ENVT2236 Soil Science

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Agricultural Science major sequence
  • Level 2 core unit in the Earth specialisation in the Environmental Science major sequence
  • Level 2 complementary unit in the Biology specialisation in the Environmental Science major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Life and Health Sciences
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
This is an introductory unit covering the fundamentals of soil science in the context of agriculture, environmental science and geography. In field, practical and lecture classes the unit covers soil description and morphology (pedology); soil formation (pedogenesis); detailed soil biological, chemical and physical processes and properties, including an introduction to the cycling of water and nutrients in soils; plus soil acidification and salinity. It addresses the consequences of soil and landscape properties for environmental management, and land uses such as agriculture, horticulture, habitation and infrastructure.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics and formation of soils and the influence of climate, landform and geology; (2) explain the fundamentals of physical, chemical and biological processes and functions in soils, including soil biogeochemical cycles; (3) apply skills in laboratory analysis and field observation of soils and their landscapes; (4) integrate diverse soil knowledge and apply it to problems in environmental science, agriculture and geography; and (5) apply professional skills in scientific communication in the context of soils and soil environments.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) reports on practical (including field) activities; (2) online quizzes; and (3) final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Louise Barton
Unit rules
EART1105 The Dynamic Planet
ENVT1104 Environmental Science and Technology
BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology


SCIE1104 Science, Society and Data Analysis
STAT1400 Statistics for Science
STAT1520 Economic and Business Statistics


Chemistry ATAR
CHEM1003 Introductory Chemistry
EART2230 Soil Science Essentials
EART2222 Geomorphology and Soils
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; practical classes: 3 hours per week for 11 weeks from week 1; field trips: 12 hours total (1 day trip on weekends during semester)
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]

White, R. E. Principles and Practice of Soil Science: the Soil as a Natural Resource, 4th edn: Blackwell Scientific Publications 2006

There are no compulsory texts for this unit. 

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.