Tourism and Environment in the Bahamas
CEM student Emily Melvin conducted research that will assist a non-profit foundation in the Bahamas work toward a successful ecotourism model by engaging with the community to develop programs that appeal to tourists.
Summer Internship at NC Coastal Reserve
Samantha Goodwin conducted a summer internship doing research at the North Carolina Coastal Reserve. She used GIS skills to assess the long-term effects of bulkheads, living shorelines and other stabilizing structures intended to combat erosion and sea-level rise.
Students' Story Map Traces Historic Transformation of Beaufort
Lauren Mariolis and Catherine Morse created this Interactive story map as part of their final master's project in the Coastal Environmental Management program.
podcast: Student perspectives
Kat Morris and Cam Adams, students in the Coastal Environmental Management program, discuss their Duke experience with Andrew Lewin, host of the Speak Up for Blue podcast.
Coastal Environmental Management students receive in-depth training in:
- Community-based environmental management
- Geographic information systems/geospatial analysis
- Marine policy analysis
- Interdisciplinary problem assessment and analysis
- Applied data analysis
Our broad curriculum allows students to pursue concentrations in many focal areas, including:
- Marine Ecology
- Marine Social Science and Policy
- Management of Protected Species and Critical Habitats
- Marine Spatial Planning & Coastal Zone Management
- Marine Geospatial Analysis & Remote Sensing (View certificate option)
- Community Based Management (View certificate option)
- Fisheries and Aquaculture
- Ocean Health
Prerequisites for all mem students
- See Master of Environmental Management program prerequisites.
ADDITional prerequisiteS for CEM Students
- A college microeconomics course or an introductory college economics course with a substantial microeconomics component.
Courses & Requirements
Requirements for All MEM Students
All MEM students must take the following courses:
- ENVIRON 898 MP Seminar (1 credit hour to be awarded at the end of 4 semesters)
- ENVIRON 899 Master’s Project (4-6 credit hours)
In addition to the MEM degree requirements, a typical CEM curriculum consists of the following components.
- Required Introductory Courses (10.5 credit hours)
- Applied Methodologies Courses (10.5 credit hours minimum)
- Physical or Natural Science Courses (9 credit hours minimum)
- Concentration Elective Courses (9 credit hours minimum)
- Other Electives (3-6 credit hours)
- Additional electives to meet the 48-credit hour minimum for degree completion
REQUIRED FOR CEM Program
CEM students are required to take two core policy classes and a general environmental economics sequence:
- ENVIRON 775 Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy – Roady (3 credit hours, fall 1st year, Durham)
- ENVIRON 786A Marine Policy – G. Murray (3 credit hours, fall 2nd year, Beaufort)
- ENVIRON 520/521 Environmental Economics
Each student must select a concentration area and take at least three Core Courses that complement that area (9 credit hours minimum).
Concentrations are flexible and subjective; the litmus test for a feasible topic is that it develops a coherent body of knowledge and a reasonably well-bounded arena for practical applications. There are several approaches you can use to select your concentration. The Nicholas School and the Duke University Marine Lab, where most CEMs spend their second year, has particular expertise in several concentration areas, some of which are listed below and include: Community-based management; Estuaries, wetlands and coastal water quality; Applied marine ecology; Fisheries and aquaculture; Marine spatial planning, Coastal zone management, and Management of protected species and critical habitats.
Courses supporting the CEM program are taught within the Nicholas School, at several other departments at Duke, and at UNC-Chapel Hill and NCSU. Many of these are offered at the Duke University Marine Lab, located in Beaufort, North Carolina. The course lists below are intended to provide examples of courses we have offered in the past.
This list is only provided to give examples of some popular current concentrations. A wide variety of common concentration areas or newly emerging areas may be considered. CEM students are expected to work with their academic advisors and the CEM program chairs to develop their individual topical concentration.
Possible concentration areas include:
- ENV 551DA International Conservation and Development
- Collective Action, Environment and Development (ENV 544)
- ENV 528SA Community Based Marine Conservation in the Gulf of California
- ENV 755 Community-based Environmental Management
Estuaries, wetlands and coastal water quality
- Wetland Restoration Ecology (ENV 809)
- Fundamentals of Water Biogeochemistry and Pollution (EOS 525)
- Urban Tropical Ecology (ENV 571A)
Applied Marine Ecology
- Marine Ecology (ENV 773LA)
- Wetland Ecology and Management (ENV 812)
- Environmental Toxicology (ENV 501)
Fisheries and Aquaculture
- Should I Eat Fish? Economics, Ecology and Health (ENV 569)
- Aquaculture and the Environment (ENV 719A)
- Marine Fisheries Policy (ENV 533A)
- Fisheries Biogeography (EVN 585)
Marine Spatial Planning
- Geospatial Analysis for Coastal Marine Management (ENV 765)
- Economic Valuation of the Environment (ENV 531)
- Marine Conservation Biology (ENV 824A)
Coastal Zone Management
- Environmental Law (ENV 835)
- Landscape Analysis & Management (ENV 724)
- Coastal Watershed Science and Policy (ENV 822A)
Management of Protected species and critical habitats
- Biology of Marine Mammals (ENV 776A)
- Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles
- Marine Conservation Biology
Social Science and Policy
- ENVIRON 533A Marine Fisheries Policy
- ENVIRON 544 Collective Action Property Rights and the Environment
- ENVIRON 502 Climate Change and the Law
- ENVIRON 822A Coastal Watershed Science and Policy
- ENVIRON 860SA Political Ecology
Your tools courses provide the technical skills you’ll need to work effectively in your selected concentration area. Each student must complete at least four Tools Courses (12 credit hours minimum). It is strongly suggested that a statistics and data analysis course, such as ENVIRON710, be included as one of these courses. See example Tools Courses.
Your advisor can help you build a toolkit suited to your interests and past experience. The litmus test for a toolkit is that it is logically coherent and provides a practical set of skills for applications within that concentration. Example toolkit themes include:
- Field ecology methods
- Marine geospatial analysis and remote sensing
- Social science methods
- Policy analysis
- Community based and participatory approaches
- Data analysis and modeling
- ENVIRON 710 Applied Data Analysis for Environmental Science (3 credit hours)
- Other similar courses (e.g., at NCSU or UNC) may also be useful courses.
Marine Geospatial Analysis and remote sensing
(Note: While some of these are 4-credit hour courses, only 3 credit hours count per course in meeting the tools distributional requirement):
- ENVIRON 559 Fundamentals of Geospatial Analysis (4 credit hours)
- ENVIRON 724 Landscape Analysis and Management (4 credit hours)
- ENVIRON 765 Geospatial Analysis for Marine and Coastal Mgmt (4 credit hours)
- ENVIRON 857L Satellite Remote Sensing for Environmental Analysis (4 credit hours)
- ENVIRON 859 Advanced Geospatial Analysis (3 credit hours)
Social Science Methods
- ENVIRON 557 Social Science Surveys (3 credit hours)
- ENVIRON 556 Environmental Conflict Resolution (3 credit hours)
- ENVIRON 590.67 Participatory Methods (2 credit hours)
- ENVIRON 758 Applied Qualitative Research Methods (3 credit hours)
- ENVIRON 832 Environmental Decision Analysis (3 credit hours)
Marine Field Ecology
- ENVIRON 706 Wildlife Surveys
- ENVIRON 809 Wetland Restoration Ecology
- ENVIRON 771 Geospatial Field Data Collection
- ENVIRON 531 Economic Valuation of the Environment
- ENVIRON 563 Cost-Benefit Analysis for Health and Environmental Policy
- ENVIRON 569 Should I Eat Fish? Economics, Ecology, and Health
- ENVIRON 705 Social Impact Analysis
- ENVIRON 887A Theory and Methods for Policy Analysis of the Commons (3 credit hours, Beaufort)
- ENVIRON 860SA Political Ecology
Assessments based on models (statistical or simulation)
- ENVIRON 590.38 Species Distribution Modeling
- ENVIRON 655L Bayesian Inference for Environmental Models
- ENVIRON 756 Spatio-Temporal Environmental Models
- ENVIRON 769 Hydrologic Modeling for Water Quantity and Quality Assessment
- EOS 512 Climate Change and Climate Modeling
Specialized Elective Courses
The purpose of specialized elective courses is to support your topical concentration and Master’s Project and advance your career goals. Each student must select at least three electives (9 credit hours minimum) including one natural science course, one social science course, and one synthesis course. These courses should complement the rest of your curriculum and may be selected from the Concentration Courses and Tools Courses listed above, or from among many others in the Duke, UNC and NC State catalogs.
