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
    The Skeletons Are Out of the Closet
    An exhibit at the Smithsonian-affiliated Abbe Museum highlighting the relationship of Maine’s indigenous Wabanaki people to their environment utilizes a rich collection of marine mammal bones curated by Leah Rubin ’19 during her work with the College of the Atlantic George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History.
  • NEWS
    COA Debuts as a U.S. News Most Innovative College
    College of the Atlantic is one of the most innovative liberal arts colleges in the country, and one of the best values, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Best Colleges.
  • NEWS
    Valentine in My Headphones: The Making of a Music Video
    Students in Intermediate Video gain real-world video composition experience - from pitch to completion - with client Todd Kitchens ’06 of the musical duo Port of Est.