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Graduate Degree Programs
M.S., M.P.S. or Ph.D. in Wood Science

Ph.D. and M.S.

Applicants for the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in the wood science option are required to have a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering. Applicants must have the appropriate undergraduate degree for the option they pursue. Applicants must have completed at least one semester of coursework in chemistry, biology, physics and calculus.


The M.P.S. in Wood Science is open to students with a demonstrated interest in wood science or the wood products industry. A bachelor’s degree in science or engineering is strongly recommended. Applicants to the M.P.S. in wood science and technology should have completed at least one semester of coursework in chemistry, biology, physics, and calculus.

Coursework requirements are described in the Academic Catalog.

Wood Science Topic Areas

Engineered Wood Products and Structures (timber structure design)

  • Dr. George Kyanka
  • Dr. Rafaat Morsi-Hussein

Students with interest in Engineered Wood Products and Structures should have a strong background in integral calculus, statics, mechanics, and mechanical and physical properties of wood. The behavior of wood and wood-based components under loads and the effects of duration of the loads are critical elements when developing engineering codes. Wooden components as small as dowels or as large as bridge beams are considered, using elements of materials science, engineering mechanics and structural engineering. Basic property knowledge, employing theories of elasticity, visco-elasticity and fracture mechanics, is coupled with computer-aided design data to analyze the performance of wood and to solve application problems, such as those encountered in wood-frame construction and timber utility structures. How such factors as chemical fire retardant treatments, adhesive performance and mechanical fastener design interact with use requirements is considered. National and international design codes and their development play an important role in specifying research areas of current interest and need. Fabrication and testing of actual components such as trusses, composite beams, and furniture connections are completed in the department’s Wood Engineering Laboratory.

Topics of study may include: Materials science, Engineering mechanics and elasticity, Engineering properties of wood composites, Computer-aided design, Static and dynamic properties of wood.

Tropical Timbers

  • Dr. Susan E. Anagnost
  • Dr. Robert Meyer

Studies of tropical timbers take many forms, depending on individual student interests. Often students from other countries bring specific problems and materials with them so their thesis will find immediate application when they return home. The holdings of the C. deZeeuw Memorial Library and reference wood specimens of the H.P. Brown Memorial Wood Collection of the Tropical Timber Information Center (TTIC), housed in Baker Laboratory facilities, are vital to this work.

Research topics may be formulated to answer questions dealing with anatomy, identification, properties or uses of various woods from around the world, using the TTIC reference materials. These studies may be quite narrow, such as anatomy and physical properties of woods from a particular region, or much broader, such as regional distribution of species and species groups based on life zone research throughout a country or larger geographic area.

Topics of study include: Wood Identification keys and systematics, Wood properties and end use suitability, Life zone analyses, Expert systems.

Wood Anatomy and Ultrastructure

  • Dr. Susan E. Anagnost
  • Dr. Robert Meyer

Students with interest in Wood Anatomy and Ultrastructure should have an undergraduate degree in wood anatomy or the biological sciences. Students are required to develop an extensive background in all aspects of microscopy: light, scanning electron, transmission electron, video microscopy and image analysis, including micro-techniques for effective preparation of specimens for the appropriate instrument. Wood anatomy studies are basic to wood identification, wood utilization, and physical/mechanical properties. These studies may include woods from other continents.

The field of ultrastructure is very broad with applications in many biological, chemical and materials sciences. Applied to wood, it emphasizes the sub-light microscopic structures (smaller than 0.2 micrometers) found in this natural material, either in the mature form or in its formative stages where various organelles of the living cell may be studied for their roles in producing the mature wood cell.

The behavior of wood in its many applications can be observed and explained via microscopy and related instrumentation such as EDXA (energy-dispersive x-ray analysis). State-of-the-art resources and facilities are concentrated in the Center for Ultrastructure Studies, which provides instruction and research support staff.

Students entering this program should have an undergraduate degree in wood anatomy or the biological sciences.

Topics of study include: Wood formation and cell wall organization, Cytoskeleton of plant cells, Properties related to anatomy and ultrastructure, Electron and light microscopy.

Wood Science and Technology

  • Dr. Susan E. Anagnost
  • Dr. George Kyanka
  • Dr. Robert Meyer
  • Dr. Rafaat Morsi-Hussein
  • Dr. William B. Smith

Because wood is renewable, it will meet the needs of modern society for a perpetually available, carbon-neutral material perfectly suited for a vast array of products. The study area Wood Science and Technology includes detailed research on physical, mechanical, or anatomical aspects of wood and its utilization and leads to the M.S., M.P.S., or Ph.D. degree. Wood science stresses research on the material science of wood, dealing with properties important to its use, or to solve problems in wood utilization by practical applications of such knowledge.

Students entering this program should have an undergraduate degree in wood science or a related area.

Topics of study include: Processing and machining, Mechanical and physical properties, The effects of wood anatomy on the physical and mechanical properties of wood, Wood biodegradation, Wood composites, Wood drying and physics, Adhesives and finishing, Dendrochronology.

Wood Treatments

  • Dr. Susan E. Anagnost
  • Dr. William B. Smith

Graduate study in the area of wood treatments allows the student to investigate the scientificbasis for the improvement of wood and wood products with various treatments, which include drying, preservative treatments and coatings. Preparation for research includes graduate coursework in wood-water relationships and transport processes and additional study in areas such as wood anatomy and ultrastructure, mechanical properties, wood chemistry, wood microbiology, thermodynamics, and engineering economics.

Current research interests include use of innovative techniques to dry and preserve wood, effects of drying method on the subsequent treatability of wood, evaluation of energy usage in lumber drying technologies, improving wood properties with polymer treatments, and moisture migration studies.

Students entering this program should have an undergraduate degree in wood science or a closely related field.

Topics of study include: Wood-water relationships and wood drying, Preservative treatments, Polymer treatments, sealants and coatings.