Soil Physics - CRSS 4600/6600 4600L/6600L

Description. The objective of this class is to describe soil properties related to physical and hydrologic processes.

Lectures are supplemented with field and laboratory exercises to measure soil-water content and associated properties to describe and quantify soil-water movement in the unsaturated (vadose) zone.

Students will also learn how to use the HYDRUS-1D computer model.

Prerequisites. CRSS 3050, CRSS(FANR) 3060, ENGR 2150, ENGR 3050, or FANR 3110 may be used as prerequisites, along with MATH 2200 and PHYS 1111 or 1211.

This course is meant to complement other UGA hydrology courses (e.g., soil mechanics, open-channel flow, watershed hydrology, forest hydrology, hydrogeology).


Textbook. Soil Physics with HYDRUS: Modeling and Applications available in the bookstore and from online vendors.

Schedule. There are three weekly lectures (MWF @ 12:20) and a weekly lab (Tu @ 2). Attendance is mandatory for both lectures and labs. Absences may be excused for good reason. Participation in class discussions is encouraged and rewarded.

Problem sets. Assigned weekly, due at 4 pm on the Monday following the week in which they are assigned. Some problems require the use of spreadsheets (e.g., EXCEL, Google Sheets); with different problems assigned for graduate and undergraduate students. Working together on problem sets is expected and encouraged. Late submissions require a valid excuse.

Exams. There are two open-book exams and a final exam. No make-ups without a valid excuse.

Topical Outline

  1. Soil Solid Phase
  2. Soil Water Content and Potential
  3. Steady Water Flow
  4. Heat Transport
  5. Transient Water Flow
  6. Solute Transport


  • 10% Quizes
  • 10% Participation
  • 15% Problems
  • 20% Exam 1
  • 20% Exam 2
  • 25% Final

Laboratory reports

  • Provide:
    • An appreciation for the variability of soil properties as well as experimental errors.
    • A written record so that you can refer to methods and materials in your career.
    • An opportunity for you to exercise your written communication skills, which something that employers always stress as a deficiency in our students.

  • Must be typewritten and include the following sections:
    • Lab objectives
    • Summary of materials and equipment
    • Itemized procedures
    • Raw data and all steps used to calculate your results, along with a comparison to results from the rest of the class
    • A discussion of your results, with particular emphasis on how they compare to the rest of the class.
    • Responses to questions that have been asked for the particular lab.

  • The laboratory final grade is the average of all labs. Part of the grade will be based on the clarity and grammatical correctness of the report. Carefully organize your discussion -- start each paragraph with a topical sentence, and write clearly and concisely.


  • This syllabus is a general plan for the course -- deviations may be necessary.
  • All academic work must meet the standards contained in ``A Culture of Honesty''. Students are responsible for informing themselves about those standards before performing any academic work.