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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

  • Describing Soil 
  • Soil Formation 
  • Classification of Canadian Soils 
  • Soil Physical Characterization and Management
  • Water Behaviour in Soil
  • Water Management
  • Chemical and Mineralogical Properties of Soil (pH, organic matter and clay fraction)
  • 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
Term Test 1 15%
Term Test 2 15%
Written Question 3 20%
Online Final Exam 50%
Total 100%


Additional Technical Requirements

This course will use the Respondus tool to invigilate one or more exams. In order to use Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor, you must meet the following technical requirements:

  1. Operating Systems: Windows 10, 8, 7; Mac OS X 10.10 or higher.
  2. Memory: Windows 2 GB RAM; Mac 512 MB RAM.
  3. For Mac users: Safari must function properly on the computer.
  4. Mac users must have Adobe Flash Player installed to Safari, even if a different browser is normally used.
  5. Functioning webcam and microphone. The webcam and microphone can be built into your computer or can be the type that plugs in with a USB cable. (You will be required to do an environment scan of your room, so please ensure you can move your computer, laptop or webcam for this scan.)
  6. A broadband Internet connection. It is recommended that you access the Internet via a wired connection.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. Use the browser check tool to ensure your browser settings are compatible and up to date (results will be displayed in a new browser window).

*Course details are subject to change.


Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrolment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrolment opens.

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