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USM School of Coastal Resilience Adds Two New Majors

Tue, 07/12/2022 - 11:14am | By: Margaret Ann Macloud

The School of Coastal Resilience located on the Gulf Park campus of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) will offer two new bachelor’s majors starting Fall 2022—Sustainability Sciences (Coastal System Dynamics), BS and Sustainability Studies, BA.

The Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainability Sciences (Coastal System Dynamics) is a multi-disciplinary science major aimed at addressing resilience and sustainability of coastal zones as a combination of human and ecological systems. Through research, applications, community interactions, and teaching, the Sustainability Sciences (Coastal Systems Dynamics), BS focuses on coastal system dynamics to address issues critical to the human habitation of coastal zones well into the next century. Leveraging USM’s coastal location, expertise, and community partnerships, students will learn about the physical aspects of sustainability with a holistic inclusion of the human element as a well-rounded multi-disciplinary scientist. Students in Sustainability Sciences (Coastal System Dynamics) will complete a capstone practicum that shows applied research in coastal system dynamics, as, for example, on the barrier islands, port interactions, beach erosion, urban planning, infrastructure, fishing, aquaculture, hurricane preparedness, and more.

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Sustainability Studies will provide students with the cultural, social, and scientific understanding of human-nature interaction necessary to achieve meaningful environmental change. By bridging approaches from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, this interdisciplinary major will attract students with a wide range of interests and prepare them to take leadership roles in careers in environmental communication, policy, and research. Students will gain scientific literacy and learn how cultural understandings of the environment impact civic discourse, knowledge production, and decision making, and how to develop sustainable solutions for pressing social and environmental problems.

"The School of Coastal Resilience is tremendously excited to have these new undergraduate majors,” said interim school director Dr. Westley Follett. “Students pursuing these majors will learn from research scientists and scholars about the challenges that confront the ecologies, natural systems, and communities of coastal zones, and develop the understanding and skills necessary to address some of the most important socio-environmental problems confronting our region and indeed the world at large."

The School of Coastal Resilience is home to over thirty research and teaching faculty in the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, and humanities. Its research and teaching interests encompass coastal processes, ecology, and geography; environmental history, literature, film, policy, and ethics; environmental protection and social justice; sustainability studies and education; in short, all matters that impact human well-being and ecosystem vitality in coastal regions. 

More information on the new majors and the School of Coastal Resilience can be found by visiting