Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Practical Practicals / Field Days. 10 x 3 hour practicals including fieldwork in mid-Wales.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Comprising (i) a laboratory report to be submitted at the end of week 11 of the Semester, and (ii) satisfactory completion of analytical work.  50%
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   Comprising of a pre-seen essay question.  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1.5 Hours   Written examination and resubmission of laboratory report.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On succesful completion of this module students should be :-

  • technically proficient in the sampling of soils
  • technically proficient in soil chemical analysis
  • aware of the logistics involved in undertaking soil sampling
  • be able to analyse chemical data
  • be able to present the results of field/ laboratory work in a technically sound report


To provide students with the knowledge and skills required for the successful sampling of soil and their analysis and interpretation.


The themes of the 10 practical classes are as follows:

1. Laboratory techniques: tools of the trade.

2. Local soil sampling and preliminary preparation and analysis

3. Analysis of macro-nutrients (Na and K) by flame photometry

4. Analysis of macro-nutrients (Mg and Ca) by atomic absorption spectrophotometry

5. Analysis of macro-nutrients (P) by spectrophotometric measurement.

6. Soil pH and gravimetric determination of soil organic matter

7. Walkley-Black technique for soil organic carbon

8. Analysis of trace-elements (e.g. Pb and Zn); analytical quality control

It is assumed (incorrectly) that no student has had any previous experience in laboratory work and the chemical principles involved will be given only a minimal treatment, sufficient to carry out the work and to calculate the results. All students are reminded that the departmental safety regulations MUST be obeyed: adherence to rules, bench tidiness and orderly behaviour are absolute prerequisites for personal safety. For the purposes of safety, ALL students MUST provide themselves with a laboratory coat.

Reading List

Rowell, D.L. Soil Science: Methods and Applications Longman Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5