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Plant & Soil Science: SU:Fundmntls of Soil Science

PSS 161 Z1 (CRN: 61542)

4 Credit Hours

About PSS 161 Z1

Biological, chemical, and physical properties of the dynamic soil system as related to plant growth and environmental problems. Prerequisite: Inorganic chemistry or permission.



Dates: July 15 - August 9, 2019; Lecture/Lab: Lecture TR 9-12:45; Lab TR 1-3:45

More Information

Section Description

Course goals are 1. Provide students with a survey of soil science concepts and applications. 2. Acquaint students with issues of soil science. 3. Give students the opportunity to discover soils through field and lab explorations. Starting with the current paradigm of soil formation, Jenny’s Equation, each of the five factors of soil formation is discussed before presenting sustainability issues related to the use of the soil resource. Students will learn rudimentary descriptors of soil profiles such as texture and soil color. In addition, the class will introduce key concepts of the USDA Soil Taxonomy. Soils play key roles in agricultural, forest and urban ecosystems. However, soils are also critical in mitigating water pollution and the exchange of gases (including greenhouse gases) with the atmosphere. Soil quality and soil health concepts are introduced as indicators of land suitability for particular purposes. The class also looks at soil degradation and soil use from around the world. The associated labs will teach students how to apply methods of description soil profiles and measuring soil properties. The lab sections will also use electronic resources for soil evaluation. This course combines lecture, on-line and lab formats. During the first two weeks, online content will alternate with in-class, face-to-face instruction. Tuesday will be on-line and Thursday in person lectures. The second part of the course will be in the field or lab. Students should expect to spend an average of 5 hours a week on coursework outside of class. The required text is Brady and Weil, Nature and Properties of Soils, 14th ( ISBN-13: 978-0132279383) or 15th (ISBN-13: 978-0133254488) edition. Electronic course materials are drawn from various internet resources.

Section Expectation

Students are expected to participate in on-line discussions and actively participate in lab work. Much of the lab work will be outside and safe outdoor attire is required.


Grades are based on two lab assignments (25%), participation in two on-line discussions (35%), and a final exam (40%).




James M Jeffords Hall 118 (View Campus Map)


to on Tuesday and Thursday



James M Jeffords Hall 118 (View Campus Map)


to on Tuesday and Thursday

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

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