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Coastal Engineering Certificate Program (CECP)

Coastal Engineering Certificate Program (CECP)

A series of four graduate level courses in the specialty area of Coastal Engineering within Civil Engineering. All are offered online over the Internet, in synchronous (Visual Streaming) mode, over a two year period (spring, fall semesters). The Certificate is earned after successful completion of the four courses from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA. The Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of the four courses must be a minimum of a B average (3.0) to earn the Certificate.

The purpose of the CECP is to provide practicing engineers the opportunity to study Coastal Engineering at the graduate level to help them in the practice of their engineering profession. The Certificate demonstrates a basic level of understanding of the physical sciences, engineering, economics, the environment, and the institutional-political-social and aesthetic constraints that influence all coastal engineering design. The Certificate may also provide the necessary credentials for continuing education by state licensing boards and professional organizations. The CECP courses can also be applied towards a MS degree in Civil Engineering with Coastal Engineering focus at ODU.

Academic Requirements
An undergraduate degree from an accredited university in Engineering (Civil, Environmental, Ocean, etc.) or the oceanographic sciences (Oceanography, Geology, etc.) is preferred. Experienced professionals in the Coastal Engineering field may also register. Graduate students at other universities may also take these courses, but must first determine credit transfer possibilities at their university.

Duration of the Program and Course Schedule
Ideally, all students should begin with the CEE 582 (Introduction to Coastal Engineering) course, but the program recognizes that this may not always be possible. Therefore, all courses are relatively self-contained so that you can begin at any semester, or miss a semester and pick up the missing course(s) when offered again. CEE 582 is offered every spring and CEE 788/888 is offered every fall. CEE 787/888 is offered every other spring and CEE 782/882 is offered every other fall. Therefore, Coastal Engineering Certificate can be earned in two years or earlier. Refer to the CEE Department's 5 year course plan for the schedule of the course offerings. The Courses page contains more information about each of the CECP courses.

The CECP courses are taught by Dr. Gangfeng Ma and Dr. Navid Tahvildari.

If you have any further questions after reviewing the information in this website, please feel free to contact the director of the Coastal Engineering Institute and the CECP program Dr. Tahvildari at ntahvild@odu.edu.

CECP Courses

  • CEE 582 Introduction to Coastal Engineering (3 credit hours)
    Text is Introduction to Coastal Engineering and Management, Kamphuis, 2010 World Scientific
  • CEE 787 Dredging and Beach Engineering (3 credit hours)
    Text is Beach Nourishment, Theory and Practice, Dean, 2002 World Scientific. Additional materials on dredging and shoaling estimates for navigation channels and tidal inlets covered in this course.
  • CEE 788 Coastal Hydrodynamics and Sediment Processes (3 credit hours)
    Texts are Coastal Processes With Engineering Applications, Dean and Dalrymple, 2002 Cambridge University Press, and Mechanics of Coastal Sediment Transport, Fredsoe and Deigaard, 1991, World Scientific.
  • CEE782 Design of Coastal Structures (3 credit hours)
    Texts are (a) Introduction to Coastal Engineering and Management, Kamphuis, 2010 World Scientific,(b)The Coastal Engineering Manual, US Army Corps of Engineers, 2000.

Typical Course Structure
The CECP courses are regularly scheduled 3-credit hour graduate courses in the M.S. and Ph.D. programs at ODU. A mid-term and a final exam and homework assignments determine the grade.


      Gradute tuition varies, see here for tuition information.

      Registration and Course Access

      You will enroll as a Non-Degree Student. This simply means you are not presently interested in seeking a graduate degree (MS or PhD), and do not need to formally apply and be admitted to the Graduate School. However, it is possible to apply all four courses taken in a non-degree status to the graduate degree at a later date. Please see the FAQ tab for more information. Please also see the tab for how to obtain the MS degree online.

      Once registered, you will be provided with an ODU student email account and a MIDAS ID to access your online courses. You will also use your MIDAS ID to access Canvas, which is used to submit homework and communicate class information such as the syllabus.

      International Student Admission

      Information for registration is online here

      U.S. Student Admission

      You will enroll as a Non-Degree Student.

      How do the logistics work for questions, homework, and examinations?

      This is a fully synchronous course, meaning you will participate in a live class at a set time each week, either in a classroom or online. Online students will be able to see and interact with the professor and classmates during class. Homework is assigned, submitted, graded, and discussed on Canvas. Online students will need a proctor for their exams and some additional costs may be incurred for return of the two examinations (mid-term, final) each semester. All online classes are recorded and available for viewing within 24 hours to all students in the class.

      Hardware, software, and system access requirements

      To take a class via web conferencing you must have a computer with at least the following hardware:

      • Cable modem, DSL modem , or LAN connection
      • Scanner
      • The software requirements include:
        • Web browser
        • Adobe Acrobat Reader and PDF file maker.
        • Microsoft EXCEL
        • Microsoft POWERPOINT
        • Microsoft WORD

      Visit the following link to check requirements Hardware and Software Requirements page.

