Courses for the Master of Soil Science

Soil Science online courses are designed to provide convenient access to the training that is often required for career advancement. The application process is very simple, and online courses can be taken individually for continuing education, or as part of the Online Undergraduate Certificate or the Online Masters Program.

Find descriptions of our courses for the Master of Soil Science below.

Courses for the Master of Soil Science

Course Descriptions

SSC 541 — Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management

    • Credits: 3
    • Prerequisite: Undergraduate Soil Fertility or permission of the instructor
    • Description: Establish a quantitative understanding of plant nutrition, soil fertility, and fertilizer management that enables the student to (1) describe soil and plant nutrient relationships, (2) evaluate factors affecting nutrient availability, (3) utilize quantitative tools to assess nutrient availability, and (4) evaluate potential impacts of nutrient use on environmental quality.
    • Primary Topics:
      • Plant growth relations important to soil fertility
      • Ion exchange in soils
      • Soil acidity and liming
      • Nitrogen
      • Phosphorus
      • Potassium
      • Sulfur
      • Micronutrients
      • Soil testing and plant analysis
      • Nutrient management

      Additional course details

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SSC 540 — Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Soil Science and
Agriculture

    • Credits: 3
    • Prerequisite: Soil Science or equivalent (basic soils); basic familiarity with production agriculture; or permission of the instructor. Computer literacy in an MS-Windows environment.
    • Description: Effective management of agriculture, soils, and other natural resources requires characterizing, understanding, and managing the spatial variability of things such as soils and vegetation. A geographic information system (GIS) is software developed to store, manipulate, analyze, and display spatial data. The primary goals of this course are for students to develop: 1) a functional understanding of key GIS principles; 2) a working knowledge of a GIS (Environmental Systems Research Institute’s [ESRI] ArcGIS: ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcToolbox); and 3) the problem-solving and critical-thinking skills necessary to use GIS in the characterization and management of agriculture, soils, and other natural resources.
    • Primary Topics:
      • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
      • Maps and Cartography
      • GIS: Spatial Data Models: Vector & Raster
      • Georeferencing & Coordinate Systems
      • Data Collection (Spatial Data/Data Acquisition)
      • Global Positioning System (GPS) and Basic GPS skills
      • Remote Sensing
      • Statistics, interpolation, & and spatial variability
      • Precision Agriculture
      • CAD (Computer Aided Design) and GIS
      • Creating & analyzing 3-D surfaces: 3-D Analyst
      • Hydrologic Information Systems (HIS)

       

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SSC 570 — Wetland Soils

    • Credits: 3
    • Prerequisite: One course in soil science is recommended but not required.
    • Description: To understand wetland terms and concepts including the chemical, hydrological, and morphological characteristics of wetland soils. Principles of wetland creation, restoration, and mitigation will be introduced.
    • Primary Topics:
      • Wetland Hydrology Principles and Techniques
      • Wetland Soil Chemistry
      • Wetland Biology
      • Hydric Soil Formation and Identification
      • Wetland Classification Systems
      • Riverine Wetlands
      • Wetlands on Flats and Depressions
      • Coastal Wetlands
      • Wetland Creation and Restoration
      • Wetland Regulations

       

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SSC 511 — Soil Physics

    • Credits: 3
    • Prerequisite: SSC 200, PY 211 or equivalent; or consent of instructor
    • Description: To understand the physical components of the soil system and relate these to physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring in and through soil. Particular emphasis in Soil Physics is given to techniques for measurement and characterization of soil physical properties and processes.
    • Primary Topics:
      • Soil mass and volume relationships
      • Solid components: particle size, specific surface area, structure
      • Energy concepts of soil water and water retention
      • Saturated and unsaturated water flow
      • Solute transport and preferential flow
      • Temperature, heat transfer, and surface energy balance
      • Gas transport and soil aeration
      • Management considerations for the soil physical environment

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SSC 532 — Soil Microbiology

    • Credits: 3
    • Prerequisite: BIO 181, SSC 200 or equivalent
    • Description: This course is designed to cover basic concepts and theories on microbial occurrence, distribution, and activity in the soil environment, develop comprehensive knowledge on fundamental microbial functions including, but not limited to organic and inorganic transformations, introduce a variety of techniques and methods in environmental soil microbiology, and challenge students with real-world issues and problems in relation to agricultural production and environmental quality.
    • Primary Topics:
      • Interactions between microorganisms and soils.
      • Microbial functions in carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus cycling.
      • Influence of soil physical, chemical, and biological factors on microbial occurrence, distribution and activity.
      • Key determinants of microbial activities and function in specific land uses and agricultural management systems.
      • Impacts of soil microbial activities and functions on sustainable use of soils, and agricultural production.
      • Environmental soil microbiology as related to real-life issues and problems.

       

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SSC 551 — Soil Morphology, Genesis and Classification

    • Credits: 3
    • Prerequisite: SSC 200 or equivalent
    • Description: Understand important morphological soil properties, influence of geologic and geomorphic settings on soil development, categories and criteria of the U.S. soil classification system, and characterization of diagnostic soil horizons.
    • Primary Topics:
      • Soil forming processes
      • Soil Taxonomy
      • Genesis and Classification of major NC soils
      • Soil Morphology
      • Soil Mapping
      • Interpreting soil survey information

      Additional course details

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SSC 562 — Environmental Applications of Soil Science

    • Credits: 3
    • Prerequisite: SSC 200 or equivalent
    • Description: To relate basic soil properties to land-based waste disposal systems and to the fate of pollutants in the soil environment. To provide an understanding of the process of soil and site assessment for designing waste disposal systems and for evaluating transport of pollutants through soils.
    • Primary Topics:
      • Major Components in Land and Waste Products Interaction
      • Porous Media — Soils
        • Soil as a Three-Phase System
        • Soil Water Movement
        • Movement of Pollutants
      • Land-Based Waste Disposal Systems
        • Land Application
      • Evaluation and Management of Contaminated Sites
      • Soil Erosion

       

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