Students typically must take several additional elective courses to fulfill the minimum 48-credit hour requirement for degree completion. We suggest additional specializing electives, although alternative plans (for example, foreign languages) are acceptable. Several seminar courses are also popular with ESC students.
For Current & Admitted Students
- MEM & MF Admitted Students Website
- Master's Advising Guide - Academic policies; guidelines from the NSOE Registrar
In the second year, students will complete course requirements and devote time to the completion of the Master’s Project (MP). MPs in the CEM program can be either a 3 semester (individual or team) or 2 semester team-based project, though the large majority of students choose the 3S option. Students seeking an original or applied research experience (3 semester) may propose a topic to a faculty member during the first year of study, and faculty often circulate their own ideas at that time. Project work begins in the second semester and culminates in the students’ final semester. Summer work is expected. At the start of the second semester, students identify an MP advisor and submit a project proposal.. Once a proposal is approved, students work with their faculty advisor to draft a scope of work.
Students interested in a team-based (2-5 master’s students) multidisciplinary collaboration between an external partner and a faculty advisor will, in the first weeks of the 2nd year (3rd semester), select their top three MP topics from a project list assembled by faculty and staff. Shortly thereafter, students are assigned a project and faculty advisor, who will support the students in completing the project. In the final semester, all students present their MP in a public symposium. The final written report is due shortly before the start of final exams. Final MP reports are uploaded to DukeSpace, Duke University's open access repository for scholarly publications, theses and dissertations. Project expectations and the required number of credit hours vary by concurrent degree program.
Duke's Coastal Campus
Most CEM students spend their first year taking courses in ecology, natural resource economics, environmental policy and methodological skills. The second year is typically spent at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, N.C., where students prepare their Master’s Project and take courses specific to the coastal and marine environment.
The Nicholas School’s dedicated Career & Professional Development Center has helped hundreds of CEM graduates find fulfilling positions in federal and state agencies, intergovernmental organizations, industry, consulting firms and nonprofit organizations. Among the high-profile places you’ll find our alums are: The Nature Conservancy, the National Estuarine Research Reserves, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service, Oceana and the Environmental Defense Fund.
