Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Land and Atmospheric Science Minor

Soil, Water, & Climate
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Soil, Water, and Climate, 439 Borlaug Hall, 1991 Upper Buford Circle, St. Paul, MN 55108 (612-625-5251; fax: 612-625-2208)
  • Program Type: Graduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2022
  • Length of program in credits (master's): 9
  • Length of program in credits (doctoral): 12
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
Land and atmospheric science (LAAS) is a science-based interdisciplinary program focused on the fundamentals of Earth system processes related to land and atmosphere and their coupled interactions. Students have the option to develop a program based on one of the more traditional areas in atmospheric science or soil science or to design their own interdisciplinary course of study bridging the two disciplines. The Land and Atmospheric Science graduate program has no formal tracks or emphasis areas, but instead allows students to design a curriculum that addresses their interests within the scope of the program. This multidisciplinary program encompasses aspects of chemistry, physics, biology, atmospheric sciences, and geology.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.20.
B.S. degree in a related science field.
Special Application Requirements:
Students interested in the minor are strongly encouraged to confer with their major field advisor and director of graduate studies, and the Land and Atmospheric Science director of graduate studies regarding feasibility and requirements.
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
All minor courses must be taken A-F, unless approved by the Graduate Advisory Committee, or if they are offered on the S-N basis only. Courses for use in the minor must be selected with the consultation of the LAAS graduate faculty member serving as the minor advisor and approved by the LAAS director of graduate studies.
Required Course (3 credits)
Take the following course:
LAAS 5050 - Integrated Topics in Land & Atmospheric Science (3.0 cr)
Electives (6 to 9 credits)
Masterís students select 6 credits, and doctoral students select 9 credits to complete minimum credit requirements. Other courses can be applied to this requirement with approval of the LAAS advisor and LAAS director of graduate studies.
LAAS 5051 - Thesis Proposal Writing for Land & Atmospheric Science (2.0 cr)
LAAS 5311 - Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy (3.0 cr)
LAAS 5416 - Precision Agriculture and Nutrient Management (3.0 cr)
LAAS 5425 - Atmospheric Processes I: Thermodynamics and Dynamics of the Atmosphere (3.0 cr)
LAAS 5426 - Atmospheric Processes II: Radiation, Composition, and Climate (3.0 cr)
LAAS 5515 - Soil Formation: Earth Surface Processes and Biogeochemistry (3.0 cr)
LAAS 5621 - Soil and Environmental Genomics (3.0 cr)
LAAS 8128 - Land and Atmospheric Science Seminar (1.5 cr)
Program Sub-plans
Students are required to complete one of the following sub-plans.
Students may not complete the program with more than one sub-plan.
More program views..
View college catalog(s):
· College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

View future requirement(s):
· Fall 2022

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LAAS 5050 - Integrated Topics in Land & Atmospheric Science
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Earth system science. Interactions between the land and atmosphere. Biogeochemistry, human-environment interactions, environmental biophysics, and global environmental change.
LAAS 5051 - Thesis Proposal Writing for Land & Atmospheric Science
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Grant proposals, including proposal formats of various funding sources, how to develop a significance statement, hypotheses and objectives, background, methods, project summary, time line, and budget. Critique proposal samples/discuss other aspects of seeking funding for research. Discuss LAAS graduate program prelim exam process.
LAAS 5311 - Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Structural chemistry, origin/identification of crystalline soil clay minerals. Structure of soil organic matter. Chemical processes in soil: solubility, adsorption/desorption, ion exchange, oxidation/reduction, acidity, alkalinity. Solution of problems related to environmental degradation, plant nutrition, and soil genesis. prereq: [[Chem 1022 or equiv], Phys 1102, grad] or instr consent
LAAS 5416 - Precision Agriculture and Nutrient Management
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Precision Agriculture is an integrated information- and technology-based modern agricultural management system, with the intent to manage the spatial and temporal variability associated with all important aspects of agricultural production to achieve optimum yield, quality, efficiency and profitability, protection of the environment and sustainable development. It is an important direction of future agriculture. The focus of this course is on the concept, principles and technologies of precision agriculture and their applications in nutrient resource management. The specific topics include concept and development of precision agriculture and nutrient management, key supporting technologies, soil spatial variability and analysis, yield data analysis, remote sensing-based precision nutrient management, management zone delineation and application, crop growth modeling, combining crop growth modeling and remote sensing for precision nutrient management, and the challenges and future directions of precision agriculture and nutrient management. Precision agriculture and nutrient management is data intensive and the students will also learn basic agro-informatics through hands-on experiences and computer exercises. This course will involve background knowledge and technologies from multi-disciplines, which will facilitate multi-disciplinary integration and innovation. The class will include both lectures and activities such as case studies, group discussion and presentation, problem-solving, and hands-on exercises. This course is intended for graduate students and upper-level undergraduate students whose major is related to agriculture, environmental science and sustainability. This course is equivalent to LAAS 5480 (001) in Fall of 2018 only. This course was taught one semester as a topic course and is only equivalent to that particular topic and semester.
LAAS 5425 - Atmospheric Processes I: Thermodynamics and Dynamics of the Atmosphere
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Basic laws governing atmospheric motion through analysis of atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics at the micro, synoptic, and global scales. Fundamental thermodynamic and dynamical processes/equations governing the behavior of the atmosphere/apply to larger-scale geophysical situations. prereq: One yr college-level [calculus, physics]
LAAS 5426 - Atmospheric Processes II: Radiation, Composition, and Climate
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Atmospheric radiation, composition/chemistry, climate change. Radiative transfer in Earth's atmosphere. Changing chemical makeup of troposphere/stratosphere. Interplay between natural processes and human activities in air pollution, stratospheric ozone depletion, and chemical forcing of climate. Anthropogenic contribution to climate change/role of land-atmosphere feedbacks affecting atmosphere's energy budget and cycling of greenhouse gases. Application to numerical modeling. prereq: [one yr college-level [calculus, physics, chemistry]]; LAAS 5425 recommended
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
LAAS 5621 - Soil and Environmental Genomics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Molecular and genomic approaches to answer ecological questions related to soil and environmental sciences. Genomics/transcriptomics/proteomics. Metagenomics and single cell genomics. Includes computer exercise to learn basic bioinformatics. No prior programing skills are required. prereq: basic microbiology courses (e.g., MicB 3301) recommended.
LAAS 8128 - Land and Atmospheric Science Seminar
Credits: 1.5 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Students present an open seminar on an advanced topic and attend seminars presented by other graduate students.