At the conclusion of fall 2017, this degree and certificate will no longer be offered to new students.  If you are a current student, contact your academic advisor for a list course offerings.

Soil, Water and Environmental Science is a multi-disciplinary graduate degree program in soil, water and environmental sciences (SWES) offered via distance education.

The graduate degree and certificate program create unique opportunities for industry personnel, extension educators, and other professionals to enhance their professional skills and expertise. Knowledge of soils and water are essential to protecting the quality of our natural resources while sustaining healthy communities.

What can I do with this degree?

A degree in SWES provides the technical background to work as a:

  • Soil scientist
  • Soil classifier
  • Watershed specialist
  • Environmental conservationist
  • Hydrologist in agricultural and environmental industries
  • Government agency (Natural Resources Conservation Service, state extension services, state and county health departments, environmental services, water treatment facilities)

Increasingly, a master’s degree is necessary to work as a specialist or senior management in industry or government. 

Is this program right for me?

Students in this program come from various areas in environmental and agricultural areas:

  • Environmental Engineering Firms
  • Water Quality Specialist
  • Research Analyst
  • Landscape Management
  • Recent graduate anticipating job in environmental conservation

To do well in this program, you should have taken courses in chemistry, biology, physics and calculus. 

What will I learn in this program?

Students in the degree program must take at least one course in four of the following core areas:

  • Soil biology
  • Soil chemistry
  • Soil physics
  • Hydrology
  • Pedology

Electives include courses in resource management, technology and analytics, and policy and law. With so much flexibility, you can tailor the degree program to meet your individual interests and career needs.  

In addition, you may choose between two culminating experiences: a special project (non-thesis degree) or complete a thesis. Both require a seminar presentation on your findings.  A total of 36 graduate credit hours are required to complete the degree. 

Student Handbook

Degree titles vary by university.  Consult each university for the degree title as it will appear on the diploma.

At the conclusion of fall 2017, this degree will no longer be offered to new students.  If you are a current student, contact your academic advisor for a list course offerings.

At the conclusion of fall 2017, this certificate will no longer be offered to new students.  If you are a current student, contact your academic advisor for a list course offerings.

Program Summary
Cost per credit hour:

2017-2018: $565
2018-2019: $580

36 Hours


15 Hours

University Contact
These campus coordinators can help you navigate Great Plains IDEA. Click on the university name to learn more about how Great Plains IDEA works at that campus. Megan Ross
Julie Holder
Leslie McClure Myatt
Dana Nash
Faculty
University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

In addition to the flexible learning environment and knowledgeable faculty, another benefit that’s been a pleasant and unexpected surprise are the meaningful connections I have made with other students from other countries. Not only have I had the opportunity to learn from their distinct experiences and individual perspectives related to d More »

– – Janice Edwards, Community Development Student