BS in Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences with Emphasis in Environmental Soil Science

Degree Program Description

Soil is the medium of life. It provides essential nutrients so that our agricultural crops can produce bountiful harvests. It filters pollution and impurities from our water. It allows forests to grow and clean our air.  The Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences degree combines  interests in monitoring environmental change, conserving soil and assuring healthy streams while shaping new policies and educating others about the environment.  Careers include Environmental Specialists, Soil Conservationist, Soil Scientists, and Water Quality Specialists.  Environmental specialists find employment with federal, state, county and city government agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation, or the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, as well as numerous private consulting firms. They use their broad technical knowledge and understanding of ecosystems to provide expertise in situations involving a variety of environmental issues, which could include air and water quality, waste management, and responsible land use.  Soil conservationists and soil scientists often are employed by state and federal agencies such as the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. They are responsible for working with landowners, especially farmers, to ensure that soil conservation practices are in place on the land. They use their knowledge of the physical properties, tillage, chemistry and fertility of soils to make agriculture more productive while protecting the environment. They may also use their knowledge to perform onsite investigations for various land uses. Water quality specialists also find employment with government agencies and private consulting firms. They are responsible for monitoring rivers, lakes and streams for potential pollution from erosion and runoff, as well as ensuring that wells and other sources of municipal drinking water are safe.

Major Program Requirements

In addition to university general education requirements, students must meet school requirements as well as the degree requirements below:

Emphasis in Environmental Science

Addressing environmental problems such as water and air quality, waste management and land use issues often requires an interdisciplinary science education as well as an understanding of the social and economic context of the problem. The environmental science emphasis is designed to prepare students for careers as environmental professionals.

Within the environmental science emphasis, students can choose one of three tracks: (Note: Tracks do not appear on transcripts or diplomas.)

  • water quality
  • land management
  • hydrology

Students in all tracks take a mixture of natural and applied science courses such as ecology, soil science, forestry, atmospheric science, and fisheries and wildlife.

Other required classes provide students with technical and outreach skills such as geographical information systems (GIS) and additional communications courses, to prepare for work in environmental careers. Students also gain hands-on experience in their field of interest through off-campus internships and practical courses. Each of the tracks requires a 3-credit practical internship in environmental science. Students must complete 128 credits to graduate, including 21-22 credits in the water quality, land management or air quality track.

Among the skills and abilities students develop as graduates with an environmental science emphasis are:

