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What is Coastal Engineering?

Coastal engineering is the application of basic engineering principles to the analysis, design, construction and management of systems that operate in the coastal environment. It is a hybrid technical area utilizing techniques from many branches of engineering. Typical coastal engineering application areas include: beach protection and nourishment, coastal structures, coastal erosion, nearshore circulation, marine renewable energy (wind, wave and tide), natural hazard impacts on coastal infrastructure, development of water resources, instrumentation for coastal and offshore measurements, marine dredging and dredged material placement, ports and harbors and suspended and dissolved constituent transport.

Our faculty supervise research in diverse topics of both coastal engineering. Added to the topics above, these include: moored and towed systems, offshore petroleum recovery and renewable energy conversion, offshore structures, offshore foundation systems, risers and flowlines, structural engineering of hull structures and topsides for offshore platforms, structural reliability and project management. As these topics require a multidisciplinary approach, many of our faculty hold joint appointments in other departments in the College of Engineering and the College of Geosciences including the departments of ocean engineering, petroleum engineering and oceanography

Employment opportunities in coastal engineering exist with private industry, defense contractors, consulting firms and government agencies. Students are encouraged to pursue summer internships and may participate in the university cooperative education program. Students receive hands-on experience in the classroom and in our laboratory facilities, which are housed in the civil engineering laboratory building.

Degree Information

Students can earn M.S., M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering while pursuing research with our faculty members whose interests span both coastal engineering specialties. 

Master of Engineering and Master of Science (Non-Thesis)

The Master of Engineering and Master of Science (Non-Thesis) have identical requirements and are intended for students who seek a Master’s degree to prepare them for engineering practice. A minimum of 30 semester credit hours of approved courses is required for the Master of Engineering degree (MEng) and the Master of Science (Non-Thesis).

Master of Science (Thesis)

The Master of Science (Thesis) degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework. All students must also meet the program prerequisites. Students generally complete the degree requirements in 15 to 24 months. Students must take 9 hours in both the fall and spring semesters to have full-time student status.

Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is a research-oriented degree requiring performance of independent research that is the original work of the degree candidate. The Ph.D. degree prepares students for careers in engineering practice, education, leadership, and research, including industry, government laboratories and academia. The final basis for granting the degree shall be the candidate’s grasp of the subject matter of a broad field of study and a demonstrated ability to do independent research. In addition, the candidate must have acquired the ability to express thoughts clearly and forcefully through both oral and written communication.