biology (7%), natural resources and conservation (6%), and the social sciences (5%).

Professional Outcomes: Large number of College of Business alums work at companies such as Nike, Boeing, Intel, Deloitte, Oracle, KPMG, and Adidas.  Including all majors, many others work for Amazon, Salesforce, Meta, Apple, Google, and NVIDIA. An impressive 67% of those applying to medical school are accepted, a figure far higher than the national average. Med schools where recent grads now attend include Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago, and UCLA.

  • Enrollment: 28,905
  • Cost of Attendance: $28,866 (In-State); $51,642 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1260
  • Median ACT: 26
  • Acceptance Rate: 83%
  • Retention Rate: 87%
  • Graduation Rate: 70%

#7 Best College for Forestry
Sewanee — The University of the South

Sewanee — The University of the South

  • Sewanee, TN

Academic Highlights: Offering 37 majors and 42 minors, Sewanee exposes undergrads to a wide scope of liberal arts study. Undergraduate teaching is the primary focus; the average class size is 17 students, and 66% of course sections have an enrollment under 20. The degrees most commonly conferred are in economics (12%), psychology (11%), political science (10%), biology (10%), and English (9%). All are strong, but the English Department has a leading national reputation; accomplished authors from around the globe come to teach at Sewanee.

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of graduating, 95% of 2022 grads had found some form of employment or begun their graduate studies. 68% entered the workforce, with the highest numbers in business/finance (97); health care (51); and government, politics, and law (36). The largest number of total alumni can be found at Wells Fargo, Deloitte, Regions Bank, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. For 2022 grads who pursued advanced degrees, the majority entered master’s programs, followed by medical, law, and PhD programs.

  • Enrollment: 1,613 (undergraduate); 91 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $74,698
  • Median SAT: 1280
  • Median ACT: 29
  • Acceptance Rate: 52%
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 82%

#8 Best College for Forestry
Purdue University — West Lafayette

Purdue University — West Lafayette

  • West Lafayette, IN

Academic Highlights: Purdue offers over 200 majors at ten discipline-specific colleges, and 38% of course sections have an enrollment of 19 or fewer. Engineering and engineering technologies majors earn 34% of the degrees conferred by the university; the College of Engineering cracks the top ten on almost every list of best engineering schools. The Krannert School of Management is also well-regarded by employers; 11% of degrees conferred are in business. Other popular majors include computer science (10%) and agriculture (5%)—both are incredibly strong.

Professional Outcomes: Shortly after receiving their diplomas, 70% of 2022 grads headed to the world of employment while 24% headed to graduate/professional school. The top industries entered by grads in recent years are (1) health care, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices; (2) finance, insurance, and consulting; (3) manufacturing and machinery; (4) airline, aviation, and aerospace. Companies employing the greatest number of recent alumni were Amazon, Deloitte, PepsiCo, Labcorp, Lockheed Martin, and Microsoft. The average starting salary was $68k across all degree programs.

  • Enrollment: 37,949 (undergraduate); 12,935 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $22,812 (in-state); $41,614 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1330
  • Median ACT: 31
  • Acceptance Rate: 53%
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 84%

#9 Best College for Forestry
University of Georgia

University of Georgia

  • Athens, GA

Academic Highlights: UGA boasts seventeen distinct colleges and schools that offer 125+ majors. Business is the most commonly conferred undergrad degree, accounting for 29% of diplomas earned. It is followed by biology (10%), social sciences (8%), communication & journalism (8%), and psychology (7%). Top-ranked programs include animal science, business, communications, and public and international affairs. 49% of sections enroll fewer than 20 students, and no matter your major, UGA encourages you to conduct research with a member of the school’s faculty.

Professional Outcomes: 96% of the Class of 2022 was employed or continuing their education six months after graduation. Popular employers include Accenture, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Walt Disney Company, and Deloitte. Salaries vary between colleges; engineering grads had a median starting salary of $65k while journalism and communication grads reported a $50k median. In 2022, 24% of graduates enrolled directly into a graduate/professional degree program, with the most commonly attended schools including Columbia, Duke, Emory, Georgia Tech, Penn, and UVA.

