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Passage of bill permits universities to establish doctoral program in marine science

June 8, 2012

With the passage of new legislation signed by Gov. Nikki Haley yesterday, Coastal Carolina University is set to establish its first-ever doctoral program. CCU will begin offering a Ph.D. degree in marine science pending approval of the program by the S.C. Commission on Higher Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

The amended law allows any four-year state university to offer a doctoral degree in marine science. CCU has amended its mission statement to reflect the new direction in the institutional goals of the university.

Coastal Carolina University owes a debt of gratitude to Reps. Liston Barfield and Alan Clemmons and the other members of the Horry County legislative delegation for their long and persistent efforts in achieving this important milestone, said CCU President David A. DeCenzo.

With its coastal location, CCU has developed a distinguished academic program in marine science over the past 20 years that attracts students both nationally and internationally. In 2003, the University established a masters degree in coastal marine and wetland studies.

The proposed Ph.D. degree in marine science is the next logical step in CCUs position as a hub for training students to identify and analyze important physical processes in the coastal zone, according to Mike Roberts, dean of CCUs College of Science.

Roberts says that the degree will focus on the complex interactions between atmosphere, ocean and land, with special attention given to shoreline change, weather impact and environmental policy. This training is critical as coastal areas come under increasing stress due to human migration, as well as environmental factors such as sea level and climate change.

The program may be offered as soon as Fall 2013, according to Roberts.