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
    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
    COA, UMaine Seek Sweet Spot
    A $500,000 grant to study small- and medium-scale honey and maple syrup production in Maine is awarded to College of the Atlantic and the University of Maine by the United States Department of Agriculture.
  • 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.