  • Enrollment: 30,714 (undergraduate); 9,893 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $28,142 (in-state); $48,538 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1310
  • Median ACT: 29
  • Acceptance Rate: 43%
  • Retention Rate: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 88%

#10 Best College for Forestry
University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley

  • Berkeley, CA

Academic Highlights: More than 150 undergraduate majors and minors are available across six schools: the College of Letters and Science, the College of Chemistry, the College of Engineering, the College of Environmental Design, the College of Natural Resources, and the Haas School of Business. Many departments have top international reputations including computer science, engineering, chemistry, English, psychology, and economics. 22% of sections contain nine or fewer students, and over 55% of students assist faculty with a research project or complete a research methods course.

Professional Outcomes: Upon graduating, 49% of Cal’s Class of 2022 had already secured employment, and 20% were headed to graduate school. Business is the most popular sector, attracting 62% of employed grads; next up are industrial (17%), education (8%), and nonprofit work (7%). The median starting salary was $86,459 across all majors. Thousands of alumni can be found in the offices of Google, Apple, and Meta, and 500+ Golden Bears are currently employed by Oracle, Amazon, and Microsoft. The school is the number one all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.

  • Enrollment: 32,831 (undergraduate); 12,914 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $48,574 (in-state); $82,774 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: Test Blind
  • Median ACT: Test Blind
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Retention Rate: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 94%

#11 Best College for Forestry
University of Wisconsin – Madison

University of Wisconsin – Madison

  • Madison, WI

Academic Highlights: There are 230+ undergraduate majors offered across eight schools and colleges, including the top-ranked School of Business and College of Engineering as well as the College of Letters and Science, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the Schools of Nursing, Education, Pharmacy, and Human Ecology. Undergrads can expect a mix of large and small classes, with 44% of sections enrolling fewer than 20 students. Business (18%), biology (12%), the social sciences (11%), and engineering (10%) are most popular.

Professional Outcomes: In a recent year, 46% of job-seeking grads graduated with an offer.  Top employers included UW-Madison, Epic, Kohl’s, Oracle, Deloitte, and UW Health. Across all graduating years, companies employing 250+ alumni include Google, Target, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, PwC, Accenture, and Meta. 28% of recent grads enrolled directly in graduate/professional school; the majority stayed at UW–Madison while others headed to Columbia, Northwestern, and Carnegie Mellon. The university is the top producer of Peace Corps volunteers.

  • Enrollment: 37,230 (undergraduate); 12,656 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $28,916 (in-state); $58,912 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1440
  • Median ACT: 30
  • Acceptance Rate: 49%
  • Retention Rate: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 89%

#12 Best College for Forestry
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

  • San Luis Obispo

Academic Highlights: Across all divisions, there are 60+ majors and 80+ minors offered. The majority of courses–59%–fall between twenty and forty students. Cal Poly’s student-to-faculty ratio is a high 18:1, but such is the cost of an uber-affordable STEM degree from an excellent institution. Over one-quarter of all degrees conferred (22%) are in engineering, and Cal Poly gets recognition in many specialty areas of the field including industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, computer engineering, and civil engineering.

Professional Outcomes: Within nine months of graduating, 91% of graduates are “positively engaged” in their next life activity. Top employers of Cal Poly grads include many of the top tech, consulting, engineering, and financial firms in the country such as Google, Deloitte, KPMG, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, Adobe, EY, and Apple. Overall, grads enjoy a terrific median starting salary of $72,000. Of the 14% of alumni who directly enter graduate school, the six most commonly attended schools are all in California.

  • Enrollment: 20,963
  • Cost of Attendance: $32,000 (in-state); $53,000 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1337
  • Median ACT: 30
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%
  • Retention Rate: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 87%

#13 Best College for Forestry
Clemson University

Clemson University

  • Clemson, SC

Academic Highlights: There are seven undergraduate colleges within the larger university. Class sizes are mixed, and many sections are smaller than you would expect for such a large university where the student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1. Fifteen percent of classes have single-digit enrollments, and 55% contain fewer than 30 students. Business and engineering also the most popular majors with a 21% and 18% market share of diplomas, respectively. The next most frequently conferred degrees are in biology (9%), the social sciences (7%), and health professions (7%).

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of graduation, 92% of 2022 grads had already entered the working world or were pursuing a graduate degree. The top employers of newly-minted diploma holders include Michelin, Amazon, Vanguard, and Wells Fargo. Computing and Applied Sciences reported a median starting salary of $62,000. College of Business graduates enjoyed median earnings of $60,000. Of the 19% of recent graduates directly entering grad school, the largest number retained their Tiger stripes by continuing their studies at Clemson.

