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
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    New Economy Teach-In
    Join one of over 100 social and environmental justice groups marking New Economy Week by taking part in College of the Atlantic’s teach-in on “Maine and MDI in the New Economy.”
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    Fractals and Scaling: MOOC Explores Complex Systems
    The language of natural patterns is explored in a massive, open, online course (MOOC) by physics and mathematics professor Dave Feldman.
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    South African Expedition Examines Lichen Diversity
    Funded by a National Geographic Society Research and Exploration grant, a team including Botany Professor Nishi Rajakaruna ’94, Ian Medeiros ’16, and Nate Pope ’07 are in South Africa examining the influence of climate and altitude on lichen diversity.