Soil Science Major

Soil is the medium of life. It provides essential nutrients so that our agricultural crops can produce bountiful harvests. It filters pollution and impurities from our water. It allows forests to grow and clean our air.

Soil Science

If you're interested in monitoring environmental change, conserving soil and assuring healthy streams while shaping new policies and educating others about the environment, then a career in soil science is right for you.

Career Opportunities

A bachelor's of science degree in soil, environmental and atmospheric sciences from the School of Natural Resources will provide you with all the skills you'll need to succeed in a wide variety of soil science careers.

You can individualize your degree program by choosing between two degree options — one emphasizing soil resource management and one emphasizing environmental soil science — that prepare you for the career field that most interests you. Some soil science careers you might consider include:

  • Environmental specialists find employment with federal, state, county and city government agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation, or the Missouri Department of Health, as well as numerous private consulting firms. They use their broad technical knowledge and understanding of ecosystems to provide expertise in situations involving a variety of environmental issues, which could include air and water quality, waste management and responsible land use.
  • Soil conservationists often are employed by state and federal agencies such as the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. They are responsible for working with landowners, especially farmers, to ensure that soil conservation practices are in place on the land. They use their knowledge of the physical properties, chemistry and fertility of soils in order to make agriculture more productive while protecting the environment.
  • Water quality specialists also find employment with government agencies and private consulting firms. They are responsible for monitoring rivers, lakes and streams for potential pollution from erosion and runoff, as well as ensuring that wells and other sources of municipal drinking water are safe.

Research/Internship Opportunities

As a soil science student, your chances to gain real-world experience through research and internships are almost limitless.

You can work side-by-side in the field or lab with soil science faculty and get hands-on experience with research in environmental monitoring, water quality management or erosion control.

Opportunities exist for on-campus internships and part-time employment as technicians, both of which provide valuable experience, especially if you're interested in pursuing a professional career in soil science.

Soil Science

You are also encouraged to complete an off-campus summer internship. On-the-job training with private companies or government agencies will provide invaluable experience that will serve you well after graduation.

Among the state and federal government agencies that are likely to recruit soil science interns are the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Health.

Internship opportunities in private industry include working for environmental consulting firms, and for companies in the horticultural and agricultural production industries.

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