Located in beautiful Bar Harbor, Maine next to Acadia National Park, College of the Atlantic (COA) is one of the smallest schools listed in the Fiske Guide. A 35 acre rural campus, it has about 350 students. With only 2 degrees, B.A. and MPhil in Human Ecology, the study of the relationship between humans and their natural and social environments is taken very seriously and it shows in the student body. With no departments or departmental requirements there are 3 broad resource/study areas: environmental science, arts and design, and applied human studies. Do not be fooled by what seems to be an esoteric course of study – this school has it all and the graduates go on to all fields of post-graduate study and careers. Interested in business and finance, be a part of the business incubator and actually start a business. The courses of study are endless.
At COA, students have the freedom to design a program of study that allows them to explore their interests and pursue their passions while attaining their overall academic and career goals. While there, I met with the Dean of Admissions who was a transfer student from Swarthmore and met a student who had transferred from Yale. COA offers serious learners an opportunity to explore their interests in a creative yet profoundly unique way that in the end all comes back around to the relationships between human beings and our social and natural communities.
Some of the resources available are over 35 boats, 2 research islands, 2 college farms, art gallery, natural history museum, greenhouses, gardens, Geographic Systems laboratory, writing center, Allied Whale ,(a marine mammal research group), Small Business Incubator and more.
COA is for the student who is self-directed, independent and curious, loves the out of doors and is impervious to cold weather! My tour guide told me of a class that skied back into the woods, pulled hibernating bears out of their dens and gathered statistical data on them! And this is undergraduate work! The students are very active in school governance and support and participate in their classmates senior projects/presentations.
Go to www.coa.edu to see more!
Next stop was the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine. Located in one of the most picturesque towns on the Maine coast line, this small school is a power house of learning for those interested in ships, and I mean big ships! MMA is a college of Engineering, Management, Science and Transportation. Here is a quick break down of what they offer.
There are 940 students, 90+ percent professional job placement, 65 companies and organizations offering cooperative education experiences, 60 training, research and pleasure vessels, 70 full time faculty, 35 acres on the Maine coast, 27 student academic, special interest and sport clubs and organizations, 3 degrees: associate, bachelor, master, 11 bachelor of science degree programs, 5 professional licenses and ROTC.
Students receive training in traditional classrooms, sophisticated simulation labs, annual sea terms, training cruises, cadet shipping, co-operative learning experiences and internships.
Associates Degrees are offered in Small Vessel Operations, Small Craft Design, and Small Craft Systems.
They offer Bachelor of Science programs in Engineering Operations and Technology, Marine Transportation, Business and Management, Science and Interdisciplinary Studies.
Master of Science programs are offered in Global Logistics and Maritime Management (on campus), and International Logistics and Management (online).
A very specific school for a very specific career and life! If you love being on the water and the siren call of the sea is pulling at you, this school is the right school.