Coastal Studies Program

  • Concentration
  • Minor

About this Program

The Coastal Studies program can be taken as a concentration within the Environmental Science and Policy Major, or it can act as a stand alone minor for students of any major. The semester-long program is travel-based and designed to provide students with both textbook and first-hand knowledge of environmental challenges currently facing the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic coast. As a member of a close-knit, motivated community, you'll gain an understanding and appreciation for watershed science and the complexities of coastal environments. We explore the biological, ecological, historical and cultural influences on field locations that we visit.

Program Overview



  • Offered each fall semester
  • 4 closely interrelated courses that will go far beyond traditional classroom and lab settings. 
  • Co-curricular activities like seminars offered at the laboratories we visit, extended field experiences in natural areas, and day-trips to sites of unique ecological, historical and cultural interest.
  • Opportunity to attend a professional scientific meeting and hear the latest research in your area of interest from scientists and students from other colleges and universities. 
  • Involved in an interdisciplinary research practicum, an open-ended inquiry into environmental issues in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Join us in Fall 2025! 

Email Catherine Gaudlip (gaudlip@hood.edu) for more information!

Apply to be a Coastal Studies Student today! Applications are due March 31, 2025. 
Scroll down for Registration Forms. 

Click here to go to an interactive map of where we will be traveling during the fall semester.


A Q&A with Coastal '21 student, Emily Sponaugle:

Graduation Year: 2024

Major: Environmental Science and Policy, Concentration in Coastal and Watershed Studies

Hometown: Cumberland, MD

Why did you choose Coastal? 

I chose to be apart of the Coastal Semester for some guidance, I was really interested in Environmental Science but really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do major-wise. I went to the interest meeting and realized that this program was something I wanted to do because you are traveling and learning about different environments in Maryland.   

What did you expect or not expect?  

My expectations for coastal semester were that we would travel to different places in Maryland with a group, but I didn’t expect that even though the semester has passed, the people who were in that group are still going to be there. I didn’t realize the amount of support that you get from the group of students and the directors. Also, when it comes to the classes, the amount of work that was given and the useful tools and skills that I use for classes that I am taking right now. Coastal semester has prepared me for my future ENSP classes.    

What are you doing now?

Since I don’t graduate until 2024, I am currently looking for summer internships in my field of interest, Forest Ecology. Also, I am doing an Independent Study with Kate Maltby, a fellow Coastal student, and we are working with Dr. Kindahl to make Hood a bird-friendly campus.   

Degrees Offered

  • Concentration
  • Minor

Department Offering

Program Social Media

Registration Forms

The application to the Coastal Studies Program is due on March 31, 2025 via email to Catherine Gaudlip (gaudlip@hood.edu).

CLICK HERE to download an application form. 

If you are a student enrolled in a partner institution, before completing the registration forms for the Coastal Studies Program and registering for classes at Hood College, you will need to register with Hood College as a Non-Degree seeking student. 

Click here to complete your Non-Degree registration.  Select "Undergraduate Non-Degree Enrollment".

If you have questions about registering as a student from outside of Hood College, please contact Catherine Gaudlip at gaudlip@hood.edu.

Once your application has been approved, please complete this Agreement and Waiver form. Email your completed form to Catherine Gaudlip (gaudlip@hood.edu). This form is due at the time you are registering for fall classes. 

CLICK HERE to download the Agreement and Waiver form

Once your application has been approved, please complete this Medical Form. Email your completed form to Catherine Gaudlip (gaudlip@hood.edu). This form is due at the time you are registering for fall classes. 

CLICK HERE to download the Medical form for STUDENTS to complete.

CLICK HERE to download the Medical form for your PHYSICIAN to complete.


Please complete the registration card and have the appropriate signatures obtained. Once you have completed this registration card you must email a copy to Catherine Gaudlip (gaudlip@hood.edu) or provide a paper copy of the completed form to the Biology Department Administrative Assistant, Emma Barr in Hodson, Room 134. This registration card is due via email to Catherine Gaudlip by March 31, 2025. 

CLICK HERE to download and print your registration card. 


New Germany State Park

During our 1st trip, we spend some time hiking around the Western Maryland. Some of the highlights of this first trip are visiting the Sideling Hill, visiting the headwaters of the Potomac, sampling Savage River, and hiking Swallow Falls State Park. 


Wachapreague, Eastern Shore of VA

During our trip to the tidewaters of Virginia, we visit some very unique places accessible only by boat. We spend time visiting the barrier islands, collecting tidal mud-flat organisms, and sampling ocean water for further analysis back in the wet lab. We also learn about the historical lifestyle of those living on the barrier islands, as well as Tangier Island and the effects of sea level rise.


Kent Island

Lastly, we spend a week on Kent Island, studying the unique brackish water the Chesapeake Bay has to offer, and the lands surrounding it. We visit an island vineyard and learn about the microclimate's effect on growing grapes. We also visit Calvert Cliffs State Park!

Coastal Studies Semester Field Trips and Excursions

This map allows you to explore where our base of operations are during the Coastal Studies Semester and take a look at some of the potential field trip locations. We try to hit as many of the field trip sites as possible. There are so many trips and so little time! 

Program Contact

Drew Ferrier

Director of the Coastal Studies Program

301 696 3660

Catherine Gaudlip

301 696 3318

Coastal Semester Stories


Life after Hood for Coastal Studies Alumnus, Shane Simms

ENSP Alumnus Spotlight: Shane Simms Alumni Undergraduate Student

" Anyone who is going back and forth about their major… trust your gut and don’t be afraid to try new things and open up to people… you never know where they can take you."

  • Academics
  • Experiential Learning
  • Natural Sciences
Katelyn on a Coastal Studies trip to Swallow Falls in Western Maryland

Katelyn Valla Soars Onward from The Center for Coastal and Watersheds Studies Coop!

In Katelyn's words, "Key to My Success was the Center for Coastal & Watershed Studies..". Undergraduate Student

This Hood Story is written first hand by Katelyn Valla. She has shared her personal account of working with The Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies. It is the pleasure of CCWS to highlight Katie's accomplishments! Please take a moment to connect with CCWS as we celebrate all Katie has learned and shared with our Hood community and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

  • Experiential Learning
  • Natural Sciences