Excellence in interdisciplinary research and teaching to inform innovative solutions to environmental issues, and to shape the next generation of leaders for a sustainable future.
Our research covers an exciting mix of fundamental research into how organisms and ecosystems function, applied ecosystem research, and environmental social research.
Seminars, lectures, tours and other events run by the School of Ecosystem and Forest Science.
Support the School
Join the benefactors who partner with us to advance knowledge in the field of ecosystem and forest science research.
Contact details and maps for our three campuses.
School staff and students are located at three University of Melbourne campuses:
News from the school
The School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences teaches into the Bachelor of Science at an undergraduate level, and offers a range of graduate study options.
Undergraduate: Bachelor of Science and Breadth subjects
There are 41 majors to choose from in the Bachelor of Science. Ecosystem Science and Environmental Science are the majors offered by the School of Ecosystem and Forest Science.
Read more about the Bachelor of Science
Ecosystem and forest sciences subjects can also be taken as an elective to complement a major in another area, or as Breadth.
It only took one subject in ecosystem science for Mitchell Smith to find his dream career as a forest fire-fighter. Since taking a capstone subject in Forest Systems, Mitchell has worked across Victoria and the Tiwi Islands in the fire management sector. These experiences inspired him to return to study and complete graduate studies in Bushfire Planning and Management.
This major shows you how to care for, use and protect our ecosystems, allowing you to specialise in either urban ecosystems or forest ecosystems.
This major combines knowledge in biology, chemistry, statistics and earth sciences for a multidisciplinary approach to tackling our environmental challenges.
If your goal is to eventually study a PhD in this field, one pathway is to add an honours year to your Bachelor of Science.
Graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and community access subjects
Our certificates, diplomas and subjects are popular choices for graduates looking to upskill and professionals considering a career change.
Leon Holt began his working career in government working with planning authorities, local councils and the community as a land planner after completing a graduate program with a focus on forest ecosystems. Leon is now working directly in forest management in Victoria’s west, where he spends time managing them for multiple values, including timber production.
Learn how to manage trees in the urban forest, studying tree growth and function, plant identification and selection, pests and diseases, and environmental stresses.
Enhance your knowledge of fire in the Australian landscape and further develop skills in either planning and regulation to minimise bushfire risks, or fire management.
Learn about holistic design principles, how to choose and use the right plants for the right situations, and develop skills in drawing and graphic presentation.
Develop cross-disciplinary approaches to the planning, design and management of green infrastructure to improve city environments, including urban trees, green roofs and walls, and water-sensitive urban design.
Looking for a career change with a focus on plants? The Graduate Certificate of Urban Horticulture is a perfect introduction to the foundations of designing, creating, managing and advocating for urban green spaces.
Explore the foundations of designing, creating, managing and advocating for urban green spaces. This is a potential pathway into the Master of Urban Horticulture.
An excellent introductory course for those wishing to learn more about horticulture.
Australian School of Urban Forestry (short course)
Urban Forests Masterclass will focus on urban forests for resilient communities.
Assessment of Bushfire Exposure (micro cert)
Gain the capacity to provide bushfire assessments and recommendations to help build environmentally resilient properties.
Masters by coursework
These two-year courses are ideal for students looking to become specialists in their field, or prepare for research.
Build hands-on, practical skills in the management of our biophysical environment while learning to successfully consult and collaborate with communities and other stakeholders.
This degree, which includes a major research project, will take your expertise in ecosystem science to an advanced level, and prepare you for a career in research.
Learn to design, manage and advocate for greater urban greening and the importance of these green spaces.
Graduate research: PhD and masters by research
Pursue a career in research or academia and delve deeper into your area of interest through a Doctor of Philosophy or a Master of Philosophy in the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences.
If you’re thinking about a research career, but aren’t ready to commit to a PhD, the MPhil gives you the perfect introduction to university-based scientific research.
Join one of our world-renowned research groups, work with state-of-the-art equipment, and soak up all the professional development opportunities and international connections available at the highest level of research qualification.
The University of Melbourne has one of the most generous scholarship programs in Australia. With over 1200 scholarships and prizes available for new and current students, it's more than likely there is one that you're eligible for either when you start your course or during your studies.
We aim to develop high-quality, high-impact solutions to environmental and land management challenges. We work across disciplines and scales, and across urban, rural and wild land environments.
We focus on impact, working in research partnerships in industry, government and community to implement solutions. Our graduate research program provides opportunities for high-quality training and engagement with partners.
Biodiversity Dynamics Research Group (biodynamos)
Undertaking research on plant evolution and global change, fire management, animal ecology and conservation decision making.
