Students choose to pursue math and physical science classes at COA both to build a base for study in the natural and social sciences and also because they are interested in these areas in their own right. We offer a mix of classes: some cover standard sets of topics, while other courses are more interdisciplinary, exploring connections across the sciences and to other areas of study.

Geology and earth science

Students on a Natural Resources class trip, observing the sheared meta-conglomerate of Mt. Battie... Students on a Natural Resources class trip, observing the sheared meta-conglomerate of Mt. Battie, at the Camden Hills State Park.There are two introductory geology classes every year.  The Geology of MDI is a strongly field-based survey of the techniques and principles of geology.  Natural Resources is a topical introduction to geology and earth science. Intermediate and advanced geology courses include Climate and WeatherCritical Zone, and Rocks and Minerals. In all geology classes students learn observational analytical skills, applicable across the sciences. And all geology classes have a field component. Yes, even during the winter term.

Learn about geology research projects on the student-designed COA Geology site.


Dave Feldman teaching Thermodynamics. Dave Feldman teaching Thermodynamics.We offer a range of classes in math and related areas.  A two-term sequence in single-variable calculus is taught every other year. Advanced math classes include Multivariable CalculusDifferential Equations and Linear Algebra. Many math courses incorporate computer programming. Introductory statistics is a yearly offering; we offer an intermediate statistics class most years as well.


We offer Physics I and II every other year.  Advanced classes, such as Thermodynamics, are offered once every few years. The interdisciplinary class Physics and Mathematics of Sustainable Energy happens each fall, giving students a background they can draw on to pursue advanced classes and projects in renewable energy.


COA has a yearly, two-term sequence in Introductory Chemistry. Organic Chemistry, also a two-term sequence, happens every other year. Other chemistry classes include the Chemistry and Biology of Food and Drink and Environmental Chemistry.


  • <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>