Appalachian Studies Graduate Programs

Appalachian Studies programs emphasize history, culture, language, geography, and environment to facilitate an in-depth interdisciplinary understanding of how the region was shaped and continues to develop in contemporary society.

Thirteen US states are part of Appalachia and, collectively they bring the unique history, culture, language, and literature of the region to life. Graduate-level Appalachian studies programs provide learners with in-depth information on the formation of Appalachia. Graduate programs focus on the unique political, economic, and cultural make-up of Appalachia as well as the influences upon these aspects of life in the region.

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Appalachian Studies Graduate Degree Information

A graduate program in Appalachian studies is ideal for students interested in learning about Appalachia and applying that knowledge on regional, national, and international levels. Concentrations in a graduate degree program in Appalachian studies emphasize culture or sustainability. There are numerous certificate programs available to graduate-level learners that include many of the same classes contained within master's degree curricula. Master's degrees in Appalachian studies range from 30-36 credit hours to complete.

Appalachian Literature

Courses on Appalachian literature present students with authors from Appalachia and analyze texts as well as the larger cultural contributions of specific works. An Appalachian literature course may focus on poetry or prose and may focus on one specific area within the region as a whole. Courses also encourage writers to produce works of their own.

Global Appalachia

Global Appalachia courses look at the role that Appalachia plays in the larger global economic sector by assessing the resources in the region. Courses that take a global approach assess the reciprocal relationship between Appalachia and other regions, nations, and countries. The role of agriculture, industry, culture, and society in Appalachia are compared to mountainous regions around the world as well.

Religion in Appalachia

The religious influences on Appalachia through its early settlement to the contemporary period may are plentiful and courses on religion on Appalachia may reflect this fact. Seminars focus on religious missionaries, religious music, or the importance of a camp environment in religious development. Coursework may also look closely at the role religion played and continues to play in Appalachian communities.

Bluegrass, Appalachia, and American Music

The contribution of bluegrass music in America as a whole is an important aspect of Appalachian cultural development and the role Appalachia plays in American popular culture. Courses on bluegrass assess this while simultaneously looking at the development of bluegrass as a genre. There may be opportunities for students to play bluegrass music as part of their coursework requirements.

History and Appalachia

A course in this area will likely cover Appalachian history from the colonial period through the 20th century and into modern politics, society, and economic events. Seminars incorporate primary as well as secondary sources for students to use as they research how Appalachia developed and relates to the history of the nation. Students also learn how to conduct historical investigation, inquiry, and methodology as they research the region.

What Does It Take To Study Appalachian Studies?

Applicants to a master's degree program in Appalachian studies must have a four-year baccalaureate degree (or international equivalent) and must complete a graduate school entrance exam like the GRE. Students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher are preferred. A writing sample and letters of recommendation are also required.

Graduate programs in Appalachian studies provide students with the tools and ability to understand Appalachian culture and society, its development, and its continued influence in the world. The interdisciplinary coursework offered through a master's degree program in Appalachian studies is ideal for individuals who want to continue on to doctoral study in the field or for individuals that wish to know more about the heritage and history of the region.


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