Bushfire Behaviour and Management
Understanding and predicting fire behaviour and the impact on human and environmental features in the landscape, with the goal of better quantifying fire risk decisions.
Interactions of plants with their environment and the processes that control the functioning of ecosystems in urban and natural environments.
Environmental Social Science
Understanding how people relate to environments, ecosystems and non-human species, and how this knowledge can support more sustainable forests and cities.
Fire Ecology and Biodiversity
How fire causes patterns in the landscape, and how plants and animals respond to these patterns.
Forest and Water
Ecohydrology, evapotranspiration and streamflow dynamics, sediment dynamics and geomorphology, catchment evolution, with a particular interest in the hydrologic effects of fire.
Improving knowledge of forest carbon stores and underlying ecosystem processes, including interactions with other forest values (water, biodiversity), and impacts of changing fire and climate regimes.
Understanding how native forests develop, how they respond to disturbances and climate, and how this knowledge can inform better forest management.
Forest Ecology and Silviculture
How native forests develop, how they change over time, how they respond to disturbances and climate, and how this knowledge can inform better forest management.
Forest Molecular Biology and Genetics
Meristem differentiation and pattern formation in the vascular cambium and genetic diversity in relation to wood formation and environmental stress tolerance.
Green Infrastructure Research Group (GIRG)
Creating and embedding knowledge and technologies in smart design, construction and maintenance of green spaces, trees, parks, rain gardens, green roofs and facades throughout the urban landscape.
Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group
Environmental decision making, ecosystem management and conservation biology, emphasising the careful and thoughtful use of quantitative methods and models that underpin ecological inquiry.
Sustainable and Renewable Forest Products
Creating knowledge and building capability in the innovative uses of sustainably-managed timber resources for high-performance timber products.
Utilising trees for the production of valuable natural products such as terpenes and flavonoids.
Urban Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation (UrBEC)
Understanding the ecology of urban environments and how this can be applied for improved conservation management in cities.
Waterway Ecosystem Research Group (WERG)
Interactions between landscapes and waterways and development of tools for achieving healthy streams and rivers in urban and rural landscapes.
Integrated Forest Ecosystem Research (iFER)
A research initiative between the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), which aims to enhance the evidence base for managing the impacts of fire, climate and management regimes on multiple forest values in Victoria’s forest ecosystems now and into the future.
Melbourne Waterway Research-Practice Partnership
Acollaboration between Melbourne Water and the University of Melbourne to conduct and apply research to improve Melbourne’s waterways.
National University of Laos
Collaborative projects with the Faculty of Forestry at the National University of Laos to increase value from plantation-grown wood products and support policies to improve the environmental, economic and social outcomes from plantations.
Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub
Taking a holistic view on the sustainability and liveability of urban environments, producing the evidence base and collaborative partnerships to deliver better cities.
Infrastructure and facilities
Our research is supported by excellent research infrastructure and facilities, on campus or in the field. Some of our facilities are directly linked with national and international research initiatives and accessible to the wider scientific community.
PhDs and Masters by research
Start your research career here with a graduate research course.
We are actively engaged in partnerships with industry, government, alumni and the community to share knowledge and develop solutions to real-world problems. We aim to expand opportunities in research, commercialisation and executive education and develop a vibrant alumni community.
Our mission is excellence in interdisciplinary research and teaching, to inform innovative solutions to environmental issues, and to shape the next generation of leaders for a sustainable future.
The School of Ecosystem and Forest Science embraces a wide range of disciplines in the study of ecosystem processes and ecosystem management. Staff and students work in urban, rural, and wildland settings in Australia and across the world.
What we do
Our goal is to innovate in teaching, research and engagement. We collaborate widely across the University and beyond. We work in partnership with policy makers, practitioners and communities to generate knowledge that is relevant and useful for decision-making.
Our history and future
Disciplines within the School have a long history in Victoria, with teaching and research in horticulture at Burnley Campus extending back to 1891 and forestry at Creswick Campus back to 1910.
We built on these foundations in 2015 to form a modern and future-oriented academic group. We have a breadth of experience and capacity to address environmental issues such as climate change, bushfires, urban sustainability, biodiversity conservation, sustainable forest management, invasive species and biosecurity threats.
We are collegial, responsible and collaborative. We acknowledge the deep links between people and country in Aboriginal culture and the knowledge and understanding that indigenous communities across the world bring to the study of ecosystems and their management.
We conduct our research and engagement with integrity and respect, and we embrace diversity and inclusion in our community. We aim to maintain strong connections with our many alumni.