Self-designed major… endless possibilities

Every COA student designs their 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 about academics at COA:

  • NEWS
    Acadia Scholars Program Marks First Season
    Two College of the Atlantic seniors get an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at Acadia National Park and Schoodic Institute as COA’s first Acadia Scholars. The competitive internship program offers valuable, real-world experience for students interested in conservation, science, and communications careers.
  • NEWS
    Desert Trip is Geologists’ Dream
    College of the Atlantic earth science students and faculty join several South American colleagues for ten days of field research in Peru’s Atacama Desert.
  • NEWS
    Exploring The Great West
    Ecology and Natural History of the American West is an intensive, field-based expeditionary program which takes students from Oregon to New Mexico and everywhere in between, giving them a fully immersive experience in the habitats and landscapes of the Western United States.