Jul 02, 2020  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
    
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Science: Coastal and Marine Systems Science (Ph.D.)


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The Doctoral program in Coastal and Marine Systems Science is designed to approach the study of complex coastal ocean, earth, atmosphere, biosphere, and societal interactions and the associated management applications as a single integrated system. The program builds on Coastal Carolina University’s focus on coastal zone environments, existing academic and research programs, and a long-term commitment toward integrated management of South Carolina’s coastal systems.

Program Goals

Building on the knowledge and experience of students from undergraduate programs in traditional core science disciplines (biology, geology, oceanography, environmental science, etc.) and/or master’s degrees in related areas, the goals of this program are to prepare highly-trained professionals who:

  1. Understand complex systems at the Ocean-Atmosphere-Terrestrial interface from a variety of scientific disciplines and across a range of temporal and spatial scales;
  2. Design and conduct scientific research to enhance the knowledge base concerning coastal and marine systems as well as for specific societally relevant environmental problems in the coastal zone;
  3. Describe and characterize coastal systems using advanced coastal observing instrumentation, and conceptual and quantitative models, and incorporate new research results towards improving the prediction of future system behavior and response to natural and societal drivers;
  4. Translate complex problems and solutions in language and methods understood by public policy decision-makers, as well as the general public, and;
  5. Develop core competence, experience and publication records to successfully compete for professional positions in industry, academia, and government.

Student Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing the Doctoral degree requirements, students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate evidence-based studies of coastal and marine systems. (Goal 1)
  2. Design coastal and marine systems science field, laboratory and/or computational experiments. (Goal 2)
  3. Acquire and analyze coastal and marine systems data. (Goals 1, 2)
  4. Develop and test conceptual and/or mathematical models to simulate and predict complex coastal behavior. (Goals 2, 3)
  5. Analyze research data from regional projects. (Goal 1)
  6. Evaluate application of data to regional issues. (Goal 1)
  7. Incorporate knowledge of temporal and spatial variability of coastal systems into recommendations for management of coastal and marine systems. (Goal 4)
  8. Apply scientific theories, intellectual skills and competencies, and management principles when making decisions related to utilization of human and physical resources in coastal and marine zone policies. (Goal 4)
  9. Articulate technical information and scientific results to a range of constituencies in the private, public, and academic sectors. (Goals 4, 5)
  10. Apply a structured and scientific process when making and recommending policy decisions. (Goals 4, 5)

Admission Requirements

All applicants to the Ph. D. in Marine Science: Coastal and Marine Systems Science must meet the requirements for graduate admission to Coastal Carolina University.

This includes:

  1. Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree for the M.S. program and either a master’s or bachelor’s degree for the Ph.D. program from a regionally accredited institution in a program appropriate to support graduate work in the SCMSS.
  2. Completion of a Coastal Carolina University application form.
  3. A minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) documented by official transcripts for all collegiate coursework.
  4. Final, official transcripts for bachelor’s and master’s degrees (if applicable) are required to be received before formally beginning the program.
  5. Successful completion of at least two semesters of college-level calculus, physics, and chemistry (Ph.D. program only) and advanced coursework in scientific disciplines related to the student’s proposed research area.
  6. Copies of official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The University expects successful applicants to have a score of no less than 150 on both the verbal and quantitative portions. Scores must be less than three (3) years old.
  7. If a non-native speaker of English, provide official results from tests taken within the last three (3) years or one of the following acceptable means of documenting English language proficiency consistent with success in graduate programs (Note that higher scores may be required of some graduate programs so applicants are urged to consult their desired program to identify whether a higher score is required:
    1. A minimum score of 550 on the paper-based (PBT) or 79 on the internet (iBT) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL);
    2. A minimum score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam;
    3. Certificate of Completion of level 112 of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) from an ELS Language Center;
    4. Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic with a score of 59;
    5. Cambridge CAE (Certificate of Advanced English ) with a minimum level of C1;
    6. Cambridge CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) with a minimum level of C1;
    7. MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) with a score of 77:
    8. TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) with a score of 745:
    9. Bachelor’s degree earned from a regionally accredited U.S. institution of higher education within the last three (3) years.
  8. Three (3) letters of recommendation outlining the applicant’s past work and preparation and potential for successful completion of master’s or doctoral studies.
  9. Identification of a Major Professor.
  10. Submission of a written statement of educational and career goals, how the proposed degree will fulfill those goals and the subject area of research interest while completing the degree.
  11. Submission of a resume.

Applicants entering the program with a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution may be awarded up to 30 credit hours for master’s work completed prior to admission to this program (see required elements of the curriculum below). The SCMSS Graduate Programs Committee will review the application materials submitted by each applicant to determine what graduate course credit may be applicable to the program’s coursework requirements.

Highly qualified applicants entering the program from a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree program may be provisionally accepted into the Ph.D. program through the general admission procedure outlined above. As part of the admission process, the student will need to have identified a SCMSS faculty research mentor. Students should include with their application a written recommendation by a SCMSS faculty member who agrees to serve as their research mentor.

