Wood Science and Technology

Bachelor of Science - Wood Science & Technology Major

Accredited by the Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST), the Wood Science and Technology curriculum prepares students in key skill sets using hands-on cutting-edge technology, innovation in new product development, marketing, and manufacturing to directly work in an ever-growing the U.S. forest products industry (biorefining, renewable materials, and sustainable construction). According to the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA), the U.S. forest products industry is one of the top ten manufacturing sector employers, which employs about one million workers and accounts for approximately six percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP. Some examples of products include: energy efficient green building construction materials, lignocellulosic materials for packaging, pharmaceutical and catalysis applications, highly advanced carbon materials for adsorption and electrochemical applications, energy and fuels applications from lignocellulosic materials, green fibers for textile and paper applications, and sporting goods. One of the most sensible alternatives to reduce global warming is the use of wood as a raw material in manufacturing of various products, which enables an environmentally friendly method to store atmospheric carbon in various wood products for prolonged periods. The Wood Science and Technology curriculum is highly focused on these aspects of the forest products industry.  

Professional Areas of Emphasis

Students may choose a specialized professional area of emphasis in Processing, Utilization, Renewable Materials Marketing, or Sustainable Low-Rise Residential Construction.

Processing Area of Emphasis

The Area of Emphasis in Processing provides flexibility within the context of a fundamental wood science and renewable materials-based curriculum by requiring that students complete a minor plus specialized wood processing courses and restricted electives.  Students transferring into wood science and technology from a related discipline may use the previous major instead of a minor as the area of emphasis provided the student has passed at least fifteen semester hours of core coursework from the previous discipline as indicated by a common course prefix (i.e., FMAN) with a C grade or better and has received approval from the wood science and technology faculty.  Potential careers include, but are not limited to production of wood products and other renewable plant-based materials (including residential construction materials and components, furniture and cabinets, and engineered wood products); marketing of building and related products; and research.

Utilization Area of Emphasis

The Area of Emphasis in Utilization consists of forestry, wood science, restricted electives, and related courses.  The Utilization area of professional emphasis prepares graduates for careers in timber harvesting, forest engineering, primary processing of wood products, and timber procurement.

Renewable Materials Marketing Area of Emphasis

The Renewable Materials Marketing Area of Emphasis prepares students for a career in marketing of wood and other renewable materials and products. Specific careers may include retail or wholesale marketing, sales, purchasing, or distribution of products.

Sustainable Low-Rise Residential Construction Area of Emphasis

The Sustainable Low-Rise Residential Construction Area of Emphasis prepares students for careers in management, supervision, and specifying of materials for single family and multi-family, low-rise residential (i.e. town houses and 2-3 story apartment buildings) construction.

Special Opportunities

A regional center for development of the wood products industry, the Appalachian Hardwood Center, is allied with the Wood Science and Technology Program.  The center's staff frequently provides opportunities for educational and professional development of wood science and technology students.  Students sometimes find part-time employment in the research program of the center as well as with the faculty's teaching and research program.

Career Opportunities

The U.S. forest products industry employs about one million workers. West Virginia University is one of the nine American universities, which provide accredited programs specifically designed to educate professionals to manage and provide technical expertise to the industry. The unique manufacturing sector focus of the program and the large base of potential employers result in an excellent job market for wood science and technology graduates. Career opportunities are quite diverse. The jobs span the spectrum from standing timber through manufacture of products to their marketing, distribution, and end use.  Graduates may work in sawmills as production managers or as timber procurement foresters, buying timber and planning harvesting operations in accordance with sound forest management and environmental practices.  They may also gain employment as quality assurance managers, production supervisors, and process engineers for companies that manufacture furniture, cabinets, state-of-the-art engineered wood products, renewable construction and bioproducts.  Graduates may become product designers and estimators, purchasers and sellers of materials and services, or supervisors and managers of residential construction projects.  Some of our graduates go on to graduate school in wood science or related disciplines, including forestry, business administration, and engineering.  They work in all parts of the nation and in both rural and urban communities, yet approximately half find employment in West Virginia.  Many of the leaders in the nation's wood products industry are WVU graduates.

Click the appropriate link below to view the corresponding Area of Emphasis (AOE) Requirements and Suggested Plans of Study.

