Soil Science

 

Undergraduate Certificate | Soil Science

Program Format:   
Entrance Exam: Not required

The Undergraduate Certificate in Soil Science online program offers a course of study that enables students to obtain the minimum 15 credit hours of soil science courses that are required to become a licensed soil scientist in some states or, nationally, a certified professional soil scientist. In addition, the program provides subject area credits necessary to qualify for soil scientist and conservationist positions in the federal, state and local governments.

Tuition Note: Online completion of this 15-credit-hour, five-course undergraduate certificate program may require the student to take one or more graduate-level courses. Graduate courses will be charged at graduate rates. Students must take this into account when estimating the cost of the program. See the note on the Curriculum tab below for information about online course availability.

This program enables students to obtain course credit hours necessary for advancement in soil related careers. To become a Soil Scientist in the U.S. Federal Government, the Office of Personnel Management requires 15 credit hours in subjects such as soil genesis, pedology, soil chemistry, soil physics, and soil fertility. In states like North Carolina and others with a soil scientist licensing program, 15 credit hours of soil science related coursework is required to qualify for the licensing exam. Nationally, to become a Professional Soil Scientist certified by the Soil Science Society of America, individuals must have completed 15 course credit hours in soil science or a related area. Those who complete this program will meet the coursework requirements for all three career advancement opportunities.

You can learn more about North Carolina’s licensed soil scientist program at http://ncblss.org. To learn about the national certification program, visit http://soils.org/certifications/become-certified.

ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

No application for admission is required. Students must be in good academic standing to take courses at NC State University. Students pursuing university certificate programs are considered non-degree studies (NDS) students. Students desiring to earn the certificate should contact the certificate coordinator.

To pursue the certificate, students must have the following training in basic sciences:

  • 2 semesters of chemistry
  • 1 semester of physics
  • 1 semester of biology
  • mathematics through algebra and trionometry

PLAN OF STUDY

The certificate requires 15 credit hours. Students pursuing university certificate programs are considered non-degree studies (NDS) students for the purpose of university registration. NDS students may register for a maximum of six credit hours per semester. Thus, the certificate may take from three to five semesters to complete.

CAREER PROSPECTS

Graduates of this program working in the private sector will identify lands where new residential developments are most appropriate to maintain a community’s public health and environmental quality.  This program is unique among those with environmental interests in that it trains students to identify how lands can best be used to address smart urban growth while preserving wetlands and protecting other surface waters and groundwater quality. Those who complete this program will be eligible to become licensed or certified as a soil scientist. Target employers include engineering firms, environmental firms, and specialized soil consulting companies.

Graduates of this program subsequently hired into the public sector will provide leadership in the areas of soil databases, soil interpretations and soil investigations for local, state and federal technical service centers. As a soil scientist you will write technical and non-technical articles dealing with soil surveys and the use of soil information. As a soil conservationist, you will provide assistance to farmers and ranchers needing natural resource conservation plans for compliance with the Highly Erodible Land and Swamp Buster provisions of the federal Food Security Act.

Total hours required for certificate: 15 credit hours

Required course - 3 credit hours

SSC 200 - Soil Science

Units: 3

Fundamentals of soils including origin, composition and classification; their physical, chemical, and biological properties; significance of these properties to soil-plant relationships and soil management.

GEP: Natural Sciences

Offered in Fall and Spring

Find this course:

2018 Spring Term 2018 Fall Term

Elective courses - four courses, totaling minimum of 12 credit hours

SSC 332 - Environmental Soil Microbiology

Units: 3

Analysis of the effects of soil environments on microbial growth. Relationships and significance of microbes to mineral transformations, plant development, and environmental quality. Management of soil microorganisms in different ecosystems.

Offered in Spring Only

SSC 341 - Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management

Units: 3

The course provides detailed information on plant nutrition, soil fertility, and management of essential plant nutrients and other amendments affecting plant growth and nutrition. The influence of numerous biological, physical, and chemical soil properties on plant nutrient availability will be emphasized. Students will be familiar with contemporary diagnostic tools to assess nutrient availability, and the soil and nutrient management technologies essential for enhancing soil and plant productivity while minimizing the impact of nutrient use on the environment.

Offered in Fall Spring Summer

Find this course:

2018 Spring Term 2018 Summer Term 1 2018 Fall Term

SSC 421 - Role of Soils in Environmental Management

Units: 3

Importance of soils in land application of municipal, industrial and agricultural wastes; onsite disposal of domestic wastewater; bioremediation of contaminated sites; erosion and sedimentation control; farm nutrient management; and nonpoint source water pollution.

Offered in Spring Only

SSC 440 - Geographic Information Systems [GIS] in Soil Science and Agriculture

Units: 3

Geographic information systems [GIS], global positioning system [GPS], and remote sensing to manage spatially variable soils, vegetation, other natural resources. Develop: function understanding of GIS principles, working knowledge of ArcGIS, problem-solving/critical-thinking necessary to use GIS to characterize and manage soils, agriculture, natural resources. Introduction to GIS; Maps/Cartography; Vectore/Raster Data Models; Georeferencing/Coordinate Systems; Spatial Data Sources; GPS/GPS skillls/ Remote Sensing; Statistics/Interpolation; Precision Agriculture; Computer Aided Design and GIS; Creating Analyzing 3-D Surfaces. Credit not given for both SSC 440 and SSC 540.

Offered in Spring Only

Find this course:

2018 Spring Term

SSC 442 - Soil and Environmental Biogeochemistry

Units: 3

Quantitative approaches to the cycling of elements and chemical species in soils and the environment, including carbon and organic contaminants, non-metallic macronutrients, metals and metalloids.

