Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Soil Science Minor

Soil, Water, & Climate
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
  • Program Type: Undergraduate free-standing minor
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2015
  • Required credits in this minor: 20
This minor provides a strong background in basic soil sciences, covering such topics as soil biology, conservation, contaminants, water movement, and land use. Students completing the minor meet the minimum requirements for employment with the Natural Resources Conservation Service as a soil conservationist. They are also prepared to take the Professional Soil Science Examination for geoscientists. Students must complete at least 20 credits for the minor.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Minor Requirements
Minor Courses
SOIL 3416 - Plant Nutrients in the Environment (3.0 cr)
SOIL 4511 - Field Study of Soils (2.0 cr)
ESPM 3221 - Soil Conservation and Land-Use Management (3.0 cr)
ESPM 3612W - Soil and Environmental Biology [WI] (4.0 cr)
ESPM 4601 - Environmental Pollution (3.0 cr)
SOIL 2125 - Basic Soil Science [PHYS, ENV] (4.0 cr)
or SOIL 1125 {Inactive} [ENV] (4.0 cr)
LAAS 5515 - Soil Formation: Earth Surface Processes and Biogeochemistry (3.0 cr)
or ESPM 4021W - Problem Solving: Environmental Review [WI] (4.0 cr)
or ESPM 4216 - Contaminant Hydrology (3.0 cr)
or ESPM 5555 - Wetland Soils (3.0 cr)
More program views..
View college catalog(s):
· College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

View future requirement(s):
· Fall 2020
· Fall 2018
· Fall 2016
· Spring 2016

View checkpoint chart:
· Soil Science Minor
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SOIL 3416 - Plant Nutrients in the Environment
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Fundamental concepts in soil fertility and plant nutrition. Discuss dynamics of mineral elements in soil, plants, and the environment. Evaluation, interpretation, and correction of plant nutrient problems. prereq: SOIL 2125
SOIL 4511 - Field Study of Soils
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Summer
Learn to write soil profile descriptions in the field. Class requires hands-on experience to determine soil texture, color, and horizon designations in the field. prereq: 2125
ESPM 3221 - Soil Conservation and Land-Use Management
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course is designed to provide a local and global historical perspective of soil erosion (causes and consequences); develop a scientific understanding of soil erosion processes; and relates various soil conservation and land-use management strategies to real-world situations. Basics of soil erosion processes and prediction methods will be the fundamental building blocks of this course. From this understanding, we will discuss policies and socioeconomic aspects of soil erosion. Lastly, we will focus on effective land-use management using natural resource assessment tools. Case studies and real-world and current events examples will be used throughout the course to relate course material to experiences. prereq: SOIL 2125 or instr consent
ESPM 3612W - Soil and Environmental Biology (WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02414 - ESPM 3612W/Soil 5611
Typically offered: Every Fall
Properties of microorganisms that impact soil fertility, structure, and quality. Nutrient requirements of microbes and plants and mineral transformations in biogeochemical cycling. Symbiotic plant/microbe associations and their role in sustainable agricultural production. Biodegradation of pollutants and bioremediation approaches. prereq: Biol 1009 or equiv, Chem 1021 or equiv; SOIL 2125 recommended
ESPM 4601 - Environmental Pollution
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course uses the principles of chemistry, microbiology, physics, and toxicology to understand the fate and behavior of environmental contaminants and the pollution of soils, surface waters, groundwater, and sediments. The course is structured around a semester-long risk assessment project that provides a framework for integrating concepts of pollution, contaminant movement, contaminant degradation, human health risk, ecological risk, risk mitigation, environmental remediation processes, and interactions among them. The history of federal regulations concerning environmental contamination is presented in the context of the major episodes of environmental pollution that motivated legislative action. prereq: SOIL 2125, CHEM 1061 and 1062 or equiv, or permission
SOIL 2125 - Basic Soil Science (PHYS, ENV)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00452 - Soil 2125/Soil 5125
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Basic physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. Soil genesis classification, principles of soil fertility. Use of soil survey information to make a land-use plan. WWW used for lab preparation information. prereq: [CHEM 1015, CHEM 1017] or CHEM 1021 or equiv
LAAS 5515 - Soil Formation: Earth Surface Processes and Biogeochemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Basic soil morphology, soil profile descriptions. Pedogenic processes, models of soil development. Soil geomorphology, hydrology, hillslope processes. Digital spatial analysis. Soil classification. Soil surveys, land use. Soil geography. prereq: 2125 or instr consent
ESPM 4021W - Problem Solving: Environmental Review (WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Roles of governmental agencies, consultants, and private citizens in EIS process. Students read EIS/EAW, analyze their content/scope, and prepare an EAW and EIS according to Minnesota EQB guidelines. prereq: ESPM 2021 and jr or sr
ESPM 4216 - Contaminant Hydrology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Principles of contaminant transport in percolate solution and in overland flow. Hydrologic cycle, percolation/runoff processes, contaminant transport, leachate sampling methods, remediation technologies, scale effects on runoff water quality, tillage technologies, control of sediment/chemical losses. Discussions mostly descriptive, but involve some computations.
ESPM 5555 - Wetland Soils
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00673
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Morphology, chemistry, hydrology, formation of mineral/organic soils in wet environments. Soil morphological indicators of wet conditions, field techniques of identifying hydric soils for wetland delineations. Peatlands. Wetland benefits, preservation, regulation, mitigation. Field trips, lab, field hydric soil delineation project. prereq: SOIL 1125 or 2125 or equiv or instr consent; concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in SOIL 4511 recommended