Aug 09, 2022  
ARCHIVED 2005-2006 Graduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2005-2006 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Study at Western Carolina University

Click on a link to be taken to the entry below.

Graduate study is a personal experience, and the selection of a graduate school is one of the most important decisions a student is called upon to make. At Western Carolina University, graduate study is characterized by small classes, personal interaction with faculty members, and a pleasant atmosphere conducive to the pursuit of individual educational goals.

Western Carolina University is a state-supported coeducational institution with a student body of almost 8,400, of which over 1,600 are graduate students. Including its credit and noncredit instructional courses, continuing education offerings, and workshop, conference, and service programs, the university serves more than 12,000 persons each year. The Graduate School offers programs leading to 15 master’s degrees in over 50 professional and academic areas and the Education Specialist degree and the Doctor of Education degree.

The Graduate School provides programs to prepare members of the teaching profession for licensure at the master’s and sixth-year levels, to prepare persons to teach in higher education, and to meet the needs of persons working in or preparing to work in other occupations and professions. A student interested in any of the following programs should request additional information from the Graduate School or the head of the appropriate department: accountancy, art, biology, business administration, chemistry, college student personnel, communication sciences and disorders, construction management, counseling, educational leadership, educational supervision, elementary education, engineering technology, English, entrepreneurship, health sciences, history, human resources, mathematics, middle grades education, music, nursing, physical therapy, project management, psychology, public affairs, reading, school administration, social work, or special education.

The university operates on a semester system, with two semesters making up the regular academic year. In addition, a summer term offers a wide variety of courses for both graduates and undergraduates.

Further information may be obtained by writing the Graduate School, Western Carolina University, 440 H.F. Robinson Administration Building, Cullowhee, North Carolina 28723-9022, or by telephoning 828-227-7398 or 800-369-9854.

Western Carolina University Programs in Asheville


Western Carolina University offers a broad range of instruction at the graduate level and a limited number of advanced undergraduate degree programs in specialized areas in Asheville. These programs of instruction, intended primarily for the adult professional, are taught late afternoons, evenings and weekends. Western Carolina University utilizes the educational facilities and resources of the University of North Carolina at Asheville and is affiliated with the Asheville Graduate Center.

The graduate programs offered in Asheville include: accountancy (M.Ac.); business administration (M.B.A.); comprehensive education, with concentrations in elementary education (M.A.Ed.), English education (M.A.Ed., M.A.T.), math education (M.A.Ed., M.A.T.), middle grades education (M.A.Ed., M.A.T.), reading education (M.A.Ed.), social science education (M.A.Ed., M.A.T.) and special education (M.A.Ed., M.A.T.); community counseling (M.S.); educational administration in two-year college (M.A.Ed.); educational leadership (Ed.S., Ed.D.), educational supervision (M.A.Ed.); entrepreneurship (M.E.); health sciences (M.H.S.); human resources (M.S.); nursing (M.S.N.); public affairs (M.P.A.); school administration (M.S.A.); school counseling (M.A.Ed.); technology (M.S.); and twoyear college teaching (M.A.Ed.). Students enrolled in the counseling and certain secondary education and two-year college teaching programs will have to enroll in some coursework offered only in Cullowhee.

Western Carolina University administers its programs in Asheville through a staff whose offices are located in Room 120, Karpen Hall, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Additional information is available from WCU Programs in Asheville, 120 Karpen Hall, CPO #2160, UNCA, Asheville, North Carolina 28804-3299; or by calling 828-251-6642 or 828-227-7423; or visit the Web site at

Western Carolina University Department of Nursing is located on the Enka campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, 1459 Sand Hill Rd., Candler, NC 28715, telephone # 828-670-8810.

Research and Service Facilities


Division of Distance and Continuing Education. The Division’s primary mission is education outreach. As the instructional outreach unit of the University, the Division of Distance and Continuing Education extends educational options regionally, statewide, nationally and internationally using a variety of educational delivery systems and formats. A wide range of degree programs are now available through distance learning, including a number of online degree programs.

The Division manages the Cherokee Center and the University Summer School, which includes a two-week minimester program, two summer session programs of five weeks, a combined ten week program and a variety of specialty and travel programs. The Division offers noncredit workshops, seminars and professional development programs and hosts a number of conferences on an ongoing basis.

To obtain information or to be placed on a mailing list call 828-227-7397 or 800-928-4968, or visit us at

Highlands Biological Station. The Highlands Biological Station is a field station for biological research and education in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The station is an interinstitutional center of The University of North Carolina. It is administered by Western Carolina University. Thirty-four colleges and universities are currently members of the consortium that helps to support the station, but faculty and students are drawn from throughout the country.

