Coastal & Ocean Studies (CAOS)

Coastal & Ocean Studies (CAOS): Path to the Concentration

The Coastal & Ocean Studies (CAOS) concentration provides students with an opportunity to explore how humans interact with the environment, including the maritime environment. Understanding the oceans and our interactions with them is of increasing importance in this era of climate change, sea-level rise, fisheries crises, and the internationalization of the high seas. We encourage students to investigate our WaterWorld from the perspectives of the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. Coastal & Ocean Studies (CAOS) is an interdisciplinary, cross-divisional program that includes the literature, history, policy issues, and science of the ocean. Candidates for the concentration in Coastal & Ocean Studies (CAOS) must complete a minimum of seven courses: the interdisciplinary introductory course (GEOS 104 Oceanography), four intermediate core courses (at Williams-Mystic), an elective, and a 400-level Environmental Studies seminar.

Students who have completed other study-away programs that emphasize maritime studies should consult with the CES chair about the possibility of completing the Coastal & Ocean Studies (CAOS) concentration.

Honors in Coastal & Ocean Studies (CAOS)

Candidates for honors in Coastal & Ocean Studies (CAOS) will complete a thesis in their senior year. The project will involve original research (archive, museum, field, or laboratory) followed by on-campus analysis and write-up of results. The thesis may either be a one-semester plus winter study project, or a full year (two semesters plus winter study). In either case, data collection during the summer before the senior year may be necessary. In some cases, the thesis project may be a continuation and expansion of the student’s Williams-Mystic research project. Honors will be awarded if the thesis shows a high degree of scholarship, originality, and intellectual insight.


See full program description for Coastal & Ocean Studies (CAOS):