Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


Understanding how soils and landscapes have evolved provides the key to managing terrestrial environments effectively and making sound decisions for sustainable land use. This unit covers the processes contributing to soil formation and degradation such chemical transformation, translocation of solids and fluids and wind or water erosion for example. These processes are presented within a geomorphic and hydrological context. Based on this understanding soil classification is introduced, followed by the definition and mapping of soil and land capability classes which form the basis of a land capability assessment. A land capability assessment helps businesses and society in general to make the necessary decision for a sustainable usage of the land such as agriculture, forestry, mining, nature conservation or urbanisation.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Environmental Science; Environmental Science and Management; Environmental Science and Ecology major sequences
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) describe, assess and sample soil profiles in different landscape positions; (2) classify soil properties in the field and use laboratory techniques to determine physical and chemical soil properties such as: texture, water retention, pH and EC, phosphorus retention or cation exchange capacity; and (3) classify and map soils and landforms and relate these to land use and soil degradation such as salinisation, desertification and soil acidification. and finally perform a land capability assessment..


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) mid semester short report; (2) individual final report; and (3) group folder. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Matthias Leopold
Unit rules
Successful completion of
one Unit(s) ENVT2220 The Climate System
or Unit(s) ENVT2236 Soil Science
or Unit(s) EART2222 Geomorphology and Soils
or Unit(s) EART2231 Earth Materials
or Unit(s) EART2234 Earth Processes
or Unit(s) ENVT2251 Hydrology and Water Resource Management
or Unit(s) ENVT2221 Global Climate Change and Biodiversity
or Unit(s) ENVT2250 Ecology
Incidental fees
Incidental student fees and charges are costs incurred by students as part of their studies at UWA that are in addition to their tuition fees (further information is available here).
Participation in this unit will incur the following incidental fee(s):
Field Trip (estimated cost - Up to $50).
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
laboratory classes: 3 hours practical work per week and a compulsory field trip (1 or 2 days) involving soil mapping and sampling which takes place on the third or fourth weekend of the semester
  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.