Table 1: Soil Science

Table 1 lists units of study available to students in the Bachelor of Science and combined degrees. The units are available to students enrolled in other degrees in accordance with their degree resolutions.

Unit of study Credit points A: Assumed knowledge P: Prerequisites C: Corequisites N: Prohibition Session

Soil Science

For a major in Soil Science, the minimum requirement is completion of ENVX3001, SOIL3009, SOIL3010, and either LWSC3007 or PPAT4005.
Intermediate units of study
SOIL2003
Soil Properties and Processes
6      Semester 1
SOIL2004
The Soil Resource
6      Semester 2
LWSC2002
Introductory Hydrology
6    A SOIL2003 and [(AFNR1001 and AFNR1002) or ENSY1001 or (AGEN1001 and AGEN1002)] and (BIOM1001 or ENVX1001).
Semester 2
Senior units of study
Compulsory units for a major in Soil Science
ENVX3001
Environmental GIS
6    A least 48 credit points in second year agriculture/science units.
Semester 2
SOIL3009
Contemporary Field and Lab Soil Science
6    P SOIL2003
Semester 1
SOIL3010
The Soil at Work
6    P SOIL2003 or SOIL2004
Semester 2
At least one of these units must be taken for a major in Soil Science:
LWSC3007
Advanced Hydrology and Modelling
6    P LWSC2002
Semester 1
PPAT4005
Soil Biology
6    P MICR2024 or 6cp intermediate microbiology
Semester 1

Soil Science

For a major in Soil Science, the minimum requirement is completion of ENVX3001, SOIL3009, SOIL3010, and either LWSC3007 or PPAT4005.
Intermediate units of study
SOIL2003 Soil Properties and Processes

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Balwant Singh (Coordinator), Prof Alex McBratney, A/Prof. Stephen Cattle Session: Semester 1 Classes: 3x1hr lectures and 1x3hr practical/week, commencing week 1, and a compulsory field excursion to be held on the Thursday and Friday in the week preceding the first semester. Assessment: Soil description report (10%), Quizzes (or Essay) (15%), Practical exercise book (20%), Practical exam (15%) and Written exam (40%). Associated degrees: B Agr Ec, B An Vet Bio Sc, B Env Sys, B Hort Sc, B L W Sc, B Med Sc, B Res Ec, B Sc, B Sc Agr, UG Study Abroad Program.
This unit of study is designed to introduce students to the fundamental concepts within pedology, soil physics and soil chemistry. These concepts are part of the grounding principles that underpin crop and animal production, nutrient and water cycling, and environmental sustainability taught by other units of study in the Faculty. Students will participate in a two-day field excursion in the first week of semester to examine some common soils of the Sydney Basin, they will also learn to describe soil, and measure soil chemical and physical properties in the field. Referring to common soil profiles of the Sydney Basin, students will concentrate on factors affecting soil formation, the rudiments of soil description, and analysis of soil properties that are used in soil classification. Students will also develop knowledge of the physics of water and gas movement, soil strength, soil chemical properties, inorganic and organic components, nutrient cycles and soil acidity in an agricultural context. At the end of this unit students will become familiar with the factors that determine a soil's composition and behaviour, and will have an understanding of the most important soil physical and chemical properties. Students will develop communication skills through essay, report and practical exercises. The final report and laboratory exercise questions are designed to develop team work and collaborative efforts.
Textbooks
Campbell, K.O. & Bowyer, J.W. (eds) (1988). The Scientific Basis of Modern Agriculture. Sydney University Press.
SOIL2004 The Soil Resource

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Stephen Cattle (Coordinator), Prof Alex McBratney, A/Prof Balwant Singh Session: Semester 2 Classes: (2x1 hr lec, 1x2hr pracs)/wk, 24 hr (5 days) field work out of semester time Assessment: Fieldtrip participation (5%), soil survey mapping report (30%), laboratory report and poster presentation (25%), three group tutorials (20%), viva voce exam (20%) Associated degrees: B Env Sys, B Hort Sc, B L W Sc, B Med Sc, B Res Ec, B Sc, B Sc Agr, UG Study Abroad Program.
This unit will familiarize students with the description and mapping of soil types in the Australian landscape, with common analytical methods for soil and with the various forms of degradation that may alter the quality and function of soil. It is an applied soil science unit which builds on the fundamental soil science concepts learned in the SOIL2003 unit. The first practical component of the unit, a five-day soil survey, will give students experience in soil description and classification in the field, and soil samples collected during this survey will be subsequently analysed for a variety of attributes by the students in laboratory practicals. In the lecture series, topics including soil type distribution, soil quality, soil function, soil fertility and soil degradation will be discussed and linked to practical sessions. By the end of this unit, students will be able to construct maps of soil properties and soil type distribution, describe primary soil functions, soil attributes and types of soil degradation in an agricultural context, and be able to recognize and communicate the ability of a soil profile to sustain plant growth. Students will gain research and inquiry skills by collecting, analyzing and interpreting soil survey data, and will gain communication skills by having to prepare and present a poster.
Textbooks
Brady NC & Weil RR. (2002) The Nature and Properties of Soils. 13th ed. (or any later edition) Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
LWSC2002 Introductory Hydrology

