Soil Science, MRes or MSc

Soil Science, MRes or MSc


With one of the most established soil science centres in Europe, Aberdeen is proud to maintain this MSc programme that teaches characterisation and basic properties of soils, combined with state-of-the-art techniques. This programme is also available as an MRes option.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MRes or MSc
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
Location of Study
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The University of Aberdeen has been producing high quality Soil Science graduates for over 60 years, with world leading researchers, renowned consultants and senior government staff amongst our alumni. You will receive intensive training in soil and environmental sciences, with a large focus on field and laboratory based teaching. Our School maintains expertise in all core areas of soil science (biology, chemistry, physics and pedology), so you can be assured of teaching by experts in the field. The final component of the MSc is a research project, conducted under the supervision of either departmental staff or institutions and agencies with whom we have close links.

The MSc/MRes Soil Science aims to provide you with:

  • A fundamental understanding of the nature and properties of soils.
  • An ability to apply knowledge in academic and real world contexts, such as food security or environmental sustainability.
  • Opportunities to learn from world renowned researchers from a range of specific topics in soil science.

Available Programmes of Study


Soil Science

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month Location  
MRes 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September Aberdeen More

Soil Science

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month Location  
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September Aberdeen More

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.


Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

How You'll Study

A wide range of teaching methods are used at Aberdeen to ensure that you are able to learn in a way that suits your learning style and enables you to achieve the best possible outcome. Our class sizes are small and we have a low student to tutor ratio, meaning you will have the full support of your group tutors.

Our great diversity in teaching methods is coupled by the use of latest digital technology to ensure course content is accessible to all students through a wide range of electronic formats.

The MSc also provides students with ample opportunity to learn outside the classroom so you can apply both theory and practice to real life situations. The majority of courses regularly extend activities and learning to outdoor field work, visits by industry experts and insights into real-life situations and problem-solving. The MSc programme includes, without additional cost, a one week residential field course (at Ballater, Aberdeenshire) plus several day-long field trips from Aberdeen.

The dedicated research project you will undertake as part of your MSc provides training in study design, technical skills, recording results and observations and analysing results. Great flexibility is available in project selection; projects can be chosen from a list of developed by the students themselves in collaboration with supervisors. Projects can be field, lab and/or computer based and flexible to fit the student’s interests, aspirations and skill set.

Learning Methods

  • Field Trips
  • Field Work
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

The degree programme is assessed on the basis of performance in the research project and continuous assessment of course work.

Why Study Soil Science?

  • You will receive training by active researchers which ensures topical, research based teaching and a wide range of cutting-edge project topics.
  • As the only dedicated MSc Soil Science remaining in the UK, and one of the few remaining in Europe, you can be assured of a specialist programme.
  • In the field, you will be introduced to soil science by following a series of excursions developed by the famous University of Aberdeen pedologist, E.A. Fitzpatrick. This gives unique access to a range of interesting soils formed in NE Scotland that demonstrate a wide range of soil formation processes.
  • The skills you will learn and the professional network that you will have access to may benefit you in your future career.
  • We provide ‘hands-on’ teaching in field trips and laboratory tutorials, providing transferable skills useful for future employment. We consult with industry to ensure delivery of the core skills they require from graduates.
  • The department boasts cutting-edge technologies for soil science, including analytical equipment, model development, X-Ray CT to study soil structure, molecular biology and isotopic approaches.
  • Core skills in writing, data analysis, presentation, field working and laboratory methods are an important component of the programme.
  • You will learn essential research skills that will better prepare you, should you choose to progress to PhD level.
  • Our research is conducted across the globe, finding solutions to soil degradation, food security and greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • A team from the University developed the award winning ‘Cool Farm Tool’ a greenhouse calculator used by Unilever, Marks & Spencer’s, Costco and Heinz.

Entry Requirements


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


A UK 2:1 honours degree (or international equivalent), in a biological, environmental or physical science, geography, or other relevant subject is required.


Minimum entry requirement for this programme is a degree in a biological, environmental or physical science, geography, or other relevant discipline at 2:1 (upper second class) UK Honours level, or an Honours degree from a non-UK institution which is judged by the University to be of equivalent worth. Candidates with at least a 2:1 or equivalent in other disciplines may be considered if they can demonstrate relevant experience and motivation.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

an up-to-date CV/Resumé
Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme


Graduates of the MSc Soil Science have a variety of career options in industry including environmental and agricultural consulting, mining, forestry, laboratory analysis and utilities. Many graduates are also employed by government environmental agencies in the UK and internationally. Environmental and food security concerns have increased opportunities for soil science graduates. Students are encouraged to develop professional connections through the British Society of Soil Science (, who provide links to practicing soil scientists in the UK and internationally.

As a taught, research focussed degree, the MRes Soil Science is intended to prepare students for a career in science, often as a precursor to PhD study.

Career Opportunities

  • Environmental Consultant
  • Land Remediation Specialist
  • Soil Surveyor

Industry Links

We have active links with industry through our research, with these partnerships producing products of real impact, such as the CoolFarmTool carbon calculator. Our environmental scientists also work closely with colleagues in research institutions all over the world:

  • The James Hutton Institute
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Marine Scotland Science
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • British Trust for Ornithology
  • Forestry Commission and Forest Research
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Queen's Anniversary Prize

This prestigious award was granted to the University for our world-leading research and education in Soil Science promoting the control of greenhouse gas emissions and sustainable food production.

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REF 2021

We are ranked in the top quartile for Research Power in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences in the latest Research Excellence Framework

What our Alumni Say

Adams Kehinde

Adams Kehinde

Adams Kehinde

Job Details
PhD Student
Graduated 2018

My study in Aberdeen gave me a good research foundation and skills that has enabled me to embark on a PhD. It also made me aware of some hi-tech equipment that are available for cutting-edge soil science research.

Jessica Brook

Jessica Brook

Jessica Brook

Graduated 2020

The favourite part of my degree was the field trips. They were a great opportunity to meet others on my course at the beginning of the year and to gain hands-on experience and put what we’d learned in lectures into practice.

Find out more

Adetunji Adekanmbi

Adetunji Adekanmbi

Adetunji Adekanmbi

Job Details
PhD Student
Graduated 2015

I studied modules containing core skills in writing, data analysis, presentation, field work and laboratory methods which gave me essential training and research skills required for my current role as a PhD student and career in academia.

Our Experts

The University of Aberdeen hosts one of the most diverse teams of soil scientists in the UK, including two Fellows of the Royal Society. The academics listed below play a major role in teaching or hosting MSc projects.

Other Experts
Professor Paul Hallett
Professor Graeme Paton
Dr Ashish Malik
Dr Lenka Mbadugha
Dr Cecile Gubry-Rangin
Professor Jo Smith
Professor Pete Smith
Programme Coordinator
Dr Vasilis Louca

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


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Sir Duncan Rice Library

Sir Duncan Rice Library

The University’s award winning Sir Duncan Rice Library is listed in the “Top 20 spellbinding University libraries in the World”. It contains over a million volumes, more than 300,000 e-books and 21,000 journals.

Find out more
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Cruickshank Botanic Garden

Cruickshank Botanic Garden

The Cruickshank Botanic Garden is situated on our King's College campus. It is used to support both our teaching and research; existing to promote the diversity and importance of plants and their role in the natural world.

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Laboratory Facilities

Laboratory Facilities

Our laboratory facilities include advanced analytical equipment to study soil chemical, physical and biological properties. Students have the opportunity to access state-of-the-art facilities such as mass spectroscopy, GC-MS and XRay CT imaging.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX