Are you interested in coastal research, policy, and management? Do you want to be a part of a unique program that offers a multidisciplinary approach?

ECU’s PhD in coastal resources management draws upon its convenient location to the field where you’ll research and discover solutions to evolving problems related to the natural world. Through our program, you will benefit not only from ECU’s proximity to the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system and the Outer Banks, but also from the expertise of faculty from some 16 different academic departments.

The program provides the academic basis for students seeking resource management careers in government agencies, private firms, nonprofit organizations and interdisciplinary educational programs.

ECU Advantage

The program provides a unique, integrated, multidisciplinary approach to coastal studies that emphasizes science and public policy; nurtures skills in the acquisition, interpretation and synthesis of scientific information on coastal environments and populations; fosters pursuit of individual interest in the context of a structured, but flexible, program of classroom instruction, field research, work experience, and a doctoral dissertation.

What You Will Study

The PhD program in coastal resources management (CRM) seeks to meet the need for scientifically trained specialists able to move effectively between the worlds of academia, research, policy, and management through an interdisciplinary program of study, experience, and research.

Each student focuses in one of the four areas of concentration (coastal and estuarine ecology, coastal geosciences, coastal human dimensions and policy, and coastal and marine economics and policy), while developing a fundamental understanding of basic theory and methodology in one of the three other areas. The program provides specialized knowledge in one of these areas; general knowledge of theory and methodology in one related area; an introduction to the structures, processes, and implementation of coastal/marine policy and management; and understanding of the mechanisms by which scientific information is used in the formulation of public policy.


The doctoral program requires a minimum of 68 s.h. of course work beyond a relevant baccalaureate degree, 44 s.h. of which are general requirements taken by all students. These courses, designed to provide background essential to all four are BIOL 7005; CRM 7005, CRM 7006, CRM 7007, CRM 7008, CRM 9000; GEOL 7002; GRAD 7004; ECON 7010 or PADM 7004; and a minimum of 18 s.h. of dissertation.

In addition to the 44 s.h. of general requirements, students select a primary area of concentration of 18 s.h. and one complementary area of 6 s.h.

Please contact the program director for details concerning application procedures, admission requirements, and academic expectations.

    For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

    Careers With This Degree

    Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

    • Faculty Positions in Academia
    • Federal and state government agencies (eg. NOAA, NMFS)
    • Private Consulting
    • Postsecondary Teachers
    • Historians
    • Conservation Scientists

    Career Opportunities

    ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

    NC Tower

    This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

    • Self-employed;
    • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
    • Work outside of North Carolina.

    US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

    This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

    Degree-specific internships

    For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.