Minimum number of credits required to graduate:  36 (w/ related Master’s); 60 (without)

Minimum cumulative GPA required to graduate:  3.0

Application deadline for fall admission: January 1st. More information about application and admission can be found on the Graduate School website.

Graduate Coordinator: Christine Beitl, Associate Professor of Anthropology, 5773 South Stevens Hall, Room 228A, (207) 581-1893,

AEP Handbook 2023-2024


A variety of environmental specters threaten Earth’s populations. Greenhouse-gas emissions are changing earth systems, global ecology, species distributions, disease patterns, and land-use. Ocean fisheries and forests in many parts of the world, including Maine, are in precipitous decline. Loss of agricultural land in combination with ineffective governance and population increases may result in widespread famines in the near future. There are also growing problems associated with nutrient pollution, loss of wildlife and biodiversity, soil erosion, the depletion of non-renewable resources, and environmental degradation. These problems affect people, but people also cause them. Many, moreover, are global in origin but local in their effects. Demands on forests and fisheries are international, for example, but the environmental consequences are felt locally in over-cut woodlands and wiped-out fisheries. Climate is affected by human activity at a global level, but climate changes will have very different effects in different regions of the globe. Since Maine is a natural resource state, the global origins of these threats are particularly relevant to the people of Maine, their culture, and their society.

Special Resources and Programs

Anthropology faculty hold joint appoints or cooperating status with a number of units across the University of Maine campus. These include the Climate Change Institute, the School of Marine Sciences, the School of Economics, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, Native American Programs, the Maine Folklife Center, and the Hudson Museum. As members of this program, graduate students are able to take advantage of these interdisciplinary connections.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships and Work Study positions are available on a competitive basis for qualified students.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of this program are able to understand the intricacies and implications of human-environment interactions at multiple scales in ways that may inform policy decisions at local, national, and international levels. Students gain valuable research experience grounded in ethnographic methods and analysis under the guidance of their faculty mentor and dissertation committee. Graduates of this program generally seek positions in academia, as well as public and private sectors, including state, national, and international institutions that deal with policy decisions related to the human dimensions of environmental change, environmental management, and resource conservation.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology and Environmental Policy (AEP)

The PhD program in Anthropology and Environmental Policy centers on understanding human society and culture in cross-cultural perspective and their pivotal role in implementing successful environmental policy. The program engages students in a 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 both the causes and consequences of local, national, and global environmental change. Students analyze social and cultural dimensions of policy that mitigate negative environmental consequences of this change while safeguarding or promoting human well-being. Areas of environmental policy and research include global climate change, energy resources, marine resources, eco-tourism, forestry resources, land-use, water management, environmental justice, and pollution control.

The program core has a firm grounding in anthropological social and cultural theory, qualitative and/or 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.

Students may enter the program with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Anthropology, Biology, Climate Change, Economics, Marine Sciences, Forestry, or any other related field. All students take the Core Curriculum courses in cross-cultural human 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 in the program will normally select their main advisor from the Anthropology Department but are expected to include faculty from affiliated departments on their committees or as co-advisors.

For additional information, please see the Graduate Handbook (coming soon).

Program Requirements

For students entering with a Bachelor’s degree, the PhD program requires completion of 60 credit hours of graduate coursework. For those entering the program with a relevant Master’s degree, the PhD program requires completion of 36 credit hours of graduate coursework. All students must complete 12 hours of core requirements, with the remaining courses tailored to each student’s background, environmental focus area, and national or international environmental policy interest. Students enrolled in the PhD program can apply to have their MA degree conferred once coursework requirements for the Master’s degree are completed.

Course Requirements

Required core courses (12cr)

ANT500-Advanced Social Theory (3cr)

ANT550-Anthropological Dimensions of Environmental Policy (3cr)

     plus two of the following

ANT510-Climate, Culture, and the Biosphere (3cr)

ANT530-Human Dimensions of Climate Change (3cr)

ANT564-Ecological Anthropology (3cr)

*Note: the third course can serve as one of the ANT electives below


Sample of elective courses available in Anthropology (9cr minimum):

ANT420-Human Impacts on Ancient Environments (3cr)

ANT475-Environmental Archaeology (3cr)

ANT510-Climate, Culture, and the Biosphere (3cr)

ANT530-Human Dimensions of Climate Change (3cr)

ANT553-Governance of the Commons and Global Change (3cr)

ANT555-Resource Management in Cross-Cultural Perspective (3cr)

ANT564-Ecological Anthropology (3cr)

ANT566-Economic Anthropology (3cr)

ANT597-Advanced Topics (requires approval)

*Note: students should decide with their advisor and committee which elective courses are needed to complete their degree. In some cases, students may have non-ANT courses count toward this requirement with permission from the Graduate Coordinator and the Department Chair.


Sample of relevant courses to meet the methods requirement (3cr minimum):

ANT521-Geographic Information Systems I (3cr)

ANT522-Geographic Information Systems II (3cr)

ANT560-Research Design and Methods (3cr)

SFR528-Qualitative Data in Natural Resources (3cr)

ECO581-Agent-based Modeling (3cr)

CMJ604-Qualitative Communication Methods

EHD571-Qualitative Research: Theory, Design, Practice

EHD573-Statistical Methods in Education I

*Note: students are required to take at least three credit hours of a methodological course in anthropology or in another program (approved by the committee)


Sample of elective coursework available in cooperating departments (6cr minimum):

ECO450-International Environmental Economics and Policy (3cr)

ECO477-Economics of Environmental and Resource Management (3cr)

ECO571-Advanced Environmental and Resource Economics (3cr)

ECO582-Human Dimensions of Global Change (3cr)

HTY479-United States Environmental History (3cr)

HTY577-Environmental History (3cr)

PHI432-Environmental Philosophy and Policy (3cr)

SMS552-Coupled Human and Natural Systems (3cr)

SMS567-Knowledge and Participation in the Science Policy Process (3cr)

WLE431-Wildlife Management and Forestry (3cr)

WLE461-Human Dimensions of Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation (3cr)

WLE470-Wildlife Policy and Administration (3cr)

*Note: students should decide with their advisor and committee which elective courses are most appropriate for the program of study.

Responsible Conduct of Research and Thesis requirements (6cr minimum/9cr maximum):

Doctoral students must register for a minimum of 6 Graduate thesis/research credits (ANT 699), but no more than 9 may count toward the degree. Students will be graded with a pass (p) fail (f) or incomplete (i). Also, the Graduate School requires all students to take a one credit hour course to fulfill the Responsible Conduct of Research Requirement prior to conducting research (unless this requirement is fulfilled by a methods class approved to fulfill the RCR requirement) and before registering for a 4th thesis credit. This credit may be substituted for one of the 6 required thesis/dissertation credits. For more information visit

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