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The dean of Graduate School and Research is responsible for the admission of all graduate students. All students taking graduate courses, whether for credit, noncredit, or audit, must make formal application to the Graduate School prior to enrolling in any graduate course work.
All applications and inquiries should be addressed to:
Graduate School and Research
109 Cordelia Camp Building
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC 28723-9022
Telephone: 828-227-7398 or 800-369-9854
The Graduate School welcomes the applications of students without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, or disability. In addition to the stated objective criteria described in the application procedure (e.g., letters of recommendation, official test scores, official transcripts, etc.), the dean of Graduate School and Research reserves the right to determine, from appropriate information, whether an applicant will be a suitable candidate for graduate studies.
The specific requirements for the various degree programs offered are outlined in subsequent sections of this catalog. All prospective applicants are urged to study these requirements carefully prior to initiating an application for acceptance to the Graduate School.
Application Procedure. All applicants to the Graduate School are required to submit the following:
- The completed application for admission (available at westerngrad.com)
- The nonrefundable $40.00 application fee
- Official copies of transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
- Required test scores for your chosen program
- Letters of recommendation (required for most programs)
- Other requirements for your chosen program (you can access The Record, Western’s Graduate Catalog, and link to the home pages of all graduate programs for additional program information at westerngrad.com)
An application is not considered complete until all required materials are received by the Graduate School. Each application is reviewed by the director of the graduate program to which the person is applying. All materials submitted become the property of the university and cannot be forwarded or returned. WCU admits students with completed applications on a rolling basis. However, the following programs have a deadline for completed applications to be submitted:
|Communication Sciences and Disorders, M.S.
|Counseling (Community), M.S.
|Counseling (School), M.A.Ed.
|Educational Leadership, Ed.D.
|Nursing, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia track
|Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner track
|Nursing, Nurse Educator track
|Nursing, Post-Graduate Nurse Educator track
|Nursing, Post-Master’s Family Nurse Anesthesia track
|Physical Therapy, M.P.T.
|Psychology (Clinical/School/General Experimental), M.A.
|Social Work, M.S.W.
Any student who is inactive for one semester (not counting summer term) must re-enroll by notifying the Graduate School in writing (email is acceptable). No application fee is required.
Any student inactive for one full year or more (example: fall semester, spring semester, and summer school) must file a new application for admission and be reevaluated for admission prior to resuming study. An application fee of $40.00 is required. This includes applicants who are re-applying for a future term after being denied admission.
Any student who receives a graduate degree from Western Carolina University and wishes to apply for additional graduate coursework will not be required to pay the application fee.
Program Changes. Students requesting to change programs, after having been accepted into a program of study, must submit the Graduate Student Request Form. The student is subject to requirements for the new program and must submit any additional credentials necessary for admission to that program.
Admission to one degree program does not guarantee admission to another degree program. A student may not be admitted to more than one program at the same time.
*Students who submit completed applications by this date will be given preference. If openings are available after this date, students submitting late applications will be considered accordingly.
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All applicants for admission to the Graduate School must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. An applicant may be required to take additional coursework to strengthen the undergraduate background.
Graduate students are required to have access to technology that meets the University computer requirements.
Categories of Admission
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Persons applying for admission to the Graduate School, if accepted, may be admitted in one of several categories as described below:
Regular Admission. Students with a complete application file, who meet the established requirements for admission to the Graduate School and their degree programs, are granted Regular Admission. To qualify for Regular Admission, a student must have earned an overall grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work, or a 2.85 on a 4.0 scale cumulatively. An applicant with a graduate degree does not have to meet the undergraduate grade point average requirement.
Provisional Admission. Some graduate programs allow applicants with a complete application file who do not meet the formal requirements for Regular Admission to be granted Provisional Admission. To move from Provisional Admission to Regular Admission, part-time students must earn at least a 3.0 GPA in their first nine semester hours of completed graduate credit; full-time students must earn at least a 3.0 GPA in their first term of full-time graduate study (nine hours or more of completed graduate level coursework). If provisionally admitted students fail to meet the requirements as stated in their letter of acceptance, the offer of admission to the Graduate School will be withdrawn.
Conditional Admission. Some graduate programs allow promising students to take courses for one semester while they are completing their application file. To gain Conditional Admission, the student must provide evidence of holding a bachelor’s degree by submitting with his or her application an unofficial transcript from a regionally accredited institution. By the end of the semester, the student who wishes to continue taking graduate courses must complete his/her application file. Once the file is complete, the student must be awarded Regular Admission, Provisional Admission, or be denied admission.
Non-degree Admission. Some programs allow students who wish to take one or more graduate courses for self-improvement, teacher licensure, or exploration of graduate degree program offerings to be granted Non-degree Admission. Such students must show evidence that they hold a bachelor’s degree by submitting an unofficial transcript from a regionally accredited institution. Persons granted non-degree status that later decide to work toward a degree must petition for regular admission. Non-degree students may request to become degree students by submitting the appropriate Graduate School form and all documents required by the program they wish to enter. Students should be aware that work completed in a special or non-degree status does not necessarily apply toward a degree, nor does being allowed to take courses imply acceptance into a degree program. If a student has taken courses in a special or non-degree status and later is formally admitted as a degree candidate, a maximum of twelve hours of the earlier coursework with grades of B or better may be transferred into a degree program. The student’s advisor, department head, and graduate dean must approve such a transfer.
Guest Matriculant. Students enrolled at other regionally accredited graduate schools may be admitted temporarily to take a limited number of graduate courses provided the deans of their graduate schools make the request for them in writing.
Undergraduates. In most cases, undergraduate students may not enroll in graduate-level courses for either undergraduate or graduate credit. Seniors may petition in writing to take courses at the 500 or 600 level only if they meet the eligibility requirements of the Graduate School. Enrollment must be approved in advance of registration, and an approved application must be on file in the Graduate School where application forms and information about eligibility are available. If the application is approved, the senior will be expected to meet the same requirements for credit that apply to graduate students regardless of other conditions that may be specified. Exceptions include participating in the Four Plus One Program and selected seniors.
International Students. International students are granted regular, provisional, special, nondegree, or guest matriculant admission to the Graduate School as appropriate in each case. Western Carolina University is authorized under Federal law to enroll non-immigrant students.
In addition to the application form, application processing fee (waived for exchange students), test scores (GRE, GMAT or other tests required of the program), letters of recommendation, and transcripts as specified for each program. International students must have their transcripts and full course descriptions translated into English and evaluated by a recognized credential evaluation service. International applicants from countries where English is not the primary language must submit a minimum score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and provide a statement of financial responsibility. It is expected that international students will not begin graduate study until the admission process is completed and the student has met all admission conditions except prerequisite coursework requirements, if any.
The International Student Advisor assists international students with their transition to a U.S. university culture in a western North Carolina community by providing and sponsoring orientation programming, visa issuance and counseling, international activities, and community outreach activities. For more information, contact 828-227-7494.
Since several months may be required to receive and process applications from abroad, international students are urged to submit complete information as early as possible, and no later than the appropriate deadlines for the intended program.
In the case of programs without deadlines application deadlines for international students are as follows: April 1 for fall term and September 1 for spring term.
The specific requirements for the various degree programs are outlined below. The major department also may require and consider other information such as recommendations, experience, and personal interviews.
Master of Accountancy Degree
To be eligible for consideration, applicants must present a satisfactory score on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). A minimum GMAT score of 450 is recommended. In addition, applicants must present an undergraduate GPA sufficient to demonstrate an acceptable probability of success in graduate level studies.
In addition to the preceding requirements, the following course prerequisites must be satisfactorily completed: three semester hours of intermediate accounting; three semester hours of income tax accounting; three semester hours of statistics; three semester hours of management principles; three semester hours of microeconomics; three semester hours of financial management. Prerequisites are normally met by coursework, but satisfactory examination results may be considered.
