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The dean of Research and Graduate Studies 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:
Research and Graduate Studies
440 H.F. Robinson Administration 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. Applicants must possess the interest and maturity necessary for graduate study. 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 Research and Graduate Studies reserves the right to determine, from other appropriate information, whether an applicant will be a suitable candidate for a graduate degree.
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 graduate studies at WCU are required to complete a self-managed application packet prior to admission. The self-managed application places the responsibility on the student to obtain all the necessary materials. You should submit the following in a single envelope:
- The completed application for admission.
- The completed application for a graduate assistantship (if you are planning to enroll as a full-time student).
- Official copies of transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
- Required test scores for your chosen program. You may request the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to forward these scores directly to the Graduate School or you may enclose official scores in an unopened, ETS-sealed envelope.
- Letters of recommendation (required for most programs). These should be prepared by former instructors/employers who are in a position to judge your aptitude for graduate study. Please consult the Graduate Catalog to determine specific program requirements.
- Other forms that may be required 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 www.wcu.edu)
- The nonrefundable $40.00 application fee.
The completed application and all credentials should be received by the Graduate School not later than one week prior to the opening of the term for which admission is desired; with the exception of international students, whose applications must be received by these deadlines: April 1 for Fall term and September 1 for Spring term. Application may be made as early as one year preceding the semester of entrance. All materials submitted, including transcripts, become the property of the university and cannot be forwarded or returned. The following programs have application deadlines:
|Communication Sciences and Disorders
|Counseling (School and Community)
|Psychology (Clinical and School)
All elements of the admissions process must be completed by the application deadline. Some programs require an interview. Applicants should contact the department of their intended major to determine if an interview is required.
Any student that is inactive for one semester (not counting summer term) must RE-ENROLL. 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 (RE-APPLY) and be reevaluated for admission prior to resuming study. An application fee of $40.00 is required.
Any student that receives a master’s degree from Western Carolina University and elects to do an additional graduate degree will not be required to pay the application fee.
Program Changes. 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 requesting to change programs, licensures, or degree objectives, after having been accepted into a program of study, must file a new application for admission to the new program, licensure, or degree. For students wishing to change programs within a department, student request forms, available from the Graduate School, may be used rather than a new application. The student is subject to the standards, rules, and requirements in force in the new course of study at the time of admission to the new program.
*The initial deadline for applications is February 1 and students who submit completed applications by that date will be given preference. If openings are available after the February 1 date, students submitting late applications will be considered accordingly.
All applicants for admission to the Graduate School must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and must have an undergraduate background appropriate for graduate study in the proposed field. An applicant may be required to take additional coursework to strengthen the undergraduate background. To qualify for Regular Admission to the Graduate School, 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. Applicants for the Ed.S. and Ed.D. degrees must hold a master’s degree in the approved field from a regionally accredited college or university.
Each student’s application must be approved by the department(s) in which the student proposes to major.
Graduate students are required to have access to technology that meets the University computer requirements.
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. A completed application file includes official transcripts and the items required by the student’s program of interest.
Regular Admission (with Conditions). A student who lacks course prerequisites for admission, but is otherwise qualified for Regular Admission may be granted Regular Admission (with Conditions). Before the semester begins, all conditions must be met.
Provisional Admission. Applicants with a complete application file who do not meet the formal requirements for Regular Admission may be granted Provisional Admission to a degree program. 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.
Provisional Admission (with Conditions). A student who qualifies for Provisional Admission but lacks the course prerequisites may be granted Provisional Admission (with Conditions). Before the semester begins, all admission requirements must be met.
Temporary Admission. Some graduate programs allow promising students to take courses for one semester while they are completing their application file. To gain Temporary 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 and request a change of admission status using the appropriate Graduate School form.
Nondegree 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 Nondegree 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 nondegree status that later decide to work toward a degree must petition for regular admission. Nondegree 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 nondegree 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 nondegree 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.
In order to qualify for a graduate assistantship, a graduate student must be admitted in either Regular Admission, Regular Admission (with Conditions), Provisional Admission, or Provisional Admissions (with Conditions) status prior to the start of the semester. Preference will be given to graduate students that have Regular Admission status.
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. Undergraduate students may not enroll in graduate-level courses for either undergraduate or graduate credit except those participating in the Four Plus One Program. Selected 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.
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, test scores, letters of recommendation, and transcripts as specified for each program, international students must also submit a chronological listing of all formal education—naming certificates, diplomas, degrees, and other documentary forms of educational attainment. International applicants also must submit a