Soil Science
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Undergraduate Programmes in Soil Science

​​​​​​​​​BScAgric (Crop Pro​duction Systems) ​

The four-year programme in Crop Production Systems covers training in producing crops such as agronomic and vegetable crops, pastures, deciduous fruit, citrus and vine. 
In this programme there are three fields of study from which you may choose:

Crop Production

Crop Protection and Breeding

Soil and Water Management

In the field of Soil and Water Management, you are trained to understand the nature, importance and management of soil and water as they relate to crop production and enviromental management. You can major in Soil Science and either Agronomy, Chemistry, Horticulture, Plant Pathology or Viticulture. Taking one of these streams prepares you for a variety of careers in the agriculture industry or enviromental-related industries, including careers such as consultant, entrepreneur, manager, technician or researcher.​

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Admission Requi​​re​​ments

National Senior Certificate (NSC) with an achievement of at least 4 (50-59%) in designated university entrance subjects
An achievement of at least 60% average obtained for the NSC or IEB (Life Orientation excluded).

Furthermore, minimum grades in the following subjects are required:

For the field of study BScAgric with Soil Science and either Agronomy, Horticulture, Viticulture or Plant Pathology as main subjects:

4 (50%) for Afrikaans or English (Home Language or first additional language)

5 (60%) for Mathematics

AND 4 (50%) for Physical Sciences


For the field of study BScAgric with Soil Science and Chemistry as main subjects:

4 (50%) for Afrikaans or English (Home Language or first additional language)

6 (70%) for Mathematics 

AND 4 (50%) for Physical Sciences

For further information please visit the webpage.


SOIL SCIENCE 214 – Introduction to Soil Science (Dr Andrei Rozanov)

Soil as a three-dimensional unit; soil formation factors: climate, parent material, relief, organisms and time; weathering processes and products; physical properties of soil: texture, structure, colour, air/water/temperature relationships; chemical properties of soil: so​il colloids, clay minerals, cation adsorption and exchange, soil reaction; formation and properties of soil organic material; elementary interpretation and evaluation of physical, chemical and morphological soil characteristics for resource use.
Prerequisites: Chemistry 154

SOIL SCIENCE 244 – Plant Nutrit​ion and Fertilisation (Dr Ailsa Hardie)

Composition and nutrition of plants; individual plant nutrient elements; equilibria in the soil; fertilisers: their characteristics and uses; determination of fertiliser requirements and fertiliser application in practice; interaction with rhizosphere and pedosphere organisms.
Prerequisites: Soil Science 214, Chemistry 114 (or Chemistry B 134), Chemistry 154

SOIL SCIENCE 314 - Genesis, Morphology, Cl​​assification and Uses of Soil (Dr Cathy Clarke)

Development and classification of South African soils; terrain classification; soil and land mapping; methodology of soil and land suitability evaluation with special reference to crop suitability; soil use planning; soil erosion and its control.
Prerequisites: Soil Science 214, Chemistry 114 (or Chemistry B 134) and Chemistry 154

SOIL SCIENCE 344 - Soil and Water M​​anagement (Dr Eduard Hoffman)

Soil as storage medium for plant water; atmospheric energy balance: evaporation, transpiration and plant water requirements; soil water uptake and water loss in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum; hydrological cycle and water resources in South Africa; methods of irrigation and irrigation scheduling; irrigation with saline water and salt balance in the soil; irrigation backflow; elimination and management of physical, morphological and chemical limitations of soil; principles of drainage; soil surface management.
Prerequisites: Soil Science 214, Mathematics (Bio) 124

SOIL SCIENCE 414 - Advanced Soi​l Physics (Dr Eduard Hoffman)

General physical properties: texture, particle size distribution and specific surface area. Structure and aggregation. Soil aeration. Soil temperature. Soil compaction and strength. Characteristics of water in porous media. Soil water content and potential. Soil water flow in saturated and unsaturated soil. Movement of dissolved salts and other inorganic compounds in soil. Miscible transfer. (Laboratory and practical fieldwork). Subject to continuous assessment.
Prerequisites:  Soil Science 214, 244, 314, 344

SOIL SCIENCE 424 – Advanc​​ed Environmental Soil Chemistry (Dr Ailsa Hardie)

The colloidal fraction of soil: structure of the diffuse double layer, cation adsorption and exchange, anion adsorption. Soil reaction: acidity and alkalinity, influences and control. Oxidation and reduction in soil. Organic material. Salinity. (Laboratory and practical fieldwork). Subject to continuous assessment. 
Prerequisites: Soil Science 214, 244, 314, 344,

SOIL SCIENCE 444 – Adv​anced Pedology (Dr Cathy Clarke)

Weathering of minerals and rocks: important crystalline layer silicate clay minerals and amorphous weathering products in soils; techniques of mineral identification; advanced soil genesis; development and nature of the South African soil landscape; age of soils; international soil classification systems. (Laboratory and practical fieldwork.) Subject to continuous assessment.
Prerequisites: Soil Science 214, 244, 314, 344

SOIL SCIENCE 454 – Advanced Resource Manag​ement (All lecturers)

Practically orientated chemical, physical and pedological field and laboratory investi­gations, with a theoretical foundation; technical report and recommendations; evaluation of the literature; writing and presentation of articles and seminars on subjects related to soil science. Subject to continuous assessment.​