Soil Science students in field

Soil Science (Minor)

Soils are an essential but often overlooked part of our environment. They modify the atmosphere, filter and purify water, provide habitat for life, and serve as the foundation for human civilization through agriculture and engineering.

Degrees & Offerings
  • Minor
  • Bloomsburg
  • Lock Haven
  • Mansfield
Illustration of Mountain

Yet ...

Soils all over the world are being degraded at unsustainable rates due to exploitation and mismanagement of these valuable natural resources.

Student soil scientist

You can be the difference.

Soil scientists are needed in Pennsylvania and beyond to protect our soil resources and ecosystems. They work in industry as environmental consultants, in federal, state, and local governments as regulators and researchers, and in academia as teachers and researchers as well.

The soil science minor will prepare you with the educational qualifications needed for you to become a Certified Professional Soil Scientist after graduation, which would open up many career opportunities.

Courses and Curriculum

  • Describe and interpret basic physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils in field and lab.
  • Use soil survey and site-specific data to interpret soil suitability for land use.
  • Identify and classify soils according to standard methods and communicate soils information to a variety of audiences.
  • Explain soil ecosystem services and the use of soil as a natural resource.
  • Recommend strategies for soil conservation and improvement of soil health and sustainability.
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Becoming a Certified Professional Soil Scientist

Licensure and Certification

Certification defines the profession through standards. These standards describe the knowledge, skills and conduct that clients, employers and government agencies can use to identify appropriate professionals. SSSA's Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS) certification program sets and maintains the high standards that benefit you and your clients in your chosen career. It begins with a bachelor's degree with five years of soils experience and having at least 15.0 semester credits of soils specific coursework and 45.0 semester credits of supporting coursework.

Benefits of Certification — Earning certification brings you credibility, opportunity, motivation, ability, and validation. As a professional working in soil science, you care as much about serving your clients as you do about furthering your career. The CPSS certification provides you with the tools you need to succeed in both areas.

The Commonwealth Difference

Median Pay
Average annual salary for soil scientists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Soil Judging Competition

Soil Judging Team

Soil judging is an inter-collegiate academic competition. Students who join BU’s Soil Judging Team learn field-based soil description, classification, and interpretations for land use. These technical and critical thinking skills are highly valued by employers and can be directly applied to an environmental career. Soil judgers also benefit from the social and professional networking aspects of being part of the team.

Applying to This Program


  • Application Process

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  • Apply Now

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  • Scholarships

    As the largest comprehensive university in north central and northeastern Pennsylvania, CommonwealthU works hard to provide a world-class education that consistently rates among the best values in the nation.

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