Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics

Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics

The Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics (CESD) specialization brings together faculty with expertise in coastal hydrodynamics, geo-mechanics, and ecology.


The Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics (CESD) program brings together students and faculty with interests in coastal hydrodynamics, geo-mechanics, and ecology. The goal is to advance fundamental science, provide solutions for resilient coastal communities, and train the next generation of scientists and engineers to succeed in academic and non-academic careers.

Additional information on the CESD specialization can be found on this website



With nearly 40% of the world’s population living within 100 kilometers of the coast, understanding the dynamics of coastal ecosystems is critical to ensure the resilience of human and natural coastal communities. As coastal ecosystems sit at the interface between marine and terrestrial environments, their structure and stability are driven by complex interactions among hydrodynamic forces, geotechnical properties of natural and man-made substrates, and organisms that biogenically build coastal reefs and wetlands. Thus, advancing knowledge of these systems and developing solutions for sustaining natural and built coastal environments requires multi-disciplinary research.

Students trained in this specialization will be prepared to pursue academic and industry careers in the fields of coastal, environmental, and geotechnical engineering, as well as complementary engineering disciplines, such as mechanics, structures, ecology, environmental science, geology, natural resource management and coastal resilience, depending on their individual interests.

Graduate Study Program

Master of Engineering (ME) or Master of Science (MS) Degree

Master of Engineering (ME) or Master of Science (MS) Degree with the Department of  Civil & Coastal Engineering (CCE) or the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences (EES) Specialization: Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics


Graduates with a master’s degree specialization in Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics are equipped with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge to confront the challenges facing coastal ecosystems with sustainable solutions that will benefit both nature and human society. They develop a well-rounded background in oceanography, ecology, and engineering to implement ecosystem design, mitigation, adaptation, and restoration projects and to evaluate the physical and biological processes controlling the rates and patterns of coastal ecosystem change. Our well-rounded and well-trained graduates are in demand to fill advanced positions in industry, academics, NGOs, and governmental agencies. We offer a specialization in Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics through Civil Engineering, Coastal Engineering or Environmental Engineering Sciences. The following requirements, in addition to the minimum requirements established by the UF Graduate School, must be met for graduation.

Course Requirements

Master’s students specializing in Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics are expected to satisfy the following minimum coursework requirements and procedures. Upon admission, a Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics faculty member is assigned as the student’s advisor.

Whether pursuing a Thesis or Non-Thesis degree, students must complete the Master’s Program Plan of Study (PPS) .Requests to apply transfer credits toward the degree program must be made on the PPS and approved by the on the PPS. Students will have an advising hold until an approved PPS has been submitted by the relevant deadline: midterm of the first semester for Non-Thesis Master’s students, and midterm of the second semester for Thesis Master’s students. Students should contact their advisor for prior to the registration period of the upcoming semester, and upload any revisions in the PPS at this time. Students need to submit the PPS (both the original and any subsequent revisions) to for processing.

Additional requirements may be established by the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering, Department of Environmental Engineering, or the University of Florida Graduate School; therefore, the student should consult the or Environmental Engineering Graduate Student Handbook for additional information.

Non-thesis MS or ME Degree (Coursework Only)

(Non-thesis option is only available if the student has not received an assistantship from ESSIE)

Coursework Requirements

Students in these programs much complete a minimum of 30 total semester hours of coursework composed of a minimum of 15 hours of core coursework in the student’s major department (Civil Engineering, Coastal Engineering or Environmental Engineering Sciences) (Group A) with the remaining hours from elective courses (Groups B and C) as outlined below.

Additional Requirements

Non-thesis students obtaining a Master of Science degree must also satisfy the final exam requirements by submitting a completed design or analysis term project that earned a grade of B or better from one of the Group A core courses listed below. Projects from outside the ESSIE curriculum will not be considered. Projects are to be submitted to the student’s advisor, in addition to the course instructor, for approval and must be comprehensive in nature. Master of Engineering students are not required to complete this final examination requirement, as per the Graduate Catalog.

