Wood Scientist



OFO No: 213203





Other names for Wood Scientist:

Forest Pathologist
Forest Ranger
Forestry Consultant / Advisor
Forestry Researcher
Wood Technologist

What is a Wood Scientist?

A Wood Scientist studies the physical, chemical and biological properties of wood to find ways of processing the raw material into different products such as pulp, paper, construction timber and into products such as chipboard, fibre board and laminated beams.

Wood is a renewable but expensive commodity and Wood Scientists find ways to use every scrap of the raw material.

Chipboard was invented when people noticed piles of sawdust going to waste at sawmills. Wood Scientists ‘invented’ a new type of wood by mixing the sawdust with modern wood glues, making sure nothing went to waste.

Paper is a vital part of the modern world and all our lives. Can you imagine a life without paper or cardboard? Wood Scientists use their skills and training to find new ways and processes to produce paper-based products.

They also work in other fields such as primary processing (timber treating), plywood manufacture, fibre and particle board manufacture and saw-milling, secondary processing (furniture, joinery, building and timber construction) and other (research, marketing, labour and training).

What does a Wood Scientist do?

  • finds raw materials – mostly timber
  • prepares, stores and controls of raw materials
  • converts raw materials in a cost-effective way into products that can be sold
  • stores and controls finished products
  • markets different products
  • manages staff, as well as, costs, product quality and safety
  • maintains equipment
  • provides in-service training
  • carries out scientific and industrial research

Are you … ?

  • interested in raw materials like wood?
  • scientifically astute?
  • good at mathematics?
  • a creative thinker?
  • organised?
  • a good communicator?
  • observant?

How do I become a Wood Scientist?


Offers a Bachelor of Science degree BSc Wood Science

Another way to approach this career is to do a Bachelor of Engineering  – BEng (Chemical Engineering) with special emphasis on pulp and paper subjects from the third year.

Most universities offer a BSc Eng (Chemical) but only some offer the specialisation.

Check your local institution about their programmes.


National Diploma in Forestry


Relevant Diploma

Bachelor of Technology in Forestry / Wood Technology


Bachelor of Science in Forestry 

  • University of KZN
  • University of Stellenbosch


Relevant SACNASP Recognised Honours Qualification 

Workplace Experience 

Registration with SACNASP


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Forester … or … Aboriculturist

Is becoming a Wood Scientist the right career choice for me?