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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 B.S. degree in civil engineering while pursuing research with our faculty members whose interests span both coastal engineering specialties. 

Undergraduate Requirements

To fulfill the common civil engineering program degree plan, undergraduate students declaring a specialty in coastal engineering are required to complete a technical elective plan. See the undergraduate advising page for more information.