  • Enrollment: 22,566
  • Cost of Attendance:
  • Median SAT: 1310
  • Median ACT: 30
  • Acceptance Rate: 43%
  • Retention Rate: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 85%

#14 Best College for Forestry
University of Maine

University of Maine

  • Orono, ME

Academic Highlights: The student-to-faculty ratio at the University of Maine is 15:1 and 45% of undergraduate courses enroll fewer than 20 individuals. Nearly 100 majors/minors are on tap at this large public university and interdisciplinary studies are encouraged. The most conferred degrees are in business & marketing (17%), engineering (14%), the social sciences (8%), health professions and other related programs (7%), and biology (5%).

Professional Outcomes: Graduates of the Class of 2023 enjoyed a 93% positive outcomes rate within the first six months of leaving the school. The median annual starting salary was $50,000 and 82% of in-state graduates remained in Maine as they took their next step in life. A solid 84% reported that their first job was directly related to their major and 63% stated that they participated in at least one internship during their four years of study.

  • Enrollment: 9,774
  • Cost of Attendance: $27,320 (In-State); $49,676 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1190
  • Median ACT: 28
  • Acceptance Rate: 94%
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Graduation Rate: 57%

#15 Best College for Forestry
University of California, Davis

University of California, Davis

  • Davis, CA

Academic Highlights: UC Davis offers 100+ undergraduate majors across four schools: the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the College of Biological Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the College of Letters and Science. 50% engage in some type of research/creative project outside the classroom. The areas of study with the largest number of degrees awarded were biology, the social sciences, psychology, and engineering. Programs in engineering, computer science, and animal science are nationally renowned.

Professional Outcomes: Many recent grads found homes at Silicon Valley or other California-based employers. Corporations employing 200 or more Aggies include Genentech, Google, Apple, Cisco, Meta, Oracle, Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, and LinkedIn. Ten years out of school, median earnings rise to $112k. Within one year of graduating, 39% of Aggies elect to continue their education; the most popular degrees pursued are master’s, MDs or other health doctorates, law, and MBA/MPA.

 

 

  • Enrollment: 31,797 (undergraduate); 9,053 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $41,389 (in-state); $73,963 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: Test Blind
  • Median ACT: Test Blind
  • Acceptance Rate: 42%
  • Retention Rate: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 87%

#16 Best College for Forestry
Colorado State University

Colorado State University

  • Castle Rock, CO

Academic Highlights: Colorado State offers an incredible 330 total academic programs. There are 70 majors, 140 concentrations, and 80 minors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1 and 34% of course sections enroll fewer than 20 students; 22% seat more than 50. Business is the most commonly conferred degree accounting for 18% of all diplomas earned in 2022. The next most popular areas are biology (14%), engineering (10%), the social sciences (8%), and family & consumer sciences (6%).

Professional Outcomes: Among 2022 graduates, 87% quickly secured their next job or grad school opportunity. For the 68% who landed their first job, the average salary was $57,489. Overall, 88% of those surveyed stated that this job was related to their career plans. Common employers include Charles Schwab, Deloitte, Fidelity Investments, Lockheed Martin, and the US Air Force. The most popular grad schools include CU Boulder, the University of Michigan, UIUC, and Columbia University.

  • Enrollment: 26,062
  • Cost of Attendance: $32,439 (In-State); $53,995 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1180
  • Median ACT: 26
  • Acceptance Rate: 91%
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

#17 Best College for Forestry
Pennsylvania State University — University Park

Pennsylvania State University — University Park

  • State College, PA

Academic Highlights: Penn State offers 275 majors and a number of top-ranked programs in a host of disciplines. The College of Engineering is rated exceptionally well on a national scale and is also the most popular field of study, accounting for 15% of the degrees conferred. The Smeal College of Business is equally well-regarded, earning high rankings in everything from supply chain management to accounting to marketing. It attracts 15% of total degree-seekers. 61% of classes have an enrollment below thirty students.

Professional Outcomes: By graduation, 70% of Nittany Lions have found their next employment or graduate school home. 98% of College of Business grads are successful within three months of exiting, flocking in large numbers to stellar finance, accounting, consulting, and technology firms. Hundreds of alumni work at Citi, Salesforce, and Meta, and more than 500 currently work at each of IBM, Deloitte, PwC, Amazon, EY, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Google, and Oracle. 75% of 2022 grads employed full-time earned starting salaries greater than $50k.