The station is located on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains about 30 miles southwest of Cullowhee. It lies within an area of high biotic and environmental diversity and is ideally situated for a variety of field studies. Its facilities are open to graduate students and senior investigators who are engaged in research on the habitats and organisms of the Southern Appalachians. The station offers six two-week courses each summer at the advanced undergraduate/graduate level. It also offers a fall semester-in-residence program in cooperation with the Carolina Environmental Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. The station maintains a well equipped laboratory, housing for students and investigators, and a dining hall. A grant-in-aid program provides financial assistance to graduate students conducting research on the biota of the region.

Further information is available from the Executive Director, Highlands Biological Station, PO Box 580, Highlands, North Carolina 28741; 828-526-2602;

Hunter Library

The Hunter Library considers providing high quality service to students and faculty as its primary mission. Librarians provide both individualized research assistance and classroom instruction. The library is open more than 110 hours per week during the semester.

The collections and services that support student and faculty research include:

  • Main book collection consisting of over 679,000 books and bound periodicals. This is augmented by the cooperative agreement with UNC Asheville and Appalachian State University through the use of a shared online catalog and delivery service. Students can readily borrow items from these other libraries and generally receive them in 2 days of less. The combined collection is approximately 1 million volumes.
  • 95+ electronic databases and 8,000+ electronic journals that can be accessed remotely
  • Free document delivery service that provides access to articles from approximately 25,000 journal titles that can be accessed remotely
  • Electronic reserves collection that can be accessed remotely
  • 1,200 print journal subscriptions
  • Free interlibrary loan service for all students and faculty
  • Microfiche collection of 1.5 million pieces
  • Government documents providing access to over 227,000 government documents representing both the federal government and the North Carolina government
  • Special Collections containing manuscript collections, books, photographs and other resources documenting the history of Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia, the history of the Cherokee Indians, and literary works and papers of Western North Carolina authors
  • The Map Room collection contains more than 122,000 sheet maps and an extensive collection of digital mapping data with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to support it
  • Media Collection, an extensive collection of CDs, videotapes, DVDs and other media in its Curriculum Materials Center (CMC)
  • Curriculum Materials also maintains collections of state-adopted textbooks, curriculum guides, children’s literature and other classroom instructional materials in support of the university’s professional education programs.

Myron L. Coulter Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The Coulter Faculty Center provides services designed to assist and support all part and full-time faculty and Graduate Teaching Assistants in seeking, achieving and maintaining excellence in their teaching. Training and guidance is available for those who wish to use instructional technology in their teaching. The center also sponsors workshops, presentations, faculty teams, and other activities and events designed to encourage instructors to talk and reflect about effective teaching and exchange creative ideas for enriching student learning. The Center’s web site is located at and includes a GTA page. <>

Activities and services most relevant for GTAs include:

  • consultation on course syllabi, course development, teaching goals, active learning, and applications of instructional technology
  • Faculty Sandbox <>, a place where faculty and GTAs can develop instructional materials via computer
  • computer classroom orientation and training
  • Faculty Forum <>, a monthly publication featuring evocative opinion pieces of WCU faculty
    • MountainRise, an eJournal on the scholarship of teaching and learning
    • Renaissance of Teaching and Learning Booklet Series published each semester
    • a lending library of professional literature on college teaching that is located in Hunter Library 240

The Coulter Faculty Center can be reached at 828-227-7196.

University Writing Center. The UWC recognizes the specific needs of graduate students, including the needs of graduate students for whom English is a second language. Trained graduate assistants work one-on-one to assist their fellow students across the curriculum with any aspect of graduate level composition or research. Visit the center’s Web site at for hours, online resources, staff information, and helpful links. For more information or to make an appointment, call 828-227-7197 or visit the center in Hunter Library.

Center for Regional Development. Western Carolina University’s Center for Regional Development (CRD) is a university research and public service center that drives regional economic development; conducts public policy analysis and applied research; and administers public service projects on economic and community capacity building, government training, natural resource conservation and strategic development.

The CRD is multidisciplinary with faculty, students and staff from various academic departments and the private sector including industry affiliates (who are sent by their corporate sponsors to work with us from a week to a year, depending on the nature of the agreement and the intended outcome).

The economic development mission of the CRD is to attract, identify, qualify and assist regional businesses and to leverage the university’s extensive resources of research, science, engineering, arts and humanities faculty and students, as well as the core staff of the center (analysts, planners and faculty fellows) for business growth, including the transfer and application of new technologies and the commercialization of the creative arts.

