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      CCU gets first Ph.D program

      New residence halls and a new, larger student center are on the way for Coastal Carolina University, as well as the school's first doctoral program.

      The new Ph.D program in marine science will focus on interactions between atmosphere, ocean and land, as well as how these items interact with shoreline change, weather impact and environmental policy.

      Dr. Paul Gayes, director of CCU's Burroughs & Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies, said his goal is to have these students do practical work outside of the classroom in areas that need it the most.

      "More and more people are moving to the coastal zones, more and more pressure on these environments that are at the leading edge, when you think about it, of change," Gayes said.

      He said the coastal region of South Carolina is the perfect place for this program.

      "The location is outstanding. You're sitting on the coast. You've got an area where society infrastructure is growing. There's such a tie historically if you go back, the connection between the environment and the economy has always been strong if you go back to colonial times. It's no different now," Gayes said.

      Right now, the center has undergrad students doing research and working on projects in a variety of countries.

      "The Center for Marine and Wetlands Studies has been very active. There's about 8 million dollars of research going through this program right now, and that has supported up to 35 undergraduates working on projects in the lab and in the field and whatnot," Gayes said.

      He can't wait to see how they'll work together with the Ph.D students to not only change South Carolina, but the world as well.

      "We are rather broadly distributed and looking at the bigger system, but we have a lot of resources concentrated here. We have a lot of great questions and problems concentrated here, and the resource is just fantastic to apply our trade here," Gayes said.

      Gayes says the program's first students will probably begin sometime next summer.