ARCHIVED 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog 
    May 23, 2018  
ARCHIVED 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate School Admission Requirements

All Graduate students must apply to the Graduate School and meet Graduate School admission requirements as well as any program-specific admission requirements.


Admissions and Application Procedure


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 should be submitted online ( and inquiries should be addressed to:

Graduate School and Research
110 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:

  • Graduate School Requirements:
    • The completed online application for admission (
    • The nonrefundable $45.00 application fee
    • Official copies of transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
    • Names and contact information of three recommenders
    • International Applicants must also submit a third-party transcript evaluation verifying degree conferral and an acceptable TOEFL score (see information in this catalog for more specific requirements for international applicants)
  • Program-Specific Requirements:
    • The Graduate School verifies receipt of required materials for all programs.  Programs will not review applications until all materials are received and the application is complete.  Please familiarize yourself with your program’s specific requirements, detailed in this section of the catalog and online.  These materials often include:
      •  Required standardized test scores (GRE, GMAT, etc.)
      • Letters of recommendation (most programs require between one and three letters)
      • Supplementary materials (writing sample, resume, goal statement, etc.)

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:

Art, M.F.A.   March 1*
Communication Sciences and Disorders, M.S.   February 15*
Counseling (Community), M.S.   February 1
Counseling (School), M.A.Ed.   February 1
Educational Leadership, Ed.D.   February 1
Human Resources, M.S.   April 1 (Fall admission)
November 1 (Spring admission)
Nursing, M.S.   February 15*
Nursing, Nurse Administrator  

April 15 (Fall admission)
October 15 (Spring admission)

Nursing, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia track   June 15
Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner track   April 15
Nursing, Nurse Educator track  

April 15 (Fall admission)
October 15 (Spring admission)

Nursing, Post-Graduate Nurse Educator track   February 15
Nursing, Post-Master’s Family Nurse Anesthesia track   February 15
Physical Therapy, M.P.T.   February 1*
Psychology (Clinical/School/General Experimental), M.A.   February 1*
School Administration, M.S.A.  

April 15 (Summer admission)
July 1 (Fall admission)
November 15 (Spring admission)

Social Work, M.S.W.   February 1

*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. Students are expected to be continuously enrolled during regular semesters (fall/spring) while completing their program of study. If enrollment is not continuous, students are not guaranteed re-admittance into the program of study.

Any student who is not enrolled continuously (i.e. inactive for one or more regular — fall/spring — semesters) must submit a re-enrollment form (to request reinstatement as an active student), available online at . All time limits apply for course work taken, and the student is subject to the catalog term of original acceptance (unless a catalog change is approved by the program director and the Dean of the Graduate School). Students who will not use university resources can 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. Students must submit a re-enrollment form upon returning after an approved leave of absence.

All students must be enrolled for credit during the semester in which they complete their graduate work or are scheduled to receive their degrees. This enrollment requirement includes the summer session.

Any graduate of a WCU graduate degree program (Masters, Education Specialist, or Ed.D.) who wishes to pursue additional graduate course work or another graduate degree must apply to the Graduate School for that program or course work.  After submission of the application, the applicant may request a refund of the application fee.

Program Changes. Students requesting to change programs, after having been accepted into a program of study, must request the change in writing (email 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.

Graduate School Admission Requirements


Admission to any graduate program at WCU requires admission to the Graduate School. Graduate students are required to have access to technology that meets the University computer requirements.

Degree Requirements
Applicants for admission to the Graduate School are expected to hold a bachelor’s-level degree from a regionally accredited college or university by the time they begin their program of study. Certain programs may require specific degrees or coursework as a requirement for admission (see Program Admission Requirements for individual programs). An applicant may be required to take additional coursework as either co-requisites or pre-requisites to strengthen or supplement the undergraduate background.

At the time of application, all degree-seeking applicants must submit official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended. Applicants who have not yet completed their undergraduate degree may be offered regular, provisional, or conditional admission. Failure to produce the proper credentials (final official transcript verifying conferral of a baccalaureate-level degree) during the first semester of admission will result in a withdrawal of the offer of admission, withdrawal from all current classes, a registration hold being placed upon the student’s record, and
forfeiture of tuition and fees (see Fees, Expenses, Financial Aid – Refund Policies) .

As part of the online application, the Graduate School requires submission of the names and contact information of three references.  Most programs require letters from all three recommenders. However, even if a program does not require any recommendation letters, the Graduate School requires the name and contact information of three recommenders.  This requirement applies to all Graduate School applicants (including non-degree applicants).

Program-Specific Admission Requirements


Individual programs establish requirements specific to the program of study and may include letters of recommendation, admissions test scores (GRE, GMAT, MAT, etc.), writing samples, proof of licensure, and/or specific prior course work or degrees (see Degree Program Admission Requirements).

Program-specific admission requirements are detailed within each program elsewhere in this catalog in Graduate Programs by Degree 

International Applicants


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 001-828-227-7494 or email Exchange students need to contact the international office at their university for more details concerning exchange student application requirements, which are not the same as those below.

Transcript Requirements
 In addition to the application form, application processing fee, 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. A document-level transcript evaluation verifying baccalaureate-level degree must be submitted to the Graduate School directly from an approved third-party transcript evaluator. Programs may require course-level transcript evaluation for admission and/or transfer credit requests.

TOEFL and Language Proficiency
TOEFL scores are required for applicants from countries where English is not the primary language. 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).  This requirement is waived for applicants who have successfully completed WCU’s Intensive English Program (IEP).

Financial Responsibility
International applicants must 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. 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. Additional details regarding international applications may be found in Categories of Admissions – International Students.

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.

Categories of Admission


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. Applicants may apply to the Graduate School for admission as a non-degree graduate student. Applications for non-degree admission must include a transcript (official or unofficial) from a regionally accredited institution showing conferral of a baccalaureate-level degree. Some programs allow non-degree students to take one or more graduate courses for self-improvement or exploration of graduate degree program offerings. However, a program may restrict enrollment into classes to degree-seeking students within its program. Check with the program director or academic department head to determine if the program allows non-degree students to be enrolled in a specific class. Non-degree graduate students who wish to be considered for admission into a graduate degree program may do so by notifying the Graduate School in writing of the request (email and submitting  to the Graduate School all documents required by the program. Students should be aware that work completed in a 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 non-degree status and later is formally admitted as a degree candidate, the program may require additional coursework. Admission as a non-degree graduate student does not guarantee admission into a graduate degree program. Non-degree students may not request transfer of credit. See Transfer Credit Policy under Credit Policies, Academic Regulations  for information about transferring credit from another institution to WCU.

Transient Admission. Transient students are graduate students pursuing a degree at another institution who wish to enroll in courses at WCU as part of their program requirements from the other institution. A transient admission application requires submission of a transcript (official or unofficial) from a regionally accredited institution showing conferral of a baccalaureate-level degree. All other non-degree status regulations apply.

Undergraduates. In most cases, WCU undergraduate students may not enroll in WCU graduate-level courses. WCU undergraduates may petition in writing to take a graduate course (500 or 600 level only) if they meet the eligibility requirements of the Graduate School (i.e. they must have a baccalaureate-level degree from WCU or another regionally-accredited institution). Enrollment must be approved in advance of registration. If the request is approved, the undergraduate 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 students participating in a Four-Plus-One Program. Some undergraduate courses may be cross listed with graduate courses to allow undergraduates exposure to course content. 

International Students. International students are granted regular, provisional, special, nondegree, or transient admission to the Graduate School as appropriate in each case. Western Carolina University is authorized under Federal law to enroll non-immigrant students.