ANU News in The Forester

Thursday 14 May 2015

Associate Professor Cris Brack from the Fenner School writes on the Forestry Masters programs at the Fenner School, for The Forester - a publication of the Institute of Foresters of Australia - April 2015 edition.

In response to the Commonwealth Government direction that all Masters programs need to be 2 years in duration, the Australian National University has phased out its older programs and has introduced a new range Masters from 2015. Most of these Masters programs can be taken as “Advanced” with 1 year coursework and 1 year full time research, or as predominately coursework with between 3–6 months research and research training. The new Masters most likely to be of interest to readers of The Forester include three convened by the Fenner School of Environment and Society, viz: Master of Forestry, Master of Environment, and Master of Environmental science. The programs all have a breadth component to ensure graduates understand the basics, language and issues in the range of environmental fields from policy and governance through to society and environmental science. The programs also require at least one specialisation, which in Master of Forestry can be Forest Policy and Management or Forest Science and Methods. Students with cognate Bachelor degrees can receive credit for up to 6 months of coursework (or even 12 months in the case of appropriate Honours degrees or Graduate Diplomas), so it is possible to obtain a Masters in 12 to 18 months if you have the right prior learning.

Further details are on the ANU website - or

The initial offering of these new programs in Fenner has been well received with new enrolments filling all our current graduate student facilities. We are anticipating another 20 new starters for semester 2, 2015, and so are frantically expanding our graduate rooms and other facilities.  We have more than double the number of M.Forestry students enrolled than previous few years!

As well as this increase in Masters enrolments, the length and content of research projects required has substantially increased.  Our Advanced students will have a year of relevant coursework before entering into a yearlong research project, while our coursework students in M.For will have at least half a semester of a “research essay/project” after 18 months of coursework.  These increases mean that there is an opportunity for more direct engagement of Masters candidates with forest agencies, conservation groups and industries in the provision of data or interesting problems.  While one year may not seem much in terms of collecting raw data in forestry, it is sufficient time to add to existing data held by third parties and complete a comprehensive analysis and write up. 

As Associate Director (Postgraduate Coursework) for the Fenner School, I would be very happy to hear from anyone who has existing data that they could provide to an appropriately prepared Masters of Forestry or Masters of Environment student to enrich and analyse.  Contact Associate Professor Cris Brack at

For the full publication


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