  • Enrollment: 41,745 (undergraduate); 7,020 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $32,656 (in-state); $52,610 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1300
  • Median ACT: 29
  • Acceptance Rate: 55%
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 85%

#18 Best College for Forestry
University of Idaho

University of Idaho

  • Moscow, ID

Academic Highlights: The University of Idaho offers more than 200 programs for undergraduate and graduate students and sports a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Overall, roughly two-thirds of its undergraduate course sections enroll 19 or fewer students. Business and marketing is the most popular major, attracting 16% of students. This is followed by engineering (10%), the social sciences (9%), psychology (8%), agriculture (7%), biology (6%), and education (6%).

Professional Outcomes: Graduates of this university find employment or their next educational step within six months at an 86% clip. Impressively, 91% state that they are satisfied with their post-graduation occupation. Just over half continue to live in Idaho after graduation and the average salary earned is $48,000. Major employers of alumni include KPMG, Micron, Bliss Architecture, METER Group, 360 Immersive, Lamb Weston, and Fortis Construction.

  • Enrollment: 8,809
  • Cost of Attendance: $22,952 (In-State); $42,188 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1120
  • Median ACT: 24
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Retention Rate: 74%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%

#19 Best College for Forestry
Iowa State University

Iowa State University

  • Ames, IA

Academic Highlights: With more than 100 majors available across six undergraduate colleges, Iowa State has no shortage of academic pathways to explore. The student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1, yet, courses are a mix of large and small. 31% of sections enroll fewer than 20 students and 22% enroll more than 50. In terms of sheer popularity, engineering wins the day accounting for 23% of degrees earned in 2022. Business (18%), agricultural fields (10%), biology (5%), and education (5%) also see high volume.

Professional Outcomes: Graduates of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences are employed in fairly large numbers by the likes of John Deere, Principal Financial Group, and Amazon. Overall, the most alumni work for Wells Fargo, Bayer, Corteva Agriscience, Collins Aerospace, Cargill, and Microsoft. Most remain in Iowa after graduation but many also move to Minnesota, Chicago, California, or Texas. The average starting salary for an engineering grad was $74,716 in 2023.

  • Enrollment: 25,241
  • Cost of Attendance: $24,204 (In-State); $41,390 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1220
  • Median ACT: 24
  • Acceptance Rate: 90%
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 74%

#20 Best College for Forestry
Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University

  • Mississippi State, MS

Academic Highlights: There are more than 175 undergraduate and graduate programs available at MSU and the student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1. Impressively, 46% of the school’s class sections have an enrollment under 20 and only 14% enroll more than 50 students. By a wide margin, the two most popular majors are business (19%) and engineering (16%). The next most frequently conferred degrees in 2022 were education (8%), biology (7%), and psychology (6%).

Professional Outcomes: Looking at 2023 grads, 93% had already landed at their first job or graduate school. The organizations employing the greatest number of recent grads were a number of local school districts as well as Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, KPMG, International Paper, Chevron, and State Farm. Those headed to graduate and professional school most often matriculated at the University of Mississippi, the University of Alabama, Auburn, LSU, the University of Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.

  • Enrollment: 18,305
  • Cost of Attendance: $22,108 (In-State); $38,873 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1150
  • Median ACT: 25
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 63%

#21 Best College for Forestry
Auburn University

Auburn University

  • Auburn, AL

Academic Highlights: The faculty-student ratio is 20:1, but only about 35% of classes enroll fewer than 20 students. Overall, undergraduates can choose from over 150 majors across 12 colleges, which include highly regarded business and engineering programs. Majors in architecture, apparel merchandising & design, and interior design receive high marks, as does nursing. In 2022, the greatest number of degrees conferred were in business (24%) followed by engineering (18%), biological/life sciences (10%), and health professions (6%).

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of graduating, 58% of the Class of 2022 were employed full-time, 23% had entered graduate programs. 59% were pursuing master’s degrees, 28% professional degrees, and 4% doctorates. In 2022, the average starting salary was $58,708; engineering graduates enjoyed the highest average starting salary ($71,656). At least ten recent grads can be found at each of Vanderbilt, Emory, Columbia, Georgia Tech, NYU, and Johns Hopkins.

