The Department of Soil Science provides undergraduate and graduate education in agricultural, environmental, and natural resource aspects of soils. Areas of emphasis include soil ecology; soil erosion and tillage management; soil fertility and plant nutrition; soil physicochemical phenomena; fate of soil contaminants; waste management; water and contaminant transport; pedology; and land-use analysis. Soils are a critical natural resource in environmental protection, food and fiber production, turf and grounds management, rural and urban planning, and waste disposal. All of these facets of soils and soil science are integrated into the department's course offerings and research programs. Soil science majors prepare for professional, technical, consulting and administrative positions in such areas as the environmental sciences, ecology and restoration, crop and timber production, soil survey, and informatics, conservation, environmental pollution control, turf and grounds management, and land-use planning. Contact the department for further information on career opportunities.

Students completing an undergraduate major in soil science earn a bachelor of science degree. A problem-solving "capstone course" that integrates knowledge gleaned from a diversity of courses is required.

The department also serves as the administrative home for the environmental sciences major in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.


Barak, Bland, Bleam, Hartemink (chair), Hickey, Kung, Laboski, Long, Pedersen, Powell, Ventura

Associate Professors

Balster, Ruark, Soldat

Assistant Professors

Arriaga, Whitman

Financial support—in the form of approximately 15 scholarships, part-time employment, paid internships, and work-study programs—is available to qualified undergraduate students. The department also provides opportunities and limited financial support in the form of research assistantships to qualified students seeking M.S. and/or Ph.D. degrees (see the Graduate Guide).