Program Requirements Checklist

Degree Requirements

The approved degree requirements document can be found at this link.

Master of Science Degree

Candidates may pursue the MS Degree under Plan I or Plan II. Under either plan, prerequisite courses not taken prior to entry into the program must be completed during the course of study.

PLAN I (Download)

PLAN II (Download)


Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Prerequisite courses not taken prior to entry into the program must be completed during the course of study.


In addition to the preparatory requirements, students are required to take 12 units of graduate courses in Soil Science. In addition to these units, 5 units of seminar are required. Three of the five seminar units must be Soil Science seminar. Additional units may be required by the major professor, academic adviser and/or guidance committee prior to students being admitted to the qualifying examination. The academic adviser and guidance committee must approve the course of study.

Students must pass a Qualifying Examination (see below) for the Ph.D. degree that tests the student's eligibility for admission to candidacy for the degree. The qualifying examination must be taken within seven quarters after admission to the Soils & Biogeochemistry Graduate Group. All required courses must be completed before admission to the qualifying examination. Application for taking the qualifying examination is made by filing the application for qualifying examination form with Graduate Studies. 

Students may take preliminary oral and/or written examinations with each member of the examination committee. The decision to offer such preliminary examinations is at the discretion of each member of the examination committee.

All candidates for the Ph.D. degree are required to submit a dissertation and to present their work to a wider audience (e.g., seminar, report, or paper presentation) prior to acceptance of the dissertation by a dissertation committee.


Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination typically consists of a brief presentation by the student of her/his research proposal and preliminary results. This is followed by both general knowledge questions and questions about the student's research proposal from each member of the examination committee. No time limit has been set for the length of the examination but a typical examination is three hours in length. It is the student's responsibility to arrange the date and time of the examination in consultation with committee members. Either the student or the chair of the examination committee is responsible for reserving the room for the examination.