Two letters of recommendation are required. Personal interviews may be requested.
Master of Arts and Master of Science Degrees
Applicants for degrees in history, applied mathematics, biology, chemistry, English, TESOL, and music must have an average grade of B or higher as defined by the major department in upper-level undergraduate courses in the major. For communication sciences and disorders, community counseling, human resources, and psychology, a B average calculated for the last two years overall is required. A personal interview may be requested by some departments. A writing sample (such as an undergraduate paper) is required for the M.A. in English. Applicants to the M.A. program in history are encouraged to submit a writing sample (such as undergraduate paper).
The General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations is required for American history, applied mathematics, biology, chemistry, communication sciences and disorders, community counseling, English, human resources, music, psychology, science and entrepreneurship, and technology.
Applicants for the M.S. in science and entrepreneurship must hold a bachelor’s degree in science from an accredited college or university with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. Applicants for the M.S. in technology must hold a bachelor’s degree in an engineering, engineering technology, or industrial technology program with an average grade of B or higher as defined by the department in upper-level undergraduate courses in the major. Prerequisites for admission to the program for graduates of other curricula include a minimum of 16 hours of undergraduate work in four different technical areas. Students must demonstrate computer competency prior to completion of six semester hours of the program. Students who lack this experience must complete an advisor-approved computer class.
Three recommendations (forms are available from the Graduate School) from former instructors who are in a position to judge the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study are required for all programs.
Master of Arts in Education Degrees
Applicants for all M.A.Ed. programs must submit a satisfactory score on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations. All programs require three recommendations from former instructors or employers who are in a position to judge the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study.
Applicants must meet the requirements for admission based on the admissions test and an undergraduate grade point average for the last sixty hours of the baccalaureate program.
Applicants must hold or be eligible to hold a North Carolina Class A teaching license, or a comparable license from another state, in the chosen field unless admission is sought to certain programs in which licensure is not a factor.
Applicants for the M.A.Ed. in Comprehensive Education-English and in Community College Teaching - English must submit a writing sample (such as an undergraduate paper).
Applicants for the M.A.Ed. in Comprehensive Education-Music must contact the Music Department to conduct an interview or schedule an audition.
Applicants for the M.A.Ed. in Educational Supervision (Curriculum-Instruction and Instructional Technology Specialist-Computer concentrations) must have one of their three letters of recommendation come from a building administrator familiar with the applicant’s teaching; must successfully complete an interview and a spontaneous writing assignment; and must have at least three years of teaching experience prior to admission.
Applicants for the M.A.Ed. in Educational Supervision (International Studies concentration) may be required to provide a satisfactory score on the TOEFL and a satisfactory score on an examination similar to the Graduate Record Examinations. They must also successfully complete an interview with program faculty.
Master of Arts in Teaching Degree
Applicants must have a grade point average of B or higher on all upper-level undergraduate coursework and a satisfactory score on the GRE. Three letters of recommendation from persons who are in a position to judge the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study and potential as a graduate-level classroom teacher are required. A personal interview is required.
Applicants for the M.A.T. in Comprehensive Education concentration in Art must submit a letter of intent to the department head and a portfolio of their work. Applicants for the M.A.T. in Comprehensive Education concentration in English must submit a writing sample (such as an undergraduate paper). Applicants for the M.A.T. in Comprehensive Education concentration in Music must contact the Music Department to conduct an interview or schedule an audition.
In addition, candidates must have an undergraduate degree in the major of the concentration and must meet the prerequisite requirements of the department housing the concentration. Candidates with an undergraduate degree in a major other than the M.A.T. concentration may not qualify for the M.A.T. and are subject to prerequisite course requirements as determined by the faculty in the department of the concentration. Prerequisite requirements will vary by department and depend on the credentials presented by the candidate.
