UNC'S Outer Banks Field Site

An OBX Semester for UNC Undergraduate Students

The Outer Banks Field Site (OBXFS) is a semester-long program hosted each fall by the Coastal Studies Institute. The Outer Banks Field Site offers 17 credit hours including three classes, individual internships, and a capstone research opportunity pertaining to current issues of the North Carolina Coast. Combined, the experience offers a comprehensive analysis of environmental decision-making, public policy, law, natural resource management, and city and regional planning of the specific coastal area. Such a targeted focus allows students to immerse themselves not strictly in academics but also in the community, providing a truly unique learning opportunity with the entire Outer Banks as their classroom.

Led by East Carolina University (ECU), The Coastal Studies Institute is a multi-institutional research and educational partnership of the UNC System including North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington, and Elizabeth City State University.


ECU’s Integrated Coastal Programs (ECU ICP) is a leader in coastal and marine research, education, and engagement.   ECU ICP includes the Coastal Studies Institute, ECU’s Department of Coastal Studies, and ECU Diving and Water Safety.


The ECU Outer Banks campus is home to the Coastal Studies Institute.
Located on Roanoke Island along the banks of the second largest estuary
in the United States, this coastal campus spans 213 acres of marshes, scrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and estuarine ecosystems.




The faculty and staff at the Coastal Studies Institute come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, as well as departments and organizations including ECU Department of Biology, ECU Department of Coastal Studies, NC Sea Grant, the North Carolina Renewable Energy Program, and the UNC Institute for the Environment.


The CSI Board of Directors consists of professionals with strong backgrounds in coastal issues including research, development, outreach, education, and policies that affect coastal communities. The Board promotes the UNC System’s mission in helping it serve the people of North Carolina at a high level of excellence in every area of endeavor at the Coastal Studies Institute. The Board meets twice a year to discuss the projects and progress of CSI.


Contact Us

Contact Info

The Coastal Studies Institute
850 NC 345
Wanchese, NC 27981



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