Student at work on a GIS project. The community planning and ecological policy curriculum centers around project-based courses in which students work together with faculty and community leaders to address environmental and social issues. Classes include Community Planning and Decision Making, Land Use Planning, and many courses in Sustainable Business. Projects in these classes address concerns such as economic development, public health, and regional planning. Through these classes, students gain skills and experiences that prepare them to work collaboratively with local (or distant) communities. Courses in community planning and ecological policy also prompt students to reflect broadly about what shared needs a community might have and how best to bring stakeholders together to plan for a better future.

Students working in community planning and ecological policy often make use of COA’s GIS Lab, in which they use state-of-the-art GIS software to make maps for analysis and planning. Some students interested in planning and policy choose to develop ventures to strengthen communities through The Hatchery, COA’s sustainable venture incubator.


  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><strong>Reminder</strong>: ‘Areas of Study’ aren’t the only way to think about courses.  Browse and explore <a href="">here</a>.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><strong>Reminder</strong>: Areas of Study at COA aren’t majors or formal concentrations. All COA students design their own <a href="/academics/human-ecology-degree/">major in human ecology</a> and are free to chart their own path. Your major is defined by you, not us.</p></div>