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Willem Vervoort Session: Semester 2 Classes: Lec 2hr/wk; practical: 3hr/wk; field work: 25hr/wk (for 1 wk only) Assumed knowledge: SOIL2003 and [(AFNR1001 and AFNR1002) or ENSY1001 or (AGEN1001 and AGEN1002)] and (BIOM1001 or ENVX1001). Assessment: One 2hr exam (50%), laboratory and practical reports (15%), field trip report (35%). Practical field work: 1 week field trip Associated degrees: B Agr Ec, B Env Sys, B Hort Sc, B L W Sc, B Med Sc, B Res Ec, B Sc, B Sc Agr, UG Study Abroad Program.
This unit introduces students to hydrology and water management in the context of Australian integrated catchment management. It particularly focuses on the water balances, rainfall runoff modeling, analysis and prediction of streamflow and environmental flows, water quality and sustainable practices in water management. Through theoretical work and case studies, the students will engage with problems related water quantity and quality in Australia and the world. The unit builds on knowledge gained in AGEN 1001, AGEN 1002, and SOIL2003 and establishes the foundation for later units in the hydrology and water area. The unit provides one of the essential building blocks for a career related to water management and hydrology. The unit consists of two parts; the first part will involve a series of lectures, tutorials, practical exercises and case studies. The second part of the unit consists of field excursions to parts of NSW. During the field excursions, students will engage with current water problems and engage in basic hydrometric and water quality data collection. The data will be used later to analyse catchment condition and water quantity issues.
After completion of this unit, you should be able to:
Explain the different processes in the hydrological cycle;
Measure and interpret hydrometric and basic water quality data;
Elucidate the processes involved in generation of streamflow from rainfall;
Distinguish the link between water quantity and water quality and its implications for water management;
Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the unique nature of Australian Hydrology
Textbooks
Ladson (2007) Hydrology an Australian Introduction. Oxford University press. Chapters 1 - 6
Senior units of study
Compulsory units for a major in Soil Science
ENVX3001 Environmental GIS

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Inakwu Odeh Session: Semester 2 Classes: Three-day field trip, (2 lec & 2 prac/wk). Assumed knowledge: least 48 credit points in second year agriculture/science units. Assessment: One 15 min presentation (10%), 3500w prac report (35%), 1500w report on trip excur (15%), 2 hr exam (40%) Associated degrees: B An Vet Bio Sc, B Env Sys, B Hort Sc, B L W Sc, B Med Sc, B Res Ec, B Sc, B Sc Agr, UG Study Abroad Program.
This unit is designed to impart knowledge and skills in spatial analysis and geographical information science (GISc) for decision-making in an environmental context. The lecture material will present several themes: principles of GISc, geospatial data sources and acquisition methods, processing of geospatial data and spatial statistics. Practical exercises will focus on learning geographical information systems (GIS) and how to apply them to land resource assessment, including digital terrain modelling, land-cover assessment, sub-catchment modelling, ecological applications, and soil quality assessment for decisions regarding sustainable land use and management. A 3 day field excursion during the mid-semester break will involve a day of GPS fieldwork at Arthursleigh University farm and two days in Canberra visiting various government agencies which research and maintain GIS coverages for Australia. By the end of this UoS, students should be able to: differentiate between spatial data and spatial information; source geospatial data from government and private agencies; apply conceptual models of spatial phenomena for practical decision-making in an environmental context; apply critical analysis of situations to apply the concepts of spatial analysis to solving environmental and land resource problems; communicate effectively results of GIS investigations through various means- oral, written and essay formats; and use a major GIS software package such as ArcGIS.
Textbooks
Burrough, P.A. and McDonnell, R.A. 1998. Principles of Geographic Information Systems. Oxford University Press: Oxford.
SOIL3009 Contemporary Field and Lab Soil Science

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Alex McBratney (coordinator), A/Prof Balwant Singh, A/Prof. Stephen Cattle, A/Prof Budiman Minasny Session: Semester 1 Classes: (2 lec, 2 prac)/wk, 6-day field excursion Prerequisites: SOIL2003 Assessment: 1 x viva voce exam (40%), pedology written assessments (15%), soil physics written assessments (15%), soil chemistry written assessments (15%), 1 x group presentation (5%), 1 x synthesis paper (10%) Associated degrees: B Env Sys, B Hort Sc, B L W Sc, B Med Sc, B Res Ec, B Sc, B Sc Agr, UG Study Abroad Program.
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 & 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 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 oral presentations and will also articulate an openness to new ways of thinking which augments intellectual autonomy. Teamwork and collaborative efforts are encouraged in this unit.
Textbooks
D. Hillel. 2004. Introduction to Environmental Soil Physics. Elsevier Science, San Diego, CA, USA
SOIL3010 The Soil at Work

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Alex McBratney (coordinator) A/Prof Balwant Singh, A/Prof. Stephen Cattle (facilitators) plus research-only academics Session: Semester 2 Classes: Problem-based unit: each student completes 2 problems; 4 x 3 hr workshops per problem (each student attends 8 workshops in total) Prerequisites: SOIL2003 or SOIL2004 Assessment: For each of two scenarios: Statement of the problem report (2x12.5%) - shared info, but two team reports; How to tackle problem seminar (2x12.5%) - team seminars, before fieldwork, analyses done; Results seminar (2x12.5%) - team seminars; Final report (2x12.5%) - individual work. Associated degrees: B Env Sys, B Hort Sc, B L W Sc, B Med Sc, B Sc, B Sc Agr, UG Study Abroad Program.
This is a problem-based applied soil science unit. It is designed to allow students to identify soil-related problems in the real-world and by working in a group and with an end-user to suggest short and long-term solutions to such problems. This is a core unit for students majoring or specializing in soil science and an elective unit for those wishing to gain an understanding of environmental problem-solving. It utilises and reinforces soil-science knowledge gained in SOIL2003 and/or SOIL2004 and problem-solving skills gained during the degree program. This unit will address real-world scenarios which involve soil-related problems such as carbon management, structural decline, acidification, salinisation and contamination. Students will gain some understanding of the concept of sustainability, and will be able to identify the causes of problems by reference to the literature, discussion with landusers and by the design and execution of key experiments and surveys. They will gain a focused knowledge of the key soil drivers to environmental problems and will have some understanding on the constraints surrounding potential solutions. By designing and administering strategies to tackle real-world soil issues students will develop their research and inquiry skills and enhance their intellectual autonomy. By producing reports and seminars that enables understanding by an end-user students will improve the breadth of their communication skills.
Textbooks
I.W.Heathcote 1997. Environmental Problem Solving: A Case Study Approach. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, USA.
At least one of these units must be taken for a major in Soil Science:
LWSC3007 Advanced Hydrology and Modelling

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr. Willem Vervoort Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 hr lectures/ week, 1 hr on-line and 2 hr practical/week Prerequisites: LWSC2002 Assessment: Practical reports (50%), take-home exam (50%) Associated degrees: B Env Sys, B L W Sc, B Med Sc, B Sc, UG Study Abroad Program.
This unit of study is designed to allow students to examine advanced hydrological modeling and sampling designs focusing on catchment level responses and uncertainty.
This unit builds on the theoretical knowledge gained in LWSC2002 and possibly GEOG2321. Students will learn how to develop their own simulation model of catchment hydrological processes in R and review the possibilities and impossibilities of using simulation models for catchment management. Students will further investigate optimal sampling techniques for water quality data based on understanding the variability in hydrological responses. At the end of this unit, students will be able to build their own catchment model and calibrate this model, articulate advantages and disadvantages of using simulation models for catchment management, justify the choice of a simulation model for a particular catchment management problem, identify issues in relation to uncertainty in water quality and quantity, develop an optimal water quality sampling scheme. The students will gain research and inquiry skills through research based group projects, information literacy and communication skills through on-line discussion postings, laboratory reports and a presentation and personal and intellectual autonomy through working in groups.
Textbooks
Beven, K.J. Rainfall-Runoff modeling, The Primer, John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, 2001
PPAT4005 Soil Biology

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof David Guest Session: Semester 1 Classes: (2 tut, 3 hrs prac)/wk Prerequisites: MICR2024 or 6cp intermediate microbiology Assessment: Tutorial papers (30%), project proposal (10%), project report (50%), peer review (10%). Associated degrees: B Env Sys, B Hort Sc, B L W Sc, B Med Sc, B Sc, B Sc Agr, UG Study Abroad Program.
This unit investigates the diversity of organisms living in the soil, their biology, interactions and ecology, and their roles in maintaining and improving soil function. The unit is an elective for BScAgr, BHortSc and BSc students. It builds on the material introduced in MICR2024, PPAT3003 and BIOL3017. Undertaking this unit will develop skills in monitoring soil microbes, designing, conducting and analysing experiments. At the completion of this unit, students will be able to exercise problem-solving skills (developed through practical experiments, projects and tutorial discussions), think critically, and organise knowledge (from consideration of the lecture material and preparation of project reports), and expand from theoretical principles to practical explanations (through observing and reporting on project work). Students will consolidate their teamworking skills, develop self-directed study skills and plan effective work schedules, use statistical analysis in research, keep appropriate records of laboratory research, work safely in a research laboratory and operate a range of scientific equipment. Students will gain research and inquiry skills through group research projects, information literacy and communication skills through assessment tasks and personal and intellectual autonomy through working in groups.
Textbooks
Sylvia et al. 2005. Principles and Applications of Soil Microbiology 2nd ed. Pearson.