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.

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 .

Sample a Course

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


Registration is administered through UMass Amherst University Without Walls. Please see Fee Schedule below.

Type of Fee Amount
Summer Fee per credit $474
Fall Fee per credit $569
Registration Fee per semester $60
Returned Check Fee per semester** $30

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 $507 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 Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Plan of Study: 

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

Format: 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:

  • STOCKSCH 515 Microbiology of the Soil (in person - 3 credits)
  • STOCKSCH 564 Environmental Soil Science (blended - 4 credits)
  • STOCKSCH 566 Soil Formation (blended - 3 credits)
  • STOCKSCH 575 Environmental Soil Chemistry (in person - 4 credits)
  • STOCKSCH 576 Hydric Soils (on-campus 2-day course; 1 credit)
  • STOCKSCH 577 Advanced Hydric Soil (on-campus 2-day course; 1 credit)
  • STOCKSCH 585 Inorganic Contaminants in Soil, Water, and Sediment (in person - 3 credits)
  • STOCKSCH 597M Soil Morphology and Mapping (3 credits)
  • STOCKSCH 602 Research Literature (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 studentaid.gov.
  2. It is important to list the University of Massachusetts Amherst school code number 002221.


For more information please click here.