Self-designed major… endless possibilities

Every COA student designs his or her 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 from the academic community:

  • NEWS
    Traditional Timber Frame Will Sport Solar Panels
    Students in the Practicum for Renewable Energy are spending fall term working on a traditional timber frame structure that will shelter vehicles and generate power on COA’s Peggy Rockefeller Farms.
  • NEWS
    Working to Save the Alewife
    Students and others are pitching in to help this important fish rebound from near-catastrophic declines during the latter part of the last century.
  • NEWS
    Five Women Directors Discuss their Art and Craft at the New Horizons Film Festival (Film Maker Magazine)
    “I didn’t want to make a rhetorical film, but I want people to think about the limitations of understanding the world only through their own senses, and I want to open that up, to say that our perceptions are individual, and as a species, actually quite limited and subjective. And therefore, what we think we know might not be quite so fixed and solid as we believe.” - COA film professor Nancy Andrews