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Soil Science Minor

A minor in Soil Science prepares students for work on agricultural and natural ecosystems by learning to identify, understand and manage soils in agriculture and forestry in an environmentally responsible way. The soil science minor is available to students with any major at Cornell University; transfer credit can be used to meet requirements. Graduates with soils training can choose from a range of excellent professional opportunities and challenging careers, including those with government agencies.

How to Apply

  1. Submit a copy of the application form and contact minor advisor Toni DiTomasso to discuss your interests in soil science and decide which courses you will take to satisfy the minor. 
  2. Complete the courses required for the soil science minor. 
  3. In your second-to-last semester, prior to pre-enrollment, meet with the minor advisor to determine if you have completed all requirements or if you need to take one or more classes your last semester. 
  4. After this meeting, email the Minor Coordinator, Leah Cook, with a copy to the minor advisor, listing any courses you need to complete in your final semester.

A final grade audit will be completed a few weeks after graduation, and the minor will be added to your academic record at that time. 


The minor requires 14 credits, with:

1. PLSCS 2600: Soil Science (4 cr, fall)

2. Two additional courses, minimum 7 credits in soil science

PLSCS 3210 Soil and Crop Management for Sustainability 4 cr Spring
PLSCS 3630 Soil Genesis, Classification, and Survey 4 cr Fall
PLSCS 3650 Environmental Chemistry 3 cr Spring
PLSCS 4660 Soil Ecology 4 cr Spring
PLSCS 4720 Nutrient Management in Agro-ecosystems 4 cr Spring
ANSC 4120 Whole-Farm Nutrient Management 4 cr (only 2 may count towards minor) Spring
EAS 4830 Environmental Biophysics (inactive) 3 cr Fall

3. At least one course in environmental information sciences

PLSCS 2200 Introduction to Mapping and Spatial Analysis with GIS 3 cr Fall
PLSCS 4110 Applied Remote Sensing and GIS 3 cr Fall
PLSCS 4200 Geographic Information Systems 3 cr Spring

Students qualify for the Civil Service classification as Soil Scientist (GS-0470) if they take an additional 12 credits in biological, physical, and earth sciences. Civil Service classification as Soil Conservationist (GS-0457) is achieved with the minor plus 12 credits in natural resources and agriculture and 3 credits in applied plant science. A complete list of requirements and eligible courses is available on the SIPS Minor Application Form.

Contact Us

Prof. Antonio DiTomasso
903 Bradfield Hall

Leah Cook
135C Plant Science Bldg.