Contact information:
Sven Verlinden, Ph.D.
Assistant Director of Academic Affairs
Division of Plant & Soil Sciences
2094 Agricultural Sciences Building
P.O. Box 6108
Morgantown, WV 26506-6108
(304) 293-2944
Fax: (304) 293-2960




Soil Science

More information about the Soil Science Program can be found by visiting their website at:

What is Soil Science?

Soil science involves the study of soils as a natural resource on the surface of the Earth. Soil science encompasses soil formation and classification, and the distribution (mapping) of soils on landscapes.An understanding of soil properties like fertility, texture, structure, and organic matter contents help us use and manage soils in sustainable ways. Earth’s soils play multiple roles in the quality of life throughout the world. Soils are not only crucial for food production, but they support our buildings and structures, sustain our gardens and playgrounds, distribute and store water and nutrients, decontaminate wastes and filter water. Soils support more life beneath their surface than exists above, as they facilitate the life cycle of growth, sustenance and decay. Soils influence the worldwide distribution of plants, animals, and people.

Where do Soil Scientists work?

Soil scientist’s positions include:

  • Wetland specialist
  • Watershed technician
  • Hydrologist with Board of Health
  • Environmental technician
  • Soil Conservationist
  • County Agricultural Agent
  • Landscaping business
  • Farming
  • Crop consultant
  • Soil scientist for U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • County conservationist
  • Crop production specialist

What do Soil Scientists do?

Soil scientists enjoy a wide variety of jobs and are involved in careers listed below:

  • Monitor water and steam quality
  • Develop soil conservation and nutrient management plans
  • Inspect land reclamation and forestry projects
  • Produce landscape and soil maps for training
  • Consult with urban planners
  • Promote teaching and training on soil quality

Nearly three out of every ten agricultural scientists work for the Federal government, most for the Department of Agriculture, and a large number work for state governments. Average starting salaries for employees in non-supervisory and managerial positions range from $26,000 to $32,500.

An Undergraduate curriculum to prepare you for your career

Sample core classes in the major include the following:

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science
  • General Microbiology
  • Soil Conservation and Management
  • Principles of Entomology
  • Principles of Genetics
  • General Plant Pathology

Electives include:

  • Soil Fertility
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Soil Physics
  • Reclamation of Disturbed Soils
  • Land Use
  • Soil Genesis and Classification

General Course Requirements

  • English (6 hrs)
  • Writing Course (3 hrs)
  • Basic Math and Science (22 hrs)
  • General Electives (22 hrs)
  • Area of Emphasis—either Land Use or
    Watershed Management (12 hrs)
  • Required Major Courses (40-41 hrs)
  • Free Electives (7-8 hrs)
  • Restricted Electives (15 hrs)
    Total Credit Hours—128