CONWAY, SC(WMBF) - Coastal Carolina University (CCU) is constantly growing and looking for new ways to evolve. Pretty soon the school will take academics to a higher level.
According to CCU, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education gave final approval to Coastal Carolina University's first-ever doctoral program. CCU will begin offering a Ph.D. degree in marine science in 2014, pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), which is expected in the coming weeks.
"It's an enormous step for Coastal Carolina. It's the first doctoral program, and it really reflects the continued emergence in the region and in the nation," said Dr. Paul Gayes, professor for the Department of Marine Science.
Gayes says the new doctoral program was the next logical step in the university's growth. The marine science program is one the nation's largest and it has several research programs tied to an important natural resource for the Grand Strand, the ocean.
The new marine science program will help retain CCU graduate students instead of losing them to other universities that already offer a PhD. According to Gayes, when it launches, the school plans to start with about four students.
"They in turn can work with our undergraduate and master's students. So I think we have an opportunity to create an innovative and productive model because of it not being so large,"added Gayes.
CCU hopes to stars the new marine science doctoral program in fall of 2014.