  • Enrollment: 25,379
  • Cost of Attendance: $27,932 (in-state); $49,340 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1320
  • Median ACT: 28
  • Acceptance Rate: 44%
  • Retention Rate: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

#22 Best College for Forestry
Michigan Technological University

Michigan Technological University

  • Houghton, MI

Academic Highlights: Michigan’s flagship tech school offers 140 degree programs and another 80 minors. A 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio allows for a reasonable number of small classes–48% of sections enroll fewer than 20 individuals. A whopping 69% of degrees conferred were under the engineering umbrella. Other popular areas of concentration were computer science (9%), business (5%), and natural resources and conservation (4%).

Professional Outcomes: Michigan Tech has a stellar 93% placement rate for alumni within six months of earning their diplomas. The median early career salary is $71,100. More than 400 companies attend the school’s career fairs and that leads to a steady flow of graduates heading to companies like Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Cummins Inc., Caterpillar, Stellantis, Dow, Medtronic, Stryker, Amazon, and Magna International.

  • Enrollment: 5,710
  • Cost of Attendance: $34,758 (In-State); $57,706 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1230
  • Median ACT: 27
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Retention Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 68%

#23 Best College for Forestry
Texas A&M University — College Station

Texas A&M University — College Station

  • College Station, TX

Academic Highlights: With nineteen schools and colleges and 130+ undergraduate degree programs, Texas A&M is a massive operation. As the name implies, there is a heavy emphasis on agriculture, engineering, and business, which all place well in national rankings and garner deep respect from major corporations and graduate/professional schools. Class sizes trend large, but 24% of courses enroll fewer than 20 students and personal connections with professors are entirely possible, particularly through the research-oriented LAUNCH program.

Professional Outcomes: On graduation day, 54% of students had already received at least one job offer and 22% were heading to graduate/professional school. Many Aggies go on to work at major oil, tech, and consulting firms; more than 500 are employed at each of ExxonMobil, Halliburton, Chevron, EY, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, Accenture, and PWC. Starting salaries were strong—on average, College of Engineering grads made $80k and College of Agriculture & Life Sciences grads netted $54k. A&M is also the eighth-largest producer of law students in the entire country.

  • Enrollment: 57,512 (undergraduate); 16,502 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $31,058 (in-state); $59,336 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1270
  • Median ACT: 28
  • Acceptance Rate: 63%
  • Retention Rate: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 84%

#24 Best College for Forestry
University of Vermont

University of Vermont

  • Burlington, VT

Academic Highlights: With over 100 majors and 100 advanced degree programs, the University of Vermont has offerings in just about any major you can name. They sport a student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1 and 41% of sections enroll no more than 19 students. The most popular majors are fairly evenly spread around with biology (12%), natural resources and conservation (10%), business (9%), and nursing (9%)  all attracting similar numbers of undergraduates.

Professional Outcomes: Over the last three years, graduates have enjoyed a 94% success rate. Alumni earned an average starting salary of $49,909 during that span of time. Roughly 90% of grads stated that their current job was related to their career goals. Top employers included Mass General Hospital, Beta Technologies, and GlobalFoundries. Looking at the Class of 2022 who enrolled in advanced degree programs, common universities included Northeastern, BU, Simmons, NYU, and Cornell.

  • Enrollment: 11,898
  • Cost of Attendance: $32,834 (In-State); $59,278 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1350
  • Median ACT: 30
  • Acceptance Rate: 60%
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 76%

#25 Best College for Forestry
Michigan State University

Michigan State University

  • East Lansing, MI

Academic Highlights: This highly regarded state institution boasts over 200 programs—undergraduate, graduate, and professional—across 17 degree-granting colleges. A 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio rates in the average range for public universities of MSU’s size and scope. Class sizes are a genuine mix of small seminars and giant lecture halls. 16% of the degrees conferred in 2022 were in the business/marketing category. The next most common degrees were earned in communication/journalism (12%), engineering (11%), and the social sciences (8%).

Professional Outcomes: Within months of strutting across the graduation stage, 56% of Class of 2022 members had landed full-time employment, 27% were pursuing advanced degrees, and 6% were still looking for a job. The top employers of this group included big names like General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Deloitte, Epic Systems, Target, PepsiCo, and Microsoft. The median starting salary earned was $60,000. Among the grads schools favored by recent alumni are the University of Michigan, New York University, Columbia University, and Boston University.

