The department came into being as a section of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry in 1962 of the then Himachal Pradesh Agricultural College and Research Institute; Solan, Himachal Pradesh and M.Sc. degree classes were started with affiliation to Punjab University, Chandigarh. With the shifting of post graduate program to College of Agriculture, Palampur in 1971, the department catered to the undergraduate needs and also offered minor courses to postgraduate students of other departments. Later, it was upgraded to the postgraduate level in 1987 after the establishment of Dr Y S Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan was re-named as Department of Soil Science and Water Management. The Ph.D. program was started during the academic year 1990-91.
Besides catering to the teaching needs of the department and both the colleges of Horticulture and Forestry,the department is engaged in running short and long term research and development projects funded by state and central governments and private/public sector agencies. Specialized trainings are also conducted for farmers and government officials for efficient nutrient and water management in the fields of horticulture and forestry.
The department provides services of soil, plant and manure testing to the farmers, government & private agencies through its modern equipped laboratories.The faculty of the department is also doing publications of research papers and review articles in leading national and international journals,books/book chapters, technical bulletins/popular articles for technology dissemination to various stakeholders.More than 100 alumni of the department are serving in positions of repute in government and public/private sector organisations.
The department offers degree programmes for:
The department has following well equipped laboratories:
Atomic absorption spectrophotometer, Flame photometer, Spectrophotometer, Pressure plate apparatus, Laminar Air Flow, Thermal cycler (PCR), Refrigerated centrifuge, Electrophoresis, UV Transilluminator, TDR, Seed germinator, Microscopes, Refrigerators, Deep fridge, Microtome, Laminar Air Flow, Autoclaves etc.
The department has 4.20 ha of Farm area for conducting research experiments with modern and hi-tech facilities.