College of the Atlantic says
College of the Atlantic (COA) is a small, interdisciplinary college, located on the coast of Maine adjacent to Acadia National Park. All students design their own major in human ecology -- an approach that integrates knowledge from across academic disciplines and personal experience to investigate, and ultimately improve, the relationships between humans and their natural, social, and built environments. COA awards two degrees: the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Philosophy, both in human ecology.
The college is intentionally small in order to foster a close-knit intellectual and social community: with 350 undergraduate students and 35 faculty, mentoring and close interaction among students and faculty is a central part of college life. Students frequently work with faculty on independent studies, research projects, and creative work, often beginning in their first year.
COA is also a uniquely democratic institution: students, faculty, and staff all participate in the governance of the college through weekly All College Meetings, and through service on a range of committees including faculty reviews, admissions, and searches for new faculty.
Academically, the college is fully trans-disciplinary: there are no departments, and classes frequently bridge several disciplines and provide opportunities for hands-on work in the field. COA students are especially self-directed: in addition to designing their own course of study, all students complete an internship and a capstone senior project. Students may study whale activity in the Gulf of Maine, contribute to the human genome project, participate in international negotiations on climate change, prepare GIS maps for municipal planners, design educational materials for local organizations, or conduct research on metalized plants and phytoremediation of contaminated soils. Still others compose music, write novels, produce films, or write and direct their own theatrical productions. One of the characteristics that unite College of the Atlantic students and alumni: they want to contribute and make a difference in the world.