Soils and Biogeochemistry

Why study Soils and Biogeochemistry?

The soils and biogeochemistry track examines processes that govern the composition of the natural environment and the cycles of matter and energy through time and space. This track teaches scientific principles, ranging from the molecular to global scales, for managing soil, water and plant resources. Courses includes land use, GIS, remote sensing, soil and ecosystem management, nutrient management, soil and water pollution remediation and global change. Graduates are qualified for managerial and technical positions in advising, planning, land appraisal, research, and teaching. The track also provides excellent preparation for graduate programs in soil science, environmental toxicology, hydrology, ecology, and plant sciences.

Preparatory Subject Matter Requirements

Course IDs Course Title Quarters Offered Units Notes
Written and Oral Expression
UWP 101, 102A-G, 104A-F Upper Division Writing I, II, III, IV 4 May test out of requirement
CMN 1, 3, or DRA 10 Public Speaking I, II, III, IV 4  
Biological Sciences
BIS 2A Essentials of Life on Earth I, II, III, IV 5  
BIS 2B Principles of Ecology and Evolution   I, II, III, IV 5  
BIS 2C Biodiversity and the Tree of Life I, II, III, IV 5  
choose one of the following
GEL 1 The Earth I, II, III 4  
GEL 50 Physical Geology I, II 3 (recommended)
CHE 2A or 2AH General Chemistry I, II, IV 5  
CHE 2B or 2BH General Chemistry II, III, IV 5  
CHE 2C or 2CH General Chemistry I, III, IV 5 Recommended, not required
Complete either 1AB or 7ABC
Physics 1A General Physics I, II, IV 3  
Physics 1B General Physics II, III 3  
Physics 7A General Physics I, II, III, IV 4  
Physics 7B General Physics I, II, III, IV 4  
Physics 7C General Physics I, II, III, IV 4  
ECN 1A Principles of Microeconomics I, II, III, IV 4  
MAT 16A, 17A, or 21A Calculus I, II, III, IV 3-4 Mat 17AB recommended
MAT 16B, 17B, or 21B Calculus I, II, III, IV 3-4  
Environmental Science and Policy
ESP 1 Environmental Analysis I 4  

I = fall quarter, II = winter quarter, III = spring quarter, IV = summer session

Depth Subject Matter Requirements

NOTE: Students graduating with this major are required to attain at least a C average (2.0 GPA) in all courses taken at the university in Depth Subject Matter and pass all coursework. See requirements of the College of Agriculture & Environmental Science in the UC Davis General Catalog.
Course IDs Course Title Prerequisites Quarters Offered Units
Global Environment
ESM 120 Global Environmental Interactions One college-level chemistry and biology course II 4
(Choose one of the following)
ESP 100 General Ecology BIS 2A-C and MAT 16A-B, STA 13 recommended I, III 4
EVE 101 Introduction to Ecology BIS 2A-C and MAT 16A-B or the equivalent I, II, III, IV 4
ESP 162 Environmental Policy ECN 1A II 4
(Choose one of the following - Statistics 100 recommended)
STA 13 Elementary Statistics Two years of high school algebra or equivalent in college I, II, III, IV 4
STA 100 Applied Statistics for Biological Sciences MAT 16B , 17C, or 21B I, II, III, IV 4
Environmental Monitoring
(Choose one of the following)
ESM 108 Environmental Monitoring Entry level course in the environmental sciences III 3
ESP 179 Environmental Impact Assessment ESP 1 or the equivalent II, IV 4
GIS Technology
ABT/LDA 150 Introduction to GIS PLS 21 or equivalent with consent of instructor I, III 4
ESM/ESP 192 Internship Upper division standing, permission of instructor

Variable unit – must take at least 3 units of internship
May complete internship in a different area with prior approval
(e.g.: PLS, SSC, ATM)

I, II, III, IV 3
ESM 195 Integrating Env Science & Management Senior standing; Environmental science major (e.g.: ESM, EPAP, ETX, WFC) III 2
Honors Thesis (Optional)
ESM 194H Senior Honors Thesis Senior standing, Overall GPA of 3.50 or higher

Consent of the master adviser



I = fall quarter, II = winter quarter, III = spring quarter, IV = summer session

Required Courses

NOTE: Courses taken for the depth subject matter or track cannot be used to fulfill more than one major requirement.
Course IDs Course Title Prerequisites Quarters Units
SSC 100 Principles of Soil Science CHE 2A-B, PHY 1A-B, BIS 2A; GEL 50, BIS 2C recommended I 5
Select four soils and biogeochemistry courses
ESM 100 Principles of Hydrologic Science CHE 2B; Math 16B; PHY 7A or 9A I 4
HYD 134 Aqueous Geochemistry CHE 2B III 6
SSC 102 Environmental Soil Chemistry SSC 100 or equivalent and general chemistry II 3
SSC 105 Field Studies of Soils in CA Ecosystems SSC 100, 120, or equivalent recommended IV 5
SSC 107 Soil Physics SSC 100; ESM 100; MAT 16A or the equivalent I 5
SSC 109 Sustainable Nutrient Management SSC 100 or the equivalent III 4
SSC 111 Soil Microbiology CHE 2C; BIS 2C II 4
SSC 112 Soil Ecology BIS 2B and 2C or SSC 100 I 4
SSC 120 Soil Genesis, Morphology, & Classification SSC 100; GEL 50 recommended III 5
Select two environmental policy courses
ESM 121 Water Science & Management PHY 10 or GEL 1 III 3
ESP 165N Climate Policy ECN 1A, ESP 1, or consent of instructor III 3
ESP 166N** Ocean & Coastal Policy ESP 1 or consent of instructor II 3
ESP 171 Urban & Regional Planning ESP 1 recommended III 4
ESP 172 Public Lands Management ECN 1A recommended I 4
ESP 179 Environmental Impact Assessment Upper division standing; one course in environmental science II, IV 4
SOC 160 Sociology of the Environment SOC 1, 2, or 3 recomended II 4
Select one land-use analysis course
GEL 134 Env Geology & Land Use Planning One course in Geology or consent of instructor   3
HYD 147 Runoff. Erosion, & Water Quality PHY 7B or 9B; MAT 16C or 21C; ECI 142, HYD 141, or ESM 100 I 3
  Management in the Tahoe Basin      
SSC 118 Soils in Land Use & the Environment SSC 100 or consent of instructor III 4
ESM 185 Aerial Photo Interp. & Remote Sensing Upper division standing I 4
Select two biological processes courses
ATM 160* Intro to Atmospheric Chemistry CHE 2B II 4
ESM/PLS 144 Trees & Forests PLS 2 or BIS 2C I 4
ESP 116N Oceanography GEL 1, 2, 16, or 50 II 3
ESP 150A Physical & Chemical Oceanography ESP 116; PHY 9B; MAT 22C; CHE 2C; or upper division standing in a natural science and consent of the instructor I 4
ESP 150C Biological Oceanography Acceptance into the Bodega Marine Lab summer program IV 4
ESP 151 Limnology Upper division standing; BIS 2A III 4
ESP 155 Wetland Ecology ESP 100 or PLB 117; ESP 110 or 151 recommended I 4
PLB/EVE 117 Plant Ecology BIS 2A-C; PLB 111 recommended I 4
PLS 130 Rangelands: Ecology, Cons, & Restoration BIS 2C; intro ecology course & upper div standing recommended II 3

I = fall quarter, II = winter quarter, III = spring quarter, IV = summer session
*Course is offered in odd years only (2015, 2017, etc.)
**Course is offered in even years only (2016, 2018, etc.)