  • Enrollment: 39,201
  • Cost of Attendance: $27,805 (In-State); $55,189 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1220
  • Median ACT: 27
  • Acceptance Rate:
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 82%

#26 Best College for Forestry
University of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire

  • Durham, NH

Academic Highlights: UNH offers hundreds of programs across 11 schools and colleges, including the highly regarded Peter T. Paul C0llege of Business and Economics. There are also 50+ research centers and institutes. The most degrees are conferred in the following areas of study: business/management/marketing (21%), biological sciences (11%), engineering (10%), health professions (8%), and psychology (6%). The student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1, and 37% of classes enroll less than 20 students.

Professional Outcomes: 94% of the Class of 2022 experienced positive outcomes, with 77% employed and 17% continuing their education. 89% of those employed reported working in jobs related to their major. Across all majors, the average median starting salary was $57k. Top employers included UNH, BAE Systems, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, Lonza Biologics, Liberty Mutual, Boston Children’s Hospital, Mass General, Ernst & Young, and General Dynamics. 48% of those continuing their education elected to stay at UNH.

  • Enrollment: 11,387 (undergraduate); 2,292 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $35,754 (in-state); $56,274 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1220
  • Median ACT: 29
  • Acceptance Rate: 87%
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 77%

#27 Best College for Forestry
University of Tennessee – Knoxville

University of Tennessee – Knoxville

  • Knoxville, TN

Academic Highlights: With 360 undergraduate programs, 14 degree-granting colleges and schools, 500 study abroad programs, and 1,700 instructional faculty, nothing is small at the University of Tennessee. With an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, this university offers 28% of courses in a more intimate setting of fewer than 20 students; the bulk of courses enroll 20-49 students (57%). Business (24%) is easily the most popular major with engineering (11%), biology (7%), the social sciences (7%), and parks and recreation (7%) next in line.

Professional Outcomes: Six months after receiving their diplomas, 64% of UT-Knoxville alumni have found jobs and 27% have started their graduate school careers. The top employers of the Class of 2023 were the UT Medical Center, PepsiCo, and Axle Logistics. Among those headed to graduate/professional school, the five most commonly attended institutions were the University of Tennessee, UT Health Science Center, Lincoln Memorial University, East Tennessee University, and Belmont University.

  • Enrollment: 27,039
  • Cost of Attendance: $33,910 (In-State); $52,400 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1235
  • Median ACT: 28
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 73%

#28 Best College for Forestry
University of Missouri-Columbia

University of Missouri-Columbia

  • Columbia, MO

Academic Highlights: At the University of Missouri, over 300 degree programs are offered across ten schools and colleges. The School of Journalism is highly regarded as are its programs in agriculture, health sciences, and business. By degrees conferred, the most popular areas of study are business/management/marketing (18%), health professions (18%), communication/journalism (11%), engineering (7%), and social sciences (6%).  The student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1, and 43% of classes enroll fewer than 20 students.

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of graduating, 75% of the Class of 2022 was employed and 19% were continuing their education. Popular industries included healthcare, finance, education, consumer & business services, manufacturing & construction, and communications & media. The most Mizzou grads were employed by the University of Missouri itself followed by the University of Missouri Health Care, Columbia Public Schools, KPMG, PwC, and Boeing. Those continuing their studies most often did so at the University of Missouri Columbia followed by other institutions within Missouri.

  • Enrollment: 23,752 (undergraduate); 7,566 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $31,272 (in-state); $51,472 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1240
  • Median ACT: 26
  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 75%

#29 Best College for Forestry
University of Montana

University of Montana

  • Missoula, MT

Academic Highlights: University of Montana offers over 250 majors, minors, and certificates across nine schools. Research and creative scholarship are at the center of the university’s identity. Popularity-wise, the most degrees are conferred in the following areas of study: business/management/marketing (17%), natural resources and conservation (14%), social sciences (11%), biological sciences (9%), visual and performing arts (9%), and psychology (8%). With a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1, 70% of classes enroll fewer than 30 students.

Professional Outcomes: Career support services are available for up to two years after graduating, and alumni go on to a wide range of careers. Across all graduating years, the most popular sectors are business development, operations, education, healthcare services, community & social services, sales, media and communication, information technology, and arts and design. Top employers include the University of Montana, the US Army, Providence, Microsoft, Amazon, the City of Missoula, Cognizant, Deloitte, and Submittable.

