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.

Start browsing our courses  »

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
    New “mountain” makes perfect classroom [Mount Desert Islander]

    Mount Desert Island’s volcanic history may well be in the past, but a new mountain just popped up last summer on the COA campus. The accidental result of building construction, the “mountain” quickly became a favorite spot on campus, both as a classroom and recreation area.

  • NEWS
    COA Debuts as a U.S. News Most Innovative College
    College of the Atlantic is one of the most innovative liberal arts colleges in the country, and one of the best values, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Best Colleges.
  • NEWS
    Takeover is Talk of Take-a-Break
    At the heart of College of the Atlantic, Take-a-Break (TAB) is the place to gather, share delicious food, converse, plan, and create. For one special month, a group of students bring new culinary, social, and historical perspectives to the dining hall as part of the annual Anthropology of Food TAB Takeover.