Soil Science

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Soil Science Department
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Department of Soil Science
The Department of Soil Science, established in 1995, provides instruction in the use and management of land resources and how to preserve soil and arable land in a world with a growing population, possible future water crisis, increasing per capita food consumption, and land degradation. We aim to teach our students how to think of soils as a natural system that supports every aspect of life on earth; adopting this view will motivate them to appreciate the role of soils in the continuous cycles of energy, matter and life. Teaching and research is focused on accurate description and prediction of soil processes and properties and the assessment and monitoring of soil quality for sustainable use for variety of uses. An accurate description and prediction of soil processes and properties is prerequisite for understanding the Earth system and the impacts of climate and land use changes. Assessment and monitoring of soil quality is vital to establish a sustainable land use and agriculture.

Undergraduate programs
When one analyses the large existential environmental challenges recognized for the sustainable development of humanity and planet Earth, namely the Food Security, Water Security, Energy Security, Climate Change Abatement, Biodiversity Protection and Ecosystem Service Delivery, we can recognize that soil has a part to play in all of these. The soil is a fundamental part of the environment and the basis for life in terrestrial environments. The soil also affects aquatic systems and the atmosphere through ecosystem interactions. Students interested in ecosystem function, whether natural or managed, should have a good education in soil and landscape science.
•    Within the two main branches of pedology (formation, chemistry, morphology, and classification of soil) and edaphology (how soils interact with living things, especially plants), our courses focus on different aspects of soils and landscapes. These include the fundamentals in biology, chemistry, physics as well as soil classification and development. However, many of the courses concentrate on the application of soils knowledge to address real-world problems. These relate to issues such as sustainable agriculture, environmental protection, ecosystem health, and climate change.
Soil Science Undergraduate Courses
General Mathematics, General Physics, Basic Meteorology and Climatology, Statistics, Agricultural experiments planning, Chemistry (General, Organic, and Analytical), Geology, Biology, Microbiology, Plant Anatomy and Physiology, General Soil Science, General Irrigation, General Horticulture, General Agronomy,  General Agricultural machinery, Ecology, Soil and Land Evaluation, Soil Chemistry, Soil Biology, Soil Genesis, Soil Classification, Soil erosion and conservation, Soil Physics, Plant Nutrition, Soil fertility and fertilizers, Saline and Sodic Soils, Soil water and plant relationships, Professional English language, Soil Survey and mapping,  Wind erosion, Fundamentals of drainage, Soil Microbiology, Soil management in sustainable agriculture, Proficiency, Internship (I & II)
Students must complete 38 above mentioned courses and an additional selected from the following Soil Science courses:
Quality of Irrigation water, Watershed management, Soil Geography, General biochemistry, Soil Mechanics, Irrigation systems design project, Environmental pollution, General botany, Land capability assessment, Greenhouse management, Farm management, Important pests of crop plants, Dry farming

Our department also provide the “Fundamentals of Soil Science” course for variety of degree programs including Horticulture, Agronomy, Water Engineering, Forestry and Watershed Management in the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
With 14 academic staffs, 10 well-equipped laboratories, a research field site and a controlled greenhouse, our department hosts more than 60 undergraduate and 25 Graduate students.   
Graduate programs
Our graduate degree programs offer the opportunity to study and conduct research with internationally recognized researchers.
The Department of Soil Science has strong graduate student program for both MSc and PhD degrees. Our topic areas are diverse, embracing all aspects of soil science related to agricultural and other ecosystems. We include the soil interfaces, such as air and water, encompassing physical, chemical and biological processes. We provide funding for research assistantships and also encourage students with scholarships to apply.
Four MSc and one PhD programs are provided:
•    Soil Resource Management- Soil Physics and Conservation (MSc)
•    Soil Resource Management- Soil Resource and Land Evaluation (MSc)
•    Soil Fertility Management and Biotechnology- Soil Chemistry, Fertility and Plant Nutrition (MSc)
•    Soil Fertility Management and Biotechnology- Soil Biology and Biotechnology (MSc)
•    Soil Fertility Management and Biotechnology- Soil Chemistry, Fertility and Plant Nutrition (PhD)
Research and facilities
Current research includes studies on soil biology and biogeochemistry, soil fertility and plant nutrition, soil physics and pedohydrology, soil quality assessment and monitoring, soil genesis and classification, digital soil mapping, remediation of contaminated land, utilization of fertilizers and manures, fate of agricultural inputs in soil and aquatic environments, soil organic matter, fate and bioavailability of heavy metals, environmental modeling to understand soil constraints to agricultural/environmental systems, and developing technologies for sustainable agriculture, environmental soil science and soil-water-plant relationships and management of problematic including the salt-affected soils.
Several well-equipped laboratories are available at the Department of Soil Science including soil biology and biotechnology, soil physics and conservation, soil morphology and genesis and soil chemistry and pollution labs.
Examples of major achievements of our department are:
Outstanding Publications and Future Plans for conducting outstanding research projects
Leading and participation in some national/international multidisciplinary projects towards managing of agricultural/environmental/ecological challenges
Production of some novel devices for measuring soil physical and mechanical including a device to measure soil compaction problems using a fully automated field soil penetrometer.

Head of Department
Dr. Habib Khodaverdiloo
CONTACT INFORMATION
+98 44 32755284
soil@urmia.ac.ir
en.urmia.ac.ir/agriculture/agrology
our location