Ecosystems in Florida, the southeastern US, and the world face an unprecedented threat from climate change and human activities. The School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC) now offers an online Master’s degree with concentration or certificate program in Ecological Restoration that address a national need for professionals trained in this field, and in particular targets working professionals and full-time graduate students in the Southeastern US.
Online Master’s in Ecological Restoration (MS, non-thesis)
Ecological restoration has been defined as “the return of an ecosystem to a close approximation of its condition prior to disturbance” (NRC, 1992). According to the Society for Ecological Restoration, ecological restoration is “the process of assisting the recovery and management of ecological integrity”. Ecological integrity is related to biodiversity, ecological processes and structures, regional and historical contexts and sustainable use (SER, 1999). Thus, ecological restoration can be considered as human intervention to recover nature’s integrity; to restore the environment to its natural state.
A sound science-based ecological foundation is needed for developing and implementing restoration projects. In order to train our graduate students effectively as future resource managers, environmental scientists, and restoration ecologists, we need to equip them with skills and science-based principles that are transportable from one system to another. They also need to learn that good restoration requires a view above and beyond the technical details and should include historical, social, cultural, political, aesthetic and moral aspects, so these ideas are addressed in the technical courses developed for this program.
The need for such a program is at an all-time high as agencies and private companies involved in ecological restoration and environmental science are striving to re-tool their work force with a solid academic training in ecological restoration.
The non-thesis Forest Resources and Conservation MS program in Ecological Restoration consists of 30 credits, of which at least 15 must be part of the approved set of courses for the concentration. Students may choose from other SFRC courses or any graduate course offered by UF, with the approval of your advisor. Electives should typically be related to environmental sciences.
- FOR 5157, Ecosystem Restoration Principles & Practices (Required)
- FOR 5159, Ecology & Restoration of Longleaf Pine Ecosystem
- FOR 6934, Ecology & Restoration of Invaded Ecosystems
- FOR 6934, Agroforestry of the Southeastern US
- FOR 5615, Natural Resource Conservation & Management Policies & Issues
- FNR 6628, Watershed Restoration & Management
- HOS 6932, Plant Materials for Conservation & Restoration
An additional 15 elective credits are required to complete the 30 credit degree.
During the degree, students may register for a maximum of 6 credits of FOR 6905 for credit towards an independent study as agreed upon by the faculty advisor and/or proxy advisor.
Academic programs are required to give a final examination to students as part of their MS graduation requirements. The examination format (e.g., written or oral), length, breadth, location, and subject matter will be determined by the Major Advisor plus an additional SFRC faculty member in concert with the student. The content will be centered on subject matter drawn from the student’s coursework. A second SFRC faculty member, to be identified by the Advisor and student working together, will be required to participate in the student’s examination. The examination should be taken during the last semester of enrollment, but no later than one month prior to the end of the term. See Graduate School deadlines for specific dates.
Students completing the MS non-thesis with concentration in Ecological Restoration will develop or strengthen their knowledge and skills allowing them to:
- Understand theoretical and technical knowledge from ecology, soils and other bio-physical sciences that form the intellectual foundation of ecological restoration environmental sciences.
- Design restoration projects (upland and bottomland forests, wetlands, prairie, and dune) that consider knowledge areas outside students’ current area of expertise and in an interdisciplinary team environment.
- Analyze critically and synthesize relevant primary information sources, such as technical reports and scientific publications.
- Learn various techniques used in ecological restoration, and evaluation and monitoring.
- Understand and appreciate the socio-economic, ethics, laws, policy and political dimensions of ecological restoration.
Current Tuition Rate
$565 per credit hour
Tuition rates apply to in-state, out-of-state, and international students equally. For students using state employee tuition waivers, or for students who are considered “on-campus,” Distance Learning fees of approximately $28/credit hour may apply.
Elective courses taken outside of the Ecological Restoration program will have tuition rates set by the individual department offering the course.