The interdisciplinary role of soil science within the university environmental science arena

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Recently, there has been a renewed interest in the area of environmental sciences (ES). This has resulted in the development of new undergraduate majors in ES. This subject area involves basic science studies of math, physics, chemistry, microbiology, and of course soil science. Undergraduate enrollment in traditional soil science curricula has dwindled recently, whereas enrollment in the new ES arena has increased dramatically. This has resulted in major changes in the traditional soil science curriculum at land grant and other universities. Many universities are now interested in developing a new undergraduate major in ES, but they typically develop teething problems due to political as well as depth versus breadth subject area issues. The University of Arizona, Tucson, ES major is a university-wide program housed within the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. This ES major was initiated in the fall of 1993 and is somewhat unique in that it focuses on factors affecting pollution of developed lands. Here, we will document the development of this program, which mirrored concomitant changes in research areas within our department. Overall, although there is a critical interdisciplinary role for soil science within the ES arena, at many universities, ES is changing the role of soil scientists, as environmental issues become more prominent in urban areas as well as in production agriculture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Role of Soil Science in Interdisciplinary Research
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780891189404
ISBN (Print)9780891188216
StatePublished - Oct 26 2015


  • Environmental science program
  • Interdisciplinary role
  • Production agriculture
  • Soil science curriculum
  • Soil science program
  • University of Arizona

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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