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Plant and Soil Science

Boxes of produce at the farmers market

Introduction

The Plant and Soil Science Degree involves the development and practical application of plant and soil sciences to produce abundant. high-quality food, feed and fiber crops. As a discipline, plant and soil science represents the integration of crops, soils, and related sciences. Crop science includes the genetics, breeding. physiology, and environmentally sound management of field and turf crops. Soil science focuses on the physics, chemistry, origin, microbiology, fertility, and environmentally sound management of soil.

Course Work/Curriculum

Plant and soil scientists work in a profession that is extremely relevant to national and global food sources and economic security. They receive a broad education in the basic physical, biological, and natural sciences. Advanced course work includes weed science. soil fertility, crop ecology, plant disease and insect control, plant breeding and genetics, integrated pest management, agroecology, soil classification, soil physical properties, and soil-crop management. To excel as a plant or soil scientist, students must be adequately prepared in the sciences, computer systems, mathematics, and statistics. Students will be required to integrate many factors associated with the goal of improving food, feed, and fiber production.In addition to the study of major agronomic principles and practices, each student chooses a specialty option in keeping with specific long-range professional goals. These options include crop production, basic sciences, turfgrass management, business, or soil science. Completion of six or seven courses within one of these options will satisfy a student's unique interest and provide a strong knowledge base that may improve his/her career opportunities.

Co-Curricular Activities

Soils are an integral part of all agricultural production systems in North Carolina. The Department has a long history of interdisciplinary cooperation providing basic and applied information on soil science and management for optimum productivity with minimal impact on environmental degradation. The department has a progressive research and education program in nonagricultural use of soils. Because of the department's breadth of programs and national and international reputation, outstanding undergraduate and graduate students can be recruited to maintain program excellence. The Department maintains state-of-the-art chemical, physical, and biological analytical instrumentation, as well as computer technologies to facilitate research and education programs.

Career Opportunities

Students completing a degree in Plant and Soil Science can use their knowledge of the basic sciences to help solve important agriculture problems in an ecologically sound manner. Careers include research scientists. farm producers, soil conservationists, golf course superintendents. crop advisors. extension agents, technical sales representatives. farm service center managers. agronomic consultants. sod production and management specialists. soil consultants, and many others. These examples illustrate the interesting opportunities ranging from technical to applied, from laboratory to field, and from private to government. Summer internships, part-time work, and cooperative participation in agronomic occupations are arranged through NCSU. These experiences help students select a profession and find satisfying employment after graduation. Also, nearly twenty percent of the department's graduates continue on to graduate school for advanced study. For information on employment opportunities for students with graduate degrees, see the NCSU Crop Science and Soil Science brochures, or contact the Graduate Administrator in either area.

For more information contact Dr. David David Lindbo, Undergraduate Coordinator, Department of Soil Science, Box 7619, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27695, Phone 919.515.2643.

Career Development and Placement Services

In addition to departmental faculty advisers who are qualified to provide information about career goals and employment opportunities. graduates receive assistance from the Agriculture and Life Sciences Career Development and Placement Office. Undergraduates are informed about the value of summer internships and co-op opportunities in a broad range of career options and are given personal assistance in applying for these opportunities. Students also are provided help with resume preparation and the development of interview skills. On- and off-campus interviews are arranged for prospective graduates, and employment opportunities are publicized widely. Alumni may also take advantage of these valuable services and are informed about employment prospects through a monthly placement bulletin.