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Appalachian Studies

The graduate certificate in Appalachian Studies builds on the foundations of our undergraduate interdisciplinary minor.

The certificate is based in the Appalachian studies program in the College of Education and Human Development. It is supported by the School of Teacher Education and Leadership, the English Department, the Department of Sociology and other departments having graduate-level courses with Appalachian content.

The certificate serves community college and K-12 teachers, community organizers, healthcare professionals, nonprofit organizational leaders, policy analysts, government officials, and business professionals seeking to understand the Appalachian region and its residents.

The master’s program in education regularly attracts students wishing to focus on Appalachian topics and is a big reason why there will be an Appalachian studies concentration beginning this Fall 2015. The certificate may stand alone as a non-degree curricular unit, or it may become a corollary to a master’s degree in a related field.

Scope and Sequence

The certificate in Appalachian Studies consists of 18 graduate credit hours chosen from the courses listed below. Other courses may be added to the list with the approval of the Appalachian Studies Committee. Some courses are required and are designated with an asterisk. 

Delivery Strategies and Resources

The classes listed above are currently offered as online and/or hybrid courses, accelerated summer workshops or evening classes on campus and are therefore accessible to educators and others working full time.

Duration and Review Process

The certificate can typically be completed in two years by taking courses on a part-time basis. By taking a larger course load, you may be able to complete the certificate requirements in a shorter time frame.

Admissions Criteria

Applicants wishing to pursue the certificate should apply as non-degree seeking students. You will submit a graduate application including “Appalachian Studies Certificate” in the comment field, the application fee and official transcripts. If you wish to take the certificate with a degree program, you should apply to the graduate program of interest and, when admitted, complete a certificate declaration form. All applicants should notify Tim Thornton of their intent to pursue the certificate.


  • APST 610. Foundations of Appalachian Studies *
  • APST 620. New Perspectives in Appalachian Studies *
  • APST 630. Political Economy and Community Development in Appalachia
  • APST 640. Community-based Research and Grant Writing
  • APST 560. Current Issues in Appalachian Studies
  • APST 590. Highland Summer Conference Writers’ Workshop
  • APST 595. Research in Appalachia
  • APST 680. Internship in Appalachia
  • APST 698. Directed Study/Capstone in Appalachian Studies *
  • ENGL 590. Highland Summer Conference Writers’ Workshop
  • ENGL 648. Studies in Oral and Written Literature of Appalachia
  • ENGL 698. Directed Study, when topic relates to Appalachian theme
  • ENGL 699. M.A. Thesis when topic relates to Appalachian theme
  • SOCY 511. Appalachian Cultures
  • SOCY 586. Engaging the Community