What our students say...
Our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds, practically-based and academic. Some of our students are self-employed, some are employed by private-sector companies of various sizes, and others are employed in the public-sector. A few of our students left school at the earliest opportunity and have found our courses an ideal and accessible way to obtain a meaningful and respected higher-level paper qualification, and a springboard to new employment opportunities.
“The Module was exceptional - very informative and well organized. It was very valuable for my current job. Learning about ecological interactions helps us to take life as a holistic system and not an island.”
"The high competence of the professors in the field and the ability to transmit their knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject were remarkable."
“Diverse case studies were key in comprehending the important topics and issues covered.”
“I really appreciated the amount of work that had gone into creating the electronic reading list, making materials very accessible.”
“I found the lecture videos to be most valuable.”
“I particularly liked the group seminars because this is the part of the module which was most interactive and concepts were discussed exhaustively.”
“As a distance learner the most valuable part of the course was a well-structured blackboard site for the module content which made it easy to follow along with content around the rest of my life.”
“The most interesting aspects included matching species to site, continuous cover forestry, ecological site classification and tropical forest silviculture.”
“I really enjoyed learning about resilience and sustainable livelihoods, these brought together and enhanced ideas I had been nursing for years in a productive way and is something I am now really interested in and will continue to learn about.”
“The lecturers have all provided very varied experienced views on the interdisciplinary nature of natural resource management. As someone who has come from a very forestry focused background (mostly), I have found this broadening of thinking and approach very useful and actually quite inspiring.”
“The training in planning and GIS software alone was worth the whole cost of the degree.”
“The residential component was very useful, getting together with people and sharing experiences. Practical elements are always great; the forest visits were valuable and very much appreciated.”
“Self-assessments and model answers were very useful. Feedback and comments from [the teaching staff] were very beneficial.”
“This module definitely informed my work as a Forester.”
“Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) were not something I had put a lot of thought into. Having completed the module, now I feel that it is an important part of the management of forests and woodlands and will only become more so in the future.”
“I liked that the assessments were based on investigation of real life aspects relevant to our respective countries. The fact that students are located in many different countries but have the opportunity to discuss and compare makes it much more interesting. It's a really good concept for a distance learning course.”
“I loved the practicability of this module. I really enjoyed doing the inventory, even though it had a number of challenges.”
“I gained a lot of new skills regarding data collection, data analysis and data interpretation of forest inventory results.”
"I really loved the module, and especially enjoyed preparing the summative assessment. I really like the original and refreshing way the module was organised, presented and assessed. The reading was really interesting."
"I found that the module provided a great précis to issues covered in the course as well as adding context in terms of their story and policy."
“For me the most significant research highlighted in this [Carbon footprinting] module is the impact of our farming methods on greenhouse gas emissions, and how we could reduce these by changing our practices. [It has helped me when] speaking to farmers and other professionals and organizations who work with farmers, government officials as well as changing our practices on the home farm."
Every year, we hold a UK Forestry Study Tour for those studying on the Forestry (distance learning) programmes. Every other year, we hold a Tropical Forestry Study Tour, as part of the Tropical Forestry (distance learning) programme.
These are residential programmes, enabling students to visit a wide range of relevant sites, plus the chance to meet with fellow students, staff and a range of experts, including forest managers, research scientists, policy makers, non-governmental organisations and others.
For many students, these are the most valuable and memorable part of our programmes, bringing a whole range of issues to life and providing vital context, background and substance to this fascinating subject area.
Tropical Forestry Study Tour
“To have the actual experience of tropical forestry instead of only learning it from books was really valuable to me.”
“I was very impressed with how this challenging and ambitious module was organised. It allowed students to put into practice what we had learnt in all other modules such as agroforestry, silviculture, and forest monitoring and assessment.”
“The group research was most valuable to me because I was able to interact with my lecturers and classmates from different parts of the world. This module helped me to understand experimental research and to collect data. I enjoyed talking face to face with my lecturers and discussing the challenges I faced as distance learning student.”
