top of page

Careers in Soil Science

Some of the  people working in soil-related fields


Hannah Leckie


Diana Selbie


Megan Balks


Louis Schipper

Generally, Soil Scientists Share These Traits:


  • a love of science

  • enjoy working outside (fieldwork)

  • are curious about the world around them

  • have a concern for the environment and a desire to protect it

  • have a concern for productive soils for food production

  • have a willingness to support farmers and/or other land managers

  • and enjoy playing with “mud”!

People With Knowledge Of Soils Can Follow Many Different Career Paths


They can:

  • work as environmental consultants or managers

  • conduct research in universities, regional councils or Crown Research Institutes

  • assess environmental hazards

  • advise farmers, foresters, vintners, miners, or other land users

  • work as lab technicians

  • work as teachers or lecturers

  • work for government departments such as Ministry for Primary Industries, or

  • work as policy advisors

Careers In Soil Science


Meet some people who work in soil-related fields.

Diana Selbie is a Research Scientist with AgResearch. Her area of interest is soil and nutrient management – especially nitrogen in pastoral farming systems. Outside of work, Diana enjoys travel, the outdoors and wine.

Megan Balks works at the University of Waikato. One area of interest is cyrosols (frozen soils). Megan has been to the Antartica 19 times as well as trips to the Artic to study soils there.

Louis Schipper also works at the University of Waikato. Louis’ interests are in soil carbon and nitrogen cycling. Louis enjoys the creative challenge of science – and even encourages his team to make research cakes as a means of explaining their research.

Hannah Leckie is a Water Policy Analyst working for the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). She specialised in soil science while at Lincoln University – before moving one to the University of Oxford. Hannah has worked in New Zealand, Australia and the Middle East. Outside of work, she enjoys skiing, tennis, running, hiking and travelling.

Quotes From Soil Scientists


There are many exciting professional opportunities and challenging careers in soil science – both in New Zealand and around the world. Here are a few quotes from soil scientists:

“If you want to work on a farm one day and fly to an overseas conference to present your results the next day, then this is a job you’ll love.”
– Selai Letica

“Science is a superb vocation for the naturally inquisitive, where hands-on innovation and discovery make for fulfilling and always interesting endeavours.”
– Ross Gray

“They say that variety is the spice of life, and there is plenty of variety in scientific research. As you try to solve problems, increase understanding of a given field of research and then convey any useful information that you have discovered, there is never a dull moment.”
– Trish Fraser

Digging Deeper


To learn more about careers in soil science, visit this site:


Visit these university websites to learn more about the study of soils:

bottom of page