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Coastal Studies Semester

Coastal Studies

Throughout the world, approximately half of all people live in coastal regions; in the United States, nearly half of the population lives within 50 miles of an ocean or a Great Lake. And increasingly, coastal communities face enormous challenges as their social, economic and environmental resources are damaged or depleted.

Students in the cross-disciplinary coastal studies program—open to all students, not just science majors—are interested in addressing those challenges. Participants spend about a month traveling to marine field laboratories along the East Coast, stopping at each for two to three weeks to explore the unique coastal environments from scientific, literary, historical and cultural perspectives. Members of a learning expedition, students form a close-knit, motivated community seeking intellectual experiences, conscientious action and hands-on skills.

The program is offered in the fall, and five interrelated courses are also required for the semester. Interactions with scientists, authors and other environmental professionals in the region augment class discussions, laboratory investigations and fieldwork. An interdisciplinary research practicum weaves together scientific, historical and cultural threads to unify the semester-long experience. Students earn 16 to 17 semester hours of academic credit for the semester, with courses satisfying the Literature; Scientific Thought; and Society, Science and Technology requirements of the Core Curriculum for Hood students (students from other institutions should plan to transfer these credits to their home college or university). The semester plus at least one coastal studies field experience satisfies the requirements for a minor in Coastal Studies. We are now offering a concentration in Coastal and Watershed Studies Concentration within the Environmental Science and Policy Major. Please contact Dr. Ferrier at or Claire Hudson at for more information.