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Curriculum Requirements

Students seeking the B.S. in Wood Science and Technology must select from one of four Areas of Emphasis.

Select one of the following:1
Careers in Natural Resources Management 1
First Year Seminar
Select one of the following (GEF 1):6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
BIOL 101
BIOL 103
General Biology
and General Biology Laboratory (GEF 2)
4
Select one of the following (fulfills Writing and Communication Skills requirement):3
Business and Professional Writing
Technical Writing
Select one of the following (GEF 8):4
Survey of Chemistry
Fundamentals of Chemistry
MATH 150Applied Calculus (GEF 3)3
PHYS 101Introductory Physics (GEF 8)4
STAT 211Elementary Statistical Inference (GEF 8)3
BUSA 201Survey of Economics (GEF 4)3
FOR 203Careers in Natural Resources Management 21
FOR 205Dendrology3
FOR 240Introduction to Computing in Natural Resources3
FOR 438Human Dimensions Natural Resource Management3
FMAN 222Forest Mensuration4
WDSC 100Forest Resources in United States History (GEF 5)3
WDSC 223Wood Anatomy and Structure3
WDSC 232Wood Grading and Procurement3
WDSC 340Physical Properties of Wood3
WDSC 341Wood Mechanics3
WDSC 362Forest Product Decision-Making4
WDSC 413Wood Chemistry3
WDSC 422Harvesting Forest Products3
WDSC 465Wood-based Composite Materials3
WDSC 491Professional Field Experience3
Capstone Experience:4
Senior Projects 1
Senior Projects 2
GEF 6 and GEF 76
Complete an Areas of Emphasis: *34
Total Hours120
*

For advanced students transferring into wood science and technology from a related major to qualify, the area of emphasis must:

  1. Include a core consisting of at least fifteen semester hours of coursework from the student's previous major
  2. Must all be from a single discipline as indicated by the course prefix (i.e., FMAN)
  3. Must have been passed with a C grade or better, and
  4. Must be approved by the Wood Science and Technology Faculty

suggested plan of study

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3BUSA 201 (GEF 4)3 
FOR 1011FOR 2403 
WDSC 100 (GEF 5)3MATH 150 (GEF 3)3 
BIOL 101
BIOL 103 (GEF 2)
4Approved GEF 063 
WDSC 2233Approved GEF 073 
 14 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
CHEM 111 (GEF 8)4WDSC 2323 
ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3PHYS 101 (GEF 8)4 
FOR 2053FOR 2031 
AoE Requirement6STAT 211 (GEF 8)3 
 AoE Requirement3 
 16 14
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
WDSC 3413WDSC 3403WDSC 4913
WDSC 4133FMAN 2224 
WDSC 4223ENGL 304 or 3053 
AoE Requirement6AoE Requirement6 
 15 16 3
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
FOR 4383WDSC 4653 
WDSC 3624WDSC 4812 
WDSC 4802AoE Requirement7 
AoE Requirement6  
 15 12
Total credit hours: 120

 

Processing Area of Emphasis

WDSC 330Wood Machining3
WDSC 337Wood Adhesion and Finishing3
WDSC 351Forest Products Protection3
University Approved Minor *15
Restricted Electives *10
Total Hours34
*

Credit hours for the minor and restricted electives are estimates and are dependent upon selected minor. A minimum of 34 credit hours is needed under the area of emphasis. Restricted electives must contribute to the student's professional development and must be approved by the student's advisor.

Suggested Plan of Study for The Processing Area of Emphasis

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3BUSA 201 (GEF 4)3 
FOR 101 or WVUE 1911FOR 2403 
WDSC 2233MATH 150 (GEF 3)3 
WDSC 100 (GEF 5)3GEF 63 
BIOL 101
BIOL 103 (GEF 2)
4GEF 73 
 14 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
CHEM 111 or 115 (GEF 8)4ORIN 164 or 2601 
ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3PHYS 101 (GEF 8)4 
FOR 2053WDSC 2323 
Approved Restricted Elective3STAT 211 (GEF 8)3 
Approved Restricted Elective3Approved Restricted Elective3 
 16 14
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
WDSC 330 (Alt. Yr.)3ENGL 304 or 3053WDSC 4913
WDSC 3413FMAN 2224 
WDSC 4133WDSC 3403 
WDSC 4223WDSC 3513 
Minor Requirement3Minor Requirement3 
 15 16 3
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
FOR 4383WDSC 4653 
WDSC 3373WDSC 4812 
WDSC 3624Minor Requirements6 
WDSC 4802Approved Restricted Elective1 
Minor requirement3  
 15 12
Total credit hours: 120