Master of Business Administration Degree
To be eligible for consideration, applicants must present a satisfactory score on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and an undergraduate GPA sufficient to meet formula requirements. Two letters of recommendation are required and personal interviews may be requested.
In addition to meeting the formula requirements, the following foundation courses must be satisfactorily completed for full admission into the M.B.A. program: MBA 500, 505, 510, 515, 520, 525. Applicants who have completed appropriate coursework at the undergraduate level, with a grade of C or higher may be eligible to substitute that coursework for some or all of the listed foundation courses.
In order to enroll in or audit 600-level courses in the College of Business, a student must be fully and unconditionally admitted to a graduate degree program.
Master of Construction Management Degree
The Master of Construction Management degree program is an online, World Wide Web-based program designed primarily to assist those involved with managing construction projects. To be eligible for consideration, applicants must present a satisfactory score on either the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and an undergraduate GPA sufficient to meet formula minimums for the Graduate School. Letters of recommendation are required; a current resume is required with the application; interviews may be requested. Computer literacy is a necessary prerequisite.
In addition to meeting the formula requirements, the following course prerequisites must be satisfactorily completed for admission to the M.C.M. program: PM 500, 505, and 515, or the equivalent. This prerequisite background may be obtained in the student’s undergraduate coursework, or the courses may be taken online from WCU prior to starting 600-level graduate courses.
Students must be fully and unconditionally admitted to the M.C.M. program in order to enroll in any 600-level CM courses.
Master of Education Degree
Applicants for the M.Ed. in College Student Personnel must have an average grade of B or higher as defined by the major department in upper-level undergraduate courses in the major.
The General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations is required.
Three recommendations (forms are available from the Graduate School) from former instructors who are in a position to judge the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study are required.
A written statement of professional goals and interest in the College Student Personnel program and a personal interview are required.
Master of Entrepreneurship Degree
The Master of Entrepreneurship program requires 30 semester hours consisting of ENT 601, 610, 620, 630, 640, 650, 660, 670, 675, and 682.
Admission Requirements: Applicants must present a minimum score of 400 on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or an equivalent minimum score on the Graduate Records Examinations (GRE).
Master of Fine Arts in Fine Arts Degree
The M.F.A. in Fine Arts is a terminal degree and requires 60 semester hours of graduate study. The M.F.A. will offer three options: (a) Two Dimensional Studio, (b) Three Dimensional Studio, and (c) Integrated Media Studio. Studio facility coordinators in each area will advise and manage student coursework towards completion of the degree.
Admission Requirements. All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and have a minimum of 3.00 GPA in the major. They must have an undergraduate background appropriate for graduate study in the proposed field. They must have the equivalent of 18 credit hours of undergraduate art history/philosophy of art. They must have completed 50 credit hours of undergraduate studio, including 24 credit hours of concentrated study or equivalent portfolio-assessed experience. Candidates must commit to full-time study.
Candidates must provide within the application a minimum of two letters of recommendation from former instructors or professionals in the field, a letter of intent expressing the individual’s goal in pursuing the M.F.A. degree, a portfolio of 20 recent works, and an official transcript from the undergraduate institution. A personal interview is suggested.
Degree Requirements. The program leading to the M.F.A. in Fine Arts requires a minimum of 60 semester hours including 30 credit hours in the professional studio core, 9 credit hours of studio criticism, 9 credit hours of seminar on contemporary issues, 3 credit hours of community service, 3 credit hours of professional preparation, and 6 credit hours of thesis exhibition.
No more than 12 semester hours of credit may be granted for work previously completed at the master’s level.
Candidates must pass an oral examination and provide a written defense of a solo thesis exhibition.
Master of Health Sciences Degree
Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of B or higher in all upper-level undergraduate coursework.
Applicants must present satisfactory scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical portions of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations.
Three recommendations from former instructors or employers who are in a position to judge the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study are required. (Forms are available from the Graduate School.)
