University Catalog 2023-2024

Natural Resources (BS): Marine and Coastal Concentration

To see more about what you will learn in this program, visit the Learning Outcomes website!

The degree of Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources is available with a concentration in Marine and Coastal Resources.

Marine scientists explore all aspects of the seas and coastal regions, seeking to understand how the oceans, their biological communities, the solid earth and the atmosphere interact. As professionals with interdisciplinary training, marine scientists are needed to advise business, industry and governments on the potential impact of human activities and the wise use of marine resources. Marine scientists work for consulting firms; regulatory agencies; the mass media; business and industry; federal, state and local governments; academic laboratories; research and education organizations; and nonprofit environmental watchdog groups.

Plan Requirements

Major Core Courses
MEA 100Earth System Science: Exploring the Connections4
MEA 101Geology I: Physical3
MEA 110Geology I Laboratory1
MEA 130Introduction to Weather and Climate3
MEA 135Introduction to Weather and Climate Laboratory1
MEA 200Introduction to Oceanography3
MEA 210Oceanography Lab1
MEA 220Marine Biology3
MEA 250Introduction to Coastal Environments3
MEA 251Introduction to Coastal Environments Laboratory1
MEA 459Field Investigation of Coastal Processes5
MEA 469Ecology of coastal Resources3
GIS 280Introduction to GIS3
Advised Elective 13
Advised electives to be chosen with advisor and should be a science, math, engineering or GIS course at the 400 level or higher.
Select one of the following Chemistry options:3
Geochemistry of Natural Waters
Principles of Chemical Oceanography
Principles of Chemical Oceanography
NR 400Natural Resource Management4
MA 131Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A 23
MA 231Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B3
ST 311Introduction to Statistics3
COS 100Science of Change2
Chemistry/Physics/Natural Sciences
BIO 181Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity4
CH 101Chemistry - A Molecular Science3
CH 102General Chemistry Laboratory1
ZO 350Animal Phylogeny and Diversity4
CH 201Chemistry - A Quantitative Science3
CH 202Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory1
AEC 360Ecology4
or PB 360 Ecology
Select one of the following Physics courses:4
College Physics I
Physics for Engineers and Scientists I
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists I Laboratory
Select one of the following Physics courses:4
College Physics II
Physics for Engineers and Scientists II
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists II Laboratory
SSC 200
SSC 201
Soil Science
and Soil Science Laboratory
AEC 420Introduction to Fisheries Science3
ENG 101Academic Writing and Research 24
Select one of the following:3
Communication for Engineering and Technology
Communication for Business and Management
Communication for Science and Research
Humanities/Social Sciences
PS 201American Politics and Government3
or PS 202 State and Local Government
Select one of the following Economics courses:3
Introduction to Agricultural & Resource Economics
Introduction to Agricultural & Resource Economics
Principles of Microeconomics
Fundamentals of Economics
ARE 336Introduction to Resource and Environmental Economics3
or EC 336 Introduction to Resource and Environmental Economics
PS 336Global Environmental Politics3
Health & Exercise Science
GEP Health and Exercise Studies1
HESA 226Skin and Scuba Diving I1
or HESO 253 Orienteering
GEP Courses
GEP Humanities6
GEP US Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion3
GEP Global Knowledge (verify requirement)
Foreign Language Proficiency (verify requirement)
Total Hours120

Students should consult their academic advisors to determine which courses fill this requirement.


A grade of C- or higher is required.

Semester Sequence

Critical Path Courses -Identify using the code (CP) which courses are considered critical path courses which represent specific major requirements that are predictive of student success in a given program/plan. Place the (CP) next to the credit hours for the course.

This is a sample.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterHours
MA 131 Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A (CP) 1 3
MEA 100 Earth System Science: Exploring the Connections 2 4
MEA 101 Geology I: Physical 2 3
MEA 110 Geology I Laboratory 2 1
COS 100 Science of Change 2
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
Spring Semester
BIO 181 Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity (CP) 3 4
ENG 101 Academic Writing and Research 1 4
MA 231 Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B (CP) 3 3
MEA 130 Introduction to Weather and Climate 2 3
MEA 135 Introduction to Weather and Climate Laboratory 2 1
Second Year
Fall Semester
CH 101 Chemistry - A Molecular Science (CP) 1 3
CH 102 General Chemistry Laboratory 3 1
MEA 200 Introduction to Oceanography (CP) 2 3
MEA 210 Oceanography Lab 2 1
PS 336 Global Environmental Politics 3
MEA 220 Marine Biology 2 3
Spring Semester
CH 201 Chemistry - A Quantitative Science 3 3
CH 202 Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory 3 1
Economics Elective 3
MEA 250 Introduction to Coastal Environments 2 3
MEA 251 Introduction to Coastal Environments Laboratory 2 1
HESA 226 Skin and Scuba Diving I 1
ZO 350 Animal Phylogeny and Diversity 3 4
Third Year
Fall Semester
GEP Humanities 3
PB 360 Ecology 3 4
PY 211 College Physics I 1 4
ST 311 Introduction to Statistics 3 3
Spring Semester
Chemistry Option Elective 2 3
Advanced Writing Elective 3
ARE/EC 336 Introduction to Resource and Environmental Economics 3
MEA 469 Ecology of coastal Resources 2 3
PY 212 College Physics II 3 4
MEA 459 Field Investigation of Coastal Processes 2 5
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
GEP Humanities 3
GEP US Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 3
PS 336 Global Environmental Politics 3
Advised Elective 2 3
Spring Semester
AEC 420 Introduction to Fisheries Science 3 3
GIS 280 Introduction to GIS 2 3
NR 400 Natural Resource Management 2 4
SSC 200 Soil Science 3 3
SSC 201 Soil Science Laboratory 3 1
 Total Hours120

A grade of C- or higher is required.


No more than one D will be accepted in major core courses.


No more than one D will be accepted in other basic math or science courses.

Career Opportunities

MEAS undergraduate degree programs provide talented students with the foundation of scientific knowledge required for careers in government, industry, or academia. Many students pursue graduate degrees and pursue careers in industry, at government agencies and in academia.

Marine Sciences graduates go on to become oceanographers, to manage our coastal resources, model air-sea interaction, and explore global climate change. They conduct basic and applied research, serving as environmental consultants for industry and governmental agencies, policy and management experts for governmental agencies, and environmental science educators. Graduates with a Natural Resources degree are versed in the fundamental processes and interdisciplinary nature of the coastal zone. As scientists, managers, administrators, and regulators, they make decisions regarding use and conservation of coastal and marine resources.

Geology graduates address society’s needs for dealing effectively with earth processes, such as water resources and the stability of land forms. They work for engineering firms, permit-issuing agencies, and industries that rely on geological resources. Historical geologists are familiar with the evolution of earth through time and provide a perspective on potential long-term reactions of the earth systems to change. Those who concentrate in Environmental Geology are trained to assess and monitor geological resources such as ground water. Marine geologists are experts in the complex issues facing industry, municipalities, and residents in the dynamic and ecologically vulnerable coastal zone.

Meteorology graduates enjoy careers in weather forecasting, air quality assessment, development of weather products and services, broadcast communications, and advanced research. Marine meteorologists study ocean-generated weather systems. Their research is yielding practical benefits such as refined prediction of storm surge, which has streamlined evacuation efforts during severe storms along the Carolina coast. Meteorology graduates with an air quality emphasis work for environmental firms, regulatory agencies, and in applied research. Study of air quality and how air pollution is transported and dispersed is a rapidly expanding field in the atmospheric sciences.

MEAS graduates play a key service role for the State of North Carolina, assisting in everything from forecasting severe storms and analyzing the impact of atmospheric pollutants on agriculture and our estuaries, to determining the effects of toxic waste disposal on quality of surface and ground water.