Focus Areas

Regional Focus


Students will be able to gain an in-depth history of the African continent and an understanding of its cultures and its politics as well as its complex colonial and post-colonial relationships with other regions of the world. Courses in this focus area also offer insights into African thought and environmental history prior to and after 1850. Students can explore the rich diversity of cultures on the African continent; internships and study abroad opportunities are available through partner institutions in South Africa and at other locations.


This area is appropriate for students who are interested in East Asia, South Asia or Southeast Asia. Interested students can explore cultures, religion, politics, geography, history and many other aspects of East Asia or selected countries in the region. Through a multi- and interdisciplinary offering of courses, students have the opportunity to study some of the oldest civilizations in the world as well as languages from the region. Appalachian has partner institutions in China, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Students interested in peoples and regions of the South Asian sub-continent (comprising India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and surrounding areas), may also take a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses that include content on the region. Relevant languages available for study through App State/UNC currently include Hindi and Urdu.


Students can explore the many aspects of history, culture, art, politics and literature that intersect through the countries and cultures of Europe. Courses cover topics such as: European history from the Middle Ages to the present, Europe and the Russian realm, European governments, the European Union, as well as International politics. Recent focus has shifted, with contemporary events in Europe, to a transnational focus on immigration and migration issues as they affect the region. Students interested in Europe generally choose French, German, Russian or Spanish as their language of study.

The Americas

From the Mexican Revolution to land access in Guatemala or Indigenous resistance movements in Chile, the Latin American studies focus area provides ample possibilities. Students can explore the geography of Latin America, the cultures and civilizations of Latin America, U.S. and Latin American relations, comparative labor history and the many sub-regions in Latin America. Students can also pursue a minor or major in Spanish or courses in Portuguese.

The Middle East

The focus area in Middle Eastern Studies will enable students to pursue language skills in Arabic while also enriching their knowledge of cultural and religious studies. Through studying the culture and history of Islamic traditions as well as Islamic literature, students will gain a deeper awareness of Middle Eastern countries and peoples. Further, students will be able to study and understand Islamic political structure, women and gender issues and resistance movements.

Transnational Focus

Development and Globalization

In this focus area, students have the opportunity to take courses that explore development and globalization issues in a global context. This focus can include courses in Sustainable Development, Anthropology and Geography in addition to courses in Political Science and History to explore the ways in which the world economy and international relations impact the lives and cultures of various populations that make up our global communities.

Peace, Conflict and Human Rights (PCHR)

There are efforts worldwide to attain greater peace, human equality and struggles to sustain culture and livelihood. Through the peace, conflict and human rights focus area students will explore topics such as religion and violence, international security, ethnic conflict, resistance movements and financing wars. Courses will also cover specific subjects such as 9/11, The UN and international terrorism. In an age of digital media, globalization and high-speed travel, PCHR students combine activism with knowledge of contemporary global issues and opportunities for international experience. PCHR students have gone across the world to study and work (Peru, Morocco, South Africa, India, Germany, France)

Global Health

Students can explore areas related to issues and topics related to the social, cultural, historical, economic and environmental, natural resource factors that impact the health of populations across the globe. This is a focus for students interested in public health, public policy, international humanitarian organizations and a variety of other possible career paths. Students take courses like medical anthropology, the anthropology of global health, global women’s issues and global infrastructures.