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Coastal Carolina University to offer new master's degree program in coastal marine and wetland studies

September 27, 2002

Coastal Carolina University has been approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education to establish a new master's degree program in coastal marine and wetland studies beginning in the fall of 2003.

According to Valgene Dunham, special assistant to Coastal President Ronald R. Ingle, the program was developed in response to the impressive growth in enrollment and academic achievement of undergraduate science students in recent years. The new program is set up to be interdisciplinary, drawing from across the existing undergraduate science degree programs to allow a broad base of faculty involvement and research opportunities. The program also aims to increase Coastal's community outreach by focusing on research relating to the local environment.

The new program will establish a curriculum that is unique to environmental studies in the region, attracting graduate students from across the nation who are interested in the climate, geography, and landscape of the Grand Strand area. The program's core courses, including ecology, coastal processes, and coastal management, differentiate it from similar programs offered in South Carolina. In addition, Coastal's facilities on Waites Island, a 1,062-acre natural laboratory on the Atlantic coast near Little River, will be expanded to create further research opportunities.

The new program will be the first master's degree offered by Coastal outside the College of Education as well as the first to require a thesis as part of the curriculum. Another goal of the program is to develop various cooperative educational programs with the University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston and Clemson University.

For more information on Coastal's master's program in coastal marine and wetland studies, contact Douglas D. Nelson, interim dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, at (843) 349-2217.