Design Your Own Curriculum

Students at the College of the Atlantic don't have to make their academic interests conform to the constraints and requirements of a pre-set major. Instead, students design their own courses of study, constructing their own major and areas of concentration through their choices of classes, internship, and final project. There are some academic requirements, but students have very broad latitude when putting together their academic programs.

Because of this freedom and flexibility, it is somewhat difficult to describe how the COA curriculum is structured. How do you actually go about designing your own course of study? What does this mean? Where do you begin?

One way to look at the curriculum is via the tiers of introductory, intermediate, and advanced work. Another important aspect to bear in mind is that there are many ways at COA to craft opportunities for courses that are, to varying extents, self-designed. Yet another way to look at COA's self-designed curriculum is by examining the academic programs put together by recent graduates.

COA — Life Changing.

"COA was life changing for me I could pursue both varied and specific subjects without academic penalty because all subjects were related and at COA these relationships are fundamental. Success in the 'classroom,' for me, translated into confidence that I could succeed at any endeavor so long as I was mindful of the many dimensions which interact or impact it.  It's like I was given the secret tools for success for the rest of life. "

Dan DenDanto | Class of 1991