      Internet access must be from a broadband provider (Cable, DSL, or satellite). To check for the quality of the video streaming at your site, try the Sample Video Stream. If slow, poor quality, or stopped during this test, you may need to access from a different Broadband provider and/or upgrade your hardware and software system.

      Online MS Degree in Coastal Engineering at ODU

      Master of Science in Civil Engineering

      Coastal Engineering is one of five (coastal, geotechnical, hydraulic and water resources, structural, and transportation) focus areas in Civil Engineeringfor specialization to obtain the Master of Science (MS) degree at ODU. Potential students must apply for and be admitted to the Graduate School.

      Requirements for Admission

      Regular admission requirements include a (1) bachelor's degree in engineering (2) 3.00 grade point average (4.00 scale) (3) 500 word (or less) essay on academic and personal goals and (4) two letters of recommendation from current or former professors. Applicants with an undergraduate degree in the physical sciences (oceanography, geology, etc.) are also welcome. They are required to demonstrate adequate knowledge in engineering mechanics (statics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, soil mechanics, strength of materials, etc.) at the undergraduate level.

      Applicants with non-engineering BS degree and from foreign countries must also submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. The English proficiency requirement for non-native speakers of English can be met through TOEFL scores or possession of the BS degree from a country where English is the native language.

      Final approval for admittance is the responsibility of the Office of Admissions. Apply early since the application process spans six to eight weeks. Delays are due to missing required documents. Apply online at www.admission.odu.edu.

      Credit Hours Required for the MS Degree

      A total of 30 credit hours are required for the MS degree. A 6 credit-hour thesis is needed leaving 24 credit hours (8 courses) to meet the requirements.

      Transfer of Online, Non-Degree Courses at ODU (12 credits)

      Students may take four, graduate-level, coastal engineering courses online for the Coastal Engineering Certificate Program (CECP) as a non-degree seeking student at ODU. Transfer of these ODU courses (The grade MUST be B or better to transfer. A grade of B- will not transfer) to the MS degree program is permitted. This totals 12 credit hours towards the MS degree.

      Transfer of Graduate Level Courses from Other Universities (12 credits)

      Coastal Engineering is a broad discipline. Graduate level courses in mathematics, statistics, physical oceanography, coastal geology, coastal zone management, etc. are generally accepted towards the MS degree. A partial List of Acceptable ODU Courses should be consulted to determine the course content for comparison with similar courses at other universities for transfer consideration. These courses may be taken on site at a University in your region or by distance learning from another University, as applicable. Approval for transfer will be required by Dr. Basco and the Graduate Program Director, CEE Department at ODU.

      Effective Fall 2007, the University Administration approves the transfer of up to 12 credit hours (4 courses) from other universities (grades B or better) for the MS degree program. Together with the 12 credit hours of online courses from ODU, this totals 24 credits (8 courses) for the MS degree. Courses appearing on transcripts from other Universities and counted for degrees from other Universities are not acceptable for transfer to ODU for the MS degree.

      Online Thesis Course (6 Credits)

      Successful completion of CEE 699 (6 credits) for the MS thesis requirement together with the 24 credits (8 courses) totals 30 credit hours for the MS degree. Coastal Engineering is a relatively young discipline needing research in a wide range of areas and using various research methods. Field, laboratory, computer and analytical methods are employed. Field data is site specific and laboratory data is limited by the scale of the facilities. In recent years, numerical modeling of coastal, physical processes has become an acceptable research method (e.g., numerical wave tank) applicable to any site at full, natural scales. The topic chosen and research method employed are geared for each student. The Internet permits continuous communication between the student and professor chairing the thesis committee. Written, oral and visual communication (Webcam) over the Internet makes the thesis research effort comparable with students on campus at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.

      Online MS Degree

      The final requirements are acceptance of the thesis by the Thesis Committee and passing the final oral examination. Video conferencing facilities are available at ODU to facilitate this last step in the process.

      Student Comments

      The Numbers
      The CECP began in the Spring Semester, 2001 with CEE 582 delivered via satellite to TELETECHNET locations in Virginia. The first online Internet class was CEE 687 (Now CEE 787) in the Fall Semester, 2003. Since 2001, over 300 students have taken classes from 29 US States (AL, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, LA, MA, MI ,ME, MD, MS , NH, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, SC,TN, TX, VA, VE, WA and WI) and fourteen foreign countries (Australia, Al-Khuwair (Oman),Brazil, Canada, Dubai(UAE), France, Ireland, Jamaica, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kindom, Portugal, Spain,)

      A large number of students (> 65%) work for consulting engineering firms. The next group works for States or the Federal Government ( 25%) with the remainder from universities (6%) and industry (4%). A complete list of employers, their locations, and numbers of students is available upon request.Ninety-six Coastal Engineering Certificates (CEC) have been awarded as of December 2013. . For a variety of reasons (personal, moving, work commitments, degree of difficulty, inadequate background, etc.) some students (9%) have only taken one course. Since there is no time limit, these students may return at any time in the future for additional classes.

