Award: 5 credits at level 4
Duration: 12 weeks
Start Date: 20/01/2014 (Semester 2)

ENVB40420 Soil Resources


This module is for students in Semester 2 of the MSc, Graduate Diploma or Certificate in Environmental Sustainability (Negotiated Learning) course.

What will I study?

This module introduces you to soils and will discuss the formation of soils, soil descriptions, the nature and causes of their variation, the intimate relationships between the physical and biological features of soils and their responses to management practices.

Topics include:

  • The central role of soils in natural and managed systems paying particular attention to agricultural, forests and built environments
  • the formation of soils
  • the physical nature of soils
  • soil biology
  • soil descriptions
  • the intimate interactions between the physical and biological aspects of soil which help in the delivery of sustainable production and water management
  • soil erosion and the impact of sediments in aquatic systems

How will I study?

The Soil Resources module will include:
  • Videos and demonstrations by the lecturers
  • Interactive learning reinforcement quizzes
  • Online assessed multiple choice quizzes
  • Interactive discussion boards

Expected Commitment

Students will not be required to attend any lectures at the UCD campus as part of the module. However, they are expected to attend the final semester exam and spend a total 120 hours workload during the semester consisting of:
  • Lectures, videos and other online learning materials (throughout the semester): 24 hours
  • Assessments, project and quizzes (throughout the semester): 24 hours
  • Student Autonomous Learning: 72 hours

How will I be assessed?

In-semester assessment: 30%

2 hour end of semester written exam: 70%

On successful completion of this module I will be able to

At the end of the course students will
  • understand pedogenesis
  • understand the methods used in describing soils
  • appreciate the factors which determine the type of soil occurring under particular environmental conditions
  • understand the processes involved in the transformation of nutrients in soils
  • appreciate the factors which determine the movement of water and nutrients through soil profiles
  • appreciate the effects of physical manipulation on soil

Am I eligible?

Applicants must hold a minimum of a 2.2 honours level degree in a science, engineering or related discipline. Otherwise, it is recommended that students taking this module should have a background in a discipline such as science, agriculture, engineering, geography or archaeology.