December 26 – January 18, 2020

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: Emily Cole, Ph.D.
Meeting Pattern: Online

Text: 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)

Academic Honesty

No form of cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, or facilitating of dishonesty will be condoned in the University community. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to:

  • Cheating – intentional use or attempted use of trickery, artifice, deception, breach of confidence, fraud and/or misrepresentation of one’s academic work
  • Fabrication – intentional and unauthorized falsification and/or invention of any information or citation in any academic exercise
  • Plagiarism – knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own work in any academic exercise. This includes submitting without citation, in whole or in part, prewritten term papers of another or the research of another, including but not limited to commercial vendors who sell or distribute such materials
  • Facilitating dishonesty – knowingly helping or attempting to help another commit an act of academic dishonesty, including substituting for another in an examination, or allowing others to represent as their own one’s papers, reports, or academic works

Sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty. Any person who has reason to believe that a student has committed academic dishonesty should bring such information to the attention of the course instructor as soon as possible. Formal definitions of academic dishonesty, examples of various forms of dishonesty, and the procedures which faculty must follow to penalize dishonesty are contained in the Academic Honesty Policy.


This class fulfills requirements for all three of the online programs offered by the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture in Sustainable Food and Farming: