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Master of arts degree in Appalachian Studies approved by THEC

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JOHNSON CITY (July 30, 2013) – East Tennessee State University’s Department of Appalachian Studies announces the creation of a new Master of Arts in Appalachian Studies – a first for Tennessee and only the second such degree in the nation. The new degree was approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission at its quarterly meeting on July 25.

Students may enroll in the interdisciplinary degree program beginning this fall semester, which starts Aug. 24.

According to Dr. Cecilia McIntosh, dean of ETSU’s School of Graduate Studies, “We are thrilled to be able to offer this new graduate program and the opportunity for in-depth study of our Appalachian region – its past, present, and future.”  McIntosh further notes that four tuition scholarships will be made available to new graduate students who opt for this degree.

Dr. Roberta Herrin, chair of the Department of Appalachian Studies, believes that “ETSU is a natural place for this degree, given its geographic location in central Appalachia and because its faculty are widely recognized as leaders in Appalachian-related research.” She goes on to say, “This degree formalizes ETSU’s 30-year commitment to Appalachian studies and strengthens ETSU’s ability to make significant contributions to the region’s well-being.”

The degree program has been designed with the structure, focus and flexibility to meet the needs and interests of various types of applicants, including recent bachelor’s degree graduates and adults already in the workforce in a variety of roles, such as public school and community college teachers, health care workers, non-profit and tourism industry employees and others.

Offering two concentrations, “Appalachian Communities” and “Heritage and Culture,” the M.A. in Appalachian Studies is a 30- to 33-credit-hour degree program with thesis and non-thesis options and an elective internship.  It is designed to help students apply classroom learning to real-world situations; analyze the global influences and perspectives that shape Appalachian regional policy and economics; and create research projects that synthesize historical, cultural, global and experiential perspectives to shape a new Appalachian discourse.

The new degree follows the 2012 approval of an 18-hour graduate certificate in Appalachian Studies for ETSU students. Upon completion of the graduate certificate in Appalachian Studies, students may apply all 18 credit hours toward the M.A. in Appalachian Studies.

“East Tennessee State University has been at the forefront of advancing the academic study of the Appalachian region since the creation of the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services in 1984,” said Dr. Gordon Anderson, dean of the ETSU College of Arts and Sciences.  “This new degree program positions ETSU for continued and even greater leadership in this field.”

For more information, contact Herrin at (423) 439-7997 or .