  • Understanding of ecosystems and the factors affecting environmental processes and problems
  • Facility with environmental monitoring techniques and instrumentation
  • Knowledge of technologies and methods for remediation of degraded environments
  • Capacity to effectively communicate and educate others about the environment
Emphasis core general requirements
Social and behavioral sciences
AG_EC 1041Applied Microeconomics3
or AG_EC 2070 Environmental Economics and Policy
RU_SOC 1000Rural Sociology3
or RU_SOC 1120 Population and the Environment
RU_SOC 2010Leadership in Today's World3
or RU_SOC 2225 Science, Technology and Society
Math reasoning skills
MATH 1400Calculus for Social and Life Sciences I3-5
or MATH 1500 Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
Computer science
AFNR 1120Computing and Information Technology2
AFNR 2120Working with Data Using Excel1
Communications
AG_ED_LD 2220Verbal Communication in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources3
Senior capstone experience
ENV_SC 4320Hydrologic and Water Quality Modeling3
Emphasis core quantitative skills requirements
STAT 2530Statistical Methods in Natural Resources3
Emphasis core science requirements (organic chemistry is recommended)
Chemistry
CHEM 1320College Chemistry I4
CHEM 1330College Chemistry II4
Optional
CHEM 2030Survey of Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 2100
CHEM 2110
CHEM 2140
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Laboratory II
8
Biological science
BIO_SC 1200General Botany with Laboratory5
BIO_SC 1500Introduction to Biological Systems with Laboratory5
BIO_SC 3650General Ecology5
or FOREST 4320 Forest Ecology
Geology
GEOL 1100Principles of Geology with Laboratory4
or GEOL 1200 Environmental Geology with Laboratory
Physics
ENV_SC 4305
ENV_SC 4306
Environmental Soil Physics
and Environmental Soil Physics Laboratory
4-5
or PHYSCS 1210 College Physics I
or PHYSCS 2750 University Physics I
Policy/Regulation
NAT_R 4353Natural Resource Policy/Administration3
or CV_ENG 4250 Environmental Regulatory Compliance
Other emphasis core requirements
ATM_SC 1050Introductory Meteorology3
ENV_SC 1100Introduction to Environmental Science3
ENV_SC 3290Soils and the Environment3
ENV_SC 3250Pollutant Fate and Transport3
SOIL 2100Introduction to Soils3
SOIL 2106Soil Science Laboratory2
Water quality track
F_W 3400Water Quality and Natural Resource Management3
ENV_SC 4940Environmental Science Internship3
Select six classes from the following list (must take at least one course from Environmental Science or Soil Science and a course from another department):18
Surface Water Management
Climates of the World
Micrometeorology
Remote Sensing for Meteorology and Natural Resources
Soil and Water Conservation Engineering
Hydrology
Remote Sensing of the Environment
Environmental Land Use Management
Environmental Soil Physics
Environmental Soil Physics Laboratory
Environmental Soil Microbiology
Environmental Soil Chemistry
Limnology
Environmental Toxicology
Photogrammetry, Inventory and Models
Watershed Management and Water Quality
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems GIS
Remote Sensing
River and Stream Dynamics
Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS II)
Groundwater Hydrology
Karst Hydrology
Introduction to Low-Temperature Geochemistry
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Aquatic Entomology
Environmental Sociology
Soil Conservation
Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition
Genesis of Soil Landscapes
Land management track
Environmental Land Use Management
Environmental Science Internship
Select six classes from the following list (must take at least one course from Environmental Science or Soil Science and a course from another department):18
Precision Agriculture Science and Technology
Surface Water Management
Climates of the World
Micrometeorology
Soil and Water Conservation Engineering
Remote Sensing of the Environment
Environmental Soil Physics
Environmental Soil Physics Laboratory
Environmental Soil Microbiology
Environmental Soil Chemistry
Environmental Toxicology
Forest Fire Control and Use
Practice of Silviculture
Photogrammetry, Inventory and Models
Wildland Fire Management
Watershed Management and Water Quality
Physical Geography of the United States
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems GIS
Earth Surface Systems
Remote Sensing
Spatial Analysis in Geography
Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS II)
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Forage Crops
Grain Crops
Building Communities from the Grassroots
Environmental Sociology
Soil Conservation
Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition
Genesis of Soil Landscapes
Hydrology track
FOREST 4390Watershed Management and Water Quality3
NAT_R 3290Hydrologic Measurement Techniques1
ENV_SC 4940Environmental Science Internship3
Recommended to take
PHYSCS 1220College Physics II4
or PHYSCS 2760 University Physics II
Select 6 classes (18 credit hours) from the following list (must take at least one course from Environmental Science or Soil Science and a course from another department)
Surface Water Management
Micrometeorology
Environmental Biophysics
Radar Meteorology
Soil and Water Conservation Engineering
Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering
Fluid Mechanics
Hydrology
Environmental Soil Physics
Environmental Soil Physics Laboratory
Environmental Soil Chemistry
Water Quality and Natural Resource Management
Earth Surface Systems
River and Stream Dynamics
Groundwater Hydrology
Soil Conservation
Genesis of Soil Landscapes
Electives12-14

Semester Plan

Below is a sample plan of study, semester by semester.  A student's actual plan may vary based on course choices where options are available.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
GEOL 11004CHEM 13204 
HIST 1100 or POL_SC 11003ENGLSH 10003 
MATH 11003ENV_SC 11003 
AFNR 11202SOIL 21003 
AFNR 21201SOIL 21062 
 Humanities Elective3 
 13 18  
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
ATM_SC 10503AG_EC 20703International Studies recommended6-9
BIO_SC 15005CHEM 13304 
RU_SOC 10003COMMUN 12003 
MATH 14003ENV_SC 35003 
ENV_SC 32903RU_SOC 22253 
 17 16 6-9
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
BIO_SC 12005F_W 34003ENV_SC 49403
BIO_SC 36505NAT_R 43253 
STAT 25303NAT_R 43533 
Humanities Elective3ENV_SC 33303 
 Humanities Elective3 
 16 15 3
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
ENV_SC 43053GEOL 41003 
ENV_SC 43062F_W 48003 
ENV_SC 43203ENV_SC 43183 
F_W 41004Other Electives7 
FOREST 43903  
Other Elective2  
 17 16  
Total Credits: 137-140

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Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.  Degree Audits are not available for all programs; however, please consult with the appropriate college or school for audit information.

MU students who have attended since August 2007 can request a degree audit by logging in to myZou and navigating to Self Service, then Student Center, and clicking on “Request Degree Audit.” The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.

MU students who have NOT attended since August 2007 can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to http://advising.missouri.edu/contact/.

For newly admitted or prospective students, MU degree audits can be created at http://www.transfer.org. Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to http://registrar.missouri.edu/degree-audits/index.php.

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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center in the lower level of the Student Success Center.  No appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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