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
    Real Humans, Real Bodies: Promoting Body Positivity
    As a part of the Business & Nonprofit Basics class, three students — Christi Beddiges ’18, Carolyn Tlaseca ’18, and Emma Flaherty ’17, have started a photo project to combat the negative views we’re taught to feel towards our bodies.
  • 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
    Field Intensive Builds Environmental Science Skills
    A month-long geoscience research program in California’s Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains has College of the Atlantic students surveying soil conditions, assessing geohazards, kayaking, and doing homework under lantern light as they gain critical professional experience in the field.