Center for Marine Science

Applied Coastal and Ocean Sciences (ACOS), Ph.D.

Explore the ocean at North Carolina’s coastal university.

The ACOS program of study encompasses interdisciplinary research across the breath of science, social, and economic disciplines to engage students in addressing critical coastal challenges - locally, nationally and globally. Student involvement includes a rich set of coursework and research opportunities that integrates entrepreneurship topics to leverage the application of new ideas for targeted problem solving. Primarily a research degree, the program serves students at North Carolina’s coastal university with diverse interests within the broad scope of marine sciences. 

Preparing students for careers in: 

  • Universities and colleges
  • Government
  • Technology
  • Policymaking
  • Education

Program Highlights

  • 40 credits post masters, 60 credits post-baccalaureate
  • Teaching assistantships and tuition remissions available
  • Coursework includes:
    • Core classes in biological oceanography, chemical oceanography, marine geology, physical oceanography
    • Training in entrepreneurial thinking in the sciences and career readiness including communication of scientific results
    • A broad range of electives in the science and policy disciplines
  • Dissertation-based program with requirement to address entrepreneurial or applied aspects of the student’s research, wherever it occurs along the spectrum from purely basic to applied science
  • Over 100 faculty members doing marine-related research and education across the disciplines at UNCW including:
    • aquaculture

    • marine & coastal processes

    • hydrodynamics

    • coral reef recovery

    • drug discovery

    • marine biotechnology

    • conservation

    • genomics

    • microbiology

    • ocean sensors

    • paleoclimatology

    • modeling & prediction

    • sea level rise research & mitigation

    • remote sensing

    • ecosystem function & organismal adaptation

    • water quality and pollution

Applying to the ACOS Ph.D. program 

Applicants should make initial contact with prospective faculty mentors prior to applying.  Please contact the graduate program coordinator if you need assistance with this process. 

Submit the following:

  • An application for graduate admission
  • Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Three recommendations with accompanying letters by individuals in professionally relevant fields, one from the intended faculty mentor.
  • Official score on the TOEFL (if applicable). TOEFL scores are good for two years from the date the test is administered.
  • Current curriculum vitae (2 page maximum)
  • Summary of M.S. thesis research (2 page maximum)
  • Statement of interest for Ph.D. research (2 page maximum)

Fall 2023 Deadline

  • Priority Consideration: January 15, 2023
  • Deadline: April 15, 2023

Program Contact:

Dr. Stephen Skrabal