Summer 2022

Enroll Here

Course Description Agricultural Chemistry is an introductory chemistry course. Students will receive an in-depth look at chemical and biochemical properties and processes, which are integral to soils, agriculture and the environment. Topics include typical introductory chemistry topics such as matter and energy, chemical bonding and reactions, moles, gaseous and aqueous chemistry and more. However, topics will be engaged with agricultural effects and practices in mind.

Instructor:  Kathryn Szerlag
Meeting Pattern: Online

chemtextText: Chemistry for Changing Times 14th Edition.   ISBN-13: 978-0321972026. E-book and renting of text are both cost-saving and will work for this course.

General Outline of Topics

Unit 1: Introduction to Agricultural Chemistry

  • Review of Matter, Atoms, Elements

Unit 2: Molecules, Ions and Bonding

  • Electrons, Bonding and Plant Nutrients/Fertilizers

Unit 3: Chemical Reactions

  • Reactions, Soil CEC and Common Soil Reactions

Unit 4: Solubility, pH

  • Reactions, Soil CEC and Common Soil Reactions

Unit 5:  Intro to Organic Chem

  • Organic compounds and Organic matter
  • Soil ReDox Reactions

Unit 6: Special Topics

  • Contaminants in Soil, Water and Air
  • Sustainable Practices

Grading:  Grading is based on weekly reading and discussion posts, quizzes, problem sets and a final project.

Emily Cole is the New England Climate and Agriculture Program Manager at American Farmland Trust, where she works to both improve and advocate for the integration of climate smart management practices into New England’s productive farming communities. Emily’s recent work includes supporting AFT’s work with the US Climate Alliance and presenting to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition on the role that agriculture and soil health can play in the fight against climate change. She also coordinates New England’s Smart Solar Siting Partnership, focused on developing policies and guidelines to balance land conservation and renewable energy development in the region. Before joining AFT, Emily was an Assistant Professor of Environmental Soil Science at Westfield State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where her research focused on improving soil health and carbon sequestration though the application of biochar and implementation of climate-smart management practices. Emily also holds a Master’s in Science Education from Boston University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Kenyon College

Technology: According to UMass Online, in order to take this course you must:

  • have access to a personal computer (Mac or Windows)
  • be familiar with basic computer skills
  • be connected to the internet
  • have an e-mail program and account
  • have at least a 56 kbps modem
  • have a Java capable browser (Netscape or Internet Explorer)

NOTE: If you have any problems with technology, please contact the UMass Online Tech Support office for help.


This class is part of the Sustainable Food and Farming Online Certificate Program and will count toward the Associate of Science degree as well as the Online B.S. degree.  Online classes cost $482/credit.

To begin planning for the future, see….

Annual Class Schedule

NOTE: The UMass Sustainable Food and Farming Certificate has been declared eligible for Veterans Educational Benefits. For instructions see: Veterans Benefits.

If you are not interested in earning college credit, there are many non-credited workshops and short courses you can take outside of the university.  For a list see: non-university workshops and courses.

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