Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality

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. Besides these courses, for the common part of the programme several supporting courses are available which have to be taken if your study adviser deems it necessary (these are not listed in the table below, but summarized in the programme outline). Also, there is room for optional subjects which you may use to broaden your scope or to deepen your knowledge on a topic in your specialisation. For more information visit the study handbook or contact the study adviser.

The common part
Subject Code Period* Phase
Compulsory unless advised otherwise
Environmental Quality and Governance ENP-35806 2AF, 5AF M1
Principles of Environmental Sciences ESA-20806 1AF, 4WD M1
Research Methods in Environmental Science YRM-20306 1MO, 2MO M1
Restricted optional: select one out of these three options**
European Workshop Environmental Sciences and Management ESA-60312 1WD, 6WD M1
Environmental Education and Learning for Sustainability and Teaching, Learning and Capacity Building for Sustainable Development ELS-31806+ ELS-32806 6WD M1
Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training (MOS) YMC-60809+ YMC-60300 1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD,6WD M1
Thesis track-related subjects
Subject Code Period* Phase
Compulsory unless advised otherwise
Applications in Soil and Water Chemistry SOC-34806 4WD M1
Chemical Processes in Soil, Water, Atmosphere SOC-22306 2MO M1
MSc Internship Soil Quality SOC-70424 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
MSc Thesis Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality SOC-81336 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
Restricted optional: select (at least) one
Soil Quality SBL-21806 5MO M1
The Carbon Dilemma SBL-35306 5MO M1
*MO = morning; AF= afternoon; WD = whole day
**The restricted optional subjects have to be selected in consultation and agreement with the study adviser.
This course overview is based on the Wageningen University study handbook. The study handbook is guiding in case of any discrepancy.

Below you can see how your schedule might look like:

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