High quality online education that prepares you to solve soil-related issues for land conservation and environmental sustainability

Degree requirement: Bachelor’s degree required
Semester: Spring, fall
Program length: 3 university courses
Format: Online or in-person
Estimated Cost: $6,534-$7,260
More detailed information below.

The Soil Science and Conservation Professional Development Certificate is designed to prepare students for careers in land and natural areas management, environmental consulting, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts.


Estimated tuition and fees for the Professional Development Certificate depend on the number of courses and hours taken. See Illinois Online for tuition and fee information.

Students examining soil with their professor

Program Highlights



  • Complete at least nine credit hours
  • Take courses for academic credit and earn a "B" or better for all courses
  • Please see the list below for specific course requirements for each certificate specialization

Coursework cannot be used to qualify for multiple certificates but can count towards an Online Master's Degree.

Course list

  • Complete NRES 474: Soil and Water Conservation (3 Hours)
  • Complete two approved graduate-level courses. Approved graduate-level courses that meet this requirement are:
    • NRES 438: Soil Nutrient Cycling (3 Hours)
    • NRES 488: Soil Fertility and Fertilizers (3 Hours)
    • NRES 586: Soil Organic Matter (4 Hours)
    • Other courses as approved by the certificate advisor.
  • For students wishing to complete both the soil and water certificates, NRES 474 will count for the specific required course for both certificates, but students will only earn the second certificate by completing a third course from the list of approved graduate-level courses.

Availability of Courses

The courses listed in these certificate requirements are all available online to non-degree-seeking students. Click visit the course catalog for the most up-to-date information about when each NRES course will next be available online.

Start Certificate

Express your interest in pursuing a certificate. Once accepted, you will receive an email with further instructions for registration.

Start certificate 

Complete Certificate

Upon completing your required coursework, you will need to submit a completion request for your certificate. 

Confirm completion