Human Dimensions of Climate Change (HDCC) Major

Minimum number of credits required to graduate: 120

Minimum Cumulative GPA required to graduate: 2.0

Minimum Grade requirements for courses to count toward major: A grade of C- or better is required for ANT101, ANT102, ANT225, and ANT410. A grade of C or better is required for ANT493 or any other approved capstone experience.

Other GPA requirements to graduate: A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in the major.

Required Courses for fulfilling Capstone Experience: ANT493. Alternatively, with approval, students may fulfill the capstone requirement with ANT460, ANT497, or the Honors thesis (HON499). Double majors: If HDCC is your secondary major, the capstone from your primary major may fulfill your HDCC capstone requirement as long as there is an HDCC component to it (chair approval required). However, the earned credits of your primary capstone experience/course will not count toward the minimum number of credits required for the HDCC major.


  • A double major in Human Dimensions of Climate Change and Anthropology is permitted, but no courses beyond ANT101, ANT102, and ANT493 may be double counted, and students must take an additional 3 credits of coursework in their chosen HDCC track.
  • A double major in Human Dimensions of Climate Change and International Affairs (Culture, Conflict, and Globalization concentration) is permitted, but no courses beyond ANT102 and ANT493 may be double counted.
  • Human Dimensions of Climate Change majors may not minor in Anthropology or Archaeology
  • Human Dimensions of Climate Change majors can minor in Geography, but no more than one course may be double counted.

Contact Information: Samuel Hanes, Chair of Anthropology, 5773 South Stevens Hall, Room 228C, (207) 581-1885,

Climate Change is one of the leading environmental and human problems facing the world today. Melting glaciers and rising oceans with landward-moving shorelines are one side of the issue, and shifting temperature and moisture patterns and the responses of earth’s biota to these changes add to the dilemma. The other side of the problem is the human dimension, both with regards to impact and response. Humans contribute to global warming and environmental degradation, and humans alone can provide solutions to these problems through successful policy initiatives at local through global scales. Solutions to the many problems arising from climate change will only be found with an understanding of the processes that govern both climate and human culture. Successful policy decisions to mitigate climate change will be based on solid science and social science related to culture. Social scientists have an extremely important role to play in assisting state, national, and world decision makers in understanding environmental problems and finding solutions to them. Social scientists work with policy makers, conduct research among local populations around the world, and on the basis of this work devise policies that take into account the social and cultural implications of policy decisions from local to international scales.

With core faculty situated in the Anthropology Department, this degree program addresses these important dimensions of climate change. Anthropologists draw their data from all known human societies. Social anthropologists conduct extended periods of fieldwork in communities around the world; physical anthropologists and archaeologists reconstruct those of the past. As a result of this work, anthropologists have built up robust models and explanations of similarity and variance across cultures. They are unusually well equipped to investigate and understand responses to climate change by people whose cultural backgrounds may be radically different from those of the western world. They have a detailed knowledge of how the environment and climate shape cultures, and of how cultures shape their environments. They are also able to devise policies that take cultural differences into account in devising and managing climatic solutions.

Special Resources and Programs
Core faculty members of this program are affiliated with the Anthropology Department and engage in research focused on the human dimensions of environmental issues. Some are also members of the Climate Change Institute or work on climate change research. These faculty are directly involved in teaching the program’s courses, advising students, participating in research projects, and providing guest lectures as needed.

Career Opportunities
Graduates of this program are able to understand the diverse human causes and impacts of climate change to better enact successful policy decisions at local, national, and international levels. The program provides students with skills useful outside as well as within the academic environment. Specific skill sets focus on ethnographic methods and analysis such as participant observation, directed interviewing, and statistical analysis of qualitative and quantitative ethnographic data. Graduates of this program generally seek positions in private business as well as in state, national, and international institutions that deal with policy decisions related to the human dimensions of climate management and change, environmental protection, and resource conservation.

The Bachelor of Arts in Human Dimensions of Climate Change (HDCC)
Students may declare an HDCC major in their first year, and must declare their major once they have accumulated 53 credits. It is desirable to begin taking HDCC courses in the first semester at the university.

First year students are advised to take ANT 101 (fall semester) and ANT 102 (spring semester), as these are both required for the major and are prerequisites for many upper division courses. First year students also concentrate on completing General Education requirements.

ANT225 and ANT410 are both major requirements. ANT225 should be completed early in the degree program, whereas ANT410 is an advanced seminar and should be reserved for the junior or senior year.

