Self-designed major… endless possibilities

Every COA student designs his or her own course of study in human ecology. Beyond a small core of degree requirements, there’s no set path. You give shape to your curriculum based on your interests and goals, exploring across multiple areas of study or digging deeper into a chosen focus.

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Why we take a different approach

In the words of faculty member Rich Borden: “There is a tendency, especially in the academic world, to carve life into ever smaller pieces in order to make sense of it. All too often, the people who do this come to believe that is how the world really is. The aim of human ecology is to remind us that we are part of a complex and interactive living world. Its broad mandate calls us to cross the boundaries of traditional disciplines and seek fresh combinations of ideas. This demands a different approach to education—one which invites imagination and caring for the future. This is why COA was founded, and it is what we do best.”

Stories from the academic community:

  • NEWS
    Leaping into the Feature: Nancy Andrews’ “Strange Eyes”
    With three decades of diverse artistic production behind her, this drawing, painting, puppet- and video-making Guggenheim Fellow has embarked on her first feature-length film, The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes.
  • NEWS
    Waterbird Society Gathers at COA
    “This is a chance to rub shoulders and have a beer with some of the all-time greats of the Seabird and Wading Bird world…and to explore the cutting edge of this branch of science in t-shirts and flip-flops rather than suits and ties.” -John Anderson
  • NEWS
    Working to Save the Alewife
    Students and others are pitching in to help this important fish rebound from near-catastrophic declines during the latter part of the last century.