Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality (SOC)

The research programme of the Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality group deals with chemical compounds in soils, sediments and solid waste materials and with characteristics of soil particles. Keywords are nutrients, contaminants, chemical speciation (analysis and modeling), bioavailability, clay, iron and aluminium (hydr)oxides, organic matter and soil structure.

More about this thesis track

We study the chemical behavior, bioavailability and mobility of nutrients and contaminants. Our research contributes to a sustainable use of the soil as a natural resource for the provision of ecosystem services (relevant for nature, agriculture, environment). Areas in which results of our research are applied are: soil pollution and soil protection, soil fertility, soil remediation, (ground)water quality and soil risk assessment.

Major research challenges:

  • To identify the underlying processes that control the actual risks of contaminant mobility and bioavailability in the soil environment.
  • To develop methods for the measurement and/or prediction of the relevant contaminant fractions (speciation) and the associated risks of contaminant migration and uptake by biota (plants and soil organisms).
  • To characterize soil particles and soil particle interactions affecting bioavailability and mobility of contaminants and nutrients

The applicability for real world problems is diverse. Usually, the problems studied concern the fate of nutrients or contaminants. However, also soil remediation questions, water quality issues, soil formation problems, aspects of risk analysis, soil protection (e.g. determination of soil standards), and soil fertility may benefit from the outcome of this research.

Students can learn more about the education and research related to this discipline by visiting the website of the Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality group


The following courses are part of the MSc programme Environmental Sciences when selecting the thesis track Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality. Next to these thesis specific courses, you will follow courses from the common part and electives as summarized in the programme outline. For more information visit the study handbook or contact the study adviser.

Thesis track-related subjects
Subject Code
One e-learning is compulsory in order to work safely at Wageningen University (0 ECTS):
Laboratory safety ZSS06100
Applications in Soil and Water Chemistry SOC34806
MSc Internship Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality SOC70224
MSc Thesis Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality SOC81336
Compulsory unless your study adviser indicates differently:
Chemical Processes in Soil, Water, Atmosphere SOC22306
Restricted optional: Select at least one
Soil quality SBL21806
The Carbon Dilemma - a soil perspective SBL35306

In order to prepare well for your thesis track, you can additionally choose supporting courses. These courses focus, for example, on quantitative and data sciences or laboratory skills. You can find the exact list in the study handbook at the section “Restricted Optionals (2) in Common part”.

This course overview is based on the Wageningen University study handbook, where you can find a more detailed course and programme description. The study handbook is guiding in case of any discrepancy.

Below you can see how your schedule might look like for your whole programme:

MSc Environmental Sciences - thesis track Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality