Nov 29, 2022  
ARCHIVED 2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Degree & Program Requirements


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Programs of Study Information

The university offers programs leading to bachelor’s, master’s, education-specialist, and doctoral degrees as well as pre-professional, inter-institutional, and certification curricula. All of the bachelor’s-level programs, including the course requirements for the various majors, minors, and concentrations offered by the colleges and departments, are described in the sections that follow. Programs of interest to graduate students are presented in the graduate catalog of The Record.

Guide to Majors and Degrees

The following table lists alphabetically the university’s principal academic programs and indicates the college offering the programs. The colleges are:  Arts and Sciences (A&S); Business (BUS); Education and Allied Professions (E&AP); Fine and Performing Arts (FPA); Health and Human Sciences (HHS) and Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology (KS).


Undergraduate Major   College   Degree
Accounting   BUS   B.S.B.A.
Anthropology   A&S   B.A.
    A&S   B.S.
Art   FPA   B.A.
    A&S   B.F.A.
    E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Athletic Training   HHS   B.S.
Biology   A&S   B.S.
Birth-Kindergarten   E&AP   BS
Business Administration and Law   BUS   B.S.B.A.
Chemistry   A&S   B.S.
    A&S   B.A.
Communication   A&S   B.S.
Communication Sciences and Disorders   HHS   B.S.
Computer Information Systems   BUS   B.S.B.A.
Computer Science   A&S   B.S.
Construction Management   KS   B.S.
Criminal Justice   HHS   B.S.
Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology   KS   B.S.
Electrical Engineering   KS   B.S.E.E.
Elementary Education   E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Emergency and Disaster Management   HHS   B.S.
Emergency Medical Care   HHS   B.S.
Engineering   KS   B.S.E.
Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical Power, and Manufacturing Concentrations)   KS   B.S.E.
Engineering Technology   KS   B.S.
English   A&S   B.A.
    E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Entrepreneurship   BUS   B.S.B.A.
    BUS   B.S.
Environmental Health   HHS   B.S.
Environmental Sciences   A&S   B.S.
Finance   BUS   B.S.B.A.
Forensic Science   A&S   B.S.
French (inactive status)   A&S   B.A.
Geography (inactive status)   A&S   B.S.
Geology   A&S   B.S.
German   A&S   B.A.
    E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Health and Physical Education   E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Health Information Administration   HHS   B.S.
History   A&S   B.A.
    A&S   B.S.
Hospitality Tourism Management   BUS   B.S.
Interior Design   FPA   B.S.
International Studies   A&S   B.A.
Management   BUS   B.S.B.A.
Marketing   BUS   B.S.B.A.
Mathematics   A&S   B.S.
    E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Middle Grades Education   E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Motion Picture and Television Production   FPA   B.F.A.
Music   FPA   B.A.
    FPA   B.M.
    E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Natural Resources Conservation and Management   A&S   B.S.
Nursing   HHS   B.S.N.
Nutrition and Dietetics   HHS   B.S.
Parks and Recreation Management   E&AP   B.S.
Philosophy   A&S   B.A.
Political Science   A&S   B.A.
    A&S   B.S.
Psychology   E&AP   B.S.
Recreational Therapy   HHS   B.S.
Secondary and Special Subject Teaching   E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Science Education   E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Social Sciences   A&S   B.S.Ed.
Social Work   HHS   B.S.W.
Sociology   A&S   B.A.
    A&S   B.S.
Spanish   A&S   B.A.
    E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Special Education (General)   E&AP   B.S.Ed.
Special Studies       B.A.
Stage and Screen   FPA   B.A.
Theatre   FPA   B.F.A.

