Majoring in Forestry and Natural Resources

Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) focuses on the conservation and restoration of the earth's natural resources through hands-on study of the ecology, stewardship, and management of forest, woodland, and grassland ecosystems. It is designed to prepare students to manage forests and wildlands while sustaining ecological integrity and producing vital ecosystem services. 


Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) focuses on the conservation and restoration of the earth’s natural resources through hands-on study of the ecology, stewardship, and management of forest, woodland, and grassland ecosystems. The program offers concentrations in forestry and natural sciences and in human dimensions of natural resources, and qualifies students for the Registered Professional Forester’s licensing exam in California. Topics studied include wildlife and conservation biology, ecosystem restoration, rangeland management, water policy, fire science, GIS and remote sensing, environmental justice, and rural sociology. Students participate in an 8-week summer field program in the Sierra Nevada. Offered by the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM).

What will I study?

Students in the FNR major select between two concentrations:

The Forestry and Natural Sciences concentration is split into two specializations, Professional Forestry and Natural Sciences. The Professional Forestry specialization is accredited by the Society of American Foresters and provides four years of qualifying education or professional experience for licensing as a professional forester in California. The goals of the Professional Forestry specialization are very closely associated with the educational requirements of the forestry profession and prepare our students for careers in forestry or closely related natural resource fields. The Natural Sciences specialization allows students to focus their studies more specifically to ecology and the physical environment

The Human Dimensions of Natural Resources concentration provides students with greater flexibility to explore subjects in ecology, physical environment, monitoring and measurement, and management and policy.

Within the program, students can choose to emphasize such topics as wildlife biology, water policy, fire science, ecosystem restoration, environmental justice, remote sensing and GIS, and rural sociology.


FNR students are eligible for a series of endowed scholarships based on academic performance and financial need. These scholarships are awarded to students at all academic levels and are usually awarded in the fall semester. In 2012, scholarships totaling $60,000 were awarded in scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. Beginning in 2013, additional awards will be targeted for students in their first and second years in the major.

How much coursework is required?

Lower division requirements include courses in environmental sciences, physical science, biology, calculus, statistics, GIS and economics. All FNR students are required to complete the ESPM 102 series for a total of 16 units. Upper division electives vary for each specialization; students may select from a list of courses in Ecology, Physical Environment, Monitoring & Measurement and Management & Policy.

Participation in a field program is required of all FNR majors. Students may choose from the eight-week summer field program—Forestry Field Camp—in the northern Sierra Nevada or the fall semester course on the Polynesian island of Moorea, Biology & Geomorphology of Tropical Islands.

What can I do with this major?

FNR provides specific analytical tools needed for graduate school or virtually any type of career in natural resources. Graduates can pursue careers in

  • environmental consulting
  • public agencies
  • non-profit conservation organizations
  • private companies
  • professional forestry
  • wildlife biology
  • range management

Some may tackle the planning and implementation of forest management projects, including fuel reduction, timber harvest, reforestation, urban forestry, and prescribed burning.

Others focus their professional work in areas such as wildfire, fire, water, wetlands, restoration, vegetation management, soil/erosion, cultural resources, policy, and the human aspects of natural resources. Much of natural resource management today is about working with, communicating with, and engaging the public and landowners.

The program itself has a longstanding history, so our graduates often find themselves sought after for employment by alumni established in both the public and private sectors.


The Cal Alumni Foresters (CAF) is the alumni association for the 100 year old forestry program at UC Berkeley. CAF helps bring alumni working in forestry and the diverse fields related to resource and environmental management together to support ongoing discussion and camaraderie. Alumni of all ages are bonded by memories of classes in Mulford Hall, bean feeds put on by the forestry club and summers spent in Meadow Valley learning about Sierra Nevada ecology and timber cruising.

Forestry has changed over the last hundred years since Berkeley’s program began, but this discipline is still very important as an ever growing local and global population place increasing pressure on California’s and our world’s forests. Therefore, CAF supports current Cal forestry students by providing scholarships, mentoring and introducing the new crop of managers to the Society of American Foresters (SAF) at the national convention each fall. We hope that these efforts will help ensure that Berkeley will continue to train excellent foresters and resource managers for our future state and world.


Undergraduate Advisor:
Ginnie Sadil
260 Mulford
University of California 
Berkeley, CA 94720-3100

Faculty Advising:
Kevin O'Hara, head advisor