 

Renewable Materials Marketing Area of Emphasis

ACCT 201Principles of Accounting3
ARE 204Agribusiness Management3
ARE 461Agribusiness Finance3
BUSA 330Survey of Marketing3
WDSC 470Marketing Forest Products3
Select 1 of the following Minors: *15
Agribusiness Management
Business Administration
Entrepreneurial Studies
Restricted Elective *4
Total Hours34
*

Credit hours for the minor and restricted electives are estimates and are dependent upon selected minor. A minimum of 34 credit hours is needed under the area of emphasis. Restricted electives must contribute to the student's professional development and must be approved by the student's advisor.

Suggested Plan of Study for Renewable Materials Marketing Area of Emphasis 

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
BIOL 101
BIOL 103 (GEF 2)
4BUSA 201 (GEF 4)3 
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3MATH 150 (GEF 3)3 
FOR 101 or WVUE 1911FOR 2403 
WDSC 100 (GEF 5)3GEF 63 
WDSC 2233GEF 73 
 14 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
ACCT 2013ORIN 164 or 2601 
ARE 2043PHYS 101 (GEF 8)4 
CHEM 111 or 115 (GEF 8)4STAT 211 (GEF 8)3 
ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3WDSC 2323 
FOR 2053Approved Restricted Elective3 
 16 14
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
WDSC 3413ENGL 304 or 3053WDSC 4913
WDSC 4133FMAN 2224 
WDSC 4223WDSC 3403 
Minor requirement3WDSC 470 (alt. yr.)3 
Minor requirement3Minor Requirement3 
 15 16 3
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
FOR 4383ARE 4613 
WDSC 3624BUSA 3303 
WDSC 4802WDSC 4812 
Minor requirement3WDSC 4653 
Minor requirement3Approved Restricted Elective1 
 15 12
Total credit hours: 120

 

Sustainable Low-Rise Residential Construction Area of Emphasis

ID 240Codes and Interior Construction2
SAFM 470Managing Construction Safety3
DSGN 340Design for Energy Efficiency3
WDSC 320Sustainable Construction3
Select 1 of the following Minors: *15
Agribusiness Management
Business Administration
Entrepreneurial Studies
Sustainable Design
Restricted Electives *8
Total Hours34
*

Credit hours for the minor and restricted electives are estimates and are dependent upon selected minor. A minimum of 34 credit hours is needed under the area of emphasis. Restricted electives must contribute to the student's professional development and must be approved by the student's advisor.

Suggested Plan of Study for Sustainable Low-Rise Construction Area of Emphasis

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3BUSA 201 (GEF 4)3 
FOR 101 or WVUE 191 (or equivalent)1FOR 2403 
WDSC 2233MATH 150 (GEF 3)3 
WDSC 100 (GEF 5)3GEF 63 
BIOL 101
BIOL 103 (GEF 2)
4GEF 73 
 14 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
CHEM 111 or 115 (GEF 8)4ORIN 164 or 2601 
ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3PHYS 101 (GEF 8)4 
FOR 2053WDSC 2323 
Restricted Elective3Minor Requirement3 
Restricted Elective3STAT 211 (GEF 8)3 
 16 14
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
WDSC 3413WDSC 3403WDSC 4913
WDSC 4133FMAN 2224 
WDSC 4223ENGL 304 or 3053 
Minor requirement3WDSC 3203 
Minor requirement3ID 2402 
 15 15 3
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
DSGN 3403SAFM 4703 
FOR 4383WDSC 4653 
WDSC 3624WDSC 4812 
WDSC 4802Minor requirement3 
Minor requirement3Restricted elective2 
 15 13
Total credit hours: 120

 

Utilization Area of Emphasis

FHYD 444Watershed Management3
FMAN 212Forest Ecology3
FMAN 311Silvicultural Systems4
FMAN 330Principles of Forestry Economics4
FOR 326Remote Sensing of Environment3
WDSC 444Bio-based Energy Systems3
WMAN 234Forest Wildlife Management3
Restricted Electives *11
Total Hours34
*

Restricted electives must contribute to the student's professional development and must be approved by the student's advisor.

