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Department of Soil Science

http://www.soil.ncsu.edu

The Department of Soil Science trains students in the use and management of land. Graduates will understand both the fundamentals of soils and the principles of land management. The curriculum will show how these principles are applied in agriculture as well as real estate development. Soils constitute one of the largest capital investments in farming, and proper soil management is essential for efficient production. Future world food needs will be met by proper use of soil resources and fertilizers. Soil properties are important for non-agricultural, environmental, and real estate development as well. For managing any use of land, knowledge of soil and its interaction with potential pollutants is essential in maintaining environmental quality. People trained in soils and land management are sought by private consulting companies, land developers, agribusiness, research, service planning-development, education and conservation-related agencies. 

Opportunity

Soil science graduates fill positions of leadership and service in land resource planning, environmental science, real estate development, conservation, natural resource management and agriculture. Among these are opportunities as: farm operators and managers; county agricultural extension agents; employees of other public advisory agencies; private sector soil consultants for real estate development, and Natural Resources Conservation Service and other conservation-related agencies concerned with soil resources. Graduates also serve as technical representatives and salesmen in fertilizer companies and in other agribusiness activities. Many opportunities exist for privately consulting soil scientists who serve a variety of clientele needs including helping plan real estate developments. Environmental concerns usually require soil science expertise, especially in land-based waste management. Provisions are made for students wishing for more thorough training in biological sciences, chemistry, mathematics and physics leading to graduate study. (See the Graduate Catalog for a listing of graduate degrees). Students with an advanced degree have greater opportunities in teaching, research, service and extension with state, federal and private educational or research institutions and agencies.

Curricula

The Bachelor of Science degree may be obtained with a major in Soil and Land Development, Plant and Soil science, or Natural Resources, Soil and Land Development is designed to train students for work in the real estate industry. Two concentrations are offered: Soil and Land Development and Soil Science. A minor in Business Administration is encouraged for students in the Land Management concentration who may want to start their own business. The Soil Science concentration will be of interest to students planning to go to graduate school. The Plant and Soil Science Program is administered jointly with the Department of Crop Science. A soil science concentration is available in the Plant and Soil Science curriculum. Two soils concentrations are available in the Natural Resources curriculum, Soil Resources and Soil and Water Resource Systems. (The Plant and Soil Science, Natural Resources, and Environmental Sciences curricula are shown previously within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences). 

Minor in Soil Science

The minor in Soil Science is offered to students desiring a strong knowledge of the principles of Soil Science to complement their major. The program is intended to strengthen the understanding of basic physical and chemical soil properties that would be relevant to students interested in land management. These interests may include (but are not limited to):

  • Forestry
  • Geology
  • Natural Resources
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Plant and Soil Science
  • Turfgrass Management
  • Plant Biology
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Horticulture
  • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
  • Agricultural Business Management
  • Agricultural Education

Note: Fourteen (14) hours of required courses and three hours of electives are necessary to complete the minor.

Department Head

Michael G. Wagger


Department Extension Leader

Deanna L. Osmond


Undergraduate Coordinator

David L. Lindbo


Director of Graduate Programs

T. Jot Smyth


William Neal Reynolds Professors

D.L. Hesterberg

M.J. Vepraskas


Professors

A. Amoozegar

S.W. Broome

C.R. Crozier

J. L. Havlin

D. L. Hesterberg

M.T. Hoover

G.D. Hoyt

D.L. Lindbo

R.A. McLaughlin

D.L. Osmond

W.P. Robarge

T.J. Smyth

M.G. Wagger


Adjunct Professor

P.G. Hunt


Professors Emeriti

S.W. Buol

D.K. Cassel

M.G. Cook

F.R. Cox

G. A. Cummings

C.B. Davey

J.W. Gilliam

D.W. Israel
USDA

E.J. Kamprath

L.D. King

H.J. Kleiss

C.B. McCants

G.S. Miner

C.D. Raper

R.J. Volk

S. B. Weed

A.G. Wollum


Associate Professors

D.A. Crouse

J.L. Heitman

W. Shi

J.G. White


Associate Professors Emeriti

J.P. Lilly

G.C. Naderman


Adjunct Associate Professors

C.R. Bogle

R.C. Reich


Assistant Professors

O.W. Duckworth

R.J. Gehl

A.K. Graves

J.M. Grossman

M.L. Polizzotto


Adjunct Assistant Professors

D. Hardy

J. Walker


Associate Members of the Faculty

H.L. Allen
Forestry

M.R. Hyman
Microbiology

R.W. Skaggs
Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Courses

SSC 103 Introductory Topics in Crop, Soil and Turfgrass Sciences 1.

