Forestry program at UGA’s Warnell School reaccredited for 10 years, marking nearly 90 years of accreditation
Warnell’s Master’s of Forest Resources also receives initial accreditation
By Sandi Martin
Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources has once again received full accreditation from the Society of American Foresters, marking nearly 90 years of continuous accreditation for its Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources degree.
The SAF also put its seal of approval on the school’s Master of Forest Resources degree in the first year the Warnell School applied for accreditation for the program.
The school continues to be the only one in Georgia that offers SAF-accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forestry. Forestry graduates from Warnell have enjoyed 100 percent job placement for the past two academic years and appear to be on pace for a third such year, said Dale Greene, dean of the Warnell School.
“The SAF continues to recognize the high quality of our forestry educational programs with their continued accreditation of the B.S.F.R. and their recent accreditation of our very popular M.F.R. graduate degree,” Greene said. “This further highlights the value of a forestry degree from Georgia.”
As the largest professional society for foresters in the world, the SAF accredits professional forestry, urban forestry, natural resources and environmental management degree programs across North America. A degree from an SAF-accredited school is required to become a registered forester in Georgia and a number of other Southern states.
The Warnell School’s bachelor’s degree program has been continuously accredited by the SAF since 1938. With this reaccreditation cycle, the Warnell School chose to submit its M.F.R. degree for accreditation for the first time based on its robust enrollment among graduate students and job placement rates among graduates.
The SAF’s Committee on Accreditation approved the Warnell School’s B.S.F.R. accreditation effective Jan. 1, extending it to Dec. 31, 2025. It also granted initial accreditation of the M.F.R. degree program effective Jan. 1 for both a forestry and a forest business option.
The forest business M.F.R. option focuses on providing additional education in forest resources, combining business and forestry knowledge to prepare students for a career in forest business. It blends graduate business courses from UGA’s Terry College of Business with advanced forestry courses and is integrated into UGA’s Harley Langdale Jr. Center for Forest Business, which is housed at the Warnell School.
“With the accreditation of the forest business M.F.R., this degree program will further enhance its already outstanding international reputation,” said Bob Izlar, director of the Langdale Center.
The Warnell School seeks reaccreditation every 10 years, and three members of an SAF accreditation team conducted a review of the school this past March. As part of its assessment, the visiting team evaluated it on six standards: program mission, goals and objectives; curriculum; program organization and administration; faculty; students; and parent institution support. During their visit, SAF team members interviewed employers, students, faculty, staff and alumni for their perspectives on the school’s program.
Accreditation by the SAF focuses on maintaining the overall quality of forestry education through periodic self-evaluation and assuring students, employers, the general public and other agencies that accredited programs meet the professional standards set by the SAF.
Located on UGA’s South Campus, the Warnell School has approximately 60 faculty members and 100 staff members. Annually, students at Warnell receive more than $175,000 in scholarships and more than $2 million in graduate assistantships. As of fall semester, the school has 347 undergraduates enrolled and approximately 200 students earning graduate degrees.
The Warnell School operates or manages a number of labs, outreach and forest facilities on more than 24,000 acres around the state, including Whitehall Forest in Athens and the Dorothy Warnell Research, Education and Demonstration Forest near Savannah.
The Warnell School’s forestry undergraduate degree program focuses on providing students with a sound understanding of forest ecosystems and sustainable management of forests. Undergraduates choose from four majors—fisheries and wildlife, forestry, natural resources recreation and tourism, or water and soil resources. Graduate students can earn a Master of Science, Master of Natural Resources or a Ph.D. in addition to the M.F.R. degree program.