Soil science module (AESC 40250 Soil Resources)

Starting:            Spring 2020 (commencing January) 
Delivery:            Online
Duration:           12 weeks
Contact:             Dr Thomas Cummins
Award:               5 credits at Level 4
Fees:                 Please contact the office -

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This module introduces you to soils and will discuss the formation of soils, soil descriptions, the nature and causes of soil variation, the diversity of soil organisms, and the response of soils to management practices.
Topics include: The central role of soils in natural and managed systems paying particular attention to agricultural, forest 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; and soil erosion.


Students will not be required to attend any lectures at the UCD campus as part of the module, however, students are expected to attend the end-of-semester exam. Students are required to spend a total 116 hours during the semester on activities consisting of:

Lectures, videos and other online learning materials (throughout the semester): 24 hours
Assessments, project and quizzes (throughout the semester): 16 hours
Student Autonomous Learning: 76 hours


2 hour end-of-semester written exam: 80%
In-semester assessment: 20%

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

Entry Requirements

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.

How to Apply

Application to this module can be made online through the UCD website at Please select AESC 40250 as the module code. Any queries should be directed by email to The closing date for applications is January 2018.