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Forestry – Wildland Recreation Concentration Major Guide for 2016-2017

What is Forestry – Wildland Recreation Concentration

The Wildland Recreation Concentration prepares students to work in natural resource-based park and recreation settings on private and public lands, including local, state, and national parks; other state and federal agency lands; and private or non-profit organizations providing outdoor recreation opportunities. Students prepare for professional positions related to the planning, development, management, and interpretation of private and public lands for recreation purposes.

The current and future challenge to managing our recreational lands is to find the proper balance between resource sustainability and providing for use and enjoyment by a growing population. To prepare students for this challenge, the Wildland Recreation Degree program uses an interdisciplinary approach combining study in natural resources and the social sciences so students are prepared to manage park resources and visitors.

Career Opportunities in Forestry – Wildland Recreation Concentration

There are thousands of career positions in this very diverse field.  Wildland Recreation majors are employed by the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, state parks, and city/county park systems. They also provide guiding and outfitting services and work in the retail sector. Others find positions in environmental education and interpretation at nature centers and residential camps. 
The Master of Science (MS) in Forestry and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Natural Resources degrees are offered through the graduate program in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. Students receiving a MS in Forestry are hired by similar agencies as those with a BS; however, the opportunities for advancement and salary levels tend to be greater than for those with only a BS degree. Students receiving a Ph.D. in Natural Resources are generally interested in teaching and/or research at universities or other institutions or in serving in a variety of positions with conservation organizations and agencies.

Salary Trends in Forestry – Wildland Recreation Concentration

Recent graduates of the wildland recreation program have earned between $28,000 (with housing) and $42,000 in entry-level positions. Some employers, such as state parks, provide housing and utilities in addition to a salary.  Salaries vary depending on location, candidate’s abilities, and previous work experience.

High School Preparation

Students interested in majoring in wildland recreation should focus on high school courses emphasizing science and math. Courses in biology, chemistry, and agriculture are particularly useful. Criteria for admission include successful completion of the full high school program, grade point average, and acceptable performance on the ACT or SAT tests. Students completing advanced placement high school courses may be able to test out of certain university courses following their enrollment at The University of Tennessee.

How to Major in Forestry – Wildland Recreation Concentration

Students interested in majoring in Wildland Recreation should contact the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. Each major is assigned a faculty member in Wildland Recreation who advises the student with program planning and career counseling.

Requirements for Forestry – Wildland Recreation Concentration

All students at UT are required to complete 14 courses as part of the general education requirement. These courses have been integrated into the wildland recreation curriculum and are completed as part of the four-year curriculum. To meet these requirements, courses must be completed in English composition, mathematical sciences, humanities and the arts, historical studies, social sciences, natural sciences, and integrative studies.

All students in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries must also apply for permission to progress to junior- and senior-level classes in the Department. Students must obtain an overall 2.2 GPA in 13 core courses including English, mathematics, chemistry, botany, economics, public speaking, statistics, soil science, and ecology.  In addition, each student must provide a statement of career goals, names of three references, a summary of work experience, and a transcript.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

A 10-week, 400 hour professional internship experience (6 credits) is required during the final 45 hours of credit in the program. The internship is a highly structured field experience guided by specific learning objectives pre-approved by the instructor and the field supervisor.  Co-op positions are available with several federal agencies.  Preparation for the internship should be made well in advance of actual placement. Summer employment or volunteer work in a related field prior to the internship is strongly encouraged.

Ready for the World

Students are encouraged to participate in faculty-led study abroad programs sponsored by CASNR. Other UT faculty-led and semester abroad programs are offered through the Center for International Education. CASNR does offer some scholarships for CASNR students participating in study abroad programs. Students, faculty and staff participate in the annual Unity through Diversity Dinner held each fall. Some students select a minor in Modern Foreign Languages and Literature.

Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Experience Learning

Experience Learning LogoExperience Learning is a bold new initiative with the goal of transforming the educational student experience at the University of Tennessee. Over a five-year period, UT will transform our culture to give students more opportunities to be involved in civic engagement, solve complex real-world problems, and contribute to the welfare of their communities as part of their regular course work.

The purpose of Experience Learning is to help students apply the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom to real-world challenges. Experience Learning also seeks to engage student learning through direct experience and intense reflection to increase knowledge, acquire lifelong learning and problem-solving skills, and elucidate values.

Learn more about Experience Learning.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. Beginning with first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students entering in the Fall 2013 semester, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, go to

For More Information

Dr. Keith Belli
, Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries 
427 Plant Biotech Building
Knoxville, TN 37996-4563
 (865) 974-7126


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.


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