      Student Opinions
      1. State Government (Division of Natural Resources)
      - The CECP absolutely helped my career as a coastal manager

      and engineer.

      -The Internet courses allowed me to attend class while working full time.
      Robert B. Neal, CEC 2006
      Coastal Engineer, Lee County
      Ft. Myers, FL

      (Mr. Neal has since gone on to earn the online, MS degree in Coastal Engineering at ODU)

      2. Consulting Engineering Firm (US)
      -The CECP definitely helped my career in several ways:
      -The materials provided (text, handouts, electronic files, website links, etc.) have proved to be invaluable.
      -Other people in my office now come to me to use this material.
      -The course was a unique, wonderful blend of academics and real-world applications.
      -The CECP courses are not too much different than being there in the classroom.
      -The environment was friendly and receptive to participation by students over the Internet.
      -The classes provided a forum for sharing with other students from/with a wide, geographical spread of experiences.
      -It was marvelous to be able to go back and review (via the video archives) some part of a lecture that I did not comprehend the first time or a lecture I missed due to work conflicts.
      -Thanks for the great education.
      Kim Garvey, CEC 2006
      Coastal Engineer
      Moffatt & Nichols
      Los Angeles, CA

      3. Consulting Engineering Firm (Foreign)
      -The courses covered many facets of coastal engineering, providing the theory to apply to coastal problems.
      -Across all four courses, conditions under which analytical formulas were derived and the limitations were explained. This was one of the most useful tools I obtained for now I have an understanding of when certain formulas (and methods) should not be applied.
      -The level of detail regarding dredging operations could only be obtained from years of experience. This information is not readily available and helpful when working with dredging contractors.
      -The live video streaming is impressive technology. It does feel like you are in the room.
      -I enjoyed being able to ask questions during the lectures, over the Internet.
      -The availability of Professor Basco from the other side of the world was impressive. He always responded to emails promptly and provided excellent feedback on questions and homework.
      Tanya Stul, CEC 2005
      Coastal Engineer / Geomorphologist
      Oceanica Consulting Pty Ltd
      Perth, Australia

      4. Consulting Engineering Firm (US)

      Looking back, Old Dominion's Coastal Engineering Certificate Program was the perfect program for a full-time practicing professional. The program exposed me to those fundamental coastal engineering courses necessary for tackling real life problems in the coastal environment. The program offers a multifaceted understanding of coastal engineering from technical mechanics and theories to large scale coastal management, environmental, and planning issues. The distance learning course format offers maximum schedule flexibility without compromising a sense of belonging to the class. I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in advancing their careers as practicing engineers, managers, or administrators in both the public and private sector.

      Russell J. "Joey" Coco, Jr. CEC 2008

      Coastal Engineer/ President

      Engensus, Inc.

      Baton Rouge, LA

      1. And Many Others (to be updated soon)

      Frequently Asked Questions

      May I enroll in any course, any semester, or must I first take CEE 582, "Introduction to Coastal Engineering"?
      You may enroll for any course, at any time. You do NOT need to wait and take CEE 582 first. All four courses are designed to be self-contained.

      Do I first have to apply and be accepted in the Graduate School at ODU?
      No, you do not need to be admitted to the Graduate School. The Coastal Engineering Certificate Program (CECP) is a non-degree seeking program. You may wish to apply later and all CECP courses will be transferred (B or better grade) for the MS degree. There is no formal admittance procedure for the CECP program. Just sign-up for the courses.

      How do I register for a course and pay my tuition?
      You may register by the following steps (Credit Cards are acceptable):

      1. Visit the LEO-Online webpage.
      2. Select "Enter Leo Online News and Secure Area"
      3. This will take you to the bottom of the page and select "Enter secure area"
      4. This will take you to the login page, where you will enter your UIN as your user ID and your date of birth as your PIN (in the form MMDDYY). You will be prompted to change your PIN.
      5. When you login go to the "Admissions, Registration... and Financial Aid" section.
      6. Then select "Registration" and register for CEE 788 course with the proper CRN . See Courses page for all CRN's depending on where you sign up to take the course.
      7. Then select the "Student Records" option.
      8. There you will see the options for either paying by credit card or online check. Select your payment method.

      It takes 24 hours after the payment before you can access the online Canvas and video streaming options. You will be issued a MIDAS ID in order to gain access. Check the Leo Online secure area after 24 hours to ensure completion of the registration process.

      If I miss class, can I view it later?
      All online classes are recorded and available within 24 hours in the Class Access pages. Previous classes can be reviewed to answer homework questions, study for examinations, and shown to others who may be interested.

      Do I need a Proctor?

      Yes. All the examinations are closed book. The proctor simply insures that the examinations are taken under these conditions. Someone in your office who is willing to sign the Proctor Form is acceptable. Registered Professional Engineers are well qualified to serve as proctor. This policy is slightly different to the general rules for proctors stated by ODU. You do not need a University professor for a proctor.

      Other Questions?
      Please revisit all the pages and links on the CECP website to learn the answers to many more of your possible questions. Please also feel free to contact Dr. Ma directly at (gma@odu.edu)

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