UK Forestry Study Tour
“I had a really wonderful time - and learned so much. The sites were so varied and fascinating. The people we met super interesting, and getting to discuss our thoughts with you guys, and the fellow students - really great. A really top trip.”
“It was great to meet you all, make friends and spend the week discussing all things forestry. And in such beautiful countryside!”
Read a blog about the study tour by one of our students
Here’s what some of our recent graduates have said about our distance learning forestry programmes.
Jeff G, MSc Forestry 2019
“I'd just like to say thanks for running such a great course- I'd definitely recommend it. While the dissertation has been a struggle at times, I've really enjoyed the course overall and it's been great to meet a brilliant bunch of people and learn a lot.”
Jo Arponen, MSc Forestry. Graduated 2019
“I am so happy... thank you so much. I really could not have done this without the amazing support of you all. I have been truly grateful for all the support I’ve had when carrying out my dissertation as well as with all of the modules. Embarking on this MSc was a huge undertaking and I have learned an incredible amount. It has been an absolute honour to be a student of Bangor University.”
John Cummings (Belgium), MSc Forestry. Graduated 2019
"I thank you for the support you gave to me as a distance learner, especially the prompt and helpful replies to emails which is so important for those of us who are not on campus. I think the teaching, organisation and administration of the course are all excellent."
Andrew W (from England), MSc Forestry, registered 2018
"Now studying on my third module, this programme has shown me how open to reflection and debate the subject of forestry is. I have been encouraged to consider a wide range of views and to draw my own conclusions. The distance learning format is flexible and really engaging in a number of ways. I would highly recommend it to anybody looking to study forestry."
Barbara H (Germany), MSc Tropical Forestry
“The special thing about Bangor distance learning is that it goes together with real-world university lectures. One has the feeling to take part in something that happens physically and not just virtually.”
Ben W (Wales, UK), MSc Forestry. Graduated 2018
“I received my certificate yesterday. My sincere thanks for your help, encouragement, support and for the positive light you held my work in. It was a challenging 3 years but I am so pleased with my achievement: it is something I am tremendously proud of. It surpassed all the expectations that I held when I started out.”
Nabaghan O (India), MSc Tropical Forestry. Graduated 2018.
“I would like to thank you for your continuous support throughout my MSc programme. I sincerely thank the entire team at Bangor University, without which it wouldn’t have been possible to gain my degree.”
Mokete J B (Lesotho), MSc Tropical Forestry. Graduated 2018.
“I humbly wish to thank Bangor University for giving the opportunity to further my studies in this outstanding university. It has been my greatest pleasure being a distance learning student here hence I recommended it to one of my fellow colleagues who is now also studying at Bangor via distance learning. I would like to thank the staff of this best university, lecturers, staff, and all students. Above all, I would like to thank the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission for financing my studies since 2015. If it was not for their support, life could have been very difficult for me while studying.”
Rob R (England), MSc Forestry. Graduated 2018.
“Thank you. Three years ago I started with absolutely limited knowledge of trees and no academic experience; to get a distinction is a real privilege and honour. I feel so very proud of myself and eternally grateful for your support and teaching. I will always look back fondly at this time as a steep learning curve but one where I was able to prove myself.”
Jonathan S (France), MSc Tropical Forestry (after completing part 1 of the programme)
“I fully appreciate everything that the staff at Bangor have shown me, and realise the huge amount I have got out of my two years thus far on the MSc Tropical Forestry course. So, thank you!”
Patrick Duffy (Scotland), MSc. Forestry. Graduated 2016
"The MSc is a big undertaking around work and other life commitments, but well worth the journey. Modules and subject areas provide varied subjects and up-to-date research and insight. Each one offers a milestone achievement each time. Very rewarding overall. Forestry is also much more than about trees, although there is quite a lot about trees!"
Joe Gray (England), MSc. Forestry. Graduated 2016
“Choosing to study at Bangor ranks among the very best decisions I have ever made.”
