What we teach…

Developing undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctoral researchers, is an integral part of what we do. Students lead many of our research activities. Our teaching and training focus on developing knowledge about the soil physical environment and water, chemical, and heat transfer processes through soil, plants, air, and water. We emphasize basic principles that can be utilized by a wide range of disciplines, in a wide range of career paths.

Contact J.L. Heitman for opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral research.

Formal Course Offerings:

Soil Physical Properties and Plant Growth, SSC 461 (3 credits)
Offered each fall semester (also offered as DE for certificate and distance students)

Objective: To build concepts of soil physical properties and relate these to the way we use and manage soils. To develop quantitative problem solving skills and apply these skills to solve soils and related problems. To apply soil physical concepts to management considerations in agriculture, turf, forestry, and horticulture.
Primary Topics:

  • Soil solids and soil physical relationships
  • Soil water: plant availability, saturated flow, unsaturated flow, chemical transport
  • Soil temperature and heat transfer
  • Management considerations for the soil physical system
  • Applications of soil physical principles to contemporary topics


Soil Physics, SSC 511 (4 credits with laboratory)
Offered each fall semester

Objective: To characterize the soil physical system as it relates to physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring in and through soil. Particular emphasis is given to techniques for measurement of soil physical properties and processes.
Primary Topics:

  • Soil solid components: particle size, specific surface area, structure
  • Energy concepts of soil water, water retention, and water availability
  • Saturated and unsaturated water flow
  • Solute transport and preferential flow
  • Temperature, heat transfer, and surface energy balance
  • Gas transport and soil aeration
  • Management considerations for the soil physical environment


Distance Education Soil Physics, DE SSC 511 (4 credits with laboratory) – led by Aziz Amoozegar
Offered each fall semester

Follows objective and topics for SSC 511.