Jul 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geography-Anthropology, Sustainable Cultures and Communities Specialization, B.A.

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The Bachelor of Arts in Geography-Anthropology fuses Geography’s and Anthropology’s common interests in both applied field work and in the relationship between human populations and their environments, both natural and built. The combined program explores global issues through community engagement. Students learn the methodologies and “ways of knowing” of each discipline and integrate them in an interdisciplinary framework to foster their appreciation of their humanistic and scientific responsibilities as global citizens.

Our long history of and strong commitment to environmental and social knowledge, applied learning, and experiential education positions our students well for internships, graduate programs, and the workforce. Undergraduates are involved in our community-engaged teaching and research activities.The major is an interdisciplinary degree program. Students enrolled in the major may specialize in one of three tracks:

  • Sustainable Cultures and Communities
  • Cultural and Natural Heritage Management
  • Applied Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Geospatial Analysis

Upon graduation, students find employment in fields that involve archaeology work, cultural resource management, historic preservation, heritage and conservation management, museum, curation and archival work, education, environmental and land use management, community development work, non-profit advocacy, city and regional public service, tourism and recreation, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) related careers in federal, state, local government, and private sector industries.

We focus on developing strong analytical, writing, oral and technical skills and prepare our students to enter the workforce or for future graduate work. Courses emphasize both conceptual and applied learning. Students engage in case studies, community-engaged and client-based projects, and intensive field and lab analysis.

Students have the opportunity to design, develop, research and communicate professional level projects with faculty mentors. As a result of data collection in the field or analysis in our specialized learning laboratories, students also have the opportunity to engage in scholarship through publications and conference presentations, and often receive assistantships and fellowships funded by such organizations as the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Maine Space Grant Consortium.

The program of study beyond the basic requirements should be planned carefully, in close consultation with the student’s program advisor, and should be approved by the latter. Such an arrangement allows for flexibility according to the student’s interests while also providing close guidance and a control of educational quality by the Geography-Anthropology program.

Sustainable Cultures & Communities track is for those interested in developing theoretical and conceptual knowledge, and analytical and technical skills in fields involving community and sustainable development, non-profit work, inter-cultural development work, city & regional planning. Graduates are engaged in workforce fields in community development, education, federal, state and local government, and private sector industries including environmental & land use planning, healthcare, non-profits, environmental consulting, planning and policy, and museum, curation and archival work.

Program Requirements

All students with majors or specific discipline minors in the social sciences must achieve at least six credits with grades of B or better in the requirements of those majors or minors. No grades of D will be counted toward fulfillment of the major or minor requirements. Except for Independent Studies, no required course may be repeated more than one time.

All students are reminded that, in addition to meeting departmental requirements for the major, they must also meet the University’s minimum readiness requirements and the Core curriculum requirements.

The minimum number of credits (exclusive of the University’s Core curriculum) required for this track is 36 credits.

Students who select the Sustainable Cultures and Communities track must take:


(6 credits minimum from list, at least 3 credits from the GEO prefix and at least 3 credits from ANT prefix):

Topical Electives

Select courses from the following list to total at least 18 credits. At least six credits must be from the GEO prefix and at least six credits must be from the ANT prefix with at least 6 credits at or above the 300 level:

Capstone (3 credits minimum):

Any one of the following will count toward the capstone requirement: GYA 300 - Archaeology Field School , GYA 350 /351 Internship in Applied Geography-Anthropology, GYA 400 , summer travel course, Study Abroad, or other courses as approved.

Additionally, all Geography-Anthropology majors are required to demonstrate writing competence by completing either two research papers or one research paper and one research product (e.g., poster, media project) in the major with grades of C or better, from two different professors, at least one semester prior to graduation.

The maximum number of credits of internships, field experience, and/or independent studies that can be applied toward the major is 9 hours. All students must meet with their advisors before registering for courses each semester.

USM Core Requirements

The USM Core Curriculum is a coherent, integrative, and rigorous liberal education that enables our graduates to be world-minded, intentional, life-long learners and captures your general education degree requirements. 

Please Note: Core requirements may be part of your major and/or minor, and Core may have been fulfilled with transfer credit. Please consult your MaineStreet Degree Progress Report (DPR) and review your degree progress with your Advisor.  For additional information, access the USM Core webpage.

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