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
    Environmental Education is the “Talk of the Towns” [WERU]
    Co-Founder of Maine Outdoor School Hazel Stark ‘11 and Statewide Director of University of Maine 4-H Centers Ryder Scott ‘97 join adjunct faculty member and COA trustee Ron Beard to discuss the ins and outs of environmental education on WERU Community Radio.
  • NEWS
    Students Seek Sweet Spot
    Beekeeping and sugarmaking are in the spotlight for summer fellows in an applied-research program pairing undergraduates with Maine honey and syrup producers to develop original projects on key industry issues.
  • NEWS
    COA Team Places in Food Innovation Challenge
    A team of College of the Atlantic students captures the judge’s attention at the New England Food System Innovation Challenge, finishing second place on the college track, and winning $500, with their pitch for a Veggie Van mobile produce market.