PSC104 Soil Science (8)

In this subject you will be introduced to the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils and their influence on soil fertility and plant production. Understanding principles of soil formation, distribution and classification are important in determining where different soils are found within a landscape. A set of practical skills will be developed which are required to determine and report soil qualities for the purpose of soil management/improvement or environmental monitoring. The subject is written for students with no prior soils knowledge and serves as an introductory soil subject for any course related to land productivity, sustainability and/or environmental management.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 2 (60)
On Campus
CY O'Connor - Muresk Institute
Wagga Wagga Campus
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PSC104. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of soil formation processes and their effect on the distribution of soils on the landscape.
  • be able to demonstrate how to create and interpret soil maps, including basic soil classification.
  • be able to demonstrate the skills and knowledge required to create soil profile descriptions and interpret profile descriptions for the purpose of identifying soil based restrictions to plant growth.
  • be able to demonstrate how management can influence soil health and plant production.
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the influencing factors contributing to nutrient supply from soils, the cause and effects of waterlogging, soil pH extremes and salinity/sodicity.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Composition of soils, properties of the soil solid fraction, soil formation and classification
  • Properties of the liquid fraction, soil aeration and soil temperature
  • Soil chemical properties: nutrient supply, nutrient retention, introduction to fertilizer, salinity/sodicity and pH extremes.

Residential School

This subject contains a 4 day Compulsory Residential School.

To develop practical field skills to assess the suitability of soils for plant growth.
To reinforce principles from the theory component.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.