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College of the Atlantic

"If you are the kind of person that joins a "fast to support Burma," the odds are "you fit the mold" at tiny, uncommon College of the Atlantic, a "hands-on, interactive" school with essentially one major: human ecology. COA's isolated Maine location, where winters are "very cold and long" but also "very conducive to study," is "as far away as you can get in the continental United States."

Offers Baccalaureate Degrees, Heavy Focus on Undergraduate Arts and Science, Liberal Arts College


College of the Atlantic's Full Profile

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Noodle Says

"If you are the kind of person that joins a "fast to support Burma," the odds are "you fit the mold" at tiny, uncommon College of the Atlantic, a "hands-on, interactive" school with essentially one major: human ecology. COA's isolated Maine location, where winters are "very cold and long" but also "very conducive to study," is "as far away as you can get in the continental United States."

People are saying


The college's curriculum is focused on ecology which is the only major offered.

The Fiske Guide to Colleges

Situated in rural Durham, yet only an hour from Boston.

The Insider's Guide to Colleges

Students at COA are expected to bring strong ideas and values to the classroom.

The Princeton Review

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.

Mission Statement

College of the Atlantic enriches the liberal arts tradition through a distinctive educational philosophy — human ecology. A human ecological perspective integrates knowledge from all academic disciplines and from personal experience to investigate — and ultimately improve — the relationships between human beings and our social and natural communities. The human ecological perspective guides all aspects of education, research, activism, and interactions among the college's students, faculty, staff, and trustees. The College of the Atlantic community encourages, prepares, and expects students to gain expertise, breadth, values, and practical experience necessary to achieve individual fulfillment and to help solve problems that challenge communities everywhere.

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Student Life

Student Life

Student Body

Total Undergraduates 362
Gender 33% Male / 67% Female
Enrollment Breakdown 96% Full Time / 4% Part Time
Geography 18% In State / 82% Out of State / 14% International
Socio-Economic Diversity 31% of students received Pell Grants, which are provided by the U.S. government to students from middle and lower income families. It gives you an idea of a school’s socio-economic diversity.
Ethnic Diversity
White 66%
Multi-racial 2%
International 14%
Hispanic/Latino 3%
Ethnicity Unknown 13%
Black or African American 1%
Asian 1%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%


Campus housing is available for undergraduates and is mandatory for freshman. Housing deposit : $150.00. Housing deposit due : May 1. Housing deposit is not refunded if student does not enroll.. Freshman allowed to have car. No pets.

100% of freshman live on-campus.

  • Coed Dorms
  • Housing Mandatory
  • Housing Offered
  • Special Housing for Disabled Students
  • Wellness Housing


Student Publications: News Sustainable Food Systems Newsletter Outlands

  • Dance
  • General Fitness
  • Hiking
  • Yoga
  • Government or Political Activity
  • International Student Organization
  • Literary Magazine
  • Radio Station
  • Student Newspaper
  • Yearbook
  • Choral Groups
  • Concert Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Music Ensembles
  • Environmental Club/ Environmental Awareness Association
  • Drama/Theater
  • Peer Mentoring and Support

Student Services

  • Academic Support Services: reduced course load study skills assistance tutoring writing center remedial instruction
  • Computer Services: computer center, libraries dorms wired for access to campus-wide network dorms wired for high speed internet connections student web hosting available wireless network available
  • Counseling Services: career counseling employment services for undergraduates financial aid counseling health services minority students services personal counseling placement services for graduates alcohol/substance abuse counseling
  • Facilities: natural history museum, herbarium, greenhouse, pier, research boats, two organic farms, island research stations, arboretum, solar powered ceramics studio, nature preserve, gallery
  • Special Needs Services: services and/or facilities for hearing impaired partial services for students with learning disabilities services and/or facilities for visually impaired wheelchair accessibility
  • Specialty Programs (ROTC, Accelerated Programs, Professional Development, etc.): independent study internships student-designed major teacher certification



Popular Majors

Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other (100%)

Majors Offered


Any instructional program in multi/interdisciplinary studies not listed above.

Administration & Faculty

President Darron A. Collins, PhD.
Accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
Full-time Faculty 25
Student : Faculty Ratio 10 : 1
Faculty Gender (% Male : Female) 64 : 36
Percentage of Faculty Members
Non-Tenure Track Faculty 100


  (800) 528-0025


Selectivity Score: 66/100

Acceptance Rate: 73.7% accepted of 452 applications

93% of students graduated in the top half of their class.
70% of students graduated in the top quarter of their class.
52% of students graduated in the top tenth of their class.

25th - 75th Percentile
ACTComposite25 - 33
SATMath540 - 680
Reading610 - 690
Writing590 - 680

Admission Considerations

Very Important: Application Essay, Rigor Of Secondary School Record, Recommendations

Important: Work Experience, Volunteer Work, Academic GPA, Character Personal Qualities, Class Rank, Extracurricular Activities, Interview, Talent Ability

Also Considered: Standardized Test Scores, Racial Ethnic Status, State Residency, Alumni Relation, First Generation College Student, Geographical Residence, Level Of Applicants Interest

High School Curriculum (years of study):
Required Recommended
History 0 2
English 4 0
Math 3 4
Science 2 3
Science Lab 2 0
Social Studies 2 0
Foreign Language 0 2
Academic Electives 0 1

Admissions Websites



Average Net Tuition

The average student pays $21,970 for tuition, fees, and other expenses, after grants and scholarships.

Household Income Real Cost
$0-$30K $15,061
$30K-$48K $15,211
$48K-$75K $22,629
$75K-$110K $28,053
$110K+ $33,095

Sticker Price

Total stated tuition is $38,403, in-state and on-campus, before financial aid.

On-Campus Off-Campus
Stated Tuition $38,403 Same as On-Campus
Fees $549 Same as On-Campus
Housing $9,258 N/A
Books $600 $600
Total (before financial aid) $48,810 $39,552

Students Receiving Aid

100% of students receive some form of financial aid.

Undergrads Receiving Aid Average Aid Amount
Federal Loans 65% $6,155
Federal Scholarships/Grants 31% $5,359
Institutional Grants 100% $24,883
Other Federal Grants 23% $938
Other Loans 7% $12,378
Pell Grants 31% $4,677
State and Local Scholarships/Grants 14% $892
Student Loans 65% $7,500

Financial Aid Websites

Learn more about financial aid at

Estimate the net price for you at

Alumni and Outcomes

Alumni and Outcomes

Graduation Rates

55% of students graduated on time.

69% of students graduated in six years.

81% of full time students continued studying at this school after freshman year.



#124 America's Top Colleges

The Princeton Review

#1 Colleges: Nobody Plays Intramural Sports
#2 Colleges: There's a Game?
#3 Colleges: Professors Get High Marks
#6 Colleges: Most Liberal Students
#9 Colleges: Best Campus Food
#11 Colleges: Their Students Love These Colleges
#14 Colleges: Best Quality of Life
#15 Colleges: Most Accessible Professors
#19 Colleges: Great Financial Aid
N/A Best Colleges (Northeastern)
N/A Colleges: Best Value Colleges for 2014 - Private

U.S. News & World Report

#99 National Liberal Arts
#138 National Liberal Arts Colleges High School Counselor Rankings

Washington Monthly

#21 Liberal Arts Colleges - Federal Work-Study Funds Spent on Service Rank
#50 Liberal Arts Colleges - Bachelor's to PhD Rank
#50 Liberal Arts Colleges - Graduation Rate Rank
#72 Affordable Elite Colleges - Overall Rank
#75 Liberal Arts Colleges - Overall Rank
#93 Liberal Arts Colleges - Peace Corps Rank
#125 Liberal Arts Colleges - Community Service Participation Rank
#125 Liberal Arts Colleges - Service Staff, Courses, and Financial Aid Rank
#138 Liberal Arts Colleges - Research Expenditures Rank
#139 Liberal Arts Colleges - ROTC Rank
#240 Best Bang for Buck Colleges - Overall Rank
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