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The Major/Minor

This week’s featured program is the major and minor in Human Dimensions of Climate Change, situated within the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maine. From the website: 

The program engages students in the human dimension issues of one of the most important scientific and cultural challenges facing the world today. These engaged students 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 are both quantitative and qualitative and 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 will 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.

Students enrolled in the major take four core courses, four electives, acquire a broad background in the physical sciences, complete one of four tracks (Earth Science, Marine Science, Ecology and Environmental Science, Sustainable Agriculture), and a capstone project. Students enrolled in the minor take two core courses, one science elective, and pursue either the sociocultural or archaeological track. 

Two Interesting Courses

ANT 225 – Climate Change, Societies and Cultures

Surveys the human dimensions of climate change from a cultural perspective: The interactions among societies, cultures, and climate change. Reviews climate-change futures and their human implications around the world; drivers of climate change; and technological, social, and cultural mitigation and adaptations strategies. Perspective throughout is universalistic (all human societies, past and present) and holistic (all realms of thought and behavior, though with particular emphasis on social, political, and cultural dimensions).

ERS 425 – How to Build a Habitable Planet

This course will take a journey through the remarkable geologic and climatic events that led to the emergence of life, an oxygen-rich atmosphere, explosions and collapses of biodiversity, waxing and waning of continental ice sheets, and ultimately a planet on which Homo Sapiens could thrive and develop civilizations unlike anything Earth has ever witnessed. We will explore the great and as-yet unsolved mysteries of Earth’s evolution with an eye toward placing our existence into the context of what it takes to build, and sustain, a habitable world. We will consider internal and external forces that have shaped environmental evolution over the planet’s history, including the role of humans in geochemical and climatic change. We will consider the geochemical proxies and isotopic geochronometers that have improved our un;derstanding of past environments and climates. Our goals are to develop critical thinking and writing skills and a scientific approach to the complex array of feedbacks that govern the evolution of Earth’s surface and climate, as well as an appreciation for how past Earth System change can inform current human and societal issues.

Five Possible Complementary Majors/Minors at the University of Maine

Unique Opportunities within the Major/Minor

The Department of Anthropology offers a variety of Field School opportunities to students, including local, international, and digital. 

Sample Similar Programs