Storytelling is something that holds international value. Living in Appalachia, it’s hard to ignore the significance of storytelling in our culture.

ETSU has a popular storytelling program. Jonesborough, just a few miles away, holds the wildly successful National Storytelling Festival.

Can a storytelling degree benefit you?

Yes, it absolutely can.

The Communication and Storytelling Studies program is a new graduate program on campus. This unique, state-of-the-art program is the first of its kind. It combines the beauty and artistry of storytelling with career-applicable communication skills. According to Amber Kinser, the department head, these two things go hand-in-hand.

This degree helps students hone their everyday interactions, professional communication and understanding of how storytelling works in the world. The program also focuses on fostering greater world understanding and helping connect with others. There’s a significant business trend that focuses on the power of storytelling to reach employees, communities and help customer relations. The way a company communicates shapes its identity.

The degrees were only recently combined, however. According to the press release, ETSU’s storytelling program came about in the 1980s. It was a groundbreaking program even then. Students could pick concentrations based on their interests, like storytelling and theatre. Now, the program offers a much more pointed approach. Instead of different concentrations, the coursework is all on one track. The innovative new curriculum focuses on human interaction and social narrative.

Since the change, Kinser has already seen a rise in interest in the program. She said that Communication and Storytelling Studies is the perfect follow-up for any degree. There’s no previous experience or coursework related to communication or storytelling required.

“It’s a good next step from a variety of bachelor’s degrees,” said Kinser. “It doesn’t train for one particular career. Our program prepares you to navigate the workplace.”

She also commented that while other, more narrow skills may become obsolete, human interaction will always be a necessity.

For more information on the program, visit