Suggested Plan of Study for The Utilization Area of Emphasis

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3BUSA 201 (GEF 4)3 
FOR 101 or WVUE 1911FOR 2403 
WDSC 100 (GEF 5)3MATH 150 (GEF 3)3 
BIOL 101
BIOL 103 (GEF 2)
4GEF 63 
WDSC 2233GEF 73 
 14 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
CHEM 111 or 115 (GEF 8)4WDSC 2323 
ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3ORIN 164 or 2601 
FOR 2053PHYS 101 (GEF 8)4 
FMAN 2123STAT 211 (GEF 8)3 
Approved Restricted Elective3Approved Restricted Elective3 
 16 14
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
ENGL 304 or 3053FMAN 2224WDSC 4913
WDSC 3413FOR 3263 
WDSC 4133WDSC 3403 
WDSC 4223WMAN 2343 
WDSC 4443Approved Restricted Elective3 
 15 16 3
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
FMAN 3114WDSC 4653 
FOR 4383FMAN 3304 
WDSC 3624FHYD 4443 
WDSC 4802WDSC 4812 
Approved Restricted Electives2  
 15 12
Total credit hours: 120

Major Learning Goals

Wood Science and Technology

The Wood Science and Technology program established specific expected learning goals as part of the program’s assessment plan. The plan was approved by the West Virginia University administration and the West Virginia Higher Education Board of Governors in 2007. The Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST) Accreditation Standards were adopted as the stated expected learning goals of the plan, and include the following:

  • Graduates will demonstrate a fundamental background in preparatory and general education courses in compliance with the requirements established by West Virginia University, the West Virginia Board of Governors, and the Accreditation standards of the Society of Wood Science and Technology.
  • Graduates will demonstrate a firm understanding of basic wood sciences, including anatomy and biology of wood formation; wood identification; physical properties; mechanical properties; chemical characteristics and properties; wood degradation and deterioration; and composite materials.
  • Graduates will demonstrate knowledgeable related to wood processing and manufacturing, including mechanical reduction of the raw material, drying processes, manufacture of solid wood products, manufacture of composite materials, chemical wood processing, and wood protection and enhancement.
  • Graduates will be able to compare and contrast a variety of complex contemporary issues of wood use, including demand, use, and impact of use on society and the environment; applications of wood and wood-based materials; choosing and specifying appropriate wood-based products; policy, regulation, environmental and other societal issues; professional ethics; and health, safety, and security issues.
  • Graduates will demonstrate competence in an area of professional emphasis that compliments their wood science and technology education.
     

WDSC 100. Forest Resources in United States History. 3 Hours.

Examines human use of forest resources in America from pre-Colombian times to present. Exploration of factors that impact the use of wood products.

WDSC 223. Wood Anatomy and Structure. 3 Hours.

PR: FOR 205. Anatomy and structure of commercial wood species of the U.S. Survey of basic properties of wood.

WDSC 225. Finished Wood Products. 3 Hours.

Exploration of the different materials used in low-rise residential and commercial construction applications for finishing and design aspects. Emphasis will be placed on wood products.

WDSC 232. Wood Grading and Procurement. 3 Hours.

PR: Forestry major or consent. Conversion and grading of raw materials in log form to primary wood products. Introduction to timber procurement systems.

WDSC 245. Residential Building Materials. 3 Hours.

Exploration of the different building materials used in residential and commercial construction. Emphasis will be placed on solid and engineered wood products as well as their manufacturing processes.

WDSC 293. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

WDSC 320. Sustainable Construction. 3 Hours.

Introduction to common building practices used in residential construction with emphasis on sustainable, green construction.

WDSC 330. Wood Machining. 3 Hours.

