BS in Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences with Emphasis in Soil Resource Management

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 Soil Resource Management

This course of study prepares the student for employment as a professional soil scientist in government, industry or consulting. Courses offered in soil science emphasize the application of basic physical and biological sciences to understanding the function and use of soils. A major in soil, environmental and atmospheric sciences with an emphasis in soil resource management requires 128 credits for graduation.

Soil science professionals have a wide range of career opportunities, including working in land-use planning and assessment, agricultural and horticultural production, consulting and sales, landscaping and recreational management. Among the state and federal agencies that employ soil scientists are the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, the US Forest Service, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Opportunities in private industry include working in environmental consulting firms and the horticultural and agricultural production and service industries.

Emphasis core general requirements
Math reasoning skills
MATH 1400Calculus for Social and Life Sciences I3
or MATH 1500 Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
Computer Science
AFNR 1120Computing and Information Technology2
AFNR 2120Working with Data Using Excel1
or NAT_R 4325 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Senior capstone experience
SOIL 4320Genesis of Soil Landscapes4
Emphasis core quantitative skills
STAT 1400Elementary Statistics for Life Sciences3
or STAT 2530 Statistical Methods in Natural Resources
Additional courses (6 credits) in math, computer science, and statistics OR two of the following:6
Hydrologic and Water Quality Modeling
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
GIS Applications
Landscape Ecology and GIS Analysis I
Emphasis core science requirements (including one course in organic or biochemistry)7
General chemistry4
CHEM 1320College Chemistry I4
Organic chemistry OR Biochemistry3
Select one of the following:
Organic Chemistry I
Survey of Organic Chemistry
The Living World: Molecular Scale
Biotechnology in Society
Biological science6-8
Select two of the following:6-8
Introduction to Environmental Science
Ecology and Renewable Resource Management
Plants and their Cultivation
General Principles and Concepts of Biology
and General Biology Laboratory
General Botany with Laboratory
Geology (any course)4
Recommended science electives9
Courses in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, entomology, geology, physics, and plant pathology as well as the following:
College Chemistry II
Forest Ecology
Principles of Weed Science
Plant Breeding and Genetics
Crop Physiology
Other emphasis core requirements36
Introductory Meteorology
Introduction to Soils
Soil Science Laboratory
Soils and the Environment
Additional soils courses (12 credits) from the following:
Environmental Soil Physics
Environmental Soil Physics Laboratory
Soil Conservation
Environmental Soil Microbiology
Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition
Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition Laboratory
Environmental Soil Chemistry
Precision Agriculture Science and Technology
Recommended electives, other soils courses or the following courses (6 credits)
Soil and Water Conservation Engineering
Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
Fundamentals of Geotechnical Engineering
Hydrologic and Water Quality Modeling
Water Quality and Natural Resource Management
Watershed Management and Water Quality
Credits from general, quantitative, science and soil science to complete 128 total.25-29
Total Credits123-131

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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
AFNR 11202CHEM 13204 
AFNR 21201ENGLSH 10003 
HIST 1100 or POL_SC 11003ENV_SC 11003 
GEOL 11004SOIL 21003 
MATH 11003SOIL 21062 
Elective2-3Social Science Elective3 
 15-16 18  
Second Year
ATM_SC 10503BIOCHM 21103International Studies recommended6-9
CHEM 21003PLNT_S 21103 
AG_EC 10413COMMUN 12003 
MATH 14003STAT 14003 
ENV_SC 32903Humanities Elective3 
 15 15 6-9
Third Year
NAT_R 31103SOIL 43123Internship recommended3
SOIL 43204Science Elective6 
Humanities Elective3Humanities Elective3 
Departmental Elective6  
 16 12 3
Fourth Year
Departmental Elective3SOIL 43133 
Science Elective3Departmental Elective3 
Other Elective10Other Elective10 
 16 16  
Total Credits: 132-136

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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

For newly admitted or prospective students, MU degree audits can be created at 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

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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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