Soil Scientist


    Soil scientists analyze soil samples to provide information about its quality and structure for construction, agricultural, government, industrial and scientific staff.

    As a soil scientist, you’ll gather, interpret and evaluate information about the chemistry, biology and physics of soil. Using the information obtained from this analysis, you will inform and influence on diverse issues, such as:

    • agricultural production
    • biodiversity
    • climate change
    • environmental quality
    • human health
    • land remediation.


    Employers of soil scientists

    • Environmental consultancies
    • Research establishments
    • Commercial and industrial organizations
    • Universities



    • apply knowledge of soil science, including the fundamentals of the subject, such as the biological, chemical and physical properties of soils, and their spatial and temporal variability across the landscape
    • carry out field work, including the collection of soil samples from a range of environments
    • produce maps of soil types and their distribution
    • monitor or supervise laboratory research
    • conduct laboratory analysis of soil samples and research experiments
    • complete paperwork and catalogue findings
    • write research reports and make presentations on findings, including scientific research papers and non-scientific client reports
    • interpret science to inform policy
    • integrate soil science knowledge into aspects of land management and ecosystems
    • keep up to date with developments in soil science and related areas, as well as environmental issues and changes in legislation that may impact on your work
    • attend conferences to keep abreast of the latest developments and to network with people in the profession and in related industries
    • travel to sites
    • in education posts you’ll need to write proposals and make bids for new research projects and funding, make presentations, give seminars, teach and advise students
    • in consultancy roles you’ll tender for work, report to and advise clients, liaise with members of related professions, such as ecologists, environmental scientists, engineers, geologists and hydrologists.



    You’ll need a degree in a science or science-related discipline for entry into the profession. In particular, the following subjects may increase your chances:

    • biology
    • chemistry
    • environmental science
    • geology
    • geoscience
    • mathematics
    • microbiology
    • physical geography
    • physics



    • the ability to plan and conduct research and carry out experimental practical work
    • logical thinking
    • competence in data collection and analysis
    • communication skills, oral and written
    • the ability to identify and solve problems
    • presentation and report-writing skills
    • time-management skills
    • the ability to work independently as well as in a team
    • IT skills
    • an understanding of health and safety in the workplace
    • a full driving license.