  • Enrollment: 7,215 (undergraduate); 2,740 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $28,906 (in-state); $54,812 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1170
  • Median ACT: 23
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Retention Rate: 74%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%

#30 Best College for Forestry
West Virginia University

West Virginia University

  • Morgantown, WV

Academic Highlights: Students from all 50 states and 90 nations flock to Morgantown to study one of 310 majors offered in WVU’s 13 colleges and schools. The school has a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio and, impressively, is able to keep enrollment in 45% of class sections at 19 students or fewer; 15% contain 50 or more students. Students are spread evenly across many of the most popular majors including nursing (6%), sports kinesiology (5%), general studies (4), mechanical engineering (4%), Exercise science, criminology (3%), journalism (3%), and finance (3%).

Professional Outcomes: Between 40 and 250 West Virginia University alumni work for the following companies: Amazon, Deloitte, Aramco, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Eaton, ADP, Google, PepsiCo, Oracle, Salesforce, and Insight Global. Many alumni remain in the state of West Virginia after graduation, but sizable numbers also migrate to Washington DC, Pittsburgh, New York City, and Baltimore.

  • Enrollment: 19,059
  • Cost of Attendance: $22,668 (In-State); $40,380 (Out-of-State)
  • Average SAT: 1107
  • Median ACT: 23
  • Acceptance Rate: 77%
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%

#31 Best College for Forestry
University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky

  • Lexington, KY

Academic Highlights: The University of Kentucky offers over 100 undergraduate programs across 13 schools/colleges, including highly regarded programs in nursing, business, economics, psychology, and engineering. In 2022, the greatest number of degrees were conferred in business/management/marketing (24%) followed by health professions (11%), engineering (9%), communication/journalism (8%), education (7%), and biological sciences (6%). The student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1, and 36% of classes enroll fewer than 20 students.

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of graduating, 82% of the Class of 2022 experienced positive outcomes, with 45% employed and 37% enrolled in graduate/professional school. Popular industries included healthcare (22%), engineering & manufacturing (13%), accounting & finance (9%), and education (8%). The median salary was $54k; top employers included UK HealthCare, University of Kentucky, Fayette County Public Schools, Baptist Health, Lexmark, and Amazon. The majority of those continuing their education elected to stay at the University of Kentucky.

  • Enrollment: 22,735 (undergraduate); 8,812 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $35,182 (in-state); $57,160 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1170
  • Median ACT: 24
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Retention Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

#32 Best College for Forestry
Washington State University

Washington State University

  • Pullman, WA

Academic Highlights: At WSU, students can choose from 95 majors, 86 minors, and more than 100 in-major specializations and also enjoy a stellar 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio. That level of support leads to 35% of courses enrolling 19 or fewer students versus 19% that enroll 50 or more. 21% of all degrees in 2022 were conferred in the area of business/marketing. Also popular were engineering (10%), the social sciences (10%), biology (9%), and psychology (8%).

Professional Outcomes: Graduates of WSU tend to concentrate in Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The greatest number of alumni are presently employed by Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, SEL, Starbucks, Amazon Web Services, T-Mobile, Google, Nike, Meta, and CBRE. Many students who enroll immediately in an advanced degree program do so at Washington State itself. They offer 140 graduate programs and certificates.

  • Enrollment: 22,612
  • Cost of Attendance: $29,944 (In-State); $45,628 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1140
  • Median ACT: 23
  • Acceptance Rate: 83%
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

#33 Best College for Forestry
University of Nevada—Reno

University of Nevada—Reno

  • Reno, NV

Academic Highlights: 145 undergraduate programs are offered across ten schools/colleges: agriculture; business; education; engineering; liberal arts; science; nursing; public health; journalism; and social work. There is also an Honors College. Popularity-wise, the most degrees are conferred in business/management/marketing (16%), health professions (15%), biological sciences (9%), engineering (9%), and social sciences (7%). With an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, 36% of classes enroll fewer than 20 students.

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of graduating, 87% of the Class of 2022 had experienced positive career outcomes. Ultimately, 81% were working in jobs related to their future goals, and the top industries entered included business, finance, and consulting (24%), healthcare (17%), engineering, manufacturing, and energy (15%), education and research (14%), public policy and service (9%). The average salary was $61k, and popular employers included Tesla, Grand Sierra Resort, Washoe County School District, Enterprise Holdings, and Renown Health.

  • Enrollment: 16,973 (undergraduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $28,886 (in-state); $47,028 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1180
  • Median ACT: 23
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Graduation Rate: 63%

We hope you have found our list of the Best Colleges for Forestry to be useful and informative as you continue your college search process. We also invite you to check out some of our other resources and tools including: