Students receive a mix of natural science and applied science courses. Upon completion of their degree graduates understand the principles of responsible forest management, forest ecology and forest regeneration (silviculture).
Instruction specific to forest operations incorporates aspects of geotechnical engineering (design of unpaved roads, footings for structures, consolidation, sediment transport, and slope stability), vehicle mechanics (power from the engine to the ground, vehicle dynamics, and tire-road interface), structural mechanics (cable systems, bridge design, and nonlinear systems), hydrology (the science of water flow), economic efficiency of harvesting operations, and the principles of land base planning.
A forestry education is unique in that students are constantly challenged to apply what they are learning. Lab sessions are often held outdoors to bring a hands-on reality to the education students get in the classroom. In addition to the lab sessions, field schools are an integral part of the forestry programs. The Forest Operations program has two field schools that students are required to attend, one at the beginning of third year, and one at the end of third year. These field schools are designed to introduce students to local forestry issues in different regions of British Columbia, as well as provide additional studies in land use, management and silviculture, site diagnosis, and the preparation of management options. Field skills are also reviewed and applied, making our graduates ready for the competitive workplace.
Graduates can become Registered Professional Foresters (RPFs) and work in many aspects of managing forest operations. Professional foresters have the exclusive right to practice and assess the impact of every action relating to forests and are legally responsible for planning all activities. The program is recognized by the Canadian Forestry Accreditation Board, and graduates who obtain their RPF designation are therefore eligible to work as professional foresters anywhere in Canada. With additional courses, Forest Operations graduates are also eligible to register as Professional Engineers (P.Eng.).