New UNCW major: Coastal Engineering


Screenshot of Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography website, taken by Spencer Boring

Spencer Boring, Staff Writer

With the fall 2019 semester well underway, undeclared majors now have even more options available to them. A Bachelor of Science degree in Coastal Engineering is now open for declarations this semester.

Being a coastal school, UNC Wilmington is uniquely equipped to host such a program. “I am very excited that this new B.S. degree is being offered at UNCW as I think it serves a need in the region and leverages our impressive marine science expertise at UNCW,” says Dr. Dylan McNamara, Department Chair of Physics and Physical Oceanography.

“We will be the only university in the country to offer a coastal engineering degree at the undergraduate level. With a large amount of vulnerable infrastructure around the world in the coastal region and the increasing rate of sea-level rise, coastal engineers are desperately needed to help diffuse this volatile situation.”

The university already offers numerous concentrations in engineering and oceanography, so this program would be a fusion of already existing programs. The curriculum will be very math and physics-oriented. As such, students in an NC State 2+2 Engineering program will be able to apply some of their engineering credits to the Coastal Engineering credit requirements. This program is designed for “students with an interest in the coastal system with a penchant for mathematics,” says Dr. McNamara.

Prospective students can expect to gain a deeper understanding of the motion and forces that affect our shorelines. “The new program in coastal engineering will be able to show you the underlying physics of an ocean wave on the chalkboard, we will be able to measure those physics in a laboratory wave tank, and then we can take a 10 minute ride to the beach and see ocean waves in action!” says Dr. McNamara.

Students who have completed 24 or more credit hours are eligible to declare as Coastal Engineering majors. For more information on the program and curriculum, please visit the Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography’s homepage.