Introduction to the scope, purpose, and objectives of a university education with an emphasis on areas related to Crop, Soil and Turfgrass Sciences. Students will explore university, college and departmental resources, academic policies and procedures, opportunities for minors, career opportunities, and current trends and issues in our related disciplines. Students cannot receive credit for both CS 103 and ALS 103. Freshman Only; PAA, PAB, PAC, PAE, PCB, SST, TFG.

SSC 112 Principles of Soil Science 4.

Fundamental soil physical and chemical properties and principles. Major lecture topics: soil description, formation, soil water and the hydrologic cycle, and soil fertility and fertilizers. Laboratory exercises in identifying soil horizons, determining soil texture, identifying nutrient deficiency symptoms in plants and interpreting soil fertility test reports. BROOME.

SSC 151 Fertilizers and Soil Fertility 3.

Principles of managing plant nutrients in soils for crop, turfgrass and other plant production; nutrient requirements; deficiency symptons, nutrient availability in soils; soil acidity and liming; fertilizer materials; organic fertilizers; and environmental effects of fertilizers. BROOME.

SSC 185 Land and Life 3.

Soil is a fundamental natural resource that sustains life on earth. Detailed information is provided about soils at local, community, regional, national, and global scales; and their importance to world food security and human health, agricultural production, environmental quality, and sustainable ecosystems. Students will gain practical knowledge about soils, their use and management, and their critical role in supporting life. Understanding basic soil properties, their interactions, and how they are influenced or impacted by human activity is essential to everyday life and to being a well-informed citizen.

SSC 200 Soil Science 3. Prerequisite: CH 101 or CH 100.

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.

SSC 201 Soil Science Laboratory 1. Corequisite: SSC 200.

Hands-on laboratory experience in fundamentals of soils including origin, composition and classification; their physical, chemical, and biological properties; significance of these properties to soil-plant relationships, soil management and the environment.

SSC 332 Environmental Soil Microbiology 3. Prerequisite: BIO 181 and SSC 200.

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.

SSC 341 Soil Fertility and Fertilizers 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

Principles of managing plant nutrition for crop production, fertilizer materials, crop fertilization, soil fertility maintenance and management practices for optimizing fertilizer use; soil and plant tissue testing as diagnostic tools in nutrient management.

SSC 342 Soil Fertility Laboratory 1. Corequisite: SSC 341.

Soil sampling and analyses for acidity and nutrient content. Calculating lime and fertilizer recommendations and calibrating fertilizer spreaders. Discussion of fertilizer materials and calculation of least cost blends. Computer programs to confirm recommendations and least cost blends. Field trip to a fertilizer distributor and to a fertilizer user.

SSC 361 Role of Soils in Environmental Management 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

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 sourcewater pollution.

SSC 427 Biological Approaches to Sustainable Soil Systems 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200 or equivalent, BIO 181 or 183, and CH 101.

Ecological and biochemical concepts will be applied to managing soils in agro-ecological settings such as organic and conventionally managed farms and gardens, emphasizing microbial transformations of nutrients and matter. Topics covered include soil organic matter formation and fractionation, decomposition, microbial assimilation of nutrients, fertilizer management, tillage, crop rotations, cover crop management. Companion course SSC 428 and SSC 341 recommended.

SSC 428 Service-Learning in Urban Agriculture Systems 1. Prerequisite: SSC 200 or equivalent, BIO 181 or 183, and CH 101.

Course provides students a hands-on experience in urban agriculture with under-served youth in the Raleigh area. Students partner with a community gardening organization to provide knowledge and experience in soil science and agriculture to youth with the goals of increasing urban food security and developing student leadership skills. Particular emphasis is places on reflecting on course activities and deepening of skills related to extension, outreach, and working with diverse populations. Course designed to be taken as a companion course to SSC 427, however can be taken as a stand-alone course.

SSC 440 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Soil Science and Agriculture 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

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.