Offered in Spring Only

SSC 452 - Soil Classification

Units: 4

Genesis, morphology, and classification of soils; characterization of soils according to their diagnostic properties; interpreting soil use potential; emphasis on North Carolina soils and their taxonomy; field exercise in soil mapping and site evaluation; several field trips, one overnight.

Offered in Spring Only

SSC 455 - Soils, Environmental Quality and Global Challenges

Units: 3

As the world population grows to 9 billion people by 2050, we will be pressed to increase food security, respond to the consequences of a changing climate, and improve human health -- all while protecting the environment and maintaining natural resources. Soils play a critical role in many of these challenges. The goal of this course is to teach students how soils regulate environmental quality through a host of chemical, physical a,d biological processes. We will examine a series of global challenges, assess their related environmental issues and policies, and analyse the roles of soils in each issue.

Offered in Fall Only

SSC 461 - Soil Physical Properties and Plant Growth

Units: 3

Soil physical properties and their influence on plant growth and environmentally sound land use; soil solid-porosity-density relationships, soil water, heat and air relations and transport. Principles and applications of these topics using current literature in agronomy, turf, horticulture, water quality, waste management and urban land use.

Offered in Fall Only

SSC 470 - Wetland Soils

Units: 3

Wetland definitions, concepts, functions and regulations; chemical, physical and morphological characteristics of wetland soils. Wetland soil identification using field indicators and monitoring equipment; principles of wetland creation, restoration and mitigation. Special project required for SSC 570. Two mandatory field trips. Field trips for distance education students are not required but optional. Credit will not be given for both SSC 470 and SSC 570.

Offered in Fall Only

Find this course:

2018 Spring Term 2018 Summer Term 1 2018 Fall Term

SSC 495 - Special Topics in Soil Science

Units: 1 - 6

Offered as needed to present materials not normally available in regular course offerings or for offering of new courses on a trial basis.

Offered in Fall and Spring

SSC 511 - Soil Physics

Units: 4

Soil physical properties and theory of selected instrumentation to measure them. Topics including soil solids, soil water, air and heat. Emphasis on transport processes and the energy concept of soil and water.

Offered in Fall Only

SSC 532 - Soil Microbiology

Units: 4

Soil as a medium for microbial growth, the relation of microbes to important mineral transformations in soil, the importance of biological equilibrium and significance of soil microbes to environmental quality.

Find this course:

2018 Spring Term

SSC 540 - Geographic Information Systems [GIS] in Soil Science and Agriculture

Units: 3

Geographic information systems [GIS], global positioning system [GPS], and remote sensing to manage spatially variable soils, vegetation, other natural resources. Develop: function understanding of GIS principles, working knowledge of ArcGIS, problem-solving/critical-thinking necessary to use GIS to characterize and manage soils, agriculture, natural resources. Introduction to GIS; Maps/Cartography; Vectore/Raster Data Models; Georeferencing/Coordinate Systems; Spatial Data Sources; GPS/GPS skillls/ Remote Sensing; Statistics/Interpolation; Precision Agriculture; Computer Aided Design and GIS; Creating Analyzing 3-D Surfaces. Credit not given for both SSC 440 and SSC 540.

Offered in Spring Only

Find this course:

2018 Spring Term

SSC 541 - Soil Fertility

Units: 3

Soil conditions affecting plant growth and the chemistry of soil and fertilizer interrelationships. Factors affecting the availability of nutrients. Methods of measuring nutrient availability.

Find this course:

2018 Spring Term 2018 Summer Term 1 2018 Fall Term

SSC 551 - Soil Morphology, Genesis and Classification

Units: 3

Morphology: Chemical, physical and mineralogical parameters useful in characterizing soil. Genesis: soil-forming factors and processes. Classification: historical development and present concepts of soil taxonomy with particular reference to worldwide distribution of great soil groups as well as discussions of logical bases of soil classification.

Find this course:

2018 Spring Term 2018 Summer Term 1 2018 Fall Term

SSC 562 - Environmental Applications Of Soil Science

Units: 3

Identification and evaluation of basic factors influencing movement of potential pollutants through soil and their underlying strata. Development of understanding of processes of soil and site evaluation for waste disposal and transport of pollutants through soils.

Offered in Spring Only

SSC 570 - Wetland Soils

Units: 3

Wetland definitions, concepts, functions and regulations; chemical, physical and morphological characteristics of wetland soils. Wetland soil identification using field indicators and monitoring equipment; principles of wetland creation, restoration and mitigation. Special project required for SSC 570. Two mandatory field trips. Field trips for distance education students are not required but optional. Credit will not be given for both SSC 470 and SSC 570.

Offered in Fall and Spring

Find this course:

2018 Spring Term 2018 Summer Term 1 2018 Fall Term

SSC 590 - Special Problems

Units: 1 - 6

Special problems in various phases of soils. Emphasis placed on review of recent and current research. Credits Arranged

Offered in Fall Spring Summer

  • Courses numbered 499 and below are undergraduate; those numbered 500 and above are graduate. All program courses are offered online except SSC 332, SSC 421, SSC 442, SSC 452, SSC 455 and SSC 461.
  • A grade of C- or higher is required in each course. None of the required 15 credit hours may be taken for S/U or “credit-only.”
  • No transfer credits from other institutions to fulfill certificate course requirements are allowed.
  • Prerequisites may be required in some courses. Students should contact instructors before enrolling to determine eligibility.
Entry Semester Application Deadlines and Details
FallAugust 20, 2018
SpringJanuary 2, 2019
SummerJune 21, 2018

Dr. David Crouse

Program Coordinator, Dept of Crop & Soil Sciences

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

919.515.7302
cropsoil-undergraduate-office@ncsu.edu