Overview of the Department of Forestry & Natural Resources

The Department of Forestry and Natural Resources was first established in 1914 and offers five (5) Bachelors of Science degrees – Fisheries and Aquatic Science, Forestry, Natural Resources Planning and Decision Making, Wildlife, and Wood Products Manufacturing.   About 260 undergraduates and 70 graduate students are studying in Departmental programs.  The largest number of undergraduate students are in the Wildlife major, followed by Forestry, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Natural Resources and Wood Products Manufacturing Technology.  

Our goals for students in all majors are a(n):
  • Solid background and knowledge of sciences (biology, ecology, chemistry, math, statistics) that underlies the management of natural resources
  • Understanding of the economic and social context (economic, social sciences) in which natural resources management occurs
  • Ability to work in the field collecting data and assessing land capabilities
  • Analytical and cognitive ability to use the scientific, economic, social and practical knowledge to develop and implement activities that improve the sustainability and productivity of natural resources, that is a professional in your major

The Learning Environment:
Over 30 faculty members and 2 professional staff members are involved in undergraduate teaching resulting in an instructor/student ratio of 1:9.  Enrollment in junior and senior courses in your selected major are generally less than 30 and frequently less than 20 students per class allowing an extensive interaction with the professor.  This involvement in teaching translates into opportunities for actively engaged students to participate in research activities and extracurricular studies.  The Office of Student Services provides individual academic advising and access to other University resources, providing a small college personal touch with the tremendous resources of Purdue University. 

A unique component of these majors is the required Summer Practicum, which is designed to hone your “field” skills in plant and animal taxonomy and identification, data collection, and map reading and wild land navigation.  You’ll also have many opportunities for field studies on the FNR property near campus, including the Martell Forest, the wildlife area and the aquaculture center.  FNR majors are hands-on along with the strong academic background. 

In addition to the courses in the plans of study for each major, we urge all students to participate in campus organizations.  Within the department, each major has an associated professional organization.  These organizations provide students with access to professionals and exposure to current issues in the profession and opportunities to network with potential employers.  For example during the past year, undergraduate students have attended and participated in the annual national conferences of the Society of American Foresters (Pittsburg, PA) and Wildlife Society (Anchorage, AK), as well as at regional and state meetings.   

Students are also encouraged to participate in Study Abroad programs while at Purdue.  These programs range from one week to a semester in length.  FNR students have completed study abroad experiences in Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, France, Costa Rica, Kenya, China, Ireland, Spain, Germany, and Wales.
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Forestry and Natural Resources, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 USA, (765) 494-3590

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