Academic Programs

Coastal Sustainable Management Certificate

scuba diving

PCGS alumna Justina Ashleigh K. ('14) scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef during her capstone research internship in Australia.


Important Degree Changes for Fall 2018 Affecting Current Students:

The Coastal Sustainability concentration and corresponding graduate certificates will no longer be accepting new students after Spring 2018.

Students currently enrolled in the Coastal Sustainability concentration or certificates have the option to change their concentration of study or select from the following courses to complete their degree requirements:

EVR 6216 - Water Quality Policy and Management
IDS 6223 - Waste Not, Want Not: Reconsidering Waste, Re-purposing Wasted Resources
IDS 6246 - Water Sensitive Urban Design for Sustainable Communities
IDS 6247 - Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
OCE 6085 - Ocean Policy


Certificate Description:

Populations and developed areas in coastal areas are growing rapidly, with over 55 percent of the U.S. population already living within 50 miles of the coasts. The environmental impacts of development impacts directly affect communities' ability to balance natural resource protection with sustainable community growth. The sustainability of coastal areas largely depends on effective and timely planning at the local level. The certificate introduces sustainable community planning as practiced around the world and in particular the United States, focusing on coastal areas. It also provides strategies for implementation addressing the nine planetary boundaries.

This certificate program will provide a general foundation for coastal sustainability management. It is designed to appeal to an audience with backgrounds and interests in the planning, policy formulation and implementation, and management fields. The certificate will be of particular interest to sustainability students; coastal areas realtors and land developers, utility companies; emergency services professionals; local government planning professionals; economic development managers; and those involved in community development and non-profit environmental, planning and management organizations in coastal communities.


Required Courses (6 credit hours):

The course provides an overview of land use planning, introduces sustainable/smart growth principles and provide specific development concepts for coastal and waterfront communities. The course will define and explain coastal resilience. It will introduce cover a holistic approach to what makes a community resilient, including such factors as social capital and sense of place. The course will also explore the societal context of land use planning and proposes a model for understanding and reconciling the divergent priorities among competing stakeholders; it explains how to build sustainable planning support systems to assess current and future conditions, evaluate policy choices, create visions, and compare scenarios; and it sets forth a methodology for creating plans that will influence future land use change. 

*This course is available on-campus and online.

The course provides has a strong design-oriented approach focusing on how to create Sustainable Coastal Plans and explaining each major step with examples from various localities. It links each step to current planning practice and to new theory in landscape ecology and sustainable development. The course will provide a framework of sustainable land use planning and proposes a model for preparing and implementing plans within a context of divergent priorities among competing stakeholders; it will show how to build sustainable planning support systems to assess current and future conditions, evaluate policy choices, create visions, and compare scenarios; and set forth a methodology for creating plans that will influence future land use change.

*This course is available on-campus and online.


Elective Courses (6 credit hours)
Choose two:

Learn about the community of people involved in marine affairs; the use of the sea and coast; current technology and the major policy issues related to the technology trends, and identify multiple sources of information available to students.

*This course is only available on-campus.

The course will address the primary aspects of sustainability, security, and resiliency in port infrastructure and operations, including: port safety and security; water-side and land-side transportation; cyber security; natural hazards (including storm surge); hazardous material spill response and contingency planning; adaptation to climate change; environmental protection, permitting, mitigation, and remediation; community interactions; and economic development.

*This course is only available online.

Overview of cruise industry: history, operating and marketing procedures, career opportunities, ship profiles, itineraries, and ports of call. Guest speakers, plus optional field trip included.

*This course is only available on-campus.

This course focuses the ecotourism and sustainable tourism management for coastal habitat and marine protection. The course includes strategies and innovations, including best practices developed in the global "Blue Criteria" and the Sustainable Travel "Shore Excursion" criteria. It examines the major threats of coastal habitat and marine environments, such as ocean acidification, climate change, overfishing, and pollution. The course emphasizes establishing policies and management plans to identify and reduce the environmental impact created by tourism facilities and services, examines twelve cost effective strategies for coastal and marine habitat protection and provides an introduction to culture based leadership development for change. 

*This course is available on-campus and online.


Point of Contact

If you have any general questions relating to PCGS graduate certificate programs,please contact

Toure Rider