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Admission Prerequisites

Baccalaureate Degree

A baccalaureate degree from an undergraduate program in Soil Science, or having an emphasis in natural science, is preferred.

Expected Background

Background in basic and applied natural sciences, including minimum credits in the following areas:

  • Communication skills (9 credits), including technical writing (3) and speech (3).
  • Chemistry, mathematics, and physics (10 credits distributed among all categories).
  • Biological science (8 credits), including botany.
  • Agronomy, geology, and plant science (12 credits), including soil science.

Grade Point Average

A 3.20 grade-point average (4.0 = A, 1.0 = D) for the junior-senior years of the baccalaureate degree.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Applicants must present scores obtained in Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing Tests of the Graduate Record Examination. Scores in the 50th percentile or higher in the three areas are expected by the Department for admission.

English Proficiency

Students who come from nations where English is not the native language, or who have not received a baccalaureate or master’s degree from an institution in which the language of instruction is English, must submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission. The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5.

Exceptions and Limitations to Admission

Since graduate studies require close student-professor working relationships and various facilities and equipment, there are limits to the total number of graduate students the Department may accept at a given time. Therefore, the Department will admit the most qualified applicants for its openings. We recognize, however, that all qualified students do not fit a common mold. The following statements are for the guidance of students without traditional soil science backgrounds:

Deficiencies in Preparation

Students with deficiencies in soil science coursework, but with qualifications in other areas, may be admitted and allowed to take a limited number of remedial undergraduate courses while proceeding with their graduate programs. Courses taken for this purpose do not apply toward the credit requirements of the advanced degree. An appropriate course plan will be developed in conjunction with the student’s advisory committee.

Minimum Grade Point Averages

The minimum grade point averages stipulated for admission may be waived for students with special background, abilities, or interests. However, no student may be admitted for a master's program with less than a 3.00 grade point average (4.0 = A, 1.0 = D) obtained in the junior and senior undergraduate years.

Career Experience

A person with career experience having a bearing on graduate qualifications may request that it be considered along with the academic record for admission to graduate school.