Basic processes and models for sediment transport and bed dynamics in the coastal zone

This modular, self-paced, online course presents a broad overview of the field of coastal engineering in a number of lectures. First lecture gives a basic course in coastal hydraulics, i.e. waves and currents. Then a lecture focusing on the description of the detailed mechanisms behind sediment transport in the coastal zone is given. Having established the basic process understanding an introduction to different coastal protection schemes is given. In order to quantify the coastal phenomena in real projects, the most used numerical model types are presented in two overview lectures describing the background for numerical modelling as well as the different possible applications. Finally the course is rounded off by a discussion of how to couple the knowledge and modelling capabilities for estimating the impact of climate change on the coast.

Coastal engineering is a field where three skills are needed: 1) A basic understanding of the processes, 2) (numerical) modelling skills and 3) a thorough understanding of the context of the given project (coastal protection, morphological impact from structures, climate change, etc.).

Coastal environments are transient, continuously reshaped by the natural processes of the waves, tides, surges, erosion and deposition.


  •  Basic terms and concepts
  •  Wave and currents in the surf zone
  •  Sediment transport mechanisms
  •  Coastal protection schemes
  •  Numerical models for coastal processes
  •  Overview of possible applications of different model types
  •  Climate change – impact on coasts
  •  Small exercises with answers


Students who want to look into what coastal engineering is about. Young professionals with a need for gaining a basic background for the job as a researcher or a consultant coastal engineer. Experienced engineers who feel the necessity for a brush up on their basic knowledge and that an introduction to the latest models would benefit him or her. Professionals from other branches engineering, e.g. urban, hydrology or marine engineering.