Nov 22, 2019  
2013-2014 General Catalog (Spring 2014) 
2013-2014 General Catalog (Spring 2014) [ARCHIVED CATALOG Please see current catalog]

Environmental Soil/Water Science - BA

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College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

Department of Plants, Soils and Climate

Students must complete the General Education requirements  

  •  ,  ,  ,   or   will fulfill the Physical Sciences requirement for students in the Environmental Soil/Water Science major
  • Since several BPS courses are included in this major, one of these courses will fulfill the Physical Sciences requirement, while another will fulfill the Exploration requirement

Students must also complete the University Studies requirements 

  •   will partially fulfill the Communications Intensive (CI) requirement
  •   or STAT 2000  will fulfill the Quantitative Intensive (QI) requirement
  • Complete at least 2 credits in approved 3000-level or above courses from each of the following two catagories: Humanities and Creative Arts (DHA) and Social Sciences (DSS)

Bachelor of Arts Degree Language Requirement

Bachelor of Arts Degree

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree signifies proficiency in one or more foreign languages. Specifically, the BA requirement may be completed in one of the following ways:

  1. Demonstration of proficiency in one foreign language by successful completion of one course at the 2020-level or higher (or its equivalent).
  2. Demonstration of proficiency in American Sign Language by successful completion of COMD 4920  and COMD 4780 , and by passing an exit interview.
  3. Demonstration of proficiency in two foreign languages by successful completion of the 1020 course level in one language and the 2010 course level in the second language (or its equivalent).
  4. Completion of an upper-division (3000-level or higher) foreign language grammar or literature course requiring the 2020 course level (or its equivalent) as a prerequisite. Conversation courses cannot be considered for satisfying this requirement.

For nonnative English-speaking students only, the following options are available:

  1. Successful completion of the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) program for international students.
  2. TOEFL, Michigan, or IELI placement scores high enough to meet the University admission criteria.

Bachelor of Science Degree

The department offers the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts Degree in: Environmental Soil/Water Science, which deals with soil and water in relation to plant growth and environmental quality; a Bachelor of Science in three areas: (1) Plant Science with a horticulture and cropping systems emphasis, which deals with tree fruits, berries, vine fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants or field crops such as forages, grains, corn pasture, etc. (2) Plant Science with a research emphasis, which is designed for students who wish to participate in the development of plant-oriented technologies at any level of employment, and for those who intend to pursue a career in private or public research with requiring graduate degrees, and (3) Residential Landscape Design and Construction, which deals with design, construction, and maintenance of residential and small-scale, commercial landscapes. Each of the emphases within this major has been designed to allow students the flexibility to add courses or a minor to meet their own goals. All courses used to fill major requirements must be taken on an A-B-C-D-F basis. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required for courses used for the major. Transfer students are required to take at least 18 credits of major subject courses in residence at USU. A minor may be earned in Agronomy, Crop Biotechnology, Horticulture, Ornamental Horticulture, Climate Change and Energy, and Soil Science. A minimum of 16 approved credits are required (see lists below). All courses must be taken on an A-B-C-D-F basis and passed with a grade of C- or better. For information about receiving a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, consult the departmental undergraduate advisor.

The Environmental Soil/Water Science Major is intended to provide each student with a fundamental understanding of the basic sciences and mathematics, as well as a strong background in both soil and water sciences. Preparatory requirements include chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, geology, and statistics. The core courses for Environmental Soil/Water Science emphasize the interactive soil/water processes in the soil’s plant-rooting zone—from the microscopic to the landscape perspective. From this base, each student can design his or her own program of specialization in one of the many aspects of soil science, water science, or the integration of both soil and water sciences. Students may choose complementary classes in the Soil Emphasis, Water Emphasis, or Plant Emphasis in preparation for a variety of career opportunities. The Environmental Soil/Water Science Major is complementary to existing undergraduate programs at Utah State University in Geology, Environmental Studies, Watershed and Earth Systems, and Environmental Engineering.

The Plant Science Major with the horticuture and croppings systems emphasis is designed for students interested in learning more about applied aspects of crop production in the field, nursery, orchard or greenhouse. It also applies to management of plants in the golf course, botanical garden, campus, or other amenity landscapes. Some courses emphasize techniques and systems in plant production/management, while others provide students with an understanding of the underlying principles. Course topics include biology, chemistry, and control of insects, diseases and weeds. 

The Plant Science Major with the research emphasis primarily prepares students for advanced study in graduate school. The department has an outstanding record of placing students in excellent graduate programs.  The research emphasis provides students with a strong scientific base including mathematics, chemistry, physics, soil science, and biology. These are coupled with plant science courses that teach not only the "how" of plant culture, but the underlying "why".

The Residential Landscape Design and Construction (RLDC) Major prepares students for careers in the design, construction, and maintenance of small-scale, residential landscapes. Within these career areas, students will foster sustainable water-conserving landscape development by consumers. The overall curriculum strives to balance both landscape horticulture and landscape design.  The core curriculum includes preparatory courses in chemistry, mathematics, biology, design, and graphics. Required program courses emphasize the plant sciences (i.e., plant materials, landscape management, weed control, and turfgrass management), soil sciences (fundamentals of soil science, soil reclamation, and remote sensing), and design/construction (i.e., residential landscape design, irrigation design, bidding and estimating, landscape construction, computer-based design, and water conservation). The RLDC Major is complementary to the existing undergraduate major in Landscape Architecture.

Environmental Soil/Water Science Major

Preparatory Core Courses (39-43 credits)


Students must select 12 credits from one or a combination of the following three emphases.


1 Students in the Water Emphasis should take the Block 2 courses in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics.


Minimum University Requirements

Total Credits


Grade Point Average (most majors require higher GPA)

2.00 GPA

Credits of C- or better


Credits of upper-division courses (#3000 or above)


USU Credits (30 USU credits, 20 of which must be upper-division courses, 10 of which must be courses required for student's major)

30 USU credits

Completion of approved major program of study

See college advisor

Credits in minor (if required)


Credits in American Institutions (ECN 1500 ;HIST 1700 , HIST 2700  or HIST 2710 ; HONR 1300 POLS 1100 ; or USU 1300 )


General Education Requirements  and University Studies Depth Requirements 




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