Soil Science has long been related to the body of knowledge of the soil environment, which includes its formation and the dynamic processes associated with it, and its application to agronomic practices and environmental conservation. Soil processes are integral in forming and regulating the natural environment, dictating how land is developed, thus influencing the distribution of people world wide and governing where plants grow. In recent years, there has been an increased awareness of the multiple roles soils play in the quality of life. Although soil is far more complex than air or water, it is sometimes the forgotten part of the environmental picture. This is a dangerous oversight not because soils affect our future food supply but they also offer very important ecosystem services. High-quality soils not only promote the growth of plants and microbial activity but also act as an effective carbon sink and prevent water and air pollution by resisting erosion and by degrading and immobilizing agricultural chemicals, organic wastes, and other potential pollutants thus preventing pollution that would occur if the waste products were left to accumulate. Moreover soil supports buildings and provides materials for construction of earthen structures such as dams and roadbeds. The major threat to soil is degradation which results from unsustainable land uses or from processes arising from human activities such as accelerated erosion, deterioration of physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil or long-term loss of natural vegetation. In recent years, there has been an increased need for information on how to maintain soil resources for sustainable land use and environmental conservation. Such information will be generated by well trained personnel in the area of soil environment and land use management.
Types of soils have influenced population settlements across the globe for centuries. The inherent fertility of the soil resource as well as the prevailing environmental conditions has sustained humanity for a long time. However, upsurge in human population has led to overexploitation and subsequent degradation of the soil resource and environment. In order to forestall and reverse the degradation, there is need for capacity building and hence a curriculum that combines both soil resource and environmental issues. This curriculum combines the necessity to produce food by utilizing the soil resource while at
the same time conserving the environment, both of which are becoming increasingly important. The subjects covered are interdisciplinary and will provide students with skills, knowledge and attitudes essential to manage the continually changing pedosphere, where the lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere interact. Graduates in Soil Environment and Land Use Management (SELUM) will have many career opportunities in fields related to environmental protection, sustainable management of natural resources, agriculture and forestry.
The main objective of the programme is to develop human resource capacity with practical and conceptual skills in soil environment and land use management so as to address the current issues of food insecurity, environmental protection, urban waste management, land development (planning) strategies and terrestrial ecosystems role in climate change.
At the end of the program, SELUM graduates should be able to:
i) Practice sustainable management of agricultural soils and environmental services.
ii) Train and disseminate knowledge and skills in soil environment and land use management.
iii) Advice on policy issues pertaining to land use management.
iv) Carry out reclamation and remediation of degraded and contaminated soils.
v) Advice on the impacts of land use on water and soil quality and the use of soil for agricultural and municipal waste management.
vi) Carry out research, consultancy and outreach in relevant areas in soil environment and land use management.
vii) Undertake postgraduate training in soil, environmental sciences and related fields.
To be eligible for admission, applicants must satisfy the minimum entry requirements stipulated in the EgertonUniversity statutes.
i) In addition, applicants must have passed the KCSE or any other equivalent qualification recognized by Egerton University Senate with at least grades C+ in Biology; C+ in Chemistry; C+ in Mathematics or Physics or Geography and C+ in English or Kiswahili or Agriculture.
ii) Admission will be granted to Diploma holders in agriculture or related fields who have passed with at least a CREDIT or its equivalent from Universities or Colleges recognized by Egerton University Senate. Diploma holders may qualify for credit transfer from their Diploma programmes as specified in Egerton University Statutes.
13.4 Course Structure and Duration
The Bachelor of Science degree in SELUM shall be four academic years each with two semesters of 15 teaching and 2 examination weeks.To graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in SELUM, a student should have studied and passed all scheduled courses, which includes the University common core courses approved by Egerton University Senate.
The Code SOIL refers to the Soil Science section of the Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils. The first digit refers to the year of study and the second digit categorizes the course denoting:
0 - Introductory
1 - Foundation
2 - Applied
3 - Experimentation/ Research
The third digit is a serial number for the various courses within a particular discipline.
All examinations for this programme will be conducted in accordance with the examination regulations as stipulated in the Egerton University Statutes XXVIII.
The grading of examinations for this programme shall be conducted in accordance with Egerton University Statute XXVIII.
To graduate, a student shall be required to take and pass all scheduled courses within the stipulated period.
Degree classification shall be in accordance with Egerton University Statute XXVIII.