Honors Soil Genesis, Morphology, and Classification

Syllabus Spring 2014

Course Information

Tarleton State University

College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

Department of Environmental & Agricultural Management



PSSC 301 (formally AGRN 301)

Course Description

The honors level learner is to participate in the PSSC312 course and attain a grade of “C” or better in the undergraduate coursework. The syllabus for the PSSC312 course is to be consulted for coursework therein. 

The honors course (PSSC312-020) challenges the learner to complete an advanced honors level project. The project for this term is to prepare a learning module, and be prepared to deliver a presentation on Soil Temperature Regime (STR) as applicable to understanding STR for use in U.S. Soil Taxonomy. 

The module might consist a monolithic lesson, but the may consist of several lesson topics in support of understanding STR and its use in Soil Taxonomy. The delivery should include a breakdown of  its application that leads to dichotomous decisions of the classification(s) to lower categories within the Order(s). This lesson should have a minimum of one very clear and in-depth explanation of STR use in at least one Order.

The lesson is to be accompanied by a metadata companion essay that will serve as the instructor text for the lesson. The metadata instructor text should have a printed or eBook form. The target audience is undergraduate college learners.

The main lesson is to be packaged in a multimedia bundle consisting of several parts.

The bundle should contain a written lessons element that is to be delivered electronically. The electronic medium may be a web page, but an application for a digital device could also be built. 

The bundle should also contain some elements beyond textual presentation (web page and essay) such as video, screencasts, audio casts, and/or animations.

The bundle should include a document that is indented to be projected (Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi, Impress, or other) to assist in teaching the lesson. The projected presentation document should not be only text, should be a support for a live presentation, and should have a transcript for the intended live delivery.

Scheduling & Mechanics


CRN 22616 PSSC 312-020 

MWF 8:00 to 8:50 AM Autry (Agriculture) 209


CRN 22615 PSSC 312-520 T  1:15 to 4:15 PM Autry (Agriculture) 206 


Donald G. McGahan, Ph.D.

Office: Room 203A Joe Autry (Agriculture) Building 

Office Phone: 254-968-9701

Fax: 254-968-9300 

eMail: mcgahan@tarleton.edu

Web page: [Online at http://faculty.tarleton.edu/mcgahan/]

Open Course Information

Office Hours

By appointment. Please suggest several day (at least three) start and stop time combinations for the most prompt scheduling for an appointment to reduce back and forth emails for scheduling a date and time to meet. Should one of the suggested dates not be acceptable the instructor will suggest a date and time combination.

Please remember to identify yourself especially, with initial contacts, in correspondence.

The preferred contact method is via campus email address. 

Always begin subject line with “PSSC312,” without quotes, to keep the message from the spam/junk folder, and for a more prompt response.

Required Text

Buol, S.W., R.J. Southard, R.C. Graham, and P.A. McDaniel. 2011. Soil Genesis and Classification, 6th edition. Wiley-Blackwell.  ISBN-13: 978-0-8138-0769-0 [Wiley-Blackwell online]

The text above text may also be purchased from any number of brick and mortar or online booksellers, TSU Bookstore, Hastings, Barns & Noble, Amazon, Alibris, etc.

Soil Survey Staff. 2010. Keys to Soil Taxonomy, Eleventh Edition. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington, DC.  [Online at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/soils/?cid=nrcs142p2_053580]

Supplemental reading from 

Soil Survey Staff. 1999. Soil taxonomy: A basic system of soil classification for making and interpreting soil surveys. 2nd edition. Natural Resources Conservation Service. U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook 436. [Online at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/soils/?cid=nrcs142p2_053577]

Soil Survey Division Staff. 1993. Soil survey manual. Soil Conservation Service. U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook 18. [online at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/soils/?cid=nrcs142p2_054262]

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. National soil survey handbook, title 430-VI. [online at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/soils/?cid=nrcs142p2_054242]. 

Other sources to be identified during the course. (Online or free via the library)

Suggested Text

Brady, N.C. and R. Weil. 2008. The Nature and Properties of Soils. 14th ed. Prentice Hall. ISBN-13:  9780132279383

Thompson, J.A. and Coyne, M.S. 2006. Math for Soil Scientists. 1st ed. Thompson-Delmar. ISBN-13: 9780766842687 

Ellsworth, B., J.A. Higgins. 2012. English Simplified. 13th ed. Pearson Ed. Inc. ISBN-13: 978-0205110469 

Rosenberg, J.L., L.M. Epstein, P.J. Krieger. 2013. Shaum’s Outline of College Chemistry. 10th ed. McGraw Hill, NY NY. ISBN-13: 978-007181082.


The gradate learner must attain a passing grade for the assessments delivered for the PSSC312 Soil Genesis, Morphology, & Classification course in addition to being assessed for the Honors project.