Most Recent Employer List for CEM Graduates
- GHD; Ecological Risk Assessor - Richmond, VA
- Hawk Environmental Services; Environmental Inspector - Seattle, WA
- ICF; Environmental Planner - San Diego, CA
- Karp Associates; Analyst - New York, NY
FEDERAL / STATE / LOCAL GOVERNMENT
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Emergency Management Specialist - New York, NY
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Regional Floodplain Analyst - Atlanta, GA
- Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Division of Marine Fisheries; Aquatic Biologist II - Boston, MA
- NOAA John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow - Washington, DC
- NOAA (OAI Associates); MMPA/ESA Support Services Specialist - Silver Spring, MD
- NOAA (Integrated Statistics); Fisheries Specialist - Gloucester, MA
NON-PROFIT / NGO / RESEARCH / THINK TANK
- **Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment at UC Berkeley School of Law; Wheeler Water Institute Fellow - Berkeley, CA
- Consortium for Ocean Leadership; Program Associate for Research and Education - Washington, DC
- Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative; Communications and Network Development Manager - Woodinville, WA
- Duke University School of Law; Graduating Class Assistant - Durham, NC
- Duke University, Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab; Research Assistant - Beaufort, NC
- Duke University, Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing (MaRRS) Lab; Research Technician - Beaufort NC
- Duke University; Duke Marine Lab Site Coordinator - Beaufort, NC
- Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Operations Associate - Palo Alto, CA
- Pepperdine University; Regulatory Affairs & Sustainability Coordinator - Los Angeles, CA
- St. Croix Sea Turtle Project; Education and Outreach Specialist - St. Croix, USVI
- UC Santa Barbara; PhD student - Santa Barbara, CA
*MEM/MBA concurrent degree
**MEM/JD concurrent degree
***MEM/MPP concurrent degree
****MEM/MF concurrent degree (listed under both degree programs)
+ MF/MBA concurrent degree
++ MEM/MEM concurrent degree
The first destination employment report for December and May Master of Environmental Management and Master of Forestry graduates covers geographic distribution, employment by sector and salary ranges.
I received a world-class education that thoroughly prepared me to further advance my career in the dynamic field of coastal and marine management."
–Chantalle Clarke-SamuelS, MEM'09, CEO, Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute
Alum Helps Create National Marine Sanctuary
It took five years of planning, dozens of negotiations, hundreds of meetings, briefings and community events, and an inexhaustible supply of coffee and optimism for Joel Dunn MEM'04 to realize his dream of seeing Mallows Bay designated as a national marine sanctuary.
MEM Alum to host National Geographic documentary
Shannon Switzer Swanson MEM'15 will act as on-air host for “The Last Drop," a National Geographic Channel documentary about water scarcity in the West and the extraordinary efforts underway to preserve the dwindling supply.
Nicholas Alumna takes us inside California’s wildfire crisis
As wildfires in 2020 sent thousands in California fleeing their homes, attention focused on the role of the state's largest utility. Duke alumna Melissa Semcer, MEM'07, had the job of holding the utility accountable.
The Art of Mastering Concurrent Degrees
Environmental issues today can be complex, crossing many legal, political, economic and health fields, and requiring a multidisciplinary approach to finding solutions. Meet four alumni who took advantage of concurrent degree programs to expand their skillsets and professional networks.
alums' research lights up flagship net zero energy Mcdonald's
From an environmental point of view, the most magical new attraction at the Magic Kingdom this year isn’t a ride or show. It’s a McDonald’s – the first of its kind anywhere – that generates all its own energy from renewable sources.
From the Program Chairs
Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth, and roughly 40% (and growing) of the world’s population live within 60 miles from the coast. The oceans and coasts are dynamic and critically important places that must be managed sustainably in the face of profound and sometimes rapid changes. Our program prepares future leaders in the conservation and management of marine and coastal ecosystems, including the human communities that form an integral part of these systems. We prepare young professionals with interdisciplinary training with deep content knowledge in areas they are passionate about, and with the capacity to apply a range of specific tools, from GIS to field ecology techniques to a range of social science and policy analytical tools.
Our graduates are prepared and eager to engage in current and emerging issues that affect the structure and function of the oceans and coastal communities. Our graduates work for federal and state governments, in the non-profit sector and in industry, tackling issues such as climate change, ocean acidification, fisheries management, the conservation of endangered and protected species and marine spatial planning, to name just a few.
You’ll find Nicholas School alums pursuing their passion and making positive impacts worldwide. Our programs give them the foundational knowledge and practical skills to become leaders and innovators in a wide array of fields and sectors.
April 21, 2021Student News
April 21, 2021 | Oceans, WaterAlumni News
July 8, 2020 | Economics, Policy & Governance, Oceans