Tulane Home Tulane Shield logo linking to site home page


In July 2017, Tulane’s School of Science and Engineering announced the founding of its newest academic department— the Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering (RCSE). The department is envisioned to be a unique educational enterprise, unlike that at any other US university, that will focus on the world’s river, deltaic and coastal systems using the combined science and engineering approach pioneered by the School of Science and Engineering. By fusing civil, environmental, and coastal ocean engineering disciplines with elements of the geosciences and ecological sciences, the goal is to educate a new generation and new breed of scientists, engineers, planners and decision-makers that can address the complex, interdisciplinary problems in river-coastal systems associated with changing climate, sea level rise, and the human overprints of the natural landscape. These issues stand at the nexus of water management, food and energy production, sustainability of burgeoning coastal populations, and an emergent need for ecosystem restoration on a massive scale. This focus recognizes there are close linkages between these settings, such as the effects of engineered structures like river dams, on the health of deltas and the adjacent coast. Unique undergraduate and graduate degree programs will be developed in the next few years that reflect this holistic approach to understanding these systems where a large portion of the global population lives, and are critical economically and as a natural resource. RCSE is committed to playing an important role in workforce and economic development in our region. The new department also helps to build a needed critical mass of engineers and scientists at Tulane, in Louisiana, and in the Gulf region conducting research into these issues, both basic and applied, to provide solutions that increase the resilience and sustainability of river-coastal ecosystems, communities, and infrastructure. The interdisciplinary aspect of this new department’s educational and research mission will also draw heavily upon the deep expertise faculty and staff partners in other departments within the School of Science and Engineering and in Tulane’s other schools and faculty working on water-related issues.