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Graduate School


Soil Science

Program Leader

Dr. Tom DeSutter

Department Location

106 Walster

Telephone Number

 (701) 231-8901

Degrees Offered

Ph.D., M.S.

Application Deadline

International applications are due May 1st for fall and August 1 for spring and summer semesters. Domestic applicants should apply at least one month prior to the start of classes.

English Proficiency Requirements

TOEFL ibT 71


Program Description 

The Department of Soil Science in the School of Natural Resource Sciences offers graduate study leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees that provide training in agricultural and/or environmental career tracks. The instructional and research programs emphasize an understanding of soil-plant-atmosphere interactions and their application to soil and water resource management. Students may pursue degrees with emphasis in soil chemistry, soil fertility, soil genesis and morphology, soil management, soil physics, environmental modeling, water quality, soil salinity, plant nutrition, soil survey, soil conservation, soil reclamation, soil mineralogy or agricultural climatology and meteorology . M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Natural Resources Management and Environmental and Conservation Science with emphasis in soil science are also available.

A close working relationship exists between the department and various state and federal agencies and the private sector. Strong supporting course work is available from other departments and programs at North Dakota State University. Programs of study are designed to meet student interests and needs.

North Dakota's diversity of soils and agricultural practices provides an exceptional field setting in which to study soil science. The department is well equipped for field and laboratory investigations. 

Admission Requirements

The Soil Science graduate program is open to all qualified graduates of universities and colleges of recognized standing. All applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements. 

Financial Assistance

Research assistantships are available. Applicants are considered on the basis of scholarship, potential to undertake advanced study and research, and financial need. To be considered for an assistantship, applicants must submit a completed application. A complete application will include three recommendations, transcripts and a scholarly writing example. A TOEFL score for international applicants must also be received by the Graduate School. 

Degree Requirements

The M.S. program normally requires 24 months of full-time study and research while the Ph.D. program normally requires a minimum of 36 months. An overall GPA of 3.0 or better must be maintained. An oral defense of thesis and academic subject matter is required of M.S. candidates. Ph.D. candidates are required to take a preliminary written and oral examination of academic subject matter and a final oral defense of a research-based dissertation.

Click here for course descriptions.


F. Adnan Akyuz, Ph.D.
University of Missouri-Columbia, 1994
Research Area/Activity: Applied Climatology and Microclimatology/Climate Based Agricultural Management 

Francis X.M. Casey, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 2000
Research Area/Activity: Field Oriented Soil Physics, Measurement and Prediction of Water Transfer and Chemical Transport Through Soil 

Amitava Chatterjee, Ph.D.
University of Wyoming, 2007
Research Area/Activity: Soil Fertility Management, Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

Larry J. Cihacek, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 1979
Research Area/Activity: Erosion and Productivity Relationships, Conventional and Alternative Crop Management, Carbon Sequestration, Nutrient Management 

Thomas M. DeSutter, Ph.D.
Kansas State University, 2004
Research Area/Activity: Trace Elements, Land Application of Byproducts, Inorganic Soil Chemistry, Soil Environmental Conditions 

Ann-Marie Fortuna, Ph.D.
Michigan State University , 2001
Research Area/Activity: Microbial and soil process regulating nutrient cycling, soil health and global climate change in agricultural and grassland systems. Use of soil health indicators as a measure of the effectiveness of remediation and land management strategies in saline and sodic soils. 

David W. Franzen, Ph.D.
University of Illinois, 1993
Research Area/Activity: Soil Fertility/State Soil Specialist 

R. Jay Goos, Ph.D.
Colorado State University, 1980
Research Area/Activity: Soil Fertility and Management/Fertilizer Management for Small Grains 

David G. Hopkins, Ph.D.
North Dakota State University, 1997
Research Area/Activity: Interactions Among Landscape, Soil Morphology, Soil Properties and Environmental Aspects of Land Use 

Abbey Wick, Ph.D.
University of Wyoming, 2007
Research Area/Activity: Soil Health in Agricultural and Range Lands; Mine Reclamation 

Adjunct Faculty 

Allan W. Cattanach, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, 1979
Research Area/Activity: Soil Fertility, Sugarbeet Management  

Gary H. Halvorson, Ph.D.
Oregon State University, 1979
Director of Agriculture, Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates, SD 

Mark Liebig, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska, 1998
USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, ND
Research Area/Activity: Soil Quality, Soil Carbon Dynamics, Greenhouse Gas Flux, Semiarid Agroecosystems 

Stephen D. Merrill, Ph.D.
University of California, Riverside, 1976
USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, N.D.
Research Area/Activity: Soil Erosion Processes; Crop Root Growth and Soil/Crop Hydrology; Mined Land Reclamation 

Kristine Nichols, Ph.D.
University of Maryland, 2003
USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, ND
Research Area/Activity: Soil Microbiology and Aggregate Stability 

Laura F. Overstreet Gentry, Ph.D.
North Carolina State University, 2005
Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Research Area/Activity: Soil Fertility, Grain Crops, Bioenergy Crops, Crop Management, Environmental Systems 

Jimmie L. Richardson Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 1974
Research Area/Activity: Soil Salinization, Soil Development in Wetlands, Hydrologic Patterns, Sedimentation 

James A. Staricka, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, 1990
Williston Research Extension Center,
Research Area/Activity: Soil and Water Conservation and Nutrient Use Efficiency in Dryland and Irrigated Crop Production 

Donald L. Tanaka, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska, 1980
USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, ND
Research Area/Activity: Dryland Integrated Agricultural Systems, Soil and Crop Ecological Interactions

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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NDSU Graduate School
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7033
Campus address:  106 Putnam Hall
Physical/delivery address:  NDSU Graduate School/106 Putnam Hall/1349 12th Avenue Northwest/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  NDSU Dept. 2820/PO Box 6050/Fargo, ND 58108
Page manager: NDSU Graduate School

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 08, 2014 9:04:42 AM