University of California, RiversideUCR


Soil Science

Soil scientists attempt to determine the origin, distribution, composition, and classification of soil so that it can be put to the most productive use.

They study the effects of soil loss and depletion, the extent of toxic waste disposal problems, and soil's role in growing more nourishing foods.

Representative Job Titles and Areas of Specialization

Agricultural Product Salesperson Soil Chemist
Agro geologist Soil Conservation Technician
Agronomist Soil Conservationist
Cooperative Extension Agent Soil Fertility Expert
Engineering Technician Soil Mapper
Environmental Engineer Soil Morphologist
Farm Advisor Soil Physicist
Hazardous Waste Specialist Soil Scientist
Hydrologist Soil Surveyor
Laboratory Technician/Assistant Soils Analyst
Professor/Lecturer/Instructor Soils Tester
Range Conservationist Staff Research Associate
Range Manager Toxicologist

Nature of the Work

Soil scientists may conduct experiments on farms or at experiment stations to determine how specific soil types respond to tillage, fertilization, crop rotation, water, gas or heat flow, and industrial waste control.

They conduct research at universities or for private industry and government agencies as farm advisors or cooperative extension agents.

Soil conservationists are concerned with soil erosion control, moisture conservation, and sound land use. They conduct surveys and investigate measures needed to maintain or restore proper soil management.

Places of Employment

Agricultural experiment stations Public utilities
Agricultural product manufactures Real estate firms and land appraisal boards
Bureau of Mines Soil Conservative Service
Consulting firms State department of agriculture
Cooperative extension State roads department
Federal roads department U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
Farm management agencies U.S. Department of Agriculture
Independent laboratories U.S. Forest Service
Mining industry Universities and colleges


A bachelor's degree qualifies you for many of the careers listed above depending on the types of courses you completed and experience you gained as an undergrad including lab work, internships and part-time or summer jobs.

A master's degree qualifies you for more advanced positions in soil analysis, farm advising, and research positions. However, if you want to administer research programs for a federal agency or in private industry or teach and conduct research at a university, you will need a Ph.D.

For further information and/or career counseling contact the UCR Career Center, (951) 827-3631.

Supplemental Material

The following documents may provide further ideas for exploration.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Career Center
Career Center Plaza

Tel: (951) 827-3631
Fax: (951) 827-2447
Student Questions: careercounseling@ucr.edu
Employer Questions: careerrecruiting@ucr.edu