SSC 442 Soil and Environmental Biogeochemistry 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200 and (CH 101, or CH 201, or CH 220, or CH 221).

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.

SSC 452 Soil Classification 4. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

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.

SSC 461 Soil Physical Properties and Plant Growth 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

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.

SSC 462 Soil-Crop Management Systems 3. Prerequisite: CS 213, CS 414, SSC 342, SSC 452; senior standing.

Unites principles of soil science and crop science with those of allied areas into realistic agronomic applications; practical studies in planning and evaluation of soil and crop management systems.

SSC 470 Wetland Soils 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200, SSC 452 recommended.

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.

SSC 490 Senior Seminar in Crop Science and Soil Science 1.

Review and discussion of current topics in crop science, soil science, agronomy and natural resource management. Preparation and presentation of scientific information in written and oral format. Senior standing in Agronomy, Plant and Soil Sciences, or Turfgrass Science.

SSC 492 External Learning Experience 1-6.

A learning experience in agriculture and life sciences within an academic framework that utilizes facilities and resources which are external to the campus. Contact and arrangements with the prospective employers must be initiated by student and approved by a faculty adviser, the prospective employer, the departmental teaching coordinator and the academic dean prior to the experience.

SSC 493 Special Problems in Soil Science 1-6.

A learning experience in agriculture and life sciences within an academic framework that utilizes campus facilities and resources. Contact and arrangements with prospective employers must be initiated by student and approved by a faculty adviser, the prospective employer, the departmental teaching coordinator prior to the experience.

SSC 495 Special Topics in Soil Science 1-6. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

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

SSC 511 Soil Physics 4. Prerequisite: SSC 200, PY 212.

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.

SSC 521 Soil Chemistry 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200, one yr. of general inorganic chemistry.

A consideration of the chemical and colloidal properties of clay and soil systems, including ion exchange and retention, soil solution reactions, solvation of clays and electrokinetic properties of clay-water systems.

SSC 532 Soil Microbiology 4. Prerequisite: MB 351; CH 220.

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.

SSC 540 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Soil Science and Agriculture 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

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.

SSC 541 Soil Fertility 3. Prerequisite: SSC 341.

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

SSC 545 Remote Sensing Applications in Soil Science and Agriculture 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200, PY 212.

Overview of remote sensing including history, evolution, vocabulary, and physical principles, i.e., electromagnetic radiation and its interaction with matter. Distant and proximate remote sensing techniques (aerial photography, satellite imaging, radar, lidar, etc.), hardware, and platforms and their application in the characterization and management of soils and crops. Development of strategies for incorporating remote sensing into soil and agronomic research, and of practical skills for processing, analysis, display, and discussion of remote sensing data with applications in soil science and agriculture.

SSC 551 Soil Morphology, Genesis and Classification 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

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.

SSC 562 Environmental Applications Of Soil Science 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

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.

SSC 570 Wetland Soils 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200, SSC 452 recommended.

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.

SSC 573 Introduction to Surface Hydrologic/Water Quality Modeling 3. Prerequisite: BAE 471, SSC 200.

Concepts in basic hydrologic, erosion and chemical transport used in modeling. Evaluation of typical hydrologic/water quality models on watershed systems. Usage of state-of-the-art models in project examples.

SSC 590 Special Problems 1-3. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

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

SSC 601 Seminar 1.

A maximum of two semester hours allowed toward the master's degree, but any number toward the doctorate. Scientific articles, progress reports in research and special problems of interest to soil scientists reviewed and discussed.

SSC 609 Colloquium In Soil Science 1-3.

Seminar-type discussions and lectures on specialized and advanced topics in soil science. Credits Arranged.

SSC 620 Special Problems 1-6. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

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

SSC 685 Master's Supervised Teaching 1-3.

Teaching experience under the mentorship of faculty who assist the student in planning for the teaching assignment, observe and provide feedback to the student during the teaching assignment and evaluate the student upon completion of the assignment.

SSC 688 Non-Thesis Masters Continuous Registration - Half Time Registration 1.

For students in non-thesis master's programs who have completed all credit hour requirements for their degree but need to maintain half-time continuous registration to complete incomplete grades, projects, final master's exam, etc.

SSC 689 Non-Thesis Master Continuous Registration - Full Time Registration 3.

