New search

Soil water processes in agroecosystems

Dear course participants

I have now uploaded the final version of the course schedule

Some adjustments were needed due to the larger than expected number of students on the course. We now have an additional PC room for all but one of the STELLA exercises

Two of the exercises (on 8/9 and 22/9) now start one hour earlier (and finish one and a half hours earlier too). I hope this is OK

with best wishes

Nick Jarvis

1st September 2021

The course evaluation is now closed

MV0216-10193 - Course evaluation report

Once the evaluation is closed, the course coordinator and student representative have 1 month to draft their comments. The comments will be published in the evaluation report.

Additional course evaluations for MV0216

Academic year 2021/2022

Soil water processes in agroecosystems (MV0216-M1193) 2021-08-30 - 2021-11-01

Academic year 2020/2021

Soil water processes in agroecosystems (MV0216-10270) 2020-08-31 - 2020-11-01

Academic year 2019/2020

Soil water processes in agroecosystems (MV0216-10207) 2019-09-02 - 2019-10-31

Academic year 2018/2019

Soil water processes in agroecosystems (MV0216-10117) 2018-09-03 - 2018-11-05

MV0216 Soil water processes in agroecosystems, 15.0 Credits

Hydrologiska processer i mark-växtekosystem

Syllabus approved



Soil science Environmental science

Education cycle

Master’s level


Title Credits Code
Theory and calculation exercises  5.00 1002
Modelling exercises  5.00 1003
Mini-projects  5.00 1004

Advanced study in the main field

Second cycle, only first-cycle courses as entry requirements(A1N)

Grading scale

5:Pass with Distinction, 4:Pass with Credit, 3:Pass, U:Fail The requirements for attaining different grades are described in the course assessment criteria which are contained in a supplement to the course syllabus. Current information on assessment criteria shall be made available at the start of the course.



Prior knowledge

Knowledge equivalent to:
• 150 ECTS first-cycle courses, including
• 60 ECTS in a scientific subject such as Biology, Agricultural Science, Soil Science, Earth Sciences, Environmental Science or Technology,
• 10 ECTS Chemistry,
• 15 ECTS Soil Science, Earth Sciences or Biology
• a level of English equivalent to upper-seconday-school English (Engelska 6).


The overall objective of this course is to provide students with a deeper knowledge and understanding of the physical processes regulating water, energy and solute flows in the soil–plant–atmosphere system. A good understanding of these basic processes is critical for the development and implementation of soil and water management practices that promote sustainable agricultural production and environmental protection. The course places special emphasis on gaining an understanding of the temporal dynamics of these processes and the interactions between different components of the system through numerical modelling.

On completion of the course students will be able to:
• describe the interactions between the physical processes and the key factors that control flows and stores of energy, water and solutes in the soil–plant–atmosphere system,
• use and develop numerical models to simulate climate-driven flows of energy, water and solutes in different types of soil, linked to different types of vegetation,
• apply this knowledge to analyse and resolve practical problems concerning water management in relation to land use, crop production and environmental protection in a changing climate.


• Lectures and literature studies cover basic theories of storage and flow of energy, water and solutes in the soil–plant–atmosphere system as well as basic principles of numerical simulation models, and their application to the study of these processes.
• In-class calculation exercises (compulsory) involve the calculation of storages and flows of water and solutes in the soil–plant–atmosphere system.
• Computer exercises (compulsory) involve the construction and application of process-based models using simulation modelling software such as STELLA (or a similar). The simulations are carried out for time periods varying from a few hours to one year. The models are used as quantitative tools to aid understanding of the temporal dynamics of soil water flow (e.g. capillary rise, infiltration and percolation) and solute transport (e.g. leaching of pollutants) and interactions among different parts of the system (soil, plant and atmosphere).
• An Excel exercise on uncertainty and sensitivity analysis in numerical modelling.
• A mini-workshop that combines keynote presentations by researchers with student-teacher discussions of selected scientific publications dealing with the impacts of climate change on various aspects of agricultural production and the environment.
• Mini-projects (compulsory) give students ‘hands-on’ experience in applying the theories embodied in numerical models to solve practical problems related to soil and water resources in various agroecosystems and climates. These include, for example, analyses of irrigation management strategies in saline soil for optimal crop production in a semi-arid climate, and the likely effects of climate change on risks of pesticide leaching to groundwater in soils of contrasting properties. Students work in a group to plan and run model simulations and to analyse and discuss their results in the light of relevant published studies, in both a written report and an oral presentation. The students also give critical feedback on another group’s mini-project work.

