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
    Geological Society Lauds Watershed Work
    A self-designed research project mapping and monitoring a watershed in Acadia National Park wins the Best Student Poster Award for Sahra Gibson ’20 and collaborators at the Northeast Geological Society of Maine’s student conference.
  • NEWS
    COA Ranks High for LGTBQ Friendliness, Hardworking Students, and More
    College of the Atlantic is ranked in the Top 20 among the nation’s colleges and universities for LGBTQ-Friendly, Best Campus Food, and places where Students Study the Most, according to the newest edition of The Princeton Review’s student-sourced college guide, The Best 384 Colleges.
  • NEWS
    Conservation, Community, and Tradition: Mapping Ocean Stories
    Elements of oral history, ocean policy, and Geographic Information Systems are all part of the mix for College of the Atlantic students as they investigate the ties between coastal fishing families and the ocean ecosystems they depend on.