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Center for Engineering, Science and Mathematics Education

Website Update

Coastal Engineering

Coastal engineers design structures such as breakwaters or jetties to protect coastal communities from flooding and erosion. They may also develop marinas and docks or organize restorative dredging operations. Coastal engineers must consider hydrodynamic forces, erosion, and rising sea levels to create safe and protected shorelines while adhering to environmental regulations. 


High school coursework:

  • Physics - like in any engineering field, a deep understanding of physics is necessary 
  • Environmental sciences - if your school offers it, take an environmental science class to understand the impacts that humans and structures have on the environment 
  • Math - lots of it! 


Classes you could take at Cal Poly:

In addition to your engineering classes, Cal Poly offers marine-centered classes that can help steer you towards coastal engineering.

  • CE 431: Coastal Hydraulics 
  • PHYS 314: Ocean Dynamics
  • NR 420: Watershed Assessment and Protection


Ways to get experience:

  • Intern at civil engineering firms
    • Gain a strong background and networking connections in the field of engineering. 
  • Join engineering clubs and organizations
    • Student organizations at high schools and colleges can be a great way to meet people in the engineering field, participate in projects, and listen to professional speakers. These can be professional societies or fraternities as well as social clubs.

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