ETSU receives final approval for four academic programs

Published 4:19 pm Monday, May 24, 2021

JOHNSON CITY – At its spring commission meeting on May 20, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) granted final approval for three new academic programs at East Tennessee State University as well as an off-campus instruction location in Chattanooga.
The new programs were previously approved by the ETSU Board of Trustees. With THEC approval in place, ETSU may now offer the following programs:
The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Digital Media combines art and technology curriculum to meet the growing industry need for highly qualified digital artists by providing an avenue for advanced graduate-level study in digital media studio practice. Instruction is provided on-campus at the Niswonger Digital Media Center with coursework divided into experimental media, group studio and solo studio, allowing students to develop a professional body of work.
This is the first MFA in Digital Media available in Tennessee and aligns with standards set by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The program is available to individuals seeking further training in animation, visual effects, game design, motion graphics, 3D and UI/UX and more. Recent college graduates and existing professionals alike will fine-tune their craft for successful careers in the creative economy.
Applications for fall 2021 will be open soon. More information about admission requirements and the application process are available at Those interested may also contact Todd Emma, graduate coordinator, at
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) is an entry-level doctoral program that will prepare graduates as generalists to help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). The employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 16% from 2019-2029, nearly four times the national average growth rate of 4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Currently, there are only two OTD programs offered in Tennessee.
The OTD program will begin accepting applications in July 2021, with the first cohort of approximately 24 students beginning the program in May 2022. This program is three years in length and requires 108 credit hours and includes both didactic and laboratory coursework.
The program will be housed on the V.A. campus in Building 2, which is set to undergo renovations that will transform it into ETSU’s rehabilitative sciences hub. Currently, Building 2 houses ETSU’s Physical Therapy Program, but renovations are set to begin this summer on an additional 14,000 square feet of space that will house the OTD program and the newly approved Orthotics and Prosthetics program.
To learn more about the OTD program, email or call 423-439-7045.
The Master of Science (MS) in Orthotics and Prosthetics will prepare graduates for this specialized health care profession that combines a unique blend of clinical abilities, technical design and the integration of material and computer technologies as a therapeutic treatment for patients who have neuromuscular and musculoskeletal disorders and/or patients who have partial or total absence of a limb.
Employment for Orthotists and Prosthetists is projected to grow at a faster rate (17%) compared to the 4% average projected growth for all occupations between 2019 and 2029 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As of March 2021, there are only 13 accredited Orthotics and Prosthetics programs accepting students in the United States. ETSU’s program will be the only graduate level Orthotics and Prosthetics program in the state of Tennessee.      
ETSU will begin accepting applications for the Orthotics and Prosthetics program in July 2021 and will welcome its first cohort of approximately 14 students in May 2022. Students will complete 70 credit hours, which will include didactic, lab and clinical experiences in state-of-the-art facilities.
The Orthotics and Prosthetics program will complement ETSU’s existing Doctor of Physical Therapy and new Doctor of Occupational Therapy programs within the Department of Rehabilitative Sciences to provide a variety of physical rehabilitation programs offered through the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences at ETSU.
To learn more about the MS in Orthotics and Prosthetics program, email or call 423-439-7045.
The BlueSky Tennessee Institute is a partnership with ETSU and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to provide selected students the opportunity to earn an ABET-accredited bachelor’s degree in Computing with a concentration in Information Systems in just two years while working a paid internship at corporate headquarters in downtown Chattanooga. The program, which was announced earlier this year, addresses the need for qualified talent to fill open technology jobs at BCBST and across the state. This new pathway prepares the next generation of technology leaders and provides students with the opportunity to earn a job at BCBST upon graduation.
The inaugural class will begin summer 2022. BCBST and ETSU are placing special focus on identifying and recruiting students from Hamilton County’s most challenged high schools. To learn more about the BlueSky Tennessee Institute powered by ETSU, visit

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