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Course Description

Plowed field with the sun low on the horizon

This course is an introduction to the principles of soil science - the origin of soils, their classification and interpretation in natural and modified environments. Soil will be studied as a product of the natural environment, with a focus on formation processes and changes which occur when it is modified through use. A variety of uses including agriculture, forestry, recreation, and urban development will be considered.

Note: This course can be taken individually or as a part of a certificate program.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  • Explain the great significance of soil to individuals and society as a whole
  • Enumerate the wide variety of soils that exist in Canada and the world and know how and why those soils exist
  • Explain the physical, chemical and hydrologic properties of soil and the scientific principles that govern these properties
  • Explain the significant role of soils in plant growth and the need for soil and nutrient management
  • Explain the significant role of soil in human activity such as road and building construction and waste disposal
  • Discuss current issues and concerns that exist for soil use and management today and understand the management approaches that are available to deal with these concerns

Course Topics

  • Introduction
  • Describing Soil 
  • Soil Formation 
  • Classification of Canadian Soils 
  • Soil Physical Characterization and Management
  • Water Behaviour in Soil
  • Water Management
  • Chemical Mineralogical and Biological Properties of Soil 
  • Soil as a Reservoir of Plant Nutrients
  • Soil Quality and Degradation through Human Activity
  • Soil Capability and Land Use Management

Additional Requirements

Equate(s): SOIL*2010

Restriction(s): AGR*2320


Assessment Item Weight
Quizzes #1-5 (5% each) 25%
Assignment #1 4%
Assignment #2 8%
Assignment #3 12%
Assignment #4 8%
Assignment #5 8%
Final Exam 35%
Total 100%


Additional Technical Requirements

This course will use the following:

  • Respondus tool to invigilate one or more exams. 

Please view the Technical Considerations.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Soil Science
May 09, 2024 to August 04, 2024
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $683.39 Click here to get more information
Domestic Tuition Fee - Non-Ontario (0.5 units) $745.75 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $3,379.57 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Section Notes
Note:  If you are in a degree program at the University of Guelph, please DO NOT register using the link above.  You must register through WebAdvisor.
Section Materials
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Elements of the Nature and Properties of Soils by R.R. Weil and N.C. Brady © 2019 Pearson Prentice Hall 4th edition ISBN Print: 9780133254594 eBook: 9780133575811
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