Master of Music Degree
Applicants for the M.M. in music must have an undergraduate degree in music, perform an audition in the principal area of applied music, and demonstrate or document piano proficiency.
Master of Physical Therapy Degree
To qualify for Regular Admission, applicants are expected to have completed a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 semester hours of coursework. Satisfactory scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations are required.
Applicants are required to write an essay on a topic specified by faculty of the Department of Physical Therapy and demonstrate an understanding of the scope of physical therapy practice by volunteer or paid experience with a licensed physical therapist. In addition, applicants must have completed the following courses prior to admission: 6-8 semester hours of human anatomy and physiology; 6-8 semester hours of general chemistry; 6-8 semester hours of general physics; 3 semester hours of statistics; and 6 semester hours of social sciences. All science courses must include laboratory components.
Three letters of recommendation are required, including one from a physical therapist and one from a teacher qualified to evaluate undergraduate academic success and potential for graduate study.
International applicants must submit a minimum score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and have their transcripts and full course descriptions translated into English and evaluated by a recognized credential evaluation service.
Applicants must have successfully completed all outstanding pre-requisite courses prior to enrolling in physical therapy courses. The department accepts only full-time students. Criminal background checks may be required for clinical internships.
The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Graduation from an accredited program is prerequisite for licensure as a physical therapist in North Carolina and other states in the United States. Additional information about the program’s accreditation is available through the department or the American Physical Therapy Association.
Master of Project Management Degree
The Master of Project Management degree program is an online, World Wide Web-based program designed primarily to assist those involved with project management initiatives.
To be eligible for consideration, applicants must present a satisfactory score on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and an undergraduate GPA sufficient to meet formula minimums. Letters of recommendation are required; a current resume is required with the application; interviews may be requested. Computer literacy is a necessary prerequisite.
After admission to the program, the following course prerequisites (or their equivalents) must be satisfactorily completed for admission to PM 650: PM 500, 505, and 515. This prerequisite background may be obtained in the student’s undergraduate coursework, or the courses may be taken online from WCU prior to starting PM 650. Students must be fully and unconditionally admitted to the M.P.M. program in order to enroll in any 500-level PM course.
Master of Public Affairs Degree
Applicants must have an average grade of B or higher the last two years of undergraduate study in the major. The Graduate Record Examinations General Test is required, and a personal interview may be requested. Prerequisite work may be required of applicants having an inadequate background for the M.P.A.
Master of School Administration Degree
Applicants must hold or be eligible to hold a North Carolina Class A teaching license or a comparable license from another state. They must have an average grade of B or higher during the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate study and submit satisfactory scores on either the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations or The Millers Analogy Test (MAT). Applicants must have three years of successful teaching or equivalent experience and must present a portfolio that includes professional achievements, a vision for improved schools in the next century, and a self-assessment of readiness for a career in school administration. Applicants will be interviewed by program faculty and local school administrators. An impromptu writing activity will also be required.
Three letters of recommendation from employers or former instructors who are in a position to judge the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study and potential as a school administrator are required. One recommendation must be from the current immediate supervisor.
Master of Science in Nursing Degree
Applicants for the Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator tracks must possess a B.S.N. from a regionally accredited college or university and a nationally accredited nursing program with at least a 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work or a 2.85 on a 4.00 scale cumulatively. They must present a satisfactory score on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and have completed an undergraduate or graduate level statistics course and a course in research methods. They must be a registered nurse eligible for licensure to practice in North Carolina and have a minimum of one year of clinical nursing experience within the past five years. They must also submit three professional references, including one from a current or recent employer. Applicants must submit a completed application and may be required to participate in an interview session that includes a written exercise. Applicants who are admitted to the program must own or have access to a computer with Internet service. Computer literacy is a necessary prerequisite. Meeting minimum requirements for admission does not guarantee acceptance into a program.