General University Degree Requirements

To be awarded a bachelor’s degree, the student must meet the following general requirements:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 120 semester hours to a maximum of 128 semester hours under requirements outlined for one of the degree programs.
  2. A minimum GPA of 2.0 on all work attempted at Western Carolina University and on all courses in the major. **
  3. A minimum of 25 percent of semester hours applied toward a bachelor’s degree must be earned through regular enrollment in Western Carolina University junior-senior level courses, including a minimum of twelve hours in junior-senior courses in the major field.
  4. Fifty percent or more of the credits in the major presented for graduation on the juniorsenior level unless the degree program being completed by the student is specifically exempted from the requirement.
  5. Be enrolled at Western the intended graduation semester or complete the form Intend to Complete Degree Requirements at Another Institution (
  6. To participate in a commencement ceremony, a student must be eligible for degree completion at the conclusion of that semester.

*: See graduate catalog for graduate degree requirements.

In addition to the minimum number of hours specified, all bachelor’s degree programs require the completion of: (1) the liberal studies program; (2) a major as prescribed by each of the departments; and (3) elective courses. Unless specifically provided for in the catalog description, credit for any course may be applied only once toward the required hours for graduation.

College/Department Degree Requirements

Majors. A major consists of a group of prescribed and elective courses (totaling at least 27 hours) providing breadth and depth in an academic discipline, in two or more closely related disciplines, or in an interdisciplinary field of study. The requirements for a major in one discipline may include supporting courses selected from other disciplines.

In degree programs that include a major of 27-45 hours, a minor, second major, or other approved program also is required.

In degree programs that do not require a minor or second major, 46-64 hours are required in a major, including any concentrations, emphases, or specialization options that may be a part of the major.

Concentrations. A concentration is a student option within a major that consists of a group of prescribed courses designed to provide preparation in a specific professional specialty within the major discipline. Ordinarily, degree programs in which the major includes a concentration do not require a minor or second major. Concentrations are required in some majors and cannot exceed 26 hours.

Minors. A minor consists of a group of prescribed and elective courses in an academic discipline, two or more closely related disciplines, an interdisciplinary field of study, or a specially designed individual program. It differs from a major principally in requiring fewer courses (16-24 semester hours) and providing less depth.

A student may not major and minor in the same field.

Second Academic Concentration. A second academic concentration is an eighteen hour course of study in an academic discipline required of education students enrolled in a B.S.Ed. program in elementary, middle grades, or physical education. The concentration areas available are the following: anthropology, art, biology, Cherokee, communication training and development, English, health promotion and wellness, history, mathematics, natural science, philosophy, political science, psychology, social sciences, sociology, Spanish, and theatre.

Second Majors. A second major, often called a double major, is completed at the student’s option by taking the course requirements specified in the major component of the applicable degree program. The hours earned in completing a second major apply to the minimum 120-128 hours required for any bachelor’s degree and do not lead to the award of a second degree. Students interested in earning a second bachelor’s degree must meet the additional requirements stated below for second degrees.

General Electives. Unless a program has been specifically exempted, each degree plan includes a minimum of twelve hours of general (free) electives. These electives are exclusive of (1) hours earned in meeting the requirements of the other components of a degree program, (2) any remedial or developmental work a student may take, and (3) elective hours that may become available to a student through application of the liberal studies waiver policy.

Waivers and Substitutions. Waivers and substitutions of courses, other degree requirements, and academic regulations may be made only with adequate cause. Exemption from, or substitutions in, requirements established by an academic department must be approved by the department head. Liberal studies requirements may be waived or altered only with the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Advising (or designee) or the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs for liberal studies. College wide requirements may be waived or altered only with the approval of the dean of the college. Waivers of, and substitutions in, university-wide regulations and requirements must be approved by the Office for Academic Affairs. All requests must be submitted to the registrar on the Waiver and Substitutions Form.

Academic Advisers. Students enter the university undeclared and are advised by a professional adviser. Upon declaring a major, students are advised by a faculty adviser in their major department.

Students Undecided About a Major. Through the Academic Advising Center, the university provides a specific program of academic advising to assist the undecided student in course selections and career decisions. When an undeclared student does select a major, the declaration or change of major/adviser procedures should be observed.

