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
    Abigail Barrows MPhil ’18 is at the Center of Worldwide Microfiber Study
    A global research initiative led by a College of the Atlantic graduate student uncovers alarming levels of microplastic pollution in ocean waters around the globe.
  • NEWS
    Publishing Conference Draws Bateau Press to Oregon

    Student editors with College of the Atlantic Bateau Press head to Portland to sell their in-house literary magazine, Bateau, and the winning chapbooks from their annual competition. The 2017 Bateau winner, “Grief is the Only Thing that Flies,” by Laura Wetherington, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

  • NEWS
    COA Names Two Acadia Scholars
    Competitive, paid internship program places two College of the Atlantic students in Acadia National Park or Schoodic Institute for a summer of outdoor work, networking, and opportunities to develop their expertise in natural resource conservation management.