B.S. Marine Coastal Enviro. Science

Marine Coastal Environmental Science

About the B.S. in Marine Coastal Environmental Science

The Marine Coastal Environmental Science program provides students knowledge and practical training to quantitatively and critically evaluate and address marine and coastal environmental topics within an interdisciplinary framework integrating environmental science and at least two of the four marine science subdisciplines (marine biology, marine chemistry, marine geology, and physical oceanography).  MCES students are also required to take a field methods course for coastal habitats and additional electives focused on practical quantitative applications of this knowledge to explain or solve real-world scenarios.

The Student Experience

Coastal Carolina University has the largest undergraduate Department of Marine Science on the U.S. east coast.

Department of Marine Science facilities include a classroom/laboratory building, computer labs, and research vessels. The University owns part of Waties Island, a pristine barrier island that is used for course activities and student research. Through classes and collaborative research, students may also have access to facilities in the other six GCOS Departments as well as the Burroughs & Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies where students and faculty work on a wide range of projects including coastal geology and watershed/environmental quality.

Students are encouraged to pursue local and national internship opportunities through the University Career Services Office. Many of our students apply to the internship programs at local organizations including Ripley’s Aquarium, Huntington Beach State Park, Myrtle Beach State Park, and other organizations across the nation.

The Department of Marine Science usually offers Maymester travel courses for CCU students including Coral Reef Ecology held in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, Shark Biology at the Bimini Biological Field Station in the Bahamas, Biology of Sea Turtles in Costa Rica, and Field Methods in Oceanographic Data Analysis on Oban, Scotland.

Students may choose to participate in exchange programs that provide an opportunity to spend a semester off campus at Deakin University in Australia, the University of Alaska, Homer, or many other locations worldwide.

Beyond the Classroom

Marine Coastal Environmental Science majors are prepared for a variety of careers including technician, research, and management positions with federal, state, and local government or private industry; environmental education with aquariums, secondary schools, parks, and private firms; land-use resource planning for local, state, regional, and federal agencies; participation in eco-tourism, aquarium husbandry, or diving careers as well as policy or law careers.

Areas of Study

Students will take introductory foundation courses in the sciences (including biology, chemistry, marine science, and physics, as well as quantitative courses including calculus, statistics, and/or macroeconomics); an upper-level course in two of the four sub-disciplines of marine biology, marine chemistry, marine geology, and physical oceanography; and other upper-level elective science courses. Examples of upper-level elective courses include Biology of Marine Mammals, Coastal Processes, Ecology of Coral Reefs, Environmental Chemistry, and Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing.

For course descriptions, please view the Undergraduate Catalog »


Are you planning to visit CCU and would you like to talk to a marine science professor?

Appointments are available in Smith Science Center, Room 108, on most Mondays at 1 p.m. Click here to contact the department chair of Marine Science and make your appointment. 

Marine Science Contact Information

Juliana M. Harding, Ph.D.

Phone: 843-349-2983
Email: MSCI_chair@coastal.edu
Douglas Hall 226
Department Chair

Diane Fribance, Ph.D.

Phone: 843-349-5072
Email: dfribance@coastal.edu
Douglas Hall 102G
Associate Chair, Undergraduate Programs