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
    South African Expedition Examines Lichen Diversity
    Funded by a National Geographic Society Research and Exploration grant, a team including Botany Professor Nishi Rajakaruna ’94, Ian Medeiros ’16, and Nate Pope ’07 are in South Africa examining the influence of climate and altitude on lichen diversity.
  • NEWS
    Finding Inspiration with New England Naturalists
    A springtime journey to a lively annual gathering of natural science aficionados by six students and their professors brings great opportunities for peer-to-peer networking, context building, and research inspiration.
  • NEWS
    National Science Foundation Awards Field-Based Program

    COA to share $340,733 towards hands-on, geoscience training experiences, with Dr. Sarah Hall leading local programming efforts.