Introduction to basic concepts of wood machining with emphasis on production equipment and furniture manufacturing. Special topics of wood joining techniques and methods. Analysis of operational safety, health hazards and accident prevention. (Fall of even years.).

WDSC 337. Wood Adhesion and Finishing. 3 Hours.

PR: Wood Industry major or consent; WDSC 223. Fundamentals of the bonding and finishing of wood including preparation, processing, and evaluation of adhesive and finishing systems.

WDSC 340. Physical Properties of Wood. 3 Hours.

PR: WDSC 223. Specific gravity and density of wood; relationships between wood and liquids and applications in wood seasoning; thermal electrical and acoustical properties.

WDSC 341. Wood Mechanics. 3 Hours.

PR: Wood science major or consent; and WDSC 223, and MATH 155, and PHYS 101. Introduction to static properties of selections, elementary mechanics of deformable bodies, axial loading, column and beam analysis, and design considerations. (2 hr. lec., 1 hr. lab.).

WDSC 351. Forest Products Protection. 3 Hours.

PR: WDSC 223. Biological organisms responsible for deterioration of wood products, their control by preservative methods, and study of fire retarding methods.

WDSC 362. Forest Product Decision-Making. 4 Hours.

PR: Junior standing in forestry and MATH 155 and STAT 211. Use of decision making tools and techniques by forest products industry professionals, including examples of control chart techniques and acceptance sampling techniques, simulation modeling, linear programming, forcasting and network analysis. (4 hr. lec.).

WDSC 400. Forest Measurement Field Practice. 3 Hours.

PR: Wood industry major and FOR 205 and FMAN 322 and CE 200. Application of surveying and mensurational practices with emphasis on field problems.

WDSC 401. Wood Industries Field Trip. 1 Hour.

A one-week trip to observe manufacturing methods and techniques of commercial wood industry plants. Plants visited include furniture, plywood, veneer, hardboard, pulp and paper, sawmilling, and preservation.

WDSC 413. Wood Chemistry. 3 Hours.

PR: Wood science major or consent, and CHEM 231 or CHEM 233. Chemical composition of wood including cellulose, hemicellulose, and extractives. Chemical processing of wood.

WDSC 422. Harvesting Forest Products. 3 Hours.

PR: MATH 128 or equivalent and WDSC 232. Analysis of ground-based and cable harvesting systems, including time and motion studies, productivity and cost analysis, occupational safety and health, environmental issues, equipment evaluation and selection, and trucking of forest products. (2 hr. lec., 1 hr. lab.).

WDSC 423. Forest Roads. 4 Hours.

PR: CE 200 and CS 101. A study of techniques and methods of design, layout and construction details of various standards of forest roads.

WDSC 444. Bio-based Energy Systems. 3 Hours.

Introduction to biomass feedstock production for bioenergy application, preprocessing and characterization, biofuel conversion technologies, economic and environmental impacts, and greenhouse gas emissions.

WDSC 460. Plant Layout for Wood Industries. 3 Hours.

PR: Senior standing. Relates knowledge of wood product processes to optimize production. Study of proper arrangement of machines, and work and storage areas.

WDSC 465. Wood-based Composite Materials. 3 Hours.

PR: WDSC 232 and WDSC 340 and WDSC 341. Fundamentals of manufacturing wood-based composite materials, including processing, products, evaluation, and applications in the marketplace. (2 hr. lec., 1 hr. lab.).

WDSC 470. Marketing Forest Products. 3 Hours.

This course will examine techniques used by the forest products industry to market commodity, value-added specialty, and sustainable (i.e., green) products.

WDSC 480. Senior Projects 1. 2 Hours.

Senior project requires students to identify manwood science related problem, perorm a literature review, and develop a plan for research to be completed in WDSC 481.

WDSC 481. Senior Projects 2. 2 Hours.

PR: WDSC 480. Senior project requires students to use knowledge from other courses to conduct research proposed in WDSC 480 and analyze results and prepare a technical report.

WDSC 490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Teaching practice as a tutor or assistant.

WDSC 491. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 18 hours.) Prearranged experiential learning program, to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

WDSC 493. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

WDSC 494. Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

WDSC 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

WDSC 496. Senior Thesis. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent.

WDSC 498. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Students in Honors Program and consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study or research.