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Department of Anthropology

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Degree Programs - PhD in Anthropology & Environmental Policy

PhD in Anthropology and Environmental Policy

See Graduate School Admissions information.

This new PhD Program centers on understanding human environmental relationships in cross-cultural perspective and their pivotal role in implementing successful environmental policy. The program engages students in a highly multi-disciplinary framework bridging environmental sciences and policy while focusing on the sociocultural impacts of, and responses to, local and global environmental change.

Students engage with faculty in cutting-edge research on the way social relations, human organization, cultural perceptions, and ecological behavior affect the causes and consequences of local, national, and global environmental change. Students analyze the social and cultural dimensions of policies that mitigate the negative environmental consequences of these changes while safeguarding or promoting human well-being. Areas of environmental policy and research include:

The program core is a firm grounding in anthropological social and cultural theory, qualitative and quantitative methodology, and policy development and analysis. Students engage in methodological and specialized courses tailored to their specific environmental interests at the local, national or international scale.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships and Work Study positions are available for qualified students. Students interested in the human dimensions of climate change should consider applying for UMaine’s IGERT program in Adaptation to Abrupt Climate Change. Read more

Applications for fall admissions are due January 15. For prospective students, more information can be found on the Graduate School website:

Students in the program will normally select their main advisor from the Anthropology Department but are expected to include faculty from affiliated departments in their committees or as co-advisors.

See Program Curriculum.

Graduate Program Coordinator

Dr. Cindy Isenhour
Department of Anthropology
5773 South Stevens Hall, Rm. 230
Orono, Maine 04469-5773
(207) 581-1895

  Program Curriculum

Students may enter the program with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the Social or Environmental Sciences or a closely related field. All students take the Core Curriculum courses in Cross-Cultural Human-Environmental Dimensions, with the remaining curriculum individually tailored depending on each student’s background, environmental focus area, and national or international environmental policy interest. Courses in policy and basic methodology will be dependent on courses students have taken previously.  Students entering the program with a relevant Master’s degree will need to take 36 Student Credit Hours. Students entering the program with a Bachelor’s degree will need to take 60 Student Credit Hours.

 Core Anthropology Requirements (12 credit hours):

Anthropology Elective Courses:

Available Environmental Policy Courses in Cooperating Departments:

Available Methodology Courses:

Environmental  & Geographical Area Courses:

The program has five environmental focus areas. Students will choose at least one of these areas in which to specialize: Climate Change, Marine Sciences, Ecology, Forestry, and Resource Economics. Courses within these areas will be chosen by the student and their faculty advisors. Courses related to the student’s geographical focus will also be selected in consultation with Faculty advisors.

Background Courses:

The program admits students who have a background in the social or environmental sciences.  Depending on a student’s previous training, undergraduate background courses in other areas may be needed. Additionally, language proficiency may be required given the context of study.


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Contact Information

Department of Anthropology
5773 S.Stevens Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5773
Phone: (207) 581-1894 | Fax: (207) 581-1823E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System