For students in non-thesis master's programs who have completed all credit hour requirements for their degree but need to maintain full-time continuous registration to complete incomplete grades, projects, final master's exam, etc. Students may register for this course a maximum of one semester.

SSC 690 Master's Exam 1-6.

For students in non thesis master's programs who have completed all other requirements of the degree except preparing for and taking the final master's exam. Credits Arranged.

SSC 693 Master's Supervised Research 1-9.

Instruction in research and research under the mentorship of a member of the Graduate Faculty.

SSC 695 Master's Thesis Research 1-9.

Thesis Research.

SSC 696 Summer Thesis Research 1.

For graduate students whose programs of work specify no formal course work during a summer session and who will be devoting full time to thesis research.

SSC 699 Master's Thesis Preparation 1-3.

For students who have completed all credit hour requirements and full-time enrollment for the master's degree and are writing and defending their thesis. Credits arranged.

SSC 701 Tropical Soils: Characteristics and Management 3. Corequisite: Six credits in SSC.

Characteristics of the tropical environment. Distribution and classification of tropical soils. Soil-plant relationships in the tropics. Soil management systems with emphasis on shifting cultivation, flooded rice production, subsistence farming and tropical pasture management.

SSC 720 Soil and Plant Analysis 3. Prerequisite: PY 212; CH 315; at least three soils courses including SSC 341.

Theory and advanced principles of utilization of chemical instruments to aid research on the heterogeneous systems of soils and plants.

SSC 722 Advanced Soil Chemistry 3. Prerequisite: SSC 521, CH 730.

Critical review of application of chemical thermodynamics and kinetics to under standing soil systems, solution equilibria, precipitation and dissolution, complexation, reduction-oxidation, surface-solute interactions and chemical transport. Application of chemical speciation models.

SSC 725 Pesticide Chemistry 1. Prerequisite: CH 201 and 221.

Chemical properties of pesticides including hydration and solvation, ionization, volatilization, lipophilicity, molecular structure and size, and reactivity and classification according to chemical description, mode of action or ionizability. Taughtduring the first 5 weeks of semester. Drop date is last day of 3rd week of the minicourse.

SSC 727 Pesticide Behavior and Fate In the Environment 2. Prerequisite: CS(HS,SSC,TOX) 725,SSC 200.

Sorption/desorption, soil reactivity, movement, volatilization, bioavailability, degradation and stability of pesticides in the environment. Taught during the last 10 weeks of semester. Drop date is last day of 3rd week of the minicourse.

SSC 753 Soil Mineralogy 3. Prerequisite: SSC 200, SSC 341.

Composition, structure, classification, identification, origin, occurrence and significance of soil minerals with emphasis on primary weatherable silicates, layer silicate clays and sesquioxides.

SSC 771 Theory Of Drainage--Saturated Flow 3.

Discussion of physical concepts and properties of fluids and porous media in relation to soil-water movement. Derivation and discussion of the fundamental laws and equations governing saturated flow in porous media. Analysis of mathematical solutions of steady-state and transient flow equations to determine their applicability to drainage problems. Consideration of analogs and models of particular drainage problems.

SSC 790 Special Topics 1-3.

SSC 801 Seminar 1.

SSC 809 Colloquium In Soil Science 1-3.

Seminar-type discussions and lectures on specialized and advanced topics in soil science. Credits Arranged.

SSC 820 Special Problems 1-3. Prerequisite: SSC 200.

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

SSC 885 Doctoral Supervised Teaching 1-3.

Teaching experience under the mentorship of faculty who assist the student in planning for the teaching assignment, observe and provide feedback to the student during the teaching assignment, and evaluate the student upon completion of the assignment.

SSC 890 Doctoral Preliminary Examination 1-9.

For students who are preparing for and taking written and/or oral preliminary exams.

SSC 893 Doctoral Supervised Research 1-9.

Instruction in research and research under the mentorship of a member of the Graudate Faculty.

SSC 895 Doctoral Dissertation Research 1-9.

Dissertation research.

SSC 896 Summer Dissertation Research 1.

For graduate students whose programs of work specify no formal course work during a summer session and who will be devoting full time to thesis research.

SSC 899 Doctoral Dissertation Preparation 1-3.

For students who have completed all credit hour, full-time enrollment, preliminary examination and residency requirements for the doctoral degree and are writing and defending their dissertations.