Formats and requirements for examination

The following is required for a pass mark on the course:
• passed written or oral examination,
• active participation in, and approved reporting of, the exercises and project work (all of which are compulsory).
  • If the student fails a test, the examiner may give the student a supplementary assignment, provided this is possible and there is reason to do so.
  • If the student has been granted special educational support because of a disability, the examiner has the right to offer the student an adapted test, or provide an alternative assessment.
  • If changes are made to this course syllabus, or if the course is closed, SLU shall decide on transitional rules for examination of students admitted under this syllabus but who have not yet passed the course.
  • For the examination of a degree project (independent project), the examiner may also allow the student to add supplemental information after the deadline. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Other information

  • The right to take part in teaching and/or supervision only applies to the course date to which the student has been admitted and registered on.
  • If there are special reasons, the student may take part in course components that require compulsory attendance at a later date. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Responsible department

Department of Soil and Environment

Further information

Determined by: Programnämnden för utbildning inom naturresurser och jordbruk (PN - NJ)
Replaces: MV0204

The course can only be validated through completion of all three modules (i.e. at least grade 3 in all modules). Grades 3, 4 and 5 are determined by the final examination (written or oral) included in module 1 but covering all modules of the course. Modules 2 and 3 can only be passed or failed (i.e. grade 3 / U).

**Course modules**





Theory and calculation exercises



Modelling exercises





The learning outcomes (LO) describe what the student should be able to do to achieve grade 3 (i.e. the 'pass' grade).

On completion of the course students will be able to:

LO-1: describe the interactions between the physical processes and the factors that control flows and stores of energy, water and solutes in the soil-plant-atmosphere system (Module 1)


  • Active participation to in-class calculations meeting (module 1, ass. 2)
  • Completion of 3 online quizzes on application theory (module 1, ass. 3, 8 & 13)
  • 50% right answers* (15p) to the final examination

LO-2: build, apply and interpret the results of numerical models to simulate flows of energy, water and solutes in different types of soil, linked to different vegetation and climate (Module 1 & 2)


  • Active participation to all computer exercises (7 days, module 2, ass. 4-6, 9, 11, 14 & 16)
  • Completion of 4 online quizzes on computer exercises (module 2, ass. 7, 10, 12 & 17)
  • Active participation in Mini-workshop activities: Scientific paper reading, written report and in-class discussions (module 1, ass. 15, 19 & 20)

LO-3: apply this knowledge to analyse and solve practical problems concerning water flow and solute transport in relation to land use, soil and water management and environmental protection (Module 3)


  • Active participation to mini-projects activities (2.5 weeks, module 3, ass. 21-23): group work & project development, group written report and oral presentation as well as discussion / cross-evaluation of projects' work
    • Clearly present the aims, methods and results of the study.
    • Discuss the results critically including the interpretation, limitations and possible applications of the results to reality.
    • Give clear and informative answers to relevant questions regarding the work
    • Provide clear and relevant feedback to another project

To achieve grades 4 and 5, the student should be able to achieve a higher level of understanding and which will be assessed in the final examination.

Criteria. Discuss and justify conclusions from problem solving (For independent questions and examples formulated in the final exam):

  • based on stringent and clearly explained reasoning (grade 4)
  • showing a clear independent ability to apply the knowledge gained during the course (grade 5)


  • Fulfill criteria for grade 3
  • 67% and 84% right answers (20p and 25p) to the final examination* for grade 4 and 5 respectively

* Written (or oral) examination 30p in total: 18p will be dedicated to questions for grade 3; 6p for grade 4 and 6p for grade 5.

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: Yes The course is offered as a programme course: Agriculture Programme - Soil/Plant EnvEuro - European Master in Environmental Science Soil, Water and Environment – Master´s Programme Agriculture Programme - Soil/Plant (270hec) Soil and Water Management - Master´s Programme Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 38054 SEK Cycle: Master’s level
Subject: Soil science Environmental science
Course code: MV0216 Application code: SLU-10193 Location: Uppsala Distance course: No Language: English Responsible department: Department of Soil and Environment Pace: 100%