Shepherd University will begin offering a new Master of Arts degree in Appalachian studies in fall 2019. The Higher Learning Commission recently gave final approval for the program.
"The new degree builds upon a number of nationally recognized programs at Shepherd, including the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, Speak Storytelling Series, Appalachian Heritage Festival and Writer-in-Residence program, West Virginia Fiction Competition, 'Anthology of Appalachian Writers,' and a vibrant Appalachian Community Speakers series," said Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, director of Shepherd's Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities
Shurbutt said the new degree should appeal to students interested in improving their qualifications for the regional job market, those already working in a variety of areas such as education, politics and government, local and regional planning, economic development, historic preservation, and cultural and arts organizations, and those interested in understanding the region from a variety of historical, cultural, and global perspectives.
The Master of Arts degree in Appalachian studies is an interdisciplinary program requiring 30-33 credit hours. There are two concentrations, Appalachian history, culture or heritage, and preserving Appalachian communities, business development, and the environment. Students who have earned Shepherd's 15-hour graduate certificate in Appalachian studies can apply all those credits toward completion of the master's program.