Fundamentals of Coastal Geology Certificate

Fundamentals of Coastal Geology

Coastal processes significantly influence natural landscapes and human communities. The Coastal Geology Certificate at Coastal Georgia offers a foundational understanding of the intricate dynamics shaping coastal environments, highlighting the crucial need to comprehend, analyze, and manage these complex ecosystems. This program provides students with essential knowledge and skills to address challenges and opportunities in coastal regions globally, and it can be completed in just one year.

Why study Fundamentals of Coastal Geology at Coastal Georgia?

Situated on the coast, our backyard is our natural laboratory, featuring vast marshlands, dynamic sandy beaches, coastal development projects, and numerous real-world case studies exemplifying human-environment interactions. Studying coastal geology in this unique environment offers an exceptional chance to gain robust scientific foundations through abundant hands-on experiences. The program also emphasizes professional development, applied coursework, and workforce preparation, ensuring students are well-equipped for excellent opportunities upon graduation.

What will I learn?

In this certificate, students gain a thorough understanding of coastal morphodynamics, ecosystem processes, and management of human-Earth interactions. Required coursework focuses on core skills such as the safe and proper application of field and laboratory techniques, quantitative analysis of data, and critical evaluation of research results, as well as scientific communication in oral, written, and visual formats.

Required Courses

  • GEOL 1121: Physical Geology*
  • GEOL 1121L: Physical Geology Lab*
  • GEOL 3350: Coastal Geomorphology
  • Choose either:
    • ENVS 4550: Coastal Research Methods
    • GEOL 4905: Independent Research Study

*These requirements can be waived for students with educational/professional backgrounds in geology.




GEOL 1121: Physical Geology

GEOL 3350: Coastal Geomorphology

ENVS 4550: Coastal Research Methods

GEOL 1121L: Physical Geology Lab

GEOL 1121/L: Physical Geology and Lab (online)

GEOL 4905: Independent Research Study (on request)

What can I do when I graduate?

Alumni of this certificate program are well-equipped for diverse positions within the geosciences, encompassing roles such as field and laboratory technicians, as well as those in education and outreach. Notable career prospects include opportunities within the titanium mining industry, which often target heavy minerals located on relict beaches, and positions within governmental agencies tasked with monitoring and managing coastal environments.

Dr. Robin McLachlan

McLachlan, Robin

Assistant Professor of Geology

Robin McLachlan is a broadly-trained geologist interested in how the shapes of coastal environments are intimately linked to human development, and vice versa. Specifically, she studies sediment transport from source to sink, mountains to deep sea, focusing on the interaction between sediment and hydrodynamics in the fluvial-marine transition zone. She applies the same scientific rigor and inquiry to her role as an educator and communicator. Her teaching strategies constructively align scientific content and communication skills to best achieve student learning goals and career success.

Conlan Bertram, graduated 2023

Student Spotlight: Conlan Bertram

Coastal Georgia alumnus, Conlan Bertram, Class of 2023, is now a Short Term Mine Planner for The Chemours Company. During his academic tenure, Conlan actively engaged in multiple independent study opportunities along the coast, notably undertaking a comprehensive, multi-semester investigation into road flooding and beach erosion on Little Cumberland Island. This research not only enriched his understanding of coastal dynamics, but also equipped him with proficiency in industry-standard field equipment, GIS mapping, and a robust professional network. Post-graduation, Conlan applied this expertise to secure a position as a Mining Engineer Intern with the Chemours Company, subsequently earning promotion to a full-time role as a Short Term Mine Planner. In this capacity, Conlan contributes to the extraction of titanium-bearing sand from relict beaches situated kilometers inland, remnants deposited thousands of years ago during periods of higher sea levels.

Dr. Robin McLachlan, Faculty Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Robin McLachlan

Dr. Robin McLachlan explores the intricate interplay between the shapes of coastal environments and human development. With a research portfolio spanning from the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam, to Amazonian tidal channels in Brazil and the Golden Isles, she is dedicated to providing students with hands-on research experiences, equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence essential for their future careers. Recognized for her impactful guidance, Dr. McLachlan has received accolades such as Scholar of the Year, and the Excellence in Service-Learning – Sustained Impact Star.