Important Information

Application Deadlines

Visit the Graduate School website to complete and application.

  • Fall 2014 Start Date:
    Applications due April 15
  • Spring 2015 Start Date:
    Applications due November 15

Open House

Wednesday, February 26th
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Leutze Hall Lobby

Clock tower

Welcome Applicants!

The Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy (MCOP) is a professional, non-thesis, multidisciplinary degree program that provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to assume leadership roles in governmental and nongovernmental organizations involved in the formulation, implementation, and administration of coastal and ocean policy at all levels of government. Students take a unique curriculum that combines coursework in public policy analysis and coastal and marine sciences taught by leading researchers in their respective disciplines.  A central focus of the curriculum is on teaching students how to integrate science into government decision making process in order to improve coastal and ocean resources management in the U.S. and abroad.

Students in the MCOP program benefit from a wide range of coastal and ocean policy and science related courses offered by faculty associated with the Department of Public and International Affairs (PIA) and the Center for Marine Science (CMS), and other academic departments including Economics and Finance, Environmental Studies, Health and Applied Human Services, Geography and Geology, Biology and Marine Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Physics and Physical Oceanography. When combined with the Center for Marine Science’s world-class research facilities, and our location in southeastern North Carolina UNCW is able to offer a premier Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy.

Educational Objectives

The program is designed to meet the following objectives:

  • Develop the students’ familiarity with the complexity of institutions, policies, and programs associated with the governance of coastal and ocean resources
  • Enhance the students’ ability to analyze policy problems by familiarizing them with the science, concepts, tools, technology, and techniques associated with contemporary coastal and ocean policy issues
  • Enable students to design and administer programs to this end effectively;
  • Enhance students’ skills and ability to think, act, and communicate effectively in public, private, and non-profit organizations
  • Provide students with the professional skills and experiences that expand employment opportunities and/or advance their current careers in coastal and ocean policy
  • Broaden the students’ knowledge of the science behind coastal and ocean policy issues
  • Assist students in communicating the results of scientific research and public policy analysis to politicians, management agencies, and the public community
  • Produce environmental stewards who seek creative, scientifically-sound solutions to coastal and ocean policy problems and who are capable of interfacing with local, regional, state, national, and international constituencies towards this goal

Designed to Serve a Wide Range of Professional Development Needs

The multidisciplinary curriculum should appeal to a broad range of students with diverse interests and backgrounds, including:

  • Students with undergraduate training in economics, political science, public policy, or public administration who seek to understand the science underlying coastal and ocean policy issues
  • Students with undergraduate training in the physical or social sciences who seek to learn about the science, politics, and management of coastal and ocean resources
  • Students with undergraduate training in marine science, environmental science or policy, natural resource management, or engineering who wish to develop a greater understanding of the political, social, and economic context within which coastal and ocean policy is developed and implemented
  • Professionals with no formal undergraduate training in the sciences, policy analysis, or public management who work in public, private, or non-profit organizations that address coastal and ocean issues
  • Concerned citizens with baccalaureate degree who wish to pursue the satisfaction of intellectual exploration in the field of coastal and ocean policy

Full-time and Part-time Options

The MCOP program can serve both full- and part-time students from a variety of undergraduate majors. Full-time students will take 9 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters their first year and 6 credits in the summer. In their second year, students will take 9 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters, respectively. Part-time students will consist primarily of nontraditional students (e.g., mid-career working professionals). They are expected to comprise about 1/3 of the total enrollments and will take 1 to 2 classes per semester (including the summer) and graduate in a 3-to-4 year time frame. Much of the coursework will be taught in the evening and other alternative formats to accommodate nontraditional, part-time students.

Full-time and part-time students are required to complete their degree requirements within 5 years of entry into the MCOP program.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of 6 transfer credit hours of graduate coursework will be transferred from an accredited institution. Transfer credit can be discussed with your advisor.

Admission Requirements

For the Fall 2013 start date, applications are due April 15, 2013 and for Spring 2014 start date, applications are due November 15, 2013. The program employs a rolling admissions process with priority granted to applicants who meet the application deadlines. Qualified applicants whose materials are received after the deadline will be granted admission on a space availability basis. To apply visit the Graduate School website.

Applicants seeking admission to the MCOP program are required to submit the following to the Graduate School:

  • An application for graduate admission
  • Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate)
    • There is no curricular prerequisite for admission and it is assumed that applicants will have majored in a variety of undergraduate subjects
  • Official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Three recommendations from individuals who are in a position to evaluate the applicant‘s professional competence as well as potential for graduate study (ideally at least one reference should be an academic instructor)
  • A personal statement describing educational and professional experiences, their reasons for pursuing graduate study in public administration, and career goals
  • Resume
  • Optional writing sample

Applicants seeking admission to the program must have a bachelor‘s degree from an accredited college or university, or its equivalent from a foreign institution of higher education based on a four-year program; a strong academic record with an average GPA of 3.0 or better in the undergraduate program; academic potential as indicated by satisfactory performance on the GRE General Test. Individuals who fall below a specified criterion may be admitted if other factors indicate potential for success. Individuals with identified deficiencies may be accepted provisionally with specified plans and goals for the remediation of these deficiencies. Such remediation may include a requirement of additional hours beyond those normally required for the degree.


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