The Capstone course, ANT493, is preferably taken in the senior year. Alternatively, with approval, students may fulfill the capstone requirement with ANT460, ANT497, or the Honors thesis (HON499).

The HDCC curriculum aligns well with issues of global importance. Although not required, we recommend foreign language training through at least the intermediate level. We also strongly encourage study abroad opportunities, whether it be a semester length program, a summer session, or travel study course. Students should work with their faculty advisor and the Study Abroad office to determine the most appropriate options.

The requirements listed on this page are specific to this particular major. Students are also responsible for meeting any graduation requirements set out by their college. Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) should make sure to review those requirements as stated on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences page of the catalog.

Programmatic Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the intricacies and implications of cultural diversity in the past and present
  2. Identify and explain major theoretical and methodological approaches in the discipline
  3. Provide, integrate, analyze, and assess data (statistical, historical, ethnographic, archaeological, etc.) in a larger theoretical framework
  4. Think critically (comprehensively explore) and communicate ideas effectively (oral, written) using concepts and theoretical approaches of the discipline

Program requirements
A minimum of 45 credits is required for the major. In some cases, double majors may be able to apply six credits of related coursework from the other major (with approval). Advanced study in a related field at the graduate level normally requires use of quantitative methods, some theoretical sophistication, and foreign language competency at the intermediate level. In consultation with his or her advisor, the student should select courses and a major track appropriate to interests and desired career path.

Course Requirements
*fulfills writing intensive General Education requirement

Capstone requirement (3cr)
ANT493*-Capstone Seminar (3cr) (C or better). Alternatively, with approval, students may fulfill the capstone requirement with ANT460*, ANT497, or the Honors thesis (HON499).

Required core courses (12cr)
ANT101-Introduction to Anthropology: Human Origins and Prehistory (3cr) (C- or better)
ANT102-Introduction to Anthropology: Diversity of Cultures (3cr) (C- or better)
ANT225-Climate Change, Societies and Cultures (3cr) (C- or better)
ANT410-Human Dimensions of Climate Change (3cr) (C- or better)

Elective coursework from the following list (12cr)
ANT212-The Anthropology of Food (3cr)
ANT235-Cultural Perceptions of Nature (3cr)
ANT250-Conservation Anthropology (3cr)
ANT270-Environmental Justice Movements in the United States (3cr)
ANT295-American Indians and Climate Change (3cr) (same as NAS295)
ANT311-Geography of Climate Change (3cr) (same as GEO311)
ANT350-Mediterranean: Ancient Landscapes, Modern World (3cr)
ANT464*-Ecological Anthropology (3cr)
ANT466*-Economic Anthropology (3cr)
ANT476*-The Ancient Maya (3cr)
ANT480-Andean Prehistory (3cr)
ANT497-Department Projects (variable cr) (prior approval required)
ECO381-SL: Sustainability Science, Policy, and Action (3cr)
HTY479-U.S. Environmental History (3cr)
PHI232-Environmental Ethics (3cr)

Required science courses (12cr)
BIO100-Basic Biology (4cr)
CHY121-General Chemistry I (3cr)
CHY123-General Chemistry I Laboratory (1cr)
PHY111-General Physics I (4cr)

Choose track (6-7cr)
Earth Sciences OR Marine Sciences OR Ecology & Environmental Sciences OR Sustainable Agriculture

Earth Sciences
ERS121-Humans and Global Change (3cr)
     plus one of the following
ERS240-The Atmosphere (4cr)
ERS323-Extreme Weather (3cr)
ERS425-How to Build a Habitable Planet (3cr)

Marine Sciences
SMS100-Introduction to Ocean Science (3cr)
     plus one of the following
SMS230-Introduction to Marine Policy and Fisheries Management (3cr)
SMS402-Oceans and Climate Change (3cr)

Ecology and Environmental Sciences
EES100-Human Population and Global Environment (3cr)
     plus one of the following
EES312-Energy, Law, & Environment: Contending with Climate Change (3cr)
EES324-Environmental Protection Law and Policy (3cr)
EES351-Energy, Wealth, and Power: a Biophysical Systems view of Nature and Society (3cr)

Sustainable Agriculture
PSE105-Principles of Sustainable Agriculture (3cr)
     plus one of the following
PSE312-Sustainable Food Systems (3cr)
PSE360-Agroecology and Sustainable Cropping Systems (3cr)


  • ANT225, ANT410, ANT493 (or another approved capstone experience), and nine other credits toward the major must be taken at UMaine.
  • Minors in the social or environmental sciences are appropriate for this major. These are included in the Undergraduate Catalog’s Majors and Minors