The CRD also has responsibility for developing the strategy and implementation plans for Western’s Millennial Campus Initiative, a state legislative mandate which allows rural comprehensive universities to take several critical actions to support economic development, including:

  • Acquiring property to promote business development
  • Developing flexible site arrangements to achieve specific economic development objectives
  • Providing services to businesses to promote their location or development
  • Issuing revenue bonds (with Board of Governors approval) to support business development
  • Engaging in public/private partnerships, developing joint use facilities, and co-operating with enterprises to promote economic development
  • Incubating businesses

To fulfill its mission and generate new initiatives the CRD partners with federal, state, and regional organizations and the private sector. Current partners include the United States Department of Commerce, Smoky Mountain Host, the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill, and AdvantageWest Regional Economic Development Commission.

Office of Regional Affairs. The Office of Regional Affairs serves as the University’s liaison with local, regional, state, and federal governments and agencies, and with regional civic and economic development organizations. The office seeks to enhance relationships and partnerships with public and private entities, supports initiatives to secure funding and legislative priorities, and focuses on local and regional economic development.

International Programs and Services. The Office of International Programs and Services (IPS) coordinates and supports many types of international programs and activities at Western Carolina University, such as student and faculty exchanges through the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), the University of North Carolina Exchange Program (UNC-EP), and WCU bilateral programs; K-12 International Outreach Program to the public schools; Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars; international university linkages; the Japan Global Partnership Program; and academic programming. The office also assists the Host Family Association, the International Club, and the sponsorship of the annual International Festival and International Education Week.

Mountain Aquaculture Research Center. The center was established within the College of Arts and Sciences at WCU in 1988. Its mandate is to foster biotechnologically based research to support the economic sustainability of the aquaculture industry in Western North Carolina. Facilities include an office, an analytical laboratory, on-campus fish-rearing laboratories utilizing biofiltered recirculated water and trout hatchery, and rearing facilities at the Lonesome Valley Aquaculture Research Station, Cashiers, North Carolina. Research activities of the center are of both a basic and an applied nature. They are conducted by the center personnel in collaboration with faculty and students (graduate and undergraduate) in the Departments of Biology and of Chemistry and Physics and also include collaborative research activities with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, and the commercial trout industry. Areas of research interest include culture characteristics of all female and/or triploid rainbow and brook trout, identification of DNA markers associated with sex and other genetic traits of interest in commercial trout production as well as in fisheries management, study of the physiological responses of fish to stressors (thermal, pH, etc.), identification of biochemical measures and genetic markers associated with levels in these responses, and monitoring impact and control of fish farm effluents.

Mountain Heritage Center. The center collects, interprets, and disseminates knowledge about the southern Appalachian region and its people. Its research and artifact collections promote public awareness of the region’s rich natural and cultural heritage using publications, exhibitions, and demonstrations presented both on campus and throughout western North Carolina. The center also collaborates with public schools in preparing programs for educational enrichment and provides a learning experience for university students through internships.

Children’s Developmental Services Agency. The Center in the College of Education and Allied Professions is a service agency for the seven counties of Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, and Swain, including the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Projects are variously funded by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Women’s and Children’s Health; and Western Carolina University. The center provides for families developmental evaluation, intervention, recommendations for services, and guidance for newborns, infants, toddlers, preschool children with, or at-risk for, developmental disabilities. Special services are provided or located if necessary, and progress is followed until the child enters a school program. The center affords opportunities for training and research relevant to the university’s academic programs in birth through kindergarten teacher licensure, child and family relations, communication disorders, counseling, elementary education, health information management, health services management, nursing, nutrition and dietetics, physical therapy, psychology, recreational therapy, social work, and special education.

Speech and Hearing Center. The Speech and Hearing Center’s (SHC) fundamental mission is to provide quality clinical education for undergraduate and graduate students majoring in the discipline of communication disorders. As a critical adjunct, the SHC provides diagnostic, treatment, and consultative services to citizens with known or suspected speech, language, and/or hearing disorders in its catchment area of western North Carolina. The SHC also strives to serve as a community resource for allied professionals and agencies requiring information about human communication and its disorders. The center derives its strength from a combined academic/clinical orientation that directly fosters the delivery of state-of- the-art services. The SHC’s services are available to persons of all ages. In addition to traditional speech/language/hearing services, the SHC offers the following:

  • hearing aid evaluation and dispensing
  • otoacoustic emission diagnostic testing
  • brain stem evoked response screening for newborns
  • augmentative communication evaluation
  • interdisciplinary evaluation
  • assistance with assistive technology
  • training on various topics related to communication disorders

Office of School Services. The Office of School Services in the College of Education and Allied Professions works to coordinate university faculty and staff resources to assist local schools with the achievement of local and state education goals. The office disseminates information on services offered by the university, receives requests for assistance from school districts, and directs requests to the appropriate campus college, department, or unit. Reports of services provided by WCU are compiled annually.

