Master of Science Degree in Plant and Soil Sciences


As environmental issues take center stage on global political and economic arenas, there’s more demand than ever for soil scientists with the ability to analyze, manage and conserve the land. This part-time program, designed for working professionals, readies you for certification as a Professional Soil Scientist and prepares you for careers in soil conservation, environmental consultancy, landscape design, agricultural management and other growing fields.

Complete your coursework online from home, meeting periodically with your classmates and our award-winning faculty for short-term, hands-on training in the field. Gain technical expertise and enjoy outstanding opportunities with government research agencies, public institutions and private companies committed to sustaining the health and productivity of this vital resource.

Note: Although students in this off-campus program earn their master’s degree in plant and soil sciences, the curriculum is limited to the area of soil science.

For details on the curriculum, please click here.

Learn more about this program:

To receive more information and connect with the program manager, please click on inquire now to the right.

Sample a Course

Click here for more information on the UMass Amherst's Master of Science in Plant and Soil Program.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is presently not accepting applications or registrations for online courses, degrees or certificate programs from residents of Alabama, Arkansas and Oregon.


Registration is administered through UMass Amherst Continuing & Professional Education.  Please see Fee Schedule below.

Type of Fee Amount
Fee per credit $460
Registration Fee per semester $47
Late Reg. Fee per semester* $60
Returned Check Fee per semester** $30
Total for course*** $1,427(460x3 credits = 1,380 + 47 registration fee per semester)

Click here to browse our course listings.

*applicable when you register after deadline; non-refundable unless course has been cancelled

** applicable when checks returned unpaid

*** Courses can vary from one to six credits; this total represents a standard 3 credit course

There is also a one-time $300 Graduate Registrar's Service Fee, which is a one-time fee paid by all entering matriculated graduate students.


The University of Massachusetts is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Plan of Study: 

Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in a science-related field such as geology, engineering, public health, biology, or environmental sciences.

Format: Most courses are now offered online, while some are blended, and some, including soil morphology and mapping, may travel throughout southern New England. In general, two courses are offered each fall and spring, for a total of four 3-credit courses per year. Some wetland courses may be taught in person during the summer semester. No courses are taught during the winter break.

Curriculum: Courses are generally identical to those at the Amherst campus. They are offered in rotation, enabling students to take at least 6 different courses over a two-year cycle. Regular offerings include:

• PLNTSOIL 515 Microbiology of the Soil (online - 3 credits)
• PLNTSOIL 566 Soil Formation (blended - 3 credits)
• PLNTSOIL 575 Environmental Soil Chemistry (online - 3 credits)
• PLNTSOIL 597I Hydric Soils (on-campus 2-day workshop; 1 credit)
• PLNTSOIL 597J Advanced Hydric Soil (on-campus 2-day workshop; 1 credit)
• PLNTSOIL 597M Soil Morphology and Mapping (3 credits)
• PLNTSOIL 597O Organic Contaminants (online - 3 credits)
• PLNTSOIL 597S Intermediate Soil Science (blended - 3 credits)
• PLNTSOIL 597X Inorganic Soil Contaminants (online - 3 credits)
• PLNTSOIL 697S Literature Seminar (blended - 3 credits)

Courses may not be taken pass/fail.

Financial Aid: 

Availability of financial aid varies depending on matriculation and course status. Please check with your program manager or advisor to determine your eligibility. Generally, if you are matriculated in a degree program and are enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits each semester, you may qualify for financial aid. Please review our Financial Aid Checklist below.

  1. Fill out the FAFSA form at
  2. It is important to list the University of Massachusetts Amherst school code number 002221.


For more information please click here.

Request Information

Caanin Manson
Master's Degree
Tuition Per Credit: 
Environmental Studies
Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences
Natural Resources Conservation
Plant, Soil & Insect Science
Sustainability Studies
Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation
Degree Finder Course Finder Request Information 877-MY-UMASS