Future environmental policy analysts and managers will be trained in a new doctoral program focused on engaging students in some of the most important issues facing our global society.
The Ph.D. in Anthropology and Environmental Policy is an interdisciplinary program that engages students in cutting-edge research on the diverse human dimensions crucial to understanding and affecting successful local, national, and global environmental policy. The program centers on analysis of cross-cultural human behavior and policy with environmental research in areas of climate change, energy resources, marine resources, eco-tourism, forestry resources, land-use, water management, and pollution control. Providing the University of Maine with a signature program, it will train future environmental policymakers to understand how ecosystems interact, how the environment changes, and how humans affect the environment and ultimately influence policies as well as about the complexities of diverse global cultures.
Students will come away with a number of marketable skills, said Associate Dean Kristin Sobolik, an anthropology professor. “We envision our students finding positions in state, national, and international institutions that deal with environmental management and change, such as governmental agencies and NGOs (non-governmental agencies), in private business, and in university departments of anthropology and environmental sciences.”
While some economists and political scientists are working with policy makers, “few social scientists are trained to understand the relevant physical science, conduct research among local populations around the world, and devise policies that take into account the social and cultural implications of policy decisions at both local and international levels,” she said.
Participating students will have either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in either a social science field such as anthropology or a natural science field such as earth sciences, forestry, marine sciences or biology.
The entering cohort consists of five students including one from UMaine, said Associate Dean Sobolik. They will receive stipends through teaching assistantships and faculty advisor research grants. One will be supported with an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) through the National Science Foundation.