May 23, 2024  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, Forest Biology, Dual Degree

James Madison University Liaison: Heather Griscom
Phone: (540) 568-5525

The goal of the collaborative accelerated B.S.-M.F./M.S. program in forest biology is to allow exceptionally qualified students, who come from James Madison University and have an appropriate biological background, to start contributing to their Virginia Tech graduate degree before completing their baccalaureate degree. The collaborative B.S.-M.F./M.S. program is hence designed to accelerate students’ time to completion of their graduate degree and to facilitate their transition into the Virginia Tech graduate program. The program is designed to pair students with initial graduate faculty advisors to mentor them through both course selection and research opportunities within the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation (FREC).

Students will earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in biology from James Madison University (JMU) and a Master of Forestry (Professional) (M.F.) degree or a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation from Virginia Tech (VT). This program is an excellent option for an undergraduate student interested in forests and natural resources management. Students in this program graduate with both a B.S. and M.F or M.S. in five years, which usually takes six years to complete if applying to graduate school after earning a bachelor’s degree. After graduation from Virginia Tech, the student will have mastered the skills necessary to be competitive for jobs within government agencies (e.g., USFS) and the private sector (e.g., corporations, NGOs) in forests and natural resources management. 

During the first three years at JMU, the student must complete 89 credit hours, including all JMU general education  requirements, the cognate courses in chemistry and mathematics, a course in geology and at least 24 semester hours in biology courses, as shown below.

During the fourth year of study, when candidates will be in residence at Virginia Tech as undergraduate students in an accelerated advanced degree program, students will take 31 additional credits approved by the JMU biology department academic unit head or program coordinator for credit toward the B.S. in biology from JMU

A total of 38 semester hours of biology and biology-related courses (taken at JMU and Virginia Tech) will be required for the JMU B.S. in biology, which will be conferred after the fourth year of study. If the student’s academic record is satisfactory, he/she will be admitted into the graduate program of the Department of Forestry at Virginia Tech, where he/she will spend an additional year taking forest biology and natural resources courses to obtain the graduate degree. To apply for the dual degree program, the student must have the permission of the dean of the College of Science and Mathematics . Information about the program can be obtained from the faculty liaison. Students are encouraged to inquire as early as possible in their undergraduate careers.

First Year (JMU)

Second Year (JMU)

Third Year (JMU)

Fourth Year (Virginia Tech)

Fall: 15 Credits

  • FOR 4514. Forest and Tree Pest Management
  • FOR 4354. Forest Soil and Watershed Management
  • FOR 4374. Forested Wetlands
  • FOR 4334. Agroforestry
  • FOR 3354. Urban Forestry Arboricuture

Spring: 16 Credit Hours

  • FOR 3324. Silvicultural Principles and Applications
  • FOR 3104. Principles of Watershed Hyrdrology
  • FOR 4324. Genetics of Natural and Managed Populations
  • GRAD 5144. Communicating Science

Choose one:

  • FOR 4214. Forest Photogrammetry and Spatial Data Processing


  • FOR 4114. Information Technologies for Natural Resource Management