Office for Rural Education. The Office for Rural Education in the College of Education and Allied Professions helps rural elementary and secondary schools improve the quality of their programs by conducting various types of studies, performing practical classroom research, providing instructional and administrative support services, and assisting in identifying alternative types of funding and instruction. The office also sponsors summer residential programs including youth leadership institutes and a program for the gifted students.

Reading Center. In conjunction with university programs for the preparation and licensure of reading teachers and specialists, the Reading Center provides diagnostic and remedial services and reading improvement courses for children and college students. A resource room in the center provides literature, mathematics, social studies, and science materials, as well as teacher resources of all kinds. The staff provides consulting services, conducts workshops and conferences, and provides a variety of reading services for public schools in the area. The center is located in Killian Building on the campus in Cullowhee.

Office of the CIO. The Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for providing information technology (IT) services to the entire campus community. These services provide access to computing resources that students, faculty members, administrators, and staff members need as they learn and apply the products of learning, and contribute to the university’s community of scholarship. The university is in the process of reorganizing these services and resources campus wide under a new division that provides planning and technical guidance in the integration of varied new and existing campus information technologies. Located in the University Outreach Center and Forsyth Building, the division is headed by the Chief Information Officer (CIO).

The central computing facility uses Compaq Alpha systems to handle core business processing and email. Core business processing on the Alphas includes student records, financial, and alumni systems from Systems and Computer Technology Corporation, and several applications developed by division staff. Email from off campus gets delivered through one of the Alpha systems. All students receive a WCU email account that allows them to communicate with their peers, faculty members, and university offices. The My Cat portal is the primary tool used by students to access email and other campus and course related news.

There are over 3,000 microcomputers in offices, classrooms, and lab facilities on campus, most connected to the campus network. Student residence halls are on the campus network and have two network ports per room. There are three general student microcomputer lab facilities which are open at least 80 hours per week. The lab located in Hunter Library is open 24 hours from Sunday afternoon through Friday night during fall and spring semesters. The IT division supports both Windows and Macintosh operating systems and various microcomputer application programs. Faculty, students, and staff may call IT Services at 227-7ITS (227-7487) if they need help with any IT services or resources.

Software programming languages on the central system include BASIC, C, FORTRAN, Pascal, COBOL, and MACRO, with Datatrieve and Focus as common report-retrieval languages. Other software that is centrally licensed, but with a limited number of licenses available, include SPSS for Windows and Minitab for Windows. These statistical analysis programs are accessed over the campus network in student labs and computer classrooms. The University of North Carolina has a grant from SAS Institute that makes a wide range of SAS software available for faculty and student use, including at home use. For large research problems and special applications, faculty and students may access the computer resources of the North Carolina Supercomputing Center located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

The campus network connects to the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), which provides WCU with access to two-way videoconferences as well as an OC-3 (155-megabit) data path to the Internet. The WCU World Wide Web server at has general information about Western. The Information Technology Web site at provides a variety of useful IT related information. The university is also an active member of EDUCAUSE.

North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching. The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) was established by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1985 as a statewide center to recognize and support outstanding North Carolina pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade school teachers and to enhance teaching as an art and profession. The center is located west of the WCU campus. A unit of The University of North Carolina, it is governed by a board of trustees, and its programs and activities are conducted by a professional staff of administrators and faculty.

Centers and Institutes Affiliated with Research and Graduate Studies


Research Administration. Research and Graduate Studies/Research Administration serves as the official source of information about contract and grant possibilities and is the office through which all members of faculty and staff channel their proposals for university approval. The research administration staff assists faculty, staff, and students in the preparation of proposals.

Public Policy Institute. The WCU Public Policy Institute promotes effective public policies for the region through research, reports, and conferences. Faculty interested in public policy may be selected as Faculty Fellows or Senior Faculty Fellows to work on projects in the Public Policy Institute.

Center for International Research and Policy. The mission of the center is to advance the science and art of applied research and creative, collaborative problem solving through free exchange of ideas across professional disciplines, cultures, and countries.