Elements of Soil Science

Course Objective:
To develop understanding about soil forming processes and soil as natural body/medium for storage and movement of water, gases, heat, nutrients and physical and chemical properties of soil.

  1. Definition, Concept and Use of Soil (2 hours)
    1. Soils in relation to agricultural production
    2. Concepts of land and soil
    3. Definition and concept of soil science
  1. Soil Forming Factors, Processes and Classification (12 hours)
    1. Soil forming rocks and minerals
    2. Weathering of rocks and minerals
    3. Soil profile: horizon designations
    4. Morphological properties
    5. Factors of soil formation
    6. Major soil forming processes
    7. Introduction and history of soil classification
    8. Surface and sub-surface diagnostic horizons
    9. Soil temperature regimes
    10. Soil moisture regimes
    11. Classification according to soil taxonomy
    12. FAO/UNESCO system of soil classification
    13. Soils of Nepal and their suitability for different purposes
    14. Processes of soil survey and mapping
  1. Physical Properties of Soils (8 hours)
    1. Soil color
    2. Mechanical composition and textural classification
    3. Soil structure
    4. Bulk density, particle density and porosity
    5. Soil consistency
    6. Soil aeration
    7. Soil moisture
    8. Soil heat
  1. Soil Physical Properties in Relation to Plant Growth  (8 hours)
    1. Soil moisture:
      1. quantitative concepts and measurements
      2. energy concepts and measurement
      3. soil moisture characteristics curves
      4. soil water movements (saturated and unsaturated)
      5. infiltration and percolation
      6. moisture extraction by plant roots
    2.  Soil aeration:
      1. significance
      2. composition
      3. mechanism of renewal
    3. Soil temperature:
      1. energy balance
      2. soil thermal properties
      3. diurnal and seasonal variations
      4. significance
  1. Soil Chemistry and Fertility (15 hours)
    1. Soil reaction:
      1. acidic soils
      2. saline soils
      3. alkali soils
      4. soil amendments
      5. Soil colloids and their properties
    2. Cation and anion exchange phenomenon
    3. Macro and secondary plant nutrients:
      1. forms
      2. functions
      3. deficiency symptoms
      4. transformation
      5. availability to the plants
    4. Introduction to micro nutrients and their significance in plant growth
    5. Inorganic fertilizers:
      1. composition
      2. uses
      3. behavior in soil
    6. Soil fertility evaluation:
      1. soil testing
      2. plant analysis
      3. deficiency symptoms
      4. biological tests
    7. Soil organic matters and organic manures
    8. Green manuring and biofertilizers


  1. Identification of important rocks and minerals
  2. Collection and preparation of soil samples
  3. Determination of soil texture and consistency by feel method
  4. Identification of soil structure
  5. Determination of bulk density, particle density, total porosity and air porosity
  6. Particle size analysis by hydrometer method
  7. Determination of aggregate size distribution
  8. Study of soil profile and morphological properties
  9. Determination of soil moisture content by weight and volume
  10. Measurement of soil moisture by metric suction
  11. Measurement of soil moisture by electrical resistance method (use of soil moisture Meter)
  12. Observation of capillary phenomenon in soil
  13. Determination of hydraulic conductivity
  14. Determination of infiltration characteristics of soils
  15. Use of soil testing kit
  16. Determination of organic matter in soils
  17. Determination of soil pH and electrical conductivity
  18. Estimation of available nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium
  19. Identification of nutrient deficiency symptoms of major crops


  1. Nyle C. Brady. The Nature and Properties of Soils. 10th edition. Prentice Hall of India Ltd.
  2. Biswas T.D. and S.K. Mukharjee. A Textbook of Soil Science. Tata McGraw Hill Publications
  3. Oswal M.C. Soil Physics. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. New Delhi
  4. Gupta. P.K. Soil, Plant , Water and Fertilizer Anlysis. Agrobios (India)

Evaluation system:
The questions will cover all the chapters of the syllabus. The evaluation scheme will be as indicated in the table below:



Marks Distribution*



















*Note: There may be minor deviation in marks distribution

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