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Graduate Certificate


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

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 English regularly attracts students wishing to focus on Appalachian topics. The Master’s program in Education is adding an Appalachian Studies Concentration beginning fall of 2015. The certificate in Appalachian Studies may stand alone as a non-degree curricular unit, or it may become a corollary to a Master’s degree in a related field.

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 & Leadership, the English Department, and the Department of Sociology, as well as other departments having graduate-level courses with Appalachian content.

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. 


  • APST610: Foundations of Appalachian Studies *
  • APST620: New Perspectives in Appalachian Studies *
  • APST630: Political Economy and Community Development in Appalachia
  • APST640: Community-based Research and Grant Writing
  • APST560: Current Issues in Appalachian Studies
  • APST590: Highland Summer Conference Writers’ Workshop
  • APST595: Research in Appalachia
  • APST680: Internship in Appalachia
  • APST698: Directed Study/Capstone in Appalachian Studies *
  • ENGL590: Highland Summer Conference Writers’ Workshop
  • ENGL 648: Studies in Oral and Written Literature of Appalachia
  • ENGL698: Directed Study, when topic relates to Appalachian theme
  • ENGL699: M.A. Thesis when topic relates to Appalachian theme
  • SOCY511: Appalachian Cultures
  • SOCY586: Engaging the Community


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. Please contact Theresa Burriss if you have questions about the delivery of particular classes.

Duration and Review Process

The Certificate in Appalachian Studies can typically be completed in two years by students taking courses on a part-time basis. Students who are able to take a larger course load 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. They will submit a graduate application including “Appalachian Studies Certificate” in the comment field, the application fee, and official transcripts. Those wishing to take the certificate with a degree program should apply to the graduate program of interest and, when admitted, complete a Certificate Declaration Form. All applicants should notify Theresa Burriss of their intent to pursue the certificate.

Dr. Theresa L. Burriss
Chair of the Appalachian Studies Program and
Director of the Appalachian Regional & Rural Studies Center
Phone: 540-831-6857