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Western Carolina University    
 
    
 
  Nov 23, 2017
 
ARCHIVED 2013-2014 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 Procedures

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 (grad.wcu.edu) and inquiries should be addressed to grad@wcu.edu or:

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 Procedures. All applicants to the Graduate School are required to submit the following:

Graduate School Requirements:

The completed online application for admission (grad.wcu.edu), the nonrefundable application fee and official copies of transcripts from all colleges/universities attended and International Applicants must also submit a third-party transcript evaluation verifying degree conferral and an acceptable TOEFL or IELTS score (see information in this catalog for more specific requirements for international applicants). We recommend a course-by-course evaluation to provide programs with the most comprehensive academic information possible.

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 on the Graduate Degree Programs website.  These materials often include required standardized test scores (GRE, GMAT, etc.), letters of recommendation (most programs require between one and three letters), and supplementary materials (writing sample, resume, goal statement, etc.)

Application and Admission Deadline. In order to be considered for admission, the Graduate School must be in receipt of all required application materials before the Monday one week prior to the first week of the application term. Some programs have an earlier application deadline than the Graduate School (see the Dates & Deadlines for Graduate School Admission and Graduate Degree Programs web pages for current information). The admission process must be completed by the end of the last business day before the start of the term in order to register for that term.

An application is not considered complete for review until all required materials are received by the Graduate School. Graduate programs review applications for their program and make an admission recommendation to the Graduate School. Applications for non-degree admission are reviewed by the Graduate School. All submitted application materials become the property of the university and cannot be forwarded or returned.

International applicants to programs without specific deadlines, complete applications must be received by the deadlines posted online on the WCU Graduate School Admission Requirements web page.

Stop Out or Leave of Absence. Any student who has not yet registered for a given term, and who needs to take time off from school without losing catalog rights or registration eligibility, can either take a “Stop-Out” (for one to two terms of leave) or a “Leave of Absence” (for three terms of leave).

Students may take one or two terms of leave called a “Stop-Out” without declaring a leave of absence with the Office of the Registrar. Students are eligible to register the following semester. A Leave of Absence may be granted upon request to those who are eligible to register for a term, but have not yet done so. They can be taken for up to one full year (three terms). Note that students requesting a Leave of Absence will be required to reapply online and pay the fees to be reinstated (see table below). Students who are pursuing a Graduate degree or a postgraduate credential program need to complete the Stop Out or Leave of Absence Form and obtain program approval signified by signatures of the Program Director or Department Head, in order to take the educational leave.

Readmission. Before interrupting enrollment, students should become familiar with potential ramifications that an absence in enrollment may have in terms of their ability to return or to complete a specific program of study. Any graduate student, who takes a Leave of Absence and is inactive for three or more consecutive terms, including summer, must reapply online at grad.wcu.edu and pay the reapplication fee to be considered for reinstatement as an active student. This policy impacts all programs, even those that do not require continuous summer enrollment. All time limits apply for course work taken, and the student is subject to the catalog term in effect at the time of readmission unless a catalog change is approved by the Program Director and the Dean of the Graduate School. Any graduate student who is inactive for three or more consecutive semesters, including summer, must reapply online at grad.wcu.edu and pay the reapplication fee to be considered for reinstatement as an active student. All time limits apply for course work taken, and the student is subject to the catalog term in effect at the time of readmission unless a catalog change is approved by the Program Director and the Dean of the Graduate School.

Fall

Spring

Summer

Fall

Spring

Summer

Fall

Enrolled

Not Enrolled

Not Enrolled

Not Enrolled

Reapply

 

 

 

Enrolled

Not Enrolled

Not Enrolled

Not Enrolled

Reapply

 

 

 

Enrolled

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Not Enrolled

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 Students whose enrollment is terminated for academic reasons should consult the description of the procedures outlined in the “Academic Dismissal Policy” section of this catalog.

Any graduate of a WCU graduate degree program (Master’s, Education Specialist, Specialist in School Psychology. Doctor of Education or Doctor of Physical Therapy) who wishes to pursue additional graduate course work or another graduate degree at WCU 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 who are currently enrolled in a graduate program of study or are enrolled as a non-degree seeking student may wish to request a change in program. In such cases, the student must complete a new application through the Apply Yourself online system and supply any additional materials as required by the prospective program. Any required application materials (transcripts, GRE scores, etc) that the Graduate School already has on file can be used. The student will be refunded their fee for this application.

Once the new application has been submitted, it will be reviewed under standard admissions processes. The student will be notified via email when a decision is made and asked to accept the admission offer if one is made. When the student accepts the offer of admission, the student’s record will be changed accordingly.

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.

Transcripts. At the time of application, all applicants must submit official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended. Applicants who have not yet completed their undergraduate degree may be offered regular 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 registration hold being placed upon the student’s record.

