Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy

Useful information and resources for frequently asked questions of current MCOP students

We are actively and continuously building this page.   

MCOP 591: Directed Independent Study (DIS) 

Directed Independent Study is a great opportunity for students to work closely with a faculty member who's research is of particular interest.  A DIS takes many forms but all have the shared characteristic of a student working independently to further their knowledge in a specific beyond the classroom.  

In order to register for DIS credit, students need to work with their DIS supervisor fill out the form found at the Graduate School website here.  Then, bring the signed form to the Graduate School who will register you for the DIS credit.    

***PLEASE NOTE: DIS forms are time sensitive and must be delivered to the Graduate School.  They are generally due on the Friday of the first week of classes.

MCOP 501 and MCOP 502: Science and Coastal and Ocean Policy Issues

MCOP 501 and MCOP 502 are part of the core coursework for the MCOP degree program.  They are not sequential, meaning that MCOP 501 is not a prerequisite to MCOP 502.  However, the focus on different areas of science.  MCOP 501 explores relevant geology and geography of current coastal and ocean policy issues.  MCOP 502 explores relevant biology and chemistry of coastal and ocean policy issues.  

Currently, MCOP 501 and MCOP 502 are offered on an alternating Fall basis.  For instance, if MCOP 501 is offered during the Fall of your admissions to the program, MCOP 502 will be offered the following Fall.  This means that full time students intending on completing the program in two years need to take each course when it is offered because each course is only offered once in any given two year period.

MCOP 598: Internship in Coastal and Ocean Policy

MCOP 598 Syllabus here

Internships are a great way for students to gain practical experience, make connections in the community, and explore career options.  The internship experience provides the student with the opportunity to utilize and develop their knowledge of the political, governmental, and nongovernmental/nonprofit processes that are part of our curriculum through observation and experience. These experiences expose the student to a broader regional setting and familiarize local organizations with the UNCW educational mission.

The goal of an internship is for the student to develop professional skills. The opportunities for student learning are the various roles, tasks, and events that arise through the course of their weekly hours spent on-site. 

Students are responsible for finding their own internship opportunities though there are several organizations that often work with the MCOP program.  As well, students are not limited to organizations in the Cape Fear area.  Within certain administrative limitations, we encourage students to explore opportunities locally and nationally.

A student may register for up to 6 credit hours of a internship activity.  In general, 1 credit hour is equal to 100 hrs of internship work.  In order to receive academic credit for the internship you must register for course credit through the graduate school and registrar.  Many students treat their internships as part time jobs and work 20hrs a week.  The lucky few find internships that provide a stipend.

Grading is on a pass/ fail/ incomplete scale. 

In order to register for internship credit the student needs to:

  • Find a faculty member willing to oversee the internship and submit a grade (usually the program coordinator or program advisor);
  • Submit an internship form found below; and 
  • Submit a New Host Agency form if your internship is with an organization in which UNCW does not have a preexisting relationship.

When you complete your internship, you are required to write a final report that consists of...

  1. Reflection essay describing the internship experience and
  2. A short portfolio of accomplishments. 

You will  turn these two components in on Blackboard as a single PDF.

The purpose of this requirement is two fold: First, it provides you with a product that you may share with potential employers as an example of your experience and work quality.  Second, it provides faculty the opportunity to oversee and ensure the quality of the internship experience. 

Reflection Essay

The essay should describe the following:

  • A personal reflection that comments on your involvement in the organization furthered the agency mission and an analysis on how program curriculum prepared you for the internship.
  • A final statement on how the internship worked towards and/or redefined career goals.

While this is a reflection essay, it needs to be written professionally and in active voice. 

Reflection essay formatting:

  • 3-5 pages, single spaced, 1 inch margins all around, 12 point standard font
  • No dramatic spacing between paragraphs or around headings
  • Initial title and date information should take no more than 3-5 lines
  • Title page and references, if you choose to include them, do not count towards the page requirements

Portfolio of Accomplishments

The portfolio of accomplishments includes any materials or forms important to student work for the organization such as, a memo, a database constructed, a report, data collection forms, etc.  The portfolio should also include an updated resume.  The portfolio should not include proprietary information. 

Though brief, please take the report seriously.  It is an opportunity to create something unique to share with potential employers or academic advisors that demonstrates your work ethic, professionalism, and skill in writing and application of knowledge. 

Students registering for internship credit need the following forms: 

To register form MCOP 598 Internship credit: Internship Form

To request permission to intern with an organization the University does not have a preexisting relationship with: New Host Agency Form

***PLEASE NOTE: Internship forms are time sensitive and must be hand delivered to the Graduate School.  They are generally due on the Friday of the first week of classes.

Course Substitutions

If you need to substitute one course for another say, a DIS for a core course or an elective for an "approved elective," please speak to Dr. Biddle and Dr. Weinkle.