Contemporary Field and Lab Soil Science (SOIL3009)


This is a theoretical and empirical unit providing specialised training in three important areas of contemporary soil science, namely pedology, soil chemistry and soil physics. The key concepts of these sub-disciplines will be outlined and strengthened by hands-on training in essential field and laboratory techniques. All of this is synthesized by placing it in the context of soil distribution and use in North-Western New South Wales. The unit is motivated by the teaching team's research in this locale. It builds on students, existing soil science knowledge gained in SOIL2003. After completion of the unit, students should be able to articulate the advantages and disadvantages of current field and laboratory techniques for gathering necessary soil information, and simultaneously recognise key concepts and principles that guide contemporary thought in soil science. Students will be able to synthesise soil information from a multiplicity of sources and have an appreciation of the cutting edge areas of soil management and research. By investigating the contemporary nature of key concepts, students will develop their skills in research and inquiry. Students will develop their communication skills through report writing and will also articulate an openness to new ways of thinking which augments intellectual autonomy. Teamwork and collaborative efforts are encouraged in this unit.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


(2 lec, 2 prac or 1 lec, 3 prac )/wk, 6-day field excursion north-western NSW commencing 15 days prior to beginning of Semester 1


1 x viva voce exam (40%), soil physics written assessments (20%), soil chemistry written assessments (20%), soil judging (12%), pedology written assessments (8%)


Textbooks: D. Hillel. 2004. Introduction to Environmental Soil Physics. Elsevier Science, San Diego, CA, USA, R. Schaetzl and S. Anderson 2005. Soils: Genesis and Geomorphology. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, USA, D.L. Sparks 2003 Environmental Soil Chemistry (2nd edn). Academic Press, San Diego, CA, USA

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules



Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.