Recommendations. The recommendations required as part of the online application vary from program to program. Please check your program’s specific application requirements in the Degree Program Admission Requirements section of this catalog or on the Graduate Degree Programs page online.

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.

International Applicants

It is expected that international applicants will not begin graduate study until the admission process is completed and the applicant 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.

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 copedo@email.wcu.edu. 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.

International Applicant Transcript Requirement. In addition to the electronic application form, application processing fee, test scores (GRE, GMAT or other tests required of the program), letters of recommendation, and official transcripts as specified for each program, International applicants must have their transcripts and full course descriptions translated into English and evaluated by an accepted 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.

A foreign transcript evaluation may be waived under the following circumstances:

  1. The international applicant is able to provide evidence that their foreign degree program and/or university meets accreditation standards for the equivalent of a four year U.S. baccalaureate degree from an accrediting organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
     
  2. A transcript evaluation by an independent expert may be acceptable in some circumstances, although prior determination of acceptability must be determined by the Dean of the Graduate School.
     
  3. An articulation agreement has been negotiated between Western Carolina University and the foreign degree program and/or degree-granting institution, indicating the program or institution meets U.S. accreditation standards for the equivalent of a four year U.S. baccalaureate degree.
     
  4. Within a year previous to the submission of the application, another foreign applicant from the same degree program at the same degree-granting institution has provided an official transcript evaluation indicating the degree is equivalent to a four year U.S. baccalaureate degree.

Tests of Language Proficiency. Official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are required for applicants from countries where English is not the primary language (scores cannot be more than 2 years old).  A minimum score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (Internet-based) is required on the TOEFL. A minimum overall band score of 6.5 is required on the IELTS, with a minimum band score of 6 on each of the four modules.

Exceptions to the English Standardized exams are available for the four categories listed below. For verification purposes applicants who qualify must request this exception for processing:

  1. Applicants from countries where English is the SOLE OFFICIAL language of instruction (Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada-except Québec, England, Ghana, Ireland, India, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad, Tobago, Uganda, and Wales)
  2. Applicants who have received or will receive a degree from an accredited university in the United States (If you are currently enrolled at a U.S. institution, you must submit an official transcript or verification of degree candidate status from that institution to qualify for a TOEFL or IELTS waiver. If the degree or an official verification is not received by the stated deadlines, the score will again be required.)
  3. Applicants who have received or will receive a degree from an accredited university where English is the SOLE language of instruction. (If you are a degree candidate in a university where English is the SOLE language of instruction, you must submit an official verification from that university that English is the SOLE language of instruction along with your anticipated date of graduation to qualify for a TOEFL or IELTS waiver. If the degree or an official verification is not received, the score will again be required.)
  4. Applicants who have successfully completed WCU’s Intensive English Program (IEP).

Financial Responsibility
International applicants must provide a statement of financial responsibility.

Application deadlines for international students applying to programs without specific deadlines are posted online on the WCU Graduate School Admission Requirements web page.

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.
     
  • Conditional Admission. Some graduate programs allow promising students, who do not meet the formal requirements for regular admission, to take courses for one semester while they are completing their application file or satisfying the conditions of their admission. To be considered for Conditional Admission, the student must provide an official transcript from a regionally accredited institution. International students should refer to the Graduate Catalog section on international Applicant Requirements. 
    • A conditionally admitted student can only attend classes for one semester while completing his/her application file. After the file is complete, the student will be considered for Regular Admission. If a conditionally admitted student fails to meet the requirements as stated in their conditional letter of acceptance, the student will not be allowed to enroll for any future terms until conditions are met.

      If a student is conditionally admitted, one or more of the following conditions may apply:
      • Must earn a GPA of 3.0 during the first term of enrollment
      • Must submit acceptable test scores
      • Must submit required letters of recommendation
      • Must submit an official, final transcript showing a conferred bachelor’s degree
         
  • Non-degree Admission. Applicants may apply to the Graduate School for admission as a non-degree graduate student. Applicants for non-degree admission must submit an official transcript from a regionally accredited institution showing conferral of a baccalaureate-level degree and 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. Please note that non-degree seeking students are not admitted to any degree program, are not eligible for financial assistance, and are not assigned to advisors.

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 following the instructions noted above in the Program Change section. 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 accept up to 9 non-degree credit hours. 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.

Non-degree Certificate Programs are exempt from this policy.

  • 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 an official transcript from a regionally accredited institution showing conferral of a baccalaureate-level degree. All other non-degree status regulations apply.
     
  • International Students. International students are granted regular, conditional, non-degree, or exchange student admission to the Graduate School as appropriate in each case. Western Carolina University is authorized under Federal law to enroll non-immigrant students.