This programme aims to introduce students to the concepts of soil for the 21st century and is suitable for students wishing to pursue a career in land-based management or environmental protection.
Soils underpin the sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems and are key to food production. Soils form the basis of all agricultural production, but they also store water, mediate the impact of pollutants, provide biological habitats, have an impact on the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, are involved in dealing with society’s waste, are a source of extractable minerals and provide the foundations for the housing and roads on which society depends.
You will learn about soil function and management, and soil classification, assessment and analysis, with a strong emphasis on practical skills. You will gain expertise in the relationship between soil and sustainable approaches to land resource use.
This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).
Applicants who applied after 12 December 2016 receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.
This programme involves two semesters of compulsory and option taught courses followed by a period of individual dissertation project work.
Compulsory courses typically will be:
Soil Protection and Management
Soils Science Concepts and Application
In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of optional courses^. We particularly recommend:
Analysing the Environment
Analysing the Environment Study Tour
Culture, Ethics & Environment
Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
International Development in a Changing World
Principles of Environmental Sustainability
Principles of GIS
Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
Frameworks to Assess Food Security
Integrated Resource Management
Ecosystem Values and Management
Environmental Impact Assessment
Land Use/Environmental Interactions
Participation in Policy and Planning
Sustainability of Food Production
Interrelationships in Food Systems
Courses are subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change.
An integral, week-long study tour lets you refresh skills learned on the programme and develop new tools and techniques, useful during the dissertation process. The tour has historically been held in Mende, France. In addition to the formal taught component, students had the opportunity to go rafting and visit the Aven Armand caves.
There may also be a short tour during induction week, to give students a chance to get to know each other.
gain a knowledge and understanding of the relationship between soils and sustainable land management
gain an understanding of soil sampling and analysis, interpretation and reporting
be able to assess soil management issues and develop improved management plans
understand the function of soils in relation to sustainable land use and societal needs
A recent report by the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) identified soil science as an area in which there are critical skills shortages, meaning graduates will be in high demand.
Soil scientists are employed in a broad range of vocations including environmental consultancy, research, overseas development, environmental impact assessment and analysis, site reclamation and remediation, and conservation as well as advising on government policy, archaeological excavations and laboratory analyses, forensics, and landscape design.
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