Funding Your Degree - Coastal Carolina University
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Funding Your Graduate Degree


External Grant-funded Research Assistantship

Research assistantships may be supported through externally funded grants to faculty to provide financial support towards a student's graduate work and participation in the particular study. The level of funding may vary slightly from grant to grant. Some research grants may also partially or fully cover tuition. At present, tuition rate is reduced for students supported on research assistantships. Students should check with their major professor about potential grant supported research assistantships.

Graduate Research Assistantship

The Department of Marine Science maintains a number of research assistantships available to qualified students. These are preferentially targeted to support doctoral students and at present provide $20,000 of stipend support. At present, the tuition rate is reduced for students supported on research assistantships.

All Ph.D. students are expected to be supported on research assistantships through research grant or Department of Marine Science resources.

Graduate Assistantships

Qualified graduate students may apply for teaching assistantships to help support their graduate work. Assistantships are limited in number and typically require assisting in the teaching of introductory lecture classes and labs, or labs associated with specialized courses offered by their major professors each semester. At present, teaching assistants are paid $6,500 per semester and are given reduced tuition. You must submit an application for graduate assistantship with your application for admission. This assistantship may be maintained for several semesters with acceptable progress and productivity in teaching assistant service.

Students seeking research assistantship or teaching assistantship support should request to be considered on the application to the program. They should also discuss this directly with their major professor or graduate programs director.


The Department of Marine Science is committed to providing funds and resources to support the graduate program and graduate students.

Douglas D. Nelson Graduate Fellowship

This fellowship exists thanks to Dr. Douglas D. and Mrs. Nancy M. Nelson. Nelson was a long time professor, researcher and administrator in marine science at Coastal Carolina University. The Nelsons are great supporters of CCU and through service to the university have been instrumental in many of the positive changes within the College of Science.

This fellowship is for a student fully admitted to the graduate program in the Department of Marine Science. Preference for the award is given to students who:

  1. Show potential for outstanding academic and professional achievement;
  2. Are pursuing studies in marine geology, physical oceanography, coastal processes or wetland studies using geological processes;
  3. Are U.S. citizens;
  4. Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale;
  5. Demonstrate financial need; and
  6. Are enrolled for a minimum of 6 graduate credit hours per semester.

This fellowship includes the stipend from the Nelson's gift and a graduate assistantship within the Department of Marine Science. Graduate students who have received a medical degree or Ph.D. in science or engineering are not eligible for this fellowship. To apply, please provide a short research abstract, a rèsumè, and a letter of support from your advisor.

Click here to apply online »

Jim Caudle Endowment Fund

Established in 2009, the Jim Caudle Endowment Fund is used to provide scholarship support to students engaged in research activities within theDepartment of Marine Science. Complete the online application to be considered for this year's scholarship.

Click here to apply online »

Graduate Student Research Support

Students may work with their major professor and thesis/professional or dissertation committee to request modest support from the School to help support their research or professional activities. This may help support field or conference travel, vessel time or miscellaneous materials and supplies as available funds allow. See the graduate programs director for the specific format for the proposal, justification and budget. Students are expected to follow all university policies regarding purchasing and reimbursement.

Presentation at Professional Conferences

The Department of Marine Science maintains a modest fund to help support students presenting their research at professional conferences or specialized training off campus. Formal requests for conference presentation support should be endorsed by their major professor and submitted to the graduate programs director at the beginning of the academic year.


CCU students have found success applying to the following outside resources for support of graduate research and activities.

  1. The Slocum-Lunz Foundation provides grants only for students conducting research in marine science and related natural sciences at Universities and Colleges in South Carolina. Preference is given to graduate students who are well into their research, but beginning graduate students and advanced undergraduates will be considered. Previous Slocum-Lunz grant recipients are not eligible for additional funding. Awards are to be used for research and not for living expenses, books, travel to meetings, tuition or indirect costs. Grants usually do not exceed $1,200. For application information, visit

  2. The Garden Club of America administers many grant and fellowship programs targeting graduate and undergraduate students, and of particular interest to SCMSS students is the award in Coastal Wetland Studies.

  3. The M.K. Pentecost Ecology Fund awards annual grants to organizations whose work fulfills the mission and provisions of the grant. The grant is administered by Savannah Presbytery's M.K. Pentecost Ecology Fund Committee, and its coordinator, Lynn Garis. The fund was established by Mr. M.K. Pentecost Jr., for "the presbytery's ministry of environmental justice and ecological stewardship of natural resources including marine and wild life. The funds are to be used for promoting the support of conservation efforts, education, and studies in key environmental issues of endangered ecosystems and ecological projects which are approved by the presbytery."

  4. The South Carolina Aquatic Plant Management Society seeks applications for its annual Phillip M. Fields Scholarship Award. The society awards a $3,000 scholarship to the successful applicant. Scholarship funds may be used by the recipient to cover costs associated with education and research expenses. Eligible applicants must be enrolled as full time undergraduate or graduate students in an accredited college or university in the United States. Course work or research in an area related to the biology, ecology or management of aquatic plants in the Southeast is also required.

  5. The PADI FOUNDATION encourages and supports underwater science, environmental projects, and education. The foundation will fund and assist worthwhile projects that will enrich mankind's understanding of the aquatic environment and encourage sensitivity to and protection of the delicate ecological balance of underwater life. The foundation will also fund worthwhile projects to increase understanding of sport diving physics and physiology that will benefit the general diving public and add to the scientific understanding of man's relationship and ability to survive in the underwater environment.

  6. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that preserves and restores our nation’s native wildlife species and habitats. Created by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private funds. The foundation's method is simple and effective: work with a full complement of individuals, foundations, government agencies, nonprofits, and corporations to identify and fund the nation's most intractable conservation challenges.