Hannah Maggs (England), MSc. Forestry. Graduated 2016
“The distance learning staff were thoughtful, supportive and considerate. I thoroughly recommend the course!”
Hans Sukhdeo (Guyana), MSc. Forestry. Graduated 2015
“I found the experience invaluable, as I have had the chance to interact with many people of various backgrounds and culture and it has helped me to grow in my understanding of not just forestry, but also many other aspects, such as the social aspects associated with forestry, for example.”
Alice Snowden (Scotland), MSc Forestry & Forest Products. Graduated 2014
“I enrolled on this MSc course at the suggestion of my employers, and was supported throughout by them. I have a science background and several years of experience in the forest nursery industry. I found the course material very interesting; an excellent academic base of information in each module and credit … to all the module organisers and lecturers involved! Personal and prompt feedback, excellent course notes, books and assignments, the sheer quality of online resources, the quality of the summer school and the opportunity to meet the other students (many involved throughout the profession) make this course a career-changing opportunity, in particular for those already involved in forestry.”
Jim White (England), PG Dip Forestry. Graduated 2014
“I am pleased and grateful for the opportunity to have achieved a PG Dip and the process of getting there, at least, has helped me develop my skills and knowledge which I have managed to put to good use in my work and the services I can offer to my woodland owning clients and of course for the development of my business overall.”
Benjamin Sheers, MSc Forestry student
I came to forestry after a brief spell working in archaeology and subsequently finding myself working in various administrative roles. I wanted to choose a new career path where I could work outside, contribute to the environment, and challenge myself both physically and mentally. Growing up in the Welsh Marches, I’ve always been at my happiest when out in the woods, and whilst researching higher education courses in forestry I came across the distance MSc in Forestry at Bangor. The course appealed to me because of the variety of subjects that it covered and the experience and credentials of the lecturers. Many of the people I’ve met in the industry have been alumni with fond memories of their time studying at Bangor. The flexibility of distance learning made it possible for me to undertake an MSc whilst continuing to work full-time. Most importantly, because the course had flexible entry requirements, I was able to demonstrate my commitment to the subject and secure a place on the course without having an undergraduate degree in forestry.
After beginning my studies, I sought out a variety of work experience opportunities, aiming to get as much experience as possible in both the practical and management aspects of forestry. Thanks to the regular emails containing job opportunities that are sent out to students, I became aware of the internship opportunities at the Heart of England Forest. The Heart of England Forest is a woodland creation charity with the objective of creating a 30,000 acre broadleaf forest across Warwickshire and Worcestershire. As my primary interests in forestry are conservation and the management of broadleaf woodlands, the Heart of England Forest is an endeavour that I was eager to become involved with.
I was successful in my application, and since beginning my internship I have had an amazing opportunity to experience the practical side of forestry. I’ve helped with planting and restocking efforts; collected Wild Service Tree seeds for the Kew Wakehurst, Millenium Seed Bank Partnership, marked out compartments for planting, worked with volunteers and members of the public, obtained my CS30 and 31 chainsaw qualifications and been trained in first aid with an additional forestry element. The charity really invests in the professional development of staff and I’m working with a diverse team of foresters from a variety of backgrounds who all have a shared passion for forestry and conservation.
Beginning my MSc and the internship have been life-changing experiences for me. Being able to work in a field that I’m truly passionate about is incredibly rewarding, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support and encouragement of Dr James Walmsley at Bangor, and Beth Brook, Will Taylor and Stephen Coffey at the Heart of England Forest. If anyone else is considering a change in career path, I strongly encourage them to do so. If you are passionate, motivated and open to opportunities, it is absolutely possible.
