Our students 

  • 350 total students—to maintain the closeness of our small community, we’ve decided not to grow any larger
  • Students come from more than 40 states and 45 countries
  • 24% international
  • 11% US students of color
  • 15% from Maine


  • All students design their own major in human ecology
  • 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio
  • Average class size: 12
  • Trimester schedule with fall, winter, and spring terms of ten weeks each
  • Students take three classes per trimester
  • All students complete an internship at a workplace in their field
  • All students design and undertake a capstone senior project
  • No academic departments
  • More than half of our students have an international experience during their time at COA
  • Our teacher certification program prepares students to teach at the elementary and high school level

Campus & facilities

38-acre main campus on the ocean in Bar Harbor, two organic farms, and two offshore island research stations


  • 70% acceptance rate


  • Weekly All College Meeting (ACM) where students, faculty, and staff participate in governing the college
  • Students serve on all college committees, including faculty review and hiring committees

COA seal

Our seal is composed of three symbols: human, earth, and water. Enjoined in a circle, these elements depict the essential connection between people and our environments—the central theme of human ecology.

COA's seal combines three runic symbols: human, earth, and water.

After COA

  • Within one year of graduation, 97% of COA alums have gone on to graduate school (23%) or have a job (74%). 
  • Overall, 55% of graduates go on to advanced study at the Masters or Doctoral level. Universities most often attended by COA graduates between 2010 and 2015 include: American University, Boston University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, University of California system, University of Copenhagen, and Yale University.
  • COA alums work in a range of fields encompassing science, art and design, education, administration/business/technology, law/social services/government, health, and more.

The Institution

  • COA is an independent, not-for-profit institution with 501-c-3 status; we have no religious affiliation
  • COA is fully accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)