Policy on Declaring a Major. Freshmen students are encouraged to declare a major at any time, but must declare a major prior to completion of forty-five (45) credit hours. Transfer students with forty-five (45) or more credit hours must declare a major prior to registration for their second semester. To encourage students to comply with the stated policy, a “hold” will be placed on registration until the student officially declares a major.

Declaration or Change of Major/Adviser Procedure. A student who decides to declare or change a major must complete the declaration process in order to be assigned a new adviser in the appropriate department and to change the official records of the university. The student secures the declaration form from the present adviser or department head and completes the procedure by following the instructions on the form. The new program of study should appear on the next transcript that is issued after the completed form has been submitted to the registrar.

Curricular Checksheets. Departments maintain a supply of curricular checksheets on each of their degree programs. Students should secure copies of the sheets for their programs to use as a supplementary aid in complying with catalog requirements. However, in the event of a conflict between requirements as listed on a checksheet and as stated in the catalog, catalog requirements shall prevail.

Second Bachelor’s Degree. Students already graduated from accredited four-year institutions who are admitted to work toward another bachelor’s degree must meet the university’s regular graduation requirements. The student must meet the requirements in liberal studies and in the major as specified by the department head and dean. A student may obtain from the university a second bachelor’s degree provided the degree is in a different major (students may not earn a second degree in the same major).

Students enrolled at the university who wish to work toward two bachelor’s degrees simultaneously may do so. Students must meet the university’s regular graduation requirements for each degree.

 In addition to the curricula offered by a department or jointly by two departments, the university provides a number of special-purpose programs in which students may participate either as a part of the regular degree programs of their choice or as alternatives to them. These opportunities include the following programs:

An Approved Program

An approved program is a selection of courses designed to take the place of a minor or second major in cases where a student has a secondary interest in an area not covered by a recognized second major or minor. The program must consist of 16-24 credit hours of courses, developed in consultation with the major adviser and appropriate faculty adviser(s) in the relevant department(s). The approved program must be approved by the department head of the major department, the head of the approved program department, and the dean(s) of all involved college(s), upon consultation with the head of the department(s) which offer(s) the courses in the approved program.

Special Studies Programs

A Special Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program to take the place of a recognized major program in cases in which a student wishes to earn a degree in a specialized area not covered by recognized majors, or an area that intersects two or more recognized majors and cannot be accommodated by a combination of a recognized major and minor, second major, or approved program.

A Special Studies Program is developed by the student in consultation with an academic adviser (referred to as the Special Studies Primary Advisor) in one of the primary departments and in consultation with advisors/faculty from all involved departments. The college to which the Primary Advisor belongs is designated as the college for which the College Curriculum Committee approves the plan of study.

The program should include completion of the liberal studies program, and any other applicable college and university requirements. It should include a distribution of courses to complete the Special Studies program, in place of a recognized major, plus a minor, second major, or approved program (as needed). It should include a plan for some kind of senior project, capstone course, or final assessment component.

The Special Studies Program will be approved by the primary’s department’s college curriculum committee and dean, with consultations attached from all departments involved in the program of study. The consultations/reviews should pay particular attention to the assessment component(s) of the proposed program and will approve or disapprove the special studies program. Once approved at the college level the plan is forwarded to the Office of the Provost for processing.

The Special Studies Proposal form can be obtained from the Office of the Provost.

Study Abroad

Undergraduate students can apply their financial aid to study in 37 countries worldwide through the following programs offered 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. Students with a 2.75 GPA and higher can study internationally for a semester or a year by paying the Western Carolina University rate for tuition and fees and comparable room and board charges. Students pay 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. Some summer programs include 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.

For summer abroad programs sponsored by Western Carolina University faculty contact the Division of Educational Outreach at (828) 227-7397.

Cooperative Transfer Agreements with Community Colleges

Western Carolina University participates in the general transfer agreements developed by the University of North Carolina General Administration in cooperation with the North Carolina community colleges. The university is developing additional agreements and transfer guides with individual community colleges in all academic areas. For additional information, contact the transfer coordinator in the Western Carolina University admissions office or a local community college.