Comments from my manager, Stephen Coffey (Head Forester)
The Heart of England Forest is committed to addressing the skills shortage in the forestry sector, our intern and apprenticeships program goes some way to address this. We enjoy the diversity the program brings to our team and so far no two people have been the same. Ben came to us with a developing, but sound, theoretical knowledge of forestry with a need for practical skills to continue his career development and he has been an asset to the Heart of England Forest. His attention to detail has proved most welcome in the surveys he has undertaken and pieces written for out communications team. In the relatively short space of time he has been with us he has planted thousands of trees and helped lay out the planting areas worked on our wild service tree trial site. Other work has included selecting and tagging tree dedications, woodland access route inspection, providing team leader cover for volunteer groups, chainsaw and strimmer work and wildlife surveys. Throughout this time Ben has been inquisitive and eager to learn new things.
Blazing a new trail into the forestry profession
**** Following the completion of his internship (summer 2019-2020), Jim Wright is now employed as an Assistant Forester by Pryor and Rickett and is enjoying his new career, contributing to the sustainable management of a wide range of woodlands and forests in South- and Mid Wales.****
Bangor student Jim Wright who is studying MSc Forestry (distance learning), currently registered on the programme at Bangor University, started the course in order to change career, after working in a variety of different industries. His commitment to the subject has seen him secure a placement with a leading forest management company, Pryor & Rickett Silviculture.
Reflecting on his journey into forestry and his placement with Pryor and Rickett, Jim Wright said “I found my way into forestry a little later than many via a varied path that included both hospitality and teaching amongst other things. I think this helped my initial forays to some extent, as I've not only felt it incumbent upon myself to catch up by taking every possible opportunity to engage but also picked up a number of life skills which I feel helped to make me attractive to Pryor & Rickett – most notably life experience, people skills and confidence.
Thanks to the links that Bangor University has with many forest and land management related employers, lots of opportunities are regularly circulated to current students and alumni. Hence I made a number of applications and it wasn't long before I was invited to an interview in South Wales with Pryor & Rickett.
Three months since I started my year as an Assistant Forester, I'm exposed on a daily basis to new and interesting ways to supplement and built upon my university studies. Contact with senior foresters, landowners, contractors and public servants in forestry has helped me understand and practice a whole range of skills that will give me a great foundation on which to build my forestry career.
The distance learning nature of Bangor's MSc Forestry degree really made this opportunity possible. I am writing this at my desk in the office in Brecon, having just spent a day out on site surveying a new property with a colleague, where we discussed the possibility of integrating agroforestry systems. And what is my next university assessment..., to design an agroforestry system, as part of module focusing on agroforestry!
I would encourage any students who have the opportunity to further their learning in a day to day capacity to have the confidence to trust that they can do it, no matter what stage of their studies they are at. Go for it!”
Pryor & Rickett, Senior Forester Andrew Sowerby MCIFor, was glowing in his assessment of the work that Jim has done so far. “Since starting in June 2019, Jim has contracted and supervised manual and chemical weeding operations. Surveyed planting sites to assess survival rates of tree seedlings. Supervised clear-felling, thinning and the construction of timber harvesting facilities through civil engineering. He proficiently assesses sites for important compliance regarding health, safety and the environment and records his finding digitally in iAuditor. His supervision work includes one thinning site that requires felling adjacent to a scheduled ancient monument with roosting bats, an involved community and technical tree harvesting of uneven aged trees in a recreation site. Jim is currently busy preparing for the winter planting season, when he will supervise restocking and woodland creation of over 200 hectares of woodland. Since starting in the role Jim has thrived in the complexity of modern forestry, enjoyed the freedom of 4x4 driving and distinguished himself as a thoughtful and committed Masters student of Bangor University.”
James Walmsley, course director for the MSc Forestry (distance learning) programme and personal tutor for Jim Wright, added:
“Being able to help people live out their dreams is a real honour, I’m really delighted that Jim has been able to secure such a great placement, truly bringing his studies to life. There are consistently a number of ‘career changers’ who study with us and the part-time nature of these programmes mean that it’s no longer necessary for them to wait until they graduate before seeking out new and exciting employment opportunities. I hope that this success story provides encouragement to other employers to also consider offering this ‘sandwich placement’ option, and similarly I hope it provides inspiration to current students that they really can make their dream of a forestry career come true.”