Soil Science - MS, PhD

College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

About This Degree

USU is the only university in the state that offers degrees in soil science.

The graduate programs in soil science are concerned with the chemical, physical, and biological aspects of the soil. This program is particularly strong in water-related issues, especially regional issues involving water and irrigation in the West. In particular, USU boasts unique and renown areas concentrating on digital soil mapping which aids in flood prediction, land restoration, using state-of-the-art environmental sensors to monitor greenhouse gas emissions, and tracking contaminant transport through soils caused by mountain snowmelt.

Students are able to focus their research on solving current issues and problems in areas including soil and water chemistry/biogeochemistry, soil biology and ecology, soils and nutrient bioavailability, environmental soil physics, soil and water management, soil genesis, morphology, and classification, and sustainable agroecosystems. Soil scientists fill the gap between engineers, geologists, and ecologists, and play a major role in ensuring that high-quality soil and water are available to current and future generations.


MS: Logan (Main Campus)

PhD: Logan (Main Campus)

Please fill out this form with your information and you will get access to a degree sheet with a sample 4-year plan.
You will also be contacted via text or email to answer any questions you may have about the program.

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Description Soil Science

Career And Outcomes

Career Opportunities

Graduates in soil science can pursue the following careers:

  • Soil scientists with government agencies
  • Conservation
  • Land management
  • Soil testing
  • Soil fertility research
  • Fertilizer development
  • Monitoring and remedying environmental pollution in soil and water
  • Environmental consultants
  • Fertilizer retail
  • Irrigation system design
  • Waste management
  • Mine land reclamation

Job Outlook


Jeanette Norton

Professor, PSC Graduate Program Advisor
Office: AGRS 344
Phone: (435) 797-2166


Admission Requirements

Students without an undergraduate or graduate degree in plants, soils, biometeorology, or a closely related field may be required to complete selected undergraduate courses prior to admission.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on the GRE
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation

International students have additional admissions requirements.


Applications for graduate programs are accepted year-round. However, chances for acceptance are best if students apply between October and January of each academic year. The time it takes to process an application is primarily dependent on the speed with which the School of Graduate Studies receives letters of recommendation, transcripts, and test scores. For most students, this process may take six to eight weeks. Applicants should plan accordingly.

Program Requirements

PhD Qualifying Exams:

Each student must undergo some sort of qualifying experience. Depending on the student’s particular research and their faculty committee, the exam can either be a traditional oral and written exam, a scholarly proposal, or another option best suited to the student’s individual situation.

Plan Options

Students can receive the MS by pursuing one of two options:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis.
  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.

Students are encouraged to pursue the Plan A option.

Financial Aid

The department typically funds all of its graduate students with research assistantships.

A variety of funding opportunities are available on the graduate school website.

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