Students choose to pursue math and physical science classes at COA both to build a base for study in the natural and social sciences and also because they are interested in these areas in their own right. We offer a mix of classes:  Some cover standard sets of topics, while other courses are more interdisciplinary, exploring connections across the sciences and to other areas of study.

Geology and earth science

Students on a Natural Resources class trip, observing the sheared meta-conglomerate of Mt. Battie, at the Camden Hills State Park.Students on a Natural Resources class trip, observing the sheared meta-conglomerate of Mt. Battie, at the Camden Hills State Park.There are two introductory geology classes every year.  The Geology of MDI is a strongly field-based survey of the techniques and principles of geology.  Natural Resources is a topical introduction to geology and earth science. Intermediate and advanced geology courses include Climate and WeatherCritical Zone, and Rocks and Minerals. In all geology classes students learn observational analytical skills, applicable across the sciences. And all geology classes have a field component. Yes, even during the winter term.

Learn about geology research projects on the student-designed COA Geology site.


Dave Feldman teaching Thermodynamics.Dave Feldman teaching Thermodynamics.We offer a range of classes in math and related areas.  A two-term sequence in single-variable calculus is taught every other year; multivariable calculus is taught in off years.  Advanced math classes include  Differential Equations and Fractals and Scaling. Many math courses incorporate computer programming. Introductory statistics is a yearly offering; we offer an intermediate statistics class most years as well.


We offer Physics I and II at least every other year.  Advanced classes, such as Thermodynamics, depend on student demand.  The interdisciplinary class Physics and Mathematics of Sustainable Energy, happens each spring, giving students a background they can draw on to pursue advanced classes and projects in renewable energy.


COA has a yearly, two-term sequence in Introductory Chemistry. Organic Chemistry, also a two-term sequence, happens every other year. Other chemistry classes include Biochemistry and Environmental Chemistry.