One 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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    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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    Climate Politics at College of the Atlantic: Student-inspired, Student-driven
    In an article in the journal Radical Teacher, Professor Doreen Stabinsky describes how COA coursework prepares students for leadership roles in the international climate justice youth movement within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
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    Film Fest Features COA Work
    The 7th annual Maine International Film Festival By-the-Sea includes the local premiere of COA film professor Nancy Andrews’ first feature-length film and a number of creative short films by students and alumni.