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Forest Ecology and Sustainable Management MSc with a major in Forestry Science or Biology

Do you want to study Forest Management, rooted in ecological principles and focused on sustainability in the midst of global climate change? Then this is the right program for you. Come and get your degree from the university ranked number 1 in forestry science.


This interdisciplinary program combines forest management, ecosystem ecology, ecophysiology, soil science and hydrology to provide young professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to contribute to the development of ecologically, economically and socially sustainable forest management, with a focus on the boreal region – the largest land biome in the world.

This is the ideal degree if you are aiming for a career in applied forest ecology, silviculture, forest management, or a research career within these topics.

In this program, you will learn directly from the researchers who develop forestry science and forest ecology at the cutting edge of their fields.

As a student in the program you have the opportunity to apply, in competition, to the exchange program TRANSFOR-M for your second year of program studies. Within TRANSFOR-M, you have the opportunity to study for a year at one of three partner universities; University of British Columbia, University of Alberta or Lakehead University. After completing your studies, you meet the requirements to apply for a double degree, one from SLU and one from the Canadian university. 


Name: Forest Ecology and Sustainable Management (MSc)
Level: Master
Language: English
Programme scope: 2 year, 120 credits
Next start: Autumn semester 2024

Tuition Fees: Citizens of countries outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland are required to pay application and tuition fees.

First semester: SEK 76000
Total: SEK 304000

Application deadline for international students: 2024-01-15
Application deadline for Swedish students: 2024-04-15

Study location: Umeå
Pace of study: Full-time
Teaching form: On-campus
Application code for Swedish students: 81069
Application code for international students: 81068

Selection: Högskolepoäng


To be admitted to the Master’s programme Forest Ecology and Sustainable Management, the following criteria must be met:
general entry requirements: first-cycle qualification comprising at least 180 credits or a corresponding qualification from abroad
specific entry requirements: specialisation comprising at least 60 credits in one of the following subjects/disciplinary domains:

- Forestry Science
- Forest Management 
- Forest Science
- Biology
- Soil Science
- Environmental Science
- Natural Resource Governance
- Physical Geography
and 15 credits in Ecology.
In addition, knowledge equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6 is required. This requirement is met by those holding a Degree of Bachelor (180 credits) from a Swedish higher education institution. There are specific rules for applicants from certain English-speaking countries.
The specific entry requirements stated above can also be met by someone who has obtained equivalent knowledge through a corresponding qualification from abroad, or in some other way.

There are specific entry requirements for each course included in the programme. These are described in the relevant course syllabus.


Degree awarded upon completion of the programme

The Master's (120 credits) programme Forest Ecology and Sustainable Management leads to a Degree of Master of Science with a major in Biology, or, alternatively, the Degree of Master of Science with a major in Forestry Science. A Degree of Master is a general qualification. 

Students who fulfil the qualification requirements for a Degree of Master will be issued a degree certificate on request. The degree certificate will specify the qualification as Degree of Master (120 credits) with a major in Biology, or alternatively, Forestry science. (Degree of Master of Science with a major in Biology or, alternatively, Degree of Master of Science with a major in Forestry Science)

Other qualifications may be awarded provided that the requirements for them are fulfilled. See SLU’s system of qualifications.

The programme contains courses which, depending on choice of courses and combination with previous studies in forestry at first-cycle level, may enable students to fulfil the requirements for the professional qualification Degree of Master of Science in Forestry, 300 credits. The outcomes for a Degree of Master of Science in Forestry are stipulated in the Ordinance for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The requirements for a Degree of Master of Science in Forestry are defined in SLU’s system of qualifications.

Degree requirements

The Degree of Master of Science with forestry science as the main field of study will be awarded once 120 credits have been obtained, of which 90 must be from second cycle courses that meet the following requirements:

  • a minimum of 30 credits with forestry science as the main field of study (A1N; A1F); 
  • a minimum of 30 credits from an independent project (degree project) with forestry science as the main field of study (A2E).

The Degree of Master of Science with biology as the main field of study will be awarded once 120 credits have been obtained, of which 90 must be from second cycle courses that meet the following requirements:

  • a minimum of 30 credits with biology as the main field of study (A1N; A1F); 
  • a minimum of 30 credits from an independent project (degree project) with biology as the main field of study (A2E).

Additionally, students must have successfully completed a Degree of Bachelor, a professional qualification comprising a minimum of 180 credits, or have an equivalent qualification from abroad.

The Degree of Master of Science (120 credits) may contain a maximum of 30 credits from first-cycle courses, provided these credits were not included in a Degree of Bachelor or its equivalent. All courses included in a degree must be at university level, have been successfully completed and may not overlap/have similar content.


Admission: There are two admission rounds for this Master's programme. The first admission round is open to all international applicants at www.universityadmissions.se. SLU strongly encourage all international students to apply in this first admission round.


Within the FESM Master’s program, you will acquire an in-depth understanding of forest ecosystem characteristics and the mechanisms governing the interactions between biotic and abiotic processes, including the influence of active management on forest functioning and forest ecosystem services.

Through studies of vegetation history and historical forest use you will understand the sequence of events that gave rise to today’s forest condition. Then you will focus on the analyses of conventional and novel management measures and forest management systems, and learn to evaluate their consequences for both forest production and ecosystem functions. In the process you will develop skills for evidence-based decision making, to identify future research needs, and to select appropriate tools and methods for research and development work.

You will acquire the specific skills and work with the tools used in forest related research and industries, such as data analysis, modelling, problem identification and solving, decision-making, communication, and writing. The programme also emphasises interactions between students, academic researchers, and professionals within the Swedish forestry and land management sectors and government agencies.

The backbone of the programme consists of four courses in (i) forest history, (ii) forest ecosystem ecology, (iii) silviculture and (iv) sustainable management of boreal forests. During the two-year programme, you are also able to select from a wide range of elective courses to broaden your knowledge in forestry, forest ecology or conservation biology; learn about forestry in other global regions, like the tropics; and develop skills in GIS, statistical modelling or the use of AI and machine learning in forestry.

Visit the student pages to find out more.


Forest Ecology and Sustainable Management graduates are highly competitive in the job market and will have the necessary qualifications for pursuing doctoral studies.

The program is aimed at national and international students aiming for a professional career in the private or public forestry sector. Among others, this includes development departments and staff functions in forestry companies, governmental organisations, consultancies, authorities and universities in Sweden and internationally.

Degree awarded

Degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with a Major in Forestry Science, or with a Major in Biology.


Year 1


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