Cooperative Program in Agriculture and Life Sciences

Students who complete a two-year prescribed course of study at Western Carolina University have the opportunity to transfer to North Carolina State University in one of the following bachelor’s degree programs in the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Agricultural economics, agricultural business management, agronomy, animal science, biological and agricultural engineering, biochemistry, biological sciences, botany, conservation, fisheries and wildlife sciences, food science, horticultural science, medical technology, pest management, poultry science, applied sociology, zoology, and selected preprofessional programs. For further information, contact the department head in the geosciences and natural resources management department.

Cooperative Program in Forestry

By agreement between Western Carolina University and the School of Forest Resources at North Carolina State University, a student interested in the field of forest resources may take the first two years of the program at Western Carolina University and the remainder at North Carolina State University. For further information, contact the department head in the geosciences and natural resources management department.

During the freshman year, students should select one of four specialty areas of the program: (1) forestry; (2) wood science and technology; (3) pulp and paper science and technology; (4) recreation resources administration. The courses to be pursued for each area are available from the department head in the geosciences and natural resources management department.

Students with acceptable scholastic records in the first two years of the program may earn the professional degree in two additional years. Before transferring, students should check their credits with the requirements of North Carolina State University to determine the advisability of completing additional courses in summer school at one of the two institutions. A GPA of 2.5 is required for transfer.

Experiential Programs

Western Carolina University endorses the concept of education as a multidimensional process of learning that incorporates study and practice. To that end, its curricula are designed to provide for acquisition of knowledge and understanding of theory combined with opportunities for experience in practical applications in real settings. Many of the degree programs include required work in professional situations specific to the positions and career areas for which the students are preparing. At the student’s option, a variety of other work opportunities deriving from and related to academic study are available. To further its commitment to the preparation of well-qualified graduates, the university provides various types of support to departmentally developed experiential activities. It also operates university-wide programs that make work opportunities directly related to their fields of study available to all students.

Western Carolina University has the following guidelines for enrolling students in external instruction courses/programs. External instruction programs are defined as instruction received at a site(s) to which the student is sent by the enrolling institution to participate in instructional activities. Encompassed in the scope of external instruction are programs referred to as cooperative education, practical training, independent study, and open-circuit televised instruction.

  1. All courses are bona fide: approved by all required college, university, state, regional, and national regulatory agencies. Courses are also approved to meet all certification and licensing requirements.
  2. All courses are an integral part of the student’s program; credit will apply toward graduation and/or will be required for a particular degree program.
  3. All courses are appropriately rigorous with credit assigned proportionate to the amount of instructor involvement and control (course credit is determined by university and state requirements).
  4. The university/college has an agreement on file with specific work sites assuring that the experiences will provide opportunities for application of the knowledge, skills, and competencies gained from on-campus academic programs.
  5. All courses have regularly-employed faculty members responsible for all students participating in external instruction courses.

Cooperative Education Program. Cooperative education is a program in which students combine academic study with career-related work experience while pursuing a degree. Designed to be an integral part of the educational experience, the program offers experiential learning in both full-time and part-time positions in virtually all majors. Participants are primarily undergraduates, but some graduate programs offer co-op to their students. Information about eligibility for the program, work opportunities, and requirements for credit is available from the Career Services/Cooperative Education Office, Room 237, Killian Annex.

Internships and Practicums. A broad range of full-time and part-time learning opportunities are provided through internships, practica, field courses, and clinical affiliations for periods of one or more terms. The courses allow students to gain experience in the actual practice of a profession and to develop mastery of the tasks, skills, and theory applications in career fields pertinent to their majors. The experiences gained are well integrated into the curricula and are frequently included in the requirements for a degree.

Independent Study. Independent study courses are offered by several departments at Western Carolina University. The content and criteria for each course is determined by each academic department. Credit for these courses range from one to six semester hours credit as determined by the department. Students must be juniors or seniors in order to take an independent study course.