Curriculum

The Ph.D. in Marine Science: Coastal and Marine Systems Science requires the successful completion of an approved program of study with a minimum of 60 graduate credit hours. The approved program of study includes a series of core and seminar courses required for all students, specialized content supporting a student’s individual research or academic needs and a required thesis. The core of the curriculum provides a comprehensive foundation across the sub-disciplinary areas of the marine sciences (Atmospheric, Physical, Chemical, Geological, Biological, and Policy) to facilitate a systems approach to the coastal marine environment and preparation for the SCMSS Comprehensive Examination. Specialized coursework, directed study, and research courses identified by the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee are required to support student research and professional objectives. Students may receive credits for an earned master’s degree in an area related to the doctoral program. The curriculum for the Ph.D. in Marine Science: Coastal and Marine Systems Science (60 credit hours) is as follows:

Program Requirements (60 Graduate Credit Hours)


Total Credits Required: 60


* One credit hour course is required for four semesters.

** With the approval of the SCMSS Graduate Programs Coordinator, a student’s Graduate Advisory Committee may specify other coursework to satisfy the core or specialized course requirements to suit a student’s particular needs and the objectives of the curriculum.

Comprehensive and Qualifying Examinations

Program SCMSS Comprehensive Exam: Students are required to pass the SCMSS Comprehensive Examination to be taken within a year of completion of the core curriculum courses.

This is typically after the third semester of the program. The format of the exam consists of written and oral components. In the written exam, students will respond to questions established by the SCMSS Comprehensive Examination Committee to assess the broad range of sub-disciplinary knowledge required to address complex coastal systems and the ability to identify and explain the linkages between sub-disciplinary concepts and processes. The Committee will schedule a follow-up oral examination with each student based on the responses given in the written exam and allow for further examination of sub- and interdisciplinary knowledge and applications not emphasized in the written exam. Following the oral examination, the Committee will identify one of the three following outcomes: pass, fail, or retake the exam within three (3) months. Students must pass the SCMSS Comprehensive Examination to continue in the doctoral program.

SCMSS Qualifying Examination: Students are required to present and defend their dissertation research plan. This examination of the student’s dissertation research plan and specific technical background required to complete the proposed research must be completed before the sixth full semester in residence to advance to candidacy in the program. The dissertation proposal will be constructed as a formal research proposal addressing the objective and need for the proposed research, command of the existing literature and foundation of the proposed research, specific testable hypotheses or research questions, an experimental design and work plan to address the research questions, and description of proposed analyses and the broader implications of the research results. The proposal is reviewed by the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee which will schedule a formal presentation and defense of the proposal by the student. The presentation will be open to all SCMSS faculty and students. Following the public presentation, the Committee will meet with the student for an oral examination of the proposal and presentation. The oral examination will assess the student’s research plan and preparation for the proposed research. The Committee will also identify any deficiencies in the proposal and assign one of three outcomes: pass and approval of the final proposal/work plan; provisional pass and require a resubmission of an improved proposal and work plan and re-exam within three months; or failure. Upon passing the Qualifying Examination, the student may proceed with the dissertation research.

The SCMSS Graduate Programs Coordinator or designee from the SCMSS faculty will serve as chair of the examination in an ex officio capacity. The role of the chair is to ensure the exam follows school requirements and that key questions related to overall program objectives (integrating concepts) are explored in addition to the more specific technical content being examined by the Graduate Advisory Committee and Major Professor. The chair of the committee also ensures the committee’s vote on acceptableness of the work is documented along with any other information, perspectives or guidance for the student going forward.

Students failing the SCMSS Qualifying Examination may petition to convert their program of study to the CMWS master’s degree with the positive recommendation of the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee, SCMSS Graduate Programs Coordinator, and approval of the SCMSS Director. The Graduate Advisory Committee and SCMSS Graduate Programs Coordinator will determine the applicable conversion of course and degree program requirements satisfied by work to date and provide an updated course of study to enable the student to complete the master’s program.

Dissertation

Students will submit the results of their doctoral research as a formal dissertation and/or series of publications in compliance with Coastal Carolina University Graduate Studies and SCMSS policy and procedures.

The SCMSS Graduate Programs Coordinator will schedule a formal public presentation of the work by the student to be followed by an Oral Examination (Defense) of the work by the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee.

The SCMSS Graduate Programs Coordinator or designee from the SCMSS faculty will serve as chair of the examination in an ex officio capacity. The role of the chair is to ensure the exam follows school requirements and that key questions related to overall program objectives (integrating concepts) are explored in addition to the more specific technical content being examined by the Graduate Advisory Committee and Major Professor. The chair of the committee also ensures the committee’s vote on acceptableness of the work is documented along with any other information, perspectives or guidance for the student going forward.

Upon passing the defense, the student will submit the completed dissertation as specified by SCMSS and University guidelines.

 

 

 

 

 

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