Appalachian Studies (minor)

When you think about the Appalachian Mountains, does an image come to mind? Perhaps misty, blue mountains or lush green forests or maybe even rushing waterfalls. If any of those came to your mind, you would be right! But the Appalachian Mountains are so much more than scenic vistas and picturesque mountain views, it's a region steeped in rich culture and history. With the Appalachian Studies minor, you’ll discover how the mountains have come to be viewed as a distinct region through a multi-disciplinary perspective.


Located on campus, the Stephenson Center for Appalachia hosts presentations and events featuring regional leaders and artists among others.

The mountain range derives its name from the Apalachees—a Native American tribe inhabiting the region.

A few famous ranges of the Appalachians include the Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains (the home of Lees-McRae!) and Black Mountains.

What You'll Study

You’ll work side-by-side with professors from fields as diverse as history, sociology, biology, literature, religion, and art to provide you with insight into the rich life of the region.

Comprised of 18 credit hours, you can take a variety of courses to fit your personal interests. All students are required to take both the History of the Southern Appalachian Region and Appalachian Literature courses. For the minor’s electives, you can choose up to eight credit hours in everything from Appalachian Women, Appalachian Photography, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, and Clogging among others.

Students can also take a three credit hour internship in the Appalachia region, which will provide an opportunity to become involved in the community before graduation. No matter what your personal interests are within the minor, make sure you check out the Stephenson Center for Appalachia located on campus. Hosting several workshops and speakers throughout the year, students as well as faculty, staff, and community members can meet and learn from High Country business owners, artists, leaders, and more.

After Graduation

No matter your major, the Appalachian Studies minor can complement any degree, especially for those students looking to pursue a career in the Appalachia region. From teaching, criminal justice and even careers in outdoor recreation, a minor in Appalachian Studies will prepare you for the specific knowledge needed to pursue a job in the area.

Meet the Faculty

Kathy Olson, MFA 
Instructor of Rhetoric

Scott Huffard, PhD
Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of History

Robert Turpin, PhD
Assistant Professor of History

Katie Wall, EdD
Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation Management, Director of the BB&T Leadership Initiative

Melissa Ball-Martin
Program Coordinator of Communication Arts and Design, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Design

Michael Iauch
Assistant Professor of Communication Arts and Design

Ready to take the next step?

We're glad to hear that! Our admissions office is ready to guide you through the process.