Professional Certifications

Soil Science Minor Professional Certification Information


The Soil Science Minor provides a strong background in the basic principles of Soil Science, covering fundamental topics such as soil fertility, biology, conservation, physics and hydrology, contaminant movement, and land-use. Students completing the Soil Science minor will be well prepared to work in the public or private sectors in technical positions requiring core competencies in Soil Science, which includes fields in engineering, agronomy, forestry, natural resource management, and landscape architecture.


Professional Certifications

Importantly, the minor prepares students for professional certifications in Wetland Delineation (WDC), Erosion and Stormwater Management (ESM), Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems (STSS) Design and for certification as a Professional Soil Scientist (In-Training) upon passing the Fundamentals of Soil Science (FSS) exam. Non-minor students are also eligible to receive professional certifications provided they complete relevant coursework and meet all other certification requirements. 

Minor Credit Requirements (20 - minimum)

All minor requirements must be taken A-F and students must earn a grade of at least C- in each minor course. 

REQUIRED COURSES (18 cr required) Credits Semester FSS Category* Professional Certification**
SOIL 2125                  Basic Soil Science 4 F, S G1, C1, P1, B1
either SOIL 3416        Plant Nutrients in the Environment 3 S C3
or LAAS 5311             Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy 3 F C3
SOIL 4511                  Field Study of Soils 2 May G2
ESPM 3221                Soil Conservation and Land-Use Management 3 S P1 ESM
ESPM 3612W             Soil and Environmental Biology 4 F B4
either ESPM 3131      Environmental Physics 3 S P3
or ESPM 4216            Contaminant Hydrology 3 F P3
Total required Credits 18

ELECTIVE COURSES (2 cr minimum; alternate courses listed above may also be included) Credits Semester FSS Category* Professional Certification**
SOIL 3521              Soil Judging*** 1 F G1
ESPM 4021W         Problem Solving: Environmental Review 4 S N/A
SOIL 4093              Directed Study: FSS Preparation 1 F/S N/A
ESPM 4601            Soils and Pollution 3 S C1, B1
SOIL 5232              Vadose Zone Hydrology 3 F P3
SOIL 5515              Soil Formation: Earth Surface Processes and Biogeochemistry 3 F G2
SOIL/ESPM 5555   Wetland Soils 3 F G2, B1 WDC/STSS
FNRM 3114            Hydrology and Watershed Management 3 F P3

PROFESSIONAL SOIL SCIENTIST PREPARATION (For students taking FSS Exam) Credits Semester FSS Category* Professional Certification**
SOIL 4093        Directed Study - Fundamentals of Soil Science Exam Preparation 1 F/S FSS

*to be eligible for the Fundamentals of Soil Science Exam (FSS), students need to have at least 2 credits in each of the 4 FSS categories: (C = soil chemistry, P = soil physics, B = soil biology, G = soil genesis). For example, C3 = 3 credits of soil chemistry. 

** ESM = Erosion and Stromwater Management Certification; WDC = Wetland Delineator Certification; SSTS = Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems - Basic Designer (students interested in SSTS certification should contact Dan Wheeler: for additional SSTS certification requirements); PSS = Professional Soil Scientist In-Training - students must apply, take, and pass the Fundamentals of Soil Science (FSS) exam

Coursework Planning

Students are highly encouraged to begin planning their minor program as early as possible in order to maximize individual interests and certification outcomes. Example minor programs and schedules and additional questions should be directed to the minor coordinator, Dr. Ed Nater,, 612-625-9734.