Nurse Anesthesia Program applicants must possess a B.S.N. from a regionally accredited college or university, and nationally accredited (National League for Nursing-NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) nursing program. Applicants must submit an application for admission to the Graduate School, including official copies of transcripts from all college/universities attended showing an overall grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. They must present a satisfactory score on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and have completed undergraduate or graduate courses in basic statistics and research. Three professional references are required as well as a personal interview. Must possess Basic, Pediatric, and Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification (BCS-PALS-ACLS) and licensure or eligibility for licensure as a professional nurse in North Carolina. Applicants must have at least one year of acute care experience as a registered nurse with emphasis placed on interpretation and use of advanced monitoring, ventilatory care, fine psychomotor skills, and independent decision making. Appropriate experiences include: Surgical Intensive Care, Medical Intensive Care, Cardiac Intensive Care, Pediatric or Neonatal Intensive Care.
Master of Science in Sport Management Degree
Applicants for the Master of Science in Sport Management degree must have an average grade of “B” or higher as defined by the major department in upper-level undergraduate courses in their undergraduate major. A minimum percentile score of 25 on all three sections of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations is required for applicants.
Each applicant must submit a letter of intent and three letters of recommendation with at least two from former instructors who are in a position to judge the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study. Upon completion of the admissions procedures, potential students will be contacted for an interview.
Master of Social Work Degree
The Master of Social Work degree program prepares graduates for advanced generalist practice as social work practitioners, consultants, supervisors, administrators, and other leadership roles in their communities. The two-year program requires 60-66 hours of graduate coursework including 960 field practicum hours. The total number of required hours depends on whether the student qualifies to take and successfully pass waiver exams for SOCW 534 and 535.
All applicants will be required to submit satisfactory GRE scores and have adequate undergraduate preparation (18 semester hours) with a range of studies in the liberal arts, humanities, physical sciences, diversity, and behavioral sciences. Some Human Services related experience, including volunteer work is also required.
Post-master Certificate Program
A post-master certificate program to prepare the nurse in the advanced practice role of a Family Nurse Practitioner is also available. Applicants must meet admission requirements as outlined in the Master of Science in Nursing Program. In addition, applicants must have graduated from a nationally accredited masters program in nursing. The GRE score requirement is waived.
Education Specialist Degree
Applicants for the Ed.S. in educational leadership must hold the master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and are expected to hold graduate licensure at the fifth-year level in school administration or supervision. Applicants who hold graduate licensure at the fifth-year level in a teaching field may be admitted with the provision that all requirements for the fifth-year level in school administration or supervision become an integral component of the Ed.S. program.
Applicants must submit scores on the Graduate Record Examinations General Test and three recommendations from former instructors and/or administrative superiors who are in a position to judge the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study. Applicants will be interviewed by program faculty.
Doctor of Education Degree
Students in the Doctor of Education Program select one of three concentrations: (1) Community College/Higher Education; (2) Curriculum and Instruction; or (3) Educational Administration. Admission requirements for each concentration follow:
Community College/Higher Education
- Master’s degree in administration from an accredited institution of higher education. If the master’s degree is not in administration, the student may be required to take pre-requisites.
Curriculum and Instruction
- Master’s degree
- Principal/superintendent licensure, C&I licensure, and/or extensive leadership experience
- Minimum 3 years teaching experience
- Master’s degree
- Principal licensure
- Preferred administrative experience
Doctoral students in the Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Administration concentrations may be recommended for advanced licensure if they fulfill program requirements. The options for licensure include:
- Curriculum and Instruction: Curriculum and Instructional Specialist and/or Superintendent
- Educational Administration: Superintendent
The Ed.D. requires a minimum of sixty hours beyond the masters and a minimum of 30 semester hours in the degree must be earned from WCU. For students in the Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Administration concentrations, admissions without the appropriate master’s degree will be conditional, with the individual expected to complete either a master’s degree program or prescribed coursework prior to being admitted as a candidate for the Ed.D. Applicants possessing the Ed.S. degree or credits toward the Ed.S. degree may have coursework that can reduce the number of hours required for the doctoral program. These applicants will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and individual programs will be developed.
Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.5 on all previous graduate work and satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examinations.
Applicants who meet the described criteria will be interviewed by an admission committee of Educational Leadership and Foundations department faculty. The committee will assess such things as writing and communication skills, commitment to pursuing a career as an educational leader, the capacity for further graduate study, and the potential for a leadership role in schools. Applicants will complete a writing exercise at the time of the interview. Additional information and materials may be requested.
Foreign Language Requirement
A reading knowledge of a foreign language is required of candidates for the Master of Arts degrees in history and English. Other degree programs do not require proficiency in a foreign language.
A comprehensive examination is required for most degree programs. The examination may be written or oral or both. The specific requirement for each program is stated in the degree outline.
The comprehensive examination shall be administered by the appropriate department at least two weeks before the end of the semester in which the student expects to receive a degree. Written notice of the results of the examination shall be given to the Graduate School at least ten days prior to commencement.
Failure of a student to pass the oral or written comprehensive examination terminates the student’s graduate work in that program unless otherwise recommended by the departmental committee. Only one reexamination will be permitted. All committee actions may be appealed by written application to the dean of Graduate School and Research.
A thesis is required in the master of arts and master of science degree programs for History (excluding non-thesis option and public history option), biology, chemistry, English (excluding non-thesis option), clinical psychology, and school psychology. A thesis is optional for the master of arts in music; however, a lecture/recital is required. A thesis may be accepted for some degree programs leading to the master of arts in education, the master of health sciences, the master of science in applied mathematics, the master of science in communication disorders, and the master of science in nursing.
A thesis proposal approved by the student’s thesis committee, major department, or program director, and the dean of Graduate School and Research must be on file in the Graduate School. The proposal cover sheet can be downloaded from the Graduate School website at http://www.wcu.edu/1169.asp. If the student’s research involves either human or animal subjects, the protocol must be approved by either the Institutional Review Board (for human subjects) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (for other live vertebrates) before the thesis proposal can be approved. IRB instructions and forms can be found at http://www.wcu.edu/research/R_comm_IRB_2.htm.
An unbound copy free of errors must be submitted to the dean of Graduate School and Research at least four weeks before the commencement ceremony at which the degree is to be conferred. The student’s major department will guide the preparation of the thesis and inform the student as to when final copies of the thesis are due to be filed with the Graduate School. A thesis guide to help students prepare their thesis is available from the Graduate School. The guide can also be found online at www.wcu.edu/graduate/. After the thesis has been read for format by Graduate School personnel, it will be returned to the student for changes and for signatures from committee members; the student will then make at least four original copies on required thesis paper. Students may use the WCU Print Shop or any comparable printing service to make copies. Upon approval, four copies must be presented to the library for binding at the student’s expense. The student may also have extra copies bound by the Hunter Library at cost. You must submit the binding receipt from the library to the Graduate School prior to commencement.
Students should contact the Graduate School for additional information prior to submitting their theses.
The thesis, in its final form, must be approved by the student’s major department and the dean of Graduate School and Research before a candidate can receive the graduate degree.
A dissertation is required for the Ed.D. in educational leadership. A dissertation proposal approved by the student’s doctoral committee and the dean of Graduate School and Research must be on file before the student can register for EDL 899. If the student’s research involves human subjects, the protocol must be approved by the Institutional Review Board before the dissertation proposal can be approved.
Policy on Completion of Thesis and Dissertation
Students who have completed their coursework and the number of thesis/dissertation hours for credit required in their graduate degree program must take action as follows:
- Students who will continue to use university resources in completing their degrees must enroll in and pay tuition and fees for two hours of continuing completion of thesis/dissertation credit in their discipline each semester (e.g., ART 799, BIOL 799, EDL 799 [thesis] or 999 [dissertation] etc.— Continuing Research). These hours will not count toward the degree and carry a different course number than those thesis and dissertation courses that are included within the hours designated for the degree.
