Soils and Sustainable Land Systems - BS, BA

College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

About This Degree

The Soils and Sustainable Land Systems major provides students with an understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that occur in the soil-water-atmosphere zone at the earth’s surface.

USU is the only university in the state that offers degrees in soil science. USU’s program is unique in its focus on water issues in the arid West and has research emphasis in urban and rural land use, erosion, agricultural waste management, measurement of soil water, and the origins of soil.

Students graduating from this program will be well qualified for careers in the prevention, characterization, and improvement of environmental soil and water management. Soil scientists work with engineers, geologists, and ecologists, providing expertise on how to build strong structures in various types of soil, how to irrigate efficiently with different soil situations, etc. They also play a major role in ensuring that high-quality soil and clean water are available to current and future generations.

The program features small class sizes where students receive individual attention from excellent faculty and the opportunity to research alongside them in labs as they gain valuable research experience.

Students receive a by completing all required courses in the major. To receive a BA, students must also gain proficiency in one or more foreign languages.


Applied Climatology:

This emphasis integrates basic and applied principles of meteorology, climatology and environmental physics with land surface processes, especially water. Students will be completing courses in math, science, plant science and geology.

Environmental Soil Science:

This emphasis features a core curriculum of math and science courses and introductory soil science courses. Students then choose electives that are more in-depth and specific to soil science.

Sustainable Food Production:

This emphasis features a core curriculum of math, science and some introductory soil science courses. Students will choose electives that are more specific to agriculture and human systems.

Career And Outcomes

Career Opportunities

With this degree, students can pursue the following careers:

  • Soil conservationists
  • Soil scientists for federal agencies
  • Environmental consultants
  • Soil regulatory specialists
  • Soil, plant, water, and atmosphere relations (determining irrigation needs, working with biometeorologists)
  • Construction site analysis (soil analysis, sediment mapping, classification, interpretation, sampling, etc.)
  • Analyzing and determining soil quality (working with farmers, conservation, erosion prevention and restoration, soil fertility, etc.)
  • Water quality (analyzing chemicals, water analysis)
  • Waste management (analysis and transformation of agricultural and environmental pollutants in the soil-water zone)

Job Outlook



We will build on your goals and experiences while working together to design an individualized semester-by-semester plan. Your personalized plan will help you see a path from where you are now on to graduation. Even if you are unsure of the major you would like to pursue, we can help with resources and ideas.

Schedule an Appointment

I am not a current USU student

I have not applied or been admitted, even if I've taken a USU Concurrent Enrollment course

I am a current USU student

I have been admitted and plan to attend, or continue attending USU

USU Locations



Admission Requirements

In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the land, plant and climate systems program has additional requirements:

  • First-Year students: First-Year students admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
  • Transfer Students: Transfer students from other institutions and students transferring from other USU majors need a 2.5 total GPA for admission to this major.

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Take The Next Step

You May Also Be Interested In

Climate Science

This degree takes an interdisciplinary approach — examining math, physics, and the natural sciences — to understand, address, and mitigate issues of climate change to prepare our next-generation of citizens for climate change impacts.


Take advantage of the USU Botanical Center in Kaysville and the greenhouse at USU Salt Lake that serves as the hub of this major as you prepare for careers in arboriculture, nursery production, and other greenhouse industries.

Plant Science

From research to learning the best hands-on applications of plant production, this is the only agriculturally focused plant science program in the state, plus you’ll be able to work in laboratories, greenhouses, and fields one-on-one with experts.

Soil Science Loading...

From ag-related consultant work to farming, this minor provides a fundamental groundwork on principles related to soil, from microbiology and chemistry through environmental management and reclamation.