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Soil and water are vital resources in urban, agricultural, and natural ecosystems. The Soil and Water Sciences Department provides highly visible leadership in teaching, research, and extension/outreach programs to improve the productivity of agriculture with environmentally sound management practices, improve water quality, and protect and conserve natural resources. The department faces many new challenges in a rapidly changing environment at institute and professional levels, and the changing needs of clientele.


Soil and water are among the most important of all natural resources. Maintaining soil and water quality is essential to sustainable agricultural productivity and protection and conservation of land and water resources. The Soil and Water Sciences Department (SWSD) offers excellent research and educational opportunities for students seeking careers in soil, water and environmental sciences related to land and water resource management. The SWSD programs are designed to meet the changing needs of our clientele at state, national and international levels.

Our programs are focused to address soil and water quality issues in a wide range of ecosystems, including: agricultural lands, forested lands, rangelands, urban lands, wetlands, and shallow lakes and estuaries. Our education, research, and outreach/extension programs have global significance in the areas of water quality, ecosystem productivity, environmental services, carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change.  

Our Mission Statement:

The mission of the SWS Department is to provide knowledge and science-based solutions for addressing food security, public health, and protection of natural resources and environment in Florida, the nation, and the world.

Core Values

  • Excellence: The Department is committed to individual and collective excellence in every facet of its research, teaching, extension, and service functions.
  • Productivity: The Department is committed to establishing and maintaining high productivity in all its programs, while maintaining high quality and relevance.
  • Creativity: The Department is committed to be innovatively capturing new opportunities and developing new integrative programs, while maintaining strong foundations in current programs.
  • Accountability: The Department places high value on accountability of its programs. This includes relevance of our programs to meet the needs of students, governmental agencies and industry.
  • Flexibility and Viability: The Department shall be adaptive to the changing needs of our clientele. This includes optimization of departmental efforts and resources by engaging in collaborative, synergistic work and programs at every opportunity. 
  • Partnerships: The Department is committed to developing strong partnerships with our clientele through research and extension/outreach programs. The Department is committed to respond to the needs of the clientele.
  • Transparency: The Department is committed to fostering and maintaining an open, honest, healthy, and fulfilling environment for its students, staff, faculty, and clientele.


The vision of the SWS Department is to be a global leader in advancing the understanding and stewardship of soil and water resources.

  • The SWSD shall be a world-class center of excellence in the study of soil and water resources and in the application of knowledge to the solution of agricultural, natural resource, environmental, and land/water use problems.
  • The SWSD shall be a premier learning center in soil and water sciences at the undergraduate and graduate levels and will adapt to the changing demographics and educational needs of students. This includes meeting the professional needs of students on campus, and place-bound students (using a distance education program).
  • The SWSD’s research programs shall be cutting-edge and interdisciplinary and both basic and applied, with relevance to the needs of our clientele.
  • The SWSD is committed to transferring research findings through its extension programs to appropriate audiences (e.g., farmers, regulatory decision makers, policy makers, legislators, classroom students, scientists, and other citizens) to ensure their application to critical problems.
  • The SWSD shall engage in technology transfer by linkage with the private sector as appropriate through patents and licensing agreements that will maximize the beneficial effects of discoveries and inventions arising from departmental research.
  • The SWSD is committed to maintain an active outreach program by offering relevant short courses to soil, water, and environmental professionals.
  • The SWSD shall work to actively seek the input of clientele through formal and informal approaches, including deriving the expertise and insight of an external advisory panel or panels.


The goals supporting the department’s mission and vision are to:

  • Improve the national and international visibility and recognition of the department.
  • Deliver highly visible teaching programs that have deep, lasting impacts.
  • Deliver highly visible research programs that have deep, lasting impacts.
  • Deliver highly visible extension programs that have deep, lasting impacts.
  • Increase the emphasis on internationalization across all departmental programs.
  • Strengthen the position of the department as a leader in distance education (DE).

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, education specialist, and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of Florida.