From tertiary education to graduate soil scientist

How do I find a job in soil science?

There is not a dedicated undergraduate degree in “soil science” but there are many degrees you can choose that will be helpful. Some of these might be better suited to your ideal career than others, and you need to determine this for yourself, but we are here to help and can offer some guidance.

Broadly there are three pathways to becoming a professional soil scientist:

  • Consultancy
  • Government
  • Academic

More information on these and their pathways can be found here.

The actual type of job you choose can be quite broad and still related to soil science. For example, environmental management, civil engineering, software design, precision agriculture etc.

What degree to study

The most direct route to becoming a professional soil scientist is through science and engineering degrees.

Even within the science and engineering routes there are many options and variants. Deciding which is most useful will depend on what you want to do. You might want a soil related job in:

  • Agriculture
  • Engineering (e.g. civil, agricultural, environmental, surveying)
  • Robotics for agriculture/environment
  • Software development
  • Natural Resource Management

Decided the soil job for you? Excellent. Selecting your university and degree is the next step and we have detailed degrees by university relating to soil science (see below). If you want more detailed advice, contact us and let us know the university you’re interested in – we have members at all of them.

Universities that deliver soil science*:

*Degrees presented here were self-reported to Soil Science Australia by institutions in a soil capability survey. The list is not designed to be exclusive and please research University websites for up to date curriculum.

Tertiary institution Location Degree/s Unit name
Charles Sturt University NSW 
Wagga Wagga
  – Soil Science 
– Soil management
  – Soils and landscapes
Curtin University WA – Bachelor of Science (Agriculture, Agribusiness, Coastal Zone Management, Environmental Biology, Environmental Management, Viticulture and Oenology) – Soil Science 
– Land and water resources 
– Broadacre crop and pasture 
– Sustainable agricultural systems 
– Advanced cropping systems and precision agriculture 
– Soil Science
James Cook University QLD   – Applied soil science 
– Applied soil science 
– Field studies in tropical water and soil science
La Trobe University VIC   – Introduction to land and soil management 
– Land and soil management 
– Processes that shape the earth 
– Landscape and climate change 
– Water flow and chemistry 
– Agriculture and environment interactions
Monash VIC – Honours in Science-Soil Science – Soil Science 
– Ecology of Australian vegetation 
– Soils, land use and the environment 
– Soils, landscape and their management 
– Environmental Chemistry 
– Hydrogeology 
– Environmental Hydrology
RMIT VIC – Bachelor of Environmental Engineering 
– Bachelor of Civil and Infrastructure Engineering 
– Bachelor of Environmental Science 
– Bachelor of Environmental Engineering/Environmental Science (double degree) 
– Bachelor of Applied Science
– Land and Contamination and geohazards 
– Pollution Control 
– Soil Mechanics 
– Site Investigation, Geology and Surveying 
– Excavation Engineering2 
– Geotechnical Engineering2 
– Geotechnical Engineering3 
– Environmental Geology 
– The Natural Environment A 
– Environmental Chemistry 2A 
– Environmental Chemistry 3A 
– Environmental Biotechnology 
– Environmental Studies 
– Environmental Analysis3 
– Environmental Sustainability 
– Instrumental and Environmental Analysis 
– Ecotoxicology 
– Physical Geography
Southern Cross University NSW – Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management 
– Honours
– Soil Processes 
– Land Degradation and Rehabilitation 
– Acid sulfate soils
The University of Adelaide SA – Bachelor of Science 
– Bachelor of Agricultural Science 
– Bachelor of Viticultural Science
– Soils and Landscapes I 
– Soil and Water Resources II 
– Soil Ecology and Nutrient Cycling III 
– Soil and Water: Management & Conservation III 
– Environmental Toxicology and Remediation III
The University of Melbourne Vic – Associate Degree in Environmental Horticulture 
– Bachelor of Environments 
– Bachelor of Agriculture 
– Bachelor of Science (agricultural science)
– Natural Environments 
– Ecology Soil and Plants 
– Soil and Water Resources 
– Soil Science and Management 
– Urban Soils Substrates and Water
The University of Newcastle NSW – Bachelor of Science 
– Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management 
– Bachelor of Engineering
– Climatology and Soils 
– Sustainable Resource Management: Land Systems 
– Sustainable Land Management 
– Environmental Remediation 
– River Basin Proccesses 
– Geomechanics1 
– Geomechanics2 
– Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Engineering 
– Land Surface Process & Management
The University of NSW NSW – ? – Environmental Earth Science 
– Australian Surface Environments and Landforms 
– Sedimentary Environments 
– Australian Soil Use and Management
The University of Queensland QLD ? – The soil Environment 
– Soil Plant Relationships 
– Soils, Landscapes & Environments 
– Land Use and Management 
– Soil and Growth Media Management
The University of Sydney NSW – Bachelor of Science in Agriculture 
– Bachelor of Environmental Systems 
– Bachelor of Horticultural Science 
– Bachelor of Land and Water Science 
– Bachelor of Science 
– Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science
– The soil at work 
– Soil processes, assessment and management 
– Soil mechanics 
– Engineering behaviour of soils 
– Foundations of soil mechanics 
– Soil biology 
– Soil properties and processes 
– The soil resource 
– Contemporary filed and lab soil science
University of Technology Sydney NSW ? – Environmental Management of Land 
– Environmental Risk Assessment
The University of WA WA – Bachelor of Science (Soil Science ) 
– Honours
– Environmental Science 
– Soil Science
University of New England NSW – Advanced diploma in Agriculture 
– Bachelor of Agriculture 
– Bachelor of Environmental Science 
– Bachelor of Rural Science 
– Bachelor of Science 
– Bachelor of Science with Honours
– Introduction to Soil Science 
– Environmental Soil Science 
– Soil and Nutrient Cycles 
– Interactive International Soil Science 
– Land Assessment for Sustainable Use 
– Precision Agriculture
University of Southern Queensland QLD – Associate Degree of Engineering 
– Bachelor Degree of Engineering Technology 
– Bachelor of Engineering (Agriculture) 
– Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental) 
– Bachelor of Science (Plant Agricultural Systems
– Bachelor of Science
– Soil Science 
– Agricultural Soil Mechanics 
– Geology and Geomechanics 
– Land Studies 
– Irrigation Science 
– Environmental Technology 
– Geotechnical Engineering
University of Tasmania TAS – ? – Soil Formation, Function and Fertility 
– Agricultural Landscape Systems 
– Fundamentals of Soil Science
University of Wollongong NSW – Bachelor of Environmental Science – Soils Landscapes and Hydrology 
– Advanced Soils Landscapes and Hydrology

Postgraduate study

As a graduate, undertaking postgraduate studies can be high advantageous depending on the career you’re after. In general, postgraduate studies in soil science are required to advance in academic and research professions. To become a Certified Professional Soil Scientist postgraduate study is not necessarily required, but it can help.

Any of the universities in the list above will be likely to support Masters programs (usually 2 years) and PhD programs (3 years). It is important to note that the PhD program does not attract fees to Australian permanent residents and citizens. In fact, Universities offer attractive tax free scholarships, equivalent to graduate wages, to undertake a PhD.

Want more info? Contact us to discuss