Thesis master’s degree

Coursework Requirements

Students in this track must complete a minimum of 30 total semester hours. Of these 30 total semester hours, a minimum of 15 hours must be in departmental courses (Group A, see below). The student must also submit a written master’s thesis to their supervisory committee and complete an oral defense of the thesis that is approved by all members of the supervisory committee prior to graduation. The parameters of the master’s thesis, including length and content, are to be decided by the student’s advisor. Enrollment of 3 credit hours (Fall/Spring) or 2 credit hours (Summer) of Masters Research is required during the final/graduating semester.

Additional Requirements

Thesis students obtaining a or Master of Engineering thesis degree are required to have a supervisory committee. That committee must consist of a minimum of two members, a chair (usually the advisor), and another member from either Civil Engineering, Coastal Engineering or Environmental Engineering Sciences. The students may include a third committee member from any department at UF, any other academic institution, or relevant non-academic institution (e.g. Naval Research Lab, US Geological Survey).

Grades & Graduation

Per the University of Florida Graduate School Policy, students must have a minimum 3.00 GPA overall and a 3.00 GPA within home departmental courses to be eligible for graduation.

CESD Coursework

The courses below are selected to ensure that CESD students, including those enrolled in both the CCE and EES degree programs, obtain a minimum level of competency in ecological engineering, coastal engineering geosytsems engineering. Students are strongly advised to enroll in EOC 6934 CESD Seminars and Professional Development in their first Fall semester on campus and to enroll in EOC 6939 Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics Seminars for all semesters thereafter as these courses are essential for gaining disciplinary breadth and exposure to CESD faculty and students. In addition, students are advised to take courses that are both within and outside of their disciplinary degree program (e.g. Civil and Coastal Engineering students should take 1 or more courses focused on ecological systems or environmental engineering, and EES student should take at least 1 course in Coastal Engineering, Oceanography, Physical Processes and/or Geosystems Engineering to support their development in multi-disciplinary science and engineering.

Elective Notes

  • Other classes in Civil, Coastal, Environmental engineering or courses with an EGN prefix taught by the College of Engineering may be taken upon approval of advisor
  • Other courses may be taken as electives, including a maximum of 6 credits of 3000-4000 level courses outside the School (ESSIE), subject to the approval of the student’s advisor

Group A: ESSIE Core Courses (15 credits required):

  • CEG 5205C InSitu Measurement of Soil Properties
  • CEG 6015 Advanced Soil Mechanics
  • CEG 6405 Seepage in Soils
  • CWR 6240 Mixing and Transport in Turbulent Flow
  • EGM 5816 Intermediate Fluid Dynamics
  • EES 6307 Advanced Ecological Engineering
  • EES 6309 Wetland Restoration and Design
  • EES 6932 Ecosystem Engineers
  • ENV 5518 Field Methods in Environmental Hydrology
  • ENV 6508 Wetland Hydrology
  • ENV 6932 Advanced Engineering Hydrology I
  • ENV 6932 Ecosystems Engineers
  • ENV 6932 Environmental Systems Dynamics
  • ENV 6932 Coastal Systems
  • ENV 6935 Wetland Seminar
  • EOC 6934 Mathematical models for riverine, estuarine and coastal geomorphology
  • EOC 6934 Hydrodynamic models for estuarine and coastal waters
  • EOC 6934 CESD Seminars and professional development
  • OCP 6298 Coastal Sediment Transport Processes
  • OCP 6165 Ocean Waves I
  • EOC 6934 Nearshore Circulation


Group B: ESSIE Elective Courses:

