Coastal and Marine Studies Interdisciplinary Minor

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Dr. Paul Gares, COAS Director
Department of Geography, Planning and Environment
Brewster Bldg., Office A-224| Tel. (252) 328-6084


Exploring Careers in Coastal and Marine Studies 

A wide variety of careers are available to students who augment their major field of study with a minor in Coastal and Marine Studies. Upon graduation you will have a basic foundation in coastal and marine science and specialized knowledge and skills in areas of your choosing. Our students have garnered awards and scholarships from state and regional agencies. Others have conducted honors theses on coastal and marine topics within their majors.  Some have published their works and gone onto graduate schools, while others have sought exotic experiential learning and study abroad opportunities ranging from Costa Rica, Panama, and Australia.  

The COAS Minor encourages students to work in the lab as well as field settings.  In recent years, ECU's students have been taking advantage of service and volunteer opportunities in the region, such as working with local River Keepers on the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse Rivers and participating in beach and river cleanups. 

While most minors are natural or social sciences majors, non-science majors use COAS to explore relationships between coastal and marine resources and their field of study. For instance, a criminal justice major chose COAS as a minor for their interests in conservation of fish and game species on the coast. A journalism major chose COAS in order to better communicate coastal science to the public and policymakers. Political science, pre-law, and public school teachers benefit from a breadth of knowledge in COAS that covers history, maritime law and modern conflicts, and oceanography. Of course, natural sciences majors benefit from deeper understanding of coastal and marine processes, particularly geology, geomorphology, coastal Geographic Information Systems, and biological oceanography. 

Exciting field experiences are integrated into several field trips and activities in COAS classes. In addition, ECU offers both recreational SCUBA and advanced underwater research methods, with the latter available as elective credit in the minor.  Summer "Summester" on the Outer Banks and field intensive trips are also readily available to interested students.  Study abroad courses that include substantial and even focused coastal-marine themes are also regularly offered by ECU faculty. 

The COAS Minor provides a complementary, focused set of expertise that can distinguish students with a traditional disciplinary or professional major:

  • Coastal planner, environmental manager, or permit officer
  • Coastal tourism planner or recreation guide
  • Hydrographer or marine surveyor
  • Marine fishery observer or inspector
  • Marine biologist or aquarist
  • Coastal cultural or natural heritage interpreter
  • Fish and wildlife biologist or warden
  • Coastal-marine science educator
  • Marine mammal technician
  • Oceanographer or marine geologist