- Students who will not use university resources should apply for a leave of absence. Students choosing this option must file a formal petition for a leave of absence that states that they will not use university resources during the leave period. Individual institutions may require students granted a leave of absence to reapply for active status in the graduate program.
- Students who write dissertations are expected to defend their work during oral examinations.
Students who are in a non-thesis program who have completed all degree requirements with the exception of a comprehensive examination, the removal of an Incomplete grade, etc., must register for the 779 course in their discipline (Continuing Research - Non-Thesis Option) each semester that they continue to use university resources.
Graduation and Licensure
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Application for Graduation. Degree-seeking students must file an application in their department or with their advisor the semester prior to their graduation date. (Forms for this purpose may be found online at www.westerngrad.com). A required $30 graduation fee must be submitted before the student can be cleared for graduation.
Graduation Attendance. Candidates for degrees are required to be present at the commencement exercises in the prescribed academic dress. Requests for exceptions to this policy should be addressed to the registrar.
Enrollment. All students must be enrolled for credit during the semester in which they complete their graduate work or are scheduled to receive their degrees.
Licensure. It is the responsibility of the student to apply for an initial North Carolina teacher license or to upgrade an existing North Carolina license by contacting the licensure specialist in Killian Building, Room 219, at the beginning of the final semester.
For current fees and licensure forms, consult http://www.ncpublicschools.org/licensure/.
Clinical and Field Experiences in Programs Leading to Professional Education Licensure by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
The goal of professional education clinical and field experiences is to assist students in professional licensure programs to help all of the pupils with whom they work to achieve at high levels of performance. Although each clinical and field experience requirement has its own specific purpose and placement procedures, the strategies to achieve this goal are stated below:
- Field experience placements are made so that students have the opportunity to work with qualified educators in successful programs.
- Field experience placements are made so that students have the opportunity to work with diverse learners.
- Field experience placements are made in collaboration with B-12 school personnel.
- Field experience placements are made to facilitate appropriate supervision of students.
Courses of study leading to certificates are available in community college administration, English (Professional Writing and TESOL), entrepreneurship, gerontology, health sciences, human resources, nursing, and project management. Interested students should contact the respective department for more information.
Graduate students are eligible to study for a semester and/or summer, with advisor approval, in 37 countries world wide through the following programs administered by the Office of International Programs and Services: the University of North Carolina Exchange Program (UNC-EP), the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), and several Western Carolina University exchanges. Graduate students pay Western Carolina University tuition and fees to WCU and comparable room and board charges to the host institution. Financial aid assists students with study abroad costs and scholarships are available through external grant agencies. Summer programs including intensive language courses and internships are available through many of our overseas partners and financial aid, grants, and scholarships are available. For more information call 828-227-7494.
Summer abroad programs by Western Carolina University faculty are handled by the Division of Educational Outreach at 828-227-7397.
Changes in Requirements and Regulations
Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of statements in this catalog to the extent they could be known at press time. However, changes in, or elimination of, provisions contained herein on any and all matters, including courses, course descriptions, designations of faculty, fees and other charges, admissions and degree requirements, and academic policies and procedures, may be made and applied before the next catalog publication occurs. All rules and regulations pertaining to graduate students are maintained in the Graduate School and may be reviewed there.
The policies, rules, regulations, and requirements of the Graduate School are intended to promote quality and excellence in the graduate program and to assist students to progress in a steady and orderly way toward the achievement of their academic and professional goals. It is recognized that graduate students may enter their graduate studies with various academic experiences; thus, exceptions to these policies, rules, regulations, and requirements may be considered when, in the opinion of the appropriate faculty and the Graduate School, a change will enhance the student’s program of study, and when the objectives and quality of the individual student’s program of study and the standards of the Graduate School will not be compromised.