A branch of civil engineering, coastal engineering pertains specifically to construction on or near the coast, as well as the design and changes of the coastline itself. A related discipline, marine and coastal sciences examine the coast from a different angle, particularly the neighboring land and water ecosystems and the effects that natural and manmade changes have.
While different, coastal engineering and marine and coastal sciences overlap in multiple conceptual and application areas:
UNO announced its two CEAS certificate programs in 2014, after data from a Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO) study identified a growing need for coastal engineers and scientists. After GNO, Inc. surveyed civil engineers, coastal restoration firms, and scientists working to rebuild the coast, local industries pointed to a pervasive skills gap: current professionals and recent graduates don’t have the specialized knowledge to participate in delta coastal improvement projects.
In turn, UNO worked in conjunction with GNO, Inc. to develop engineering and scientific coursework focusing on the challenges of maintaining the region’s unique deltaic coast, with the goals of cultivating talent for existing and future restoration projects and turning the Gulf Region into an exemplary model of coastal and water management for the rest of the world to emulate.
Using GNO, Inc.’s data for guidance, UNO crafted the coursework for the Coastal Engineering and Coastal Sciences certificate programs with working professionals, current graduate students, and recent graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering in mind. Practically applied concepts address and propose solutions to the region’s specific challenges and prepare students for positions within civil engineering, construction, research, or scientific disciplines.
The CEAS certificate programs are overseen by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. To receive a certificate, students must take a total of twelve (12) credit hours and earn at least a cumulative 3.0 GPA. While the certificate itself offers a skills-specific credential, the credits may also be applied toward a Master of Science degree at UNO.
UNO offers all CEAS certificate courses on campus and online, with classes scheduled during Fall and Spring semesters.
Students take four (4) courses covering coastal processes, sediment transport, dredging, coastal geomorphology, and coastal management. Throughout all subjects, students learn:
Students take four (4) courses covering ocean and coastal engineering; coastal processes; sediment transport and dredging; and the design of coastal and hydraulic structures. In the process, students learn:
Both coastal engineers and scientists assist with examining and evaluating a coastline before a project begins, with the goal of preserving its natural defense mechanisms against waves and erosion while allowing communities and ecosystems to safely coexist and local industries to thrive. Ignoring this balance may divert a body of water’s natural flow, in turn accelerating erosion, damaging habitats, and increasing flood risks for adjacent cities and towns.
To prevent this chain reaction, marine scientists and coastal engineers often work in conjunction to analyze the soil, waves, currents, sediment transport, dredging, and offshore morphology. This information then assists with producing projects that have minimal coastal impact. Specifically, new construction must not exacerbate erosion, needs to protect coastal areas from flooding, and should offer a secure route for vessels to enter harbors and other waterways to keep the local shipping industry intact. In the process, coastal engineers may need to consider the placement of breakwaters and seawalls and assess how the new project will respond to natural events, from storm waves to hurricanes.
Due to its unique topography, challenges, and economic growth, the Gulf Region has experienced an influx of coastal engineering and marine science positions in recent years. On a national level, growth across both occupations is relatively steady, if not slightly faster than average. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for civil engineers is predicted to jump 6% from 2018 through 2028, while positions for environmental scientists and specialists are expected to increase 8% over the same period.
The graduate certificate in Coastal Sciences and the graduate certificate in Coastal Engineering are designed for individuals who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering or the sciences and who have some experience in the workforce. Interested individuals:
GRE and other standardized test scores are not required for admittance into the CEAS certificate programs.
Whether you’re a current UNO graduate student or a professional interested in expanding your credentials, review all application requirements for the CEAS certificate programs to get started.
Tuition for both certificates is based on UNO’s per-credit Graduate School fee structure. Online students are assessed the same tuition as in-state students.
For students choosing to take more than one course per semester, the current tuition is based on the following structure:
Tuition does not include the cost of textbooks. For certain students, additional fees may be added on top of the current tuition structure. Review all additional Graduate School fees.
Enhance Your Career with a Graduate Certificate in Coastal Engineering or Coastal Sciences from UNO
Take your engineering or scientific research career in a specialized direction that gives you an edge among many Gulf Coast industries and employers. To learn more, contact Malay Ghose Hajra, Ph.D., P.E., about the graduate certificate in Coastal Engineering; Martin O’Connell, Ph.D. about the graduate certificate in Coastal Sciences; or fill out a request for information form today.