Advising FAQ for the Soil Science Certificate

What is a Certificate?

  • A certificate functions almost identically to a minor.
  • The major differences between a minor and a certificate are that:
    • Certificates require more credits than minors.
    • Certificates can be earned by anyone with a bachelor’s degree, regardless of where that degree is from.
  • Certificates and minors are the same in requiring 9 credits to be unique; the rest of the credits can be double-counted. Because certificates require more credits, this means a higher proportion of the certificate can be double-counted.

Adding a Certificate

  • The process for a student to add a certificate is the same as for a minor, which is to complete the “Curriculum Change Form” and send to the college office of the student’s primary major. Detailed instructions are available here:
  • The electronic routing of this form does not require the student to meet with an adviser in soil science, but we highly recommend that students meet with a soil science adviser to discuss their course plans and learn more about resources/opportunities associated with their interest in soil science.
    • This form includes a box for noting any expected deviation from the standard requirements. College offices should route the “Curriculum Change Form” to the designated adviser in Soil Science for approval, but especially in these cases, the student should speak a soil science adviser in advance to identify the best course plan.

Flexibility and Compatibility with Majors

  • The Soil Science certificate has a lot of flexibility for being compatible with primary majors, particularly for meeting the “Supporting Sciences” requirement.
    • The list of known courses to meet the “Supporting Sciences” requirement is available here. However, we can work with students to accept courses that fall within the broad categories of biological, physical, and Earth sciences.
  • The “Soil Science” requirement is designed to give breadth of experience in soil science and maximize qualification for job requirements in soil science. Nonetheless, we recognize each student has different career objectives and circumstances. Special cases should be discussed with a soil science adviser.
  • The “Foundation” requirement of Introduction to Soil Science is a prerequisite for most soil science courses and therefore essential.

Degree Audit

The degree audit system has a known issue with properly allowing courses to double count between minors and certificates. The challenge is that the degree audit software can only set rules for maximum overlap, not for the actual requirement of minimum unique credits. If you have a degree audit where you think more credits should be allowed to fall into the Soil Science certificate, we can help you work with the college office to increase the maximum overlap for that student.


Please feel free to contact Bradley Miller with any questions about the Soil Science certificate.