  • CEG 5115 Foundation Design
  • CGN 6905 Computational Poromechanics
  • CGN 6905 Urban Stormwater Systems Design
  • CGN 6905 Water Resources Engineering
  • CWR 5125 Groundwater Flow I
  • CWR 5127 Evaluation of Groundwater Quality
  • CWR 5235 Open Channel Hydraulics
  • CWR 6116 Advanced Surface Hydrology
  • CWR 6537 Contaminant Subsurface Hydrology
  • ENV 5565 Hydraulic Systems Design
  • ENV 5518 Field Methods in Environmental Hydrology
  • ENV 6050 Advanced Pollutant Transport
  • ENV 6441 Water Resources Planning and Management
  • ENV 6050 Advanced Pollutant Transport
  • ENV 6052 Immiscible Fluids
  • ENV 6416 Advanced Stormwater Control Systems
  • ENV 6435 Advanced Water Treatment Process Design
  • ENV 6437 Advanced Wastewater System Design
  • ENV 6438 Advanced Potable Water Systems Design
  • ENV 6511 Biological Wastewater Treatment
  • ENV 6617 Principles of Green Engineering Design and Sustainability
  • ENV 6932 Global Environmental Policies and Institutions
  • ENV 6932 Absorption Phenomenon
  • ENV 6932 Stormwater Systems
  • ENV 6935 System Ecology Seminar
  • ENV 6439 Activated Carbon: Environmental Design and Application
  • EOC 6939 Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics Seminars

Group C: Non ESSIE Elective Courses:

  • ABE 6252 Advanced Soil and Water Management
  • ABE 6265 Vadose Zone Water and Solute Transport Modeling
  • GLY 5827 Ground Water Geology
  • GLY 5245 Hydrogeochemistry
  • GLY 5247 Surface and Ground Water Interaction
  • GLY 6075 Global Climate Change
  • GLY 6826 Hydrogeologic Modeling
  • SUR 5625 Geographical Information Systems Analysis
  • SWS 5234 Environmental Soil, Water, and Land Use
  • SWS 5235 South Florida Ecosystems
  • SWS 5245 Water Sustainability
  • SWS 5248 Wetlands and Water Quality
  • SWS 5208 Sustainable Agricultural and Urban Land Management
  • SWS 5308 Waterborne Pathogens
  • SWS 5551 Soils, Water, and Public Health
  • SWS 5721C GIS Land Resource Management
  • SWS 6366 Biodegradation and Bioremediation
  • SWS 6448 Biogeochemistry of Wetlands and Aquatic Systems
  • SWS 6932 Florida Lake Management
  • URP 6276 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems


Photo of Andrew Altieri Andrew Altieri Assistant Professor

580C Weil Hall

Photo of Christine Angelini Christine Angelini Associate Professor

575H Weil Hall

Photo of Michael Annable Michael Annable Professor and EES Department Head

216 Black Hall

Photo of James Cahill James Cahill Lecturer
352 294-9047

365 Weil Hall

Photo of Alberto Canestrelli Alberto Canestrelli Assistant Professor

575J Weil Hall

Photo of Paul D. Gader Paul Gader Professor

575L Weil Hall

Photo of David Kaplan David Kaplan Associate Professor

102 Phelps Lab

Photo of Michael McVay Michael McVay University Term Professor

265J Weil Hall

Photo of Elise Morrison Elise Morrison Assistant Professor
(352) 294-9057

580B Weil Hall

Photo of Maitane Olabarrieta Maitane Olabarrieta Associate Professor
(352) 294-7812

575G Weil Hall

Photo of Alex Sheremet Alex Sheremet University Term Professor
(352) 294-7811

575E Weil Hall

Photo of Kathe Todd-Brown Kathe Todd-Brown Assistant Professor

B006 Phelps Lab

Photo of Khiem Tran Khiem Tran Associate Professor

265N Weil Hall

Photo of Scott Wasman Scott Wasman Research Assistant Professor

575I Weil Hall

Photo of Xiao Yu Xiao Yu Assistant Professor

575K Weil Hall

To view a full listing of each person’s profile, visit the Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics category in our directory.

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