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    Oct 26, 2021  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Environmental and Soil Sciences Major, MS


Students seeking the Master of Science degree with a major in environmental and soil sciences will generally concentrate their studies in one of the environmental and soil sciences focus areas: soil and water chemistry; nutrient and elemental cycling; land management and reclamation; pedology, genesis, and classification; environmental climatology; soil biology and biochemistry; and soil physical processes. For additional information contact Director of Graduate Studies of the environmental and soil sciences program.

Campus Code

Knoxville Campus

Options Available

Thesis
Project

Admissions Standards/Procedures

  • Applicants having a bachelor’s degree in fields that are related or unrelated to environmental and soil sciences may apply although acceptance may be contingent upon the completion of prerequisite coursework.
  • Submit online application, application fee, official transcripts, and scores from the general portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
  • The online application procedure will also direct the applicant to submit an updated resume, three letters of reference (or three Graduate Rating Forms) from persons capable of assessing the applicant’s suitability for graduate work, and a statement of professional goals, research interests in environmental and soil sciences, and reasons for applying (less than one page).

Thesis Option

Upon consultation with the department head, the student will be assigned a major professor who acts as chair of the student’s advisory committee. The student and the major professor will assemble a graduate advisory committee consisting of the major professor and a minimum of two additional faculty, each holding the rank of assistant professor or above. At least one-half of the committee members must hold teaching appointments. The advisory committee must be formalized by the end of the second semester of graduate study.

An approved program of study must be developed and submitted by the end of the second semester of graduate study.

Credit Hours Required

30 graduate credit hours

Required Courses

  • A minimum of 24 credit hours of graduate coursework is required in the program of study, exclusive of 6 credit hours of 500 Thesis.
    • ESS 503  Seminar (1 credit hour), taken three times during the program of study (totaling 3 credit hours), the last of which must be in the student’s final semester before graduation
    • 9 credit hours of Environmental and Soil Sciences (ESS), excluding 500-level courses numbered ESS 500 ESS 502 , and ESS 503 
    • 12 credit hours from related courses numbered above ESS 503 , chosen in consultation with the major professor and guidance committee
  • 6 credit hours of ESS 500  Thesis

Additional Course Requirements

  • The student’s committee may require additional coursework beyond the 24 graduate credit hours if the student’s progress or background indicates a need or deficiency.

Non-Course Requirements

  • The student must pass a final oral exam (administered by the advisory committee) that integrates the student’s thesis and coursework. The student is expected to be conversant in the soil and environmental sciences, particularly in the thesis and allied areas.
  • A student who has started a degree program under the thesis option is not eligible to transfer to the non-thesis option after the end of the first semester of graduate study or after receiving a graduate assistantship stipend for more than one semester.

Project Option

A student desiring the project option must declare their intention before the beginning of the second semester of study. The student must meet the following requirements, in addition to those of the Graduate Council, as specified in the Master’s Degree section within the Academic Policies and Requirements for Graduate Students section of the Graduate Catalog.

Upon consultation with the department head, the student will be assigned a major professor who acts as chair of the student’s advisory committee. The student and the major professor will assemble a graduate advisory committee consisting of the major professor and a minimum of two additional faculty, each holding the rank of assistant professor or above. At least one-half of the committee members must hold teaching appointments. The advisory committee must be formalized by the end of the second semester of graduate study.

An approved program of study must be developed and submitted by the end of the second semester of graduate study.

Credit Hours Required

33 graduate credit hours

Required Courses

  • ESS 503  Seminar (1 credit hour), taken three times during the program of study (totaling 3 credit hours), the last of which must be in the student’s final semester before graduation
  • 3 credit hours of ESS 593  (Independent Study, see below)
  • 18 credit hours of courses numbered above 503 (exclusive of 593) chosen in consultation with the major professor and guidance committee
  • 12 credit hours of Environmental and Soil Sciences (ESS), excluding 500-level courses numbered ESS 500  and ESS 502  

Non-Course Requirements

  • Students are required to complete 3 credit hours of ESS 593  by participating in a single research program for a period of twelve weeks. The advisory committee approves the research problem. Satisfactory completion of this requirement requires a written, original research report that is acceptable to the student’s committee.
  • A comprehensive written examination that integrates the student’s coursework and research problem must be passed. The exam is developed and administered by the advisory committee.
  • A student who has started a degree program under the non-thesis option may transfer to the thesis option upon approval of a potential major professor and the department head.