Graduate Catalog
2019-2020
 
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Forest Products
College of Natural Resources and Environment
The first phase of Cheatham Hall was built in 1972, to provide new classroom, laboratory, and office space for Forestry and Wildlife Resources, then a division of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Constructed at a cost of $1,670,000, the building offered 56,010 square feet of spacious classrooms and offices, all of which boasted paneled walls of different species donated by forest industry companies. The building was dedicated on May 5, 1972.
230, Mail Code:0323 Blacksburg VA 24061
Cheatham Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• PhD
PhD Degree in Forest Products
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
• MS
MS Degree in Forest Products
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
• MF
MF Degree in Forest Products
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
540/231-8853
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Aug 01
Spring: Jan 01
Summer I: May 01
Summer II: Jun 01
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Cheatham Hall

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Associate Department Head : Audrey Zink-Sharp
Department Head : Robert Smith
Graduate Program Director : Audrey Zink-Sharp (Associate Dept Head)
Professors: Brian Bond; Urs Buehlmann; Robert Bush; Kevin Edgar; Charles Frazier; A Hammett; David Kline; Joseph Loferski; Robert Smith; Paul Winistorfer; Audrey Zink-Sharp
Associate Professors: Daniel Hindman; Laszlo Horvath; Henry Quesada; Maren Roman
Assistant Professors: Young Kim

Sustainable Biomaterials

The Department of Sustainable Biomaterials is one of the leading academic programs in North America. We support a large graduate education program where students are engaged in research. Due to the nature of sustainable biomaterials, we have considerable interaction in our graduate education and research endeavors with other departments, colleges, centers and institutes on the Virginia Tech campus. Our faculty expertise is diverse and experienced in support of our graduate education mission.

We provide educational and research opportunities in the areas of sustainable biomaterials, spanning the range from nanotechnology and the basic science of wood and other renewable materials, through processing, manufacturing, marketing, management, and competitiveness aspects of the various biomaterials industries. Some of our research is done in concert with our faculty-directed research centers and is supported by these Centers and their external cooperators.

General areas of degree specialization within our graduate program include: Forest Products Marketing, Non-Timber Forest Products, Packaging Science, Pallet and Container Design, Wood Engineering, Wood Performance in Structures, Composites, Adhesion, Wood Formation, Cell Wall Architecture, Bio-Materials, Lumber Drying and Processing, Lean Manufacturing, Wood Industry Management, Packaging for Modern Supply Chains, Packaging and Unit Load Design

Research and Education Centers

The department supports specific research centers, under the direction and organization of faculty groups. These centers leverage real-world experiences for our students via externally funded research projects and interaction with industry advisory board members. Our current centers include:

Center for Forest Products Business
Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design
Wood-Based Composites Center
Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 80.0
  • GRE
    • General Test
      • Verbal :
      • Quantitative :
      • Analytical :
All program degree requirements and supplemental information about graduate education in our department is summarized in our annually updated Graduate Student Policy and Procedures manual, available online on our department website. This manual describes all required coursework, graduation and other requirements, and activities associated with graduate education in our department.

The department offers three degrees: Master of Forestry (M.F.), Master of Science (M.S.) in Forestry and Forest Products, and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Forestry and Forest Products. The M.S. and Ph.D. degrees require students to prepare a thesis or dissertation, and considerable time spent working for these degrees is devoted to research. The M.F. degree is a professional, non-research, non-thesis  degree for those who wish to expand their post-baccalaureate education.

Master of Forestry

The M.F. is a non-thesis degree intended to serve the needs of those who have a prior sustainable biomaterials degree and who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills, or those who have no previous degree in sustainable biomaterials.

In addition to formal course work at the graduate and senior undergraduate levels that is commensurate with the objectives of the student's degree program, a substantive paper worth three to six hours of academic credit is required. A minimum credit hours in formal course work, inclusive of hours credited towards the degree paper, must be passed with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for courses in the program of study.

The M.F. student must pass a comprehensive oral examination covering her/his course work and the degree paper. All Graduate School requirements apply to the nature and timing of the candidate's final examination.

Master of Science

The M.S. is a research-based degree. Students work closely with a faculty advisor and graduate committee on original research. Advanced coursework is expected in the areas of expertise required to complete the research project. Students complete a thesis and are expected to publish their research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals at the completion of their degree. Graduates are prepared to continue their professional careers or undertake further study through a Ph.D. program.

All Graduate School requirements apply regarding the number of credit hours and level of courses required on a student's Plan of Study. M.S. students must complete a research working plan by the end of the second academic semester. Guidelines for the preparation and submission of the working plan are listed in the College of Natural Resources & Environment (CNRE) graduate program procedures.

M.S. students must pass a final exam. The examination will be a defense of the thesis and an assessment of the student's understanding of appropriate related subjects.

Doctor of Philosophy

Each Ph.D. student must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours of graduate study and a dissertation. The Plan of Study must meet minimum Graduate School requirements; in addition, a student's advisory committee may add specific requirements needed for an individual student's academic development. Ph.D. students must complete a research working plan by the end of the third academic semester. Guidelines for the preparation and submission of the working plan are listed in the College of Natural Resources & Environment (CNRE) graduate program procedures.

A preliminary exam, oral and/or written, is conducted by the student's advisory committee. It is comprehensive in nature and intended to test a student's ability to integrate, synthesize, and apply concepts, facts, and techniques in solving new and complex problems associated with sustainable biomaterials. The student may be tested on any aspect of sustainable biomaterials science, the philosophy of science, and research methodology.

The final exam is primarily a defense of the dissertation, but other areas of science may be included. Ph.D. students are expected to publish their research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals at the completion of their degree.
Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 80.0
  • GRE
    • General Test
      • Verbal :
      • Quantitative :
      • Analytical :
All program degree requirements and supplemental information about graduate education in our department is summarized in our annually updated Graduate Student Policy and Procedures manual, available online on our department website. This manual describes all required coursework, requirements and activities associated with graduate education in our department.

The department offers three degrees: Master of Forestry (M.F.), Master of Science (M.S.) in Forestry and Forest Products, and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Forestry and Forest Products. The M.S. and Ph.D. degrees require students to prepare a thesis or dissertation, and considerable time spent working for these degrees is devoted to research. The M.F. degree is a professional, non-research degree for those who wish to expand their post-baccalaureate education.

Master of Forestry

The M.F. is a non-thesis degree intended to serve the needs of those who have a prior sustainable biomaterials degree and who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills, or those who have no previous degree in sustainable biomaterials.

In addition to formal course work at the graduate and senior undergraduate levels that is commensurate with the objectives of the student's degree program, a substantive paper worth three to six hours of academic credit is required. A minimum of 33 credit hours in formal course work, inclusive of hours credited towards the degree paper, must be passed with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for courses in the program of study.

The M.F. student must pass a comprehensive oral examination covering his/her course work and the degree paper. All Graduate School requirements apply to the nature and timing of the candidate's final examination.

Master of Science

The M.S. is a research-based degree. Students work closely with a faculty advisor and graduate committee on original research. Advanced coursework is expected in the areas of expertise required to complete the research project. Students complete a thesis and are expected to publish their research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals at the completion of their degree. Graduates are prepared to continue their professional careers or undertake further study through a Ph.D. program.

All Graduate School requirements apply regarding the number of credit hours and level of courses required on a student's Plan of Study. M.S. students must complete a research working plan by the end of the second academic semester. Guidelines for the preparation and submission of the working plan are listed in the College of Natural Resources & Environment (CNRE) graduate program procedures.

M.S. students must pass a final exam. The examination will be a defense of the thesis and an assessment of the student's understanding of appropriate related subjects.

Doctor of Philosophy

Each Ph.D. student must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours of graduate study and a dissertation. The Plan of Study must meet minimum Graduate School requirements; in addition, a student's advisory committee may add specific requirements needed for an individual student's academic development. Ph.D. students must complete a research working plan by the end of the third academic semester. Guidelines for the preparation and submission of the working plan are listed in the College of Natural Resources & Environment (CNRE) graduate program procedures.

A preliminary exam, oral and/or written, is conducted by the student's advisory committee. It is comprehensive in nature and intended to test a student's ability to integrate, synthesize, and apply concepts, facts, and techniques in solving new and complex problems associated with sustainable biomaterials. The student may be tested on any aspect of sustainable biomaterials science, the philosophy of science, and research methodology.

The final exam is primarily a defense of the dissertation, but other areas of science may be included. Ph.D. students are expected to publish their research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals at the completion of their degree.
Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 80.0
  • GRE
    • General Test
      • Verbal :
      • Quantitative :
      • Analytical :
All program degree requirements and supplemental information about graduate education in our department is summarized in our annually updated Graduate Student Policy and Procedures manual, available online on our department website. This manual describes all required coursework, requirements and activities associated with graduate education in our department.

The department offers three degrees: Master of Forestry (M.F.), Master of Science (M.S.) in Forestry and Forest Products, and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Forestry and Forest Products. The M.S. and Ph.D. degrees require students to prepare a thesis or dissertation, and considerable time spent working for these degrees is devoted to research. The M.F. degree is a professional, non-research degree for those who wish to expand their post-baccalaureate education.

Master of Forestry

The M.F. is a non-thesis degree intended to serve the needs of those who have a prior sustainable biomaterials degree and who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills, or those who have no previous degree in sustainable biomaterials.

In addition to formal course work at the graduate and senior undergraduate levels that is commensurate with the objectives of the student's degree program, a substantive paper worth three to six hours of academic credit is required. A minimum of 33 credit hours in formal course work, inclusive of hours credited towards the degree paper, must be passed with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for courses in the program of study.

The M.F. student must pass a comprehensive oral examination covering his/her course work and the degree paper. All Graduate School requirements apply to the nature and timing of the candidate's final examination.

Master of Science

The M.S. is a research-based degree. Students work closely with a faculty advisor and graduate committee on original research. Advanced coursework is expected in the areas of expertise required to complete the research project. Students complete a thesis and are expected to publish their research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals at the completion of their degree. Graduates are prepared to continue their professional careers or undertake further study through a Ph.D. program.

All Graduate School requirements apply regarding the number of credit hours and level of courses required on a student's Plan of Study. M.S. students must complete a research working plan by the end of the second academic semester. Guidelines for the preparation and submission of the working plan are listed in the College of Natural Resources & Environment (CNRE) graduate program procedures.

M.S. students must pass a final exam. The examination will be a defense of the thesis and an assessment of the student's understanding of appropriate related subjects.

Doctor of Philosophy

Each Ph.D. student must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours of graduate study and a dissertation. The Plan of Study must meet minimum Graduate School requirements; in addition, a student's advisory committee may add specific requirements needed for an individual student's academic development. Ph.D. students must complete a research working plan by the end of the third academic semester. Guidelines for the preparation and submission of the working plan are listed in the College of Natural Resources & Environment (CNRE) graduate program procedures.

A preliminary exam, oral and/or written, is conducted by the student's advisory committee. It is comprehensive in nature and intended to test a student's ability to integrate, synthesize, and apply concepts, facts, and techniques in solving new and complex problems associated with sustainable biomaterials. The student may be tested on any aspect of sustainable biomaterials science, the philosophy of science, and research methodology.

The final exam is primarily a defense of the dissertation, but other areas of science may be included. Ph.D. students are expected to publish their research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals at the completion of their degree.

Sustainable Biomaterials Facilities Introduction

Excellent laboratory and classroom resources are available for education, research, and outreach in Blacksburg, Virginia and other locations across Virginia.  Faculty, staff, and student researchers have access to research laboratories in several locations, principally Cheatham Hall on the main campus in Blacksburg and the Brooks Forest Products Center located approximately 1.5 miles from the main campus in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. Cheatham Hall has space for research, education, and application short courses plus natural resource research laboratories and college-wide computing facilities. Our laboratories have capabilities for liquid and gas chromatographic separation of wood components, thermal analysis of cellulose materials, molecular weight determination, nuclear magnetic resonance, dynamic mechanical analysis, FT-IR and UV-VIS spectroscopy, contact angle analysis, light and electron microscopic study of structure and properties, and wide-angle X-ray diffraction for crystallinity and microfibril angle analysis. The Brooks Center has classrooms, offices, and laboratories for the manufacture of pressed panels, several engineering testing machines, wood and metal working shops, pallet and container research facilities, packaging research equipment, and other wood and fiber-based composite testing instrumentation.
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