Soils and the Environment

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Soils and the Environment

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Geography

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    GEOG 101

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    The characteristics and structure of soils; nutrient systems; human impact on soils; laboratories as required.

    Learning Outcomes
    -An understanding of the structure and processes of the soil, from an ecological perspective
    -An appreciation of the nature of the main New Zealand soil types and the environmental factors that gave rise to them
    -An understanding of the main processes by which people affect the soil system, and the implications of such effects
    -A familiarity with the main techniques for the chemical analysis of soils
    -An awareness of the opportunities for postgraduate research in this field

    Course Structure
    There are four main sections to the course. The first deals with the form and dynamics of the soil from the nutrient system perspective, providing the theoretical basis for understanding soil formation processes (discussed in the second section) and, more importantly, the influence of soil conditions on plant life (covered in section three). The third section gives us an insight into the mechanisms evolved by plants to cope with naturally-occurring problem soils. The final section deals with the impact of human actions on soil, and indirectly on vegetation, using the principles established earlier in the paper. Activities such as agriculture, forestry, recreation and pollution are covered in this last section, and the lessons from natural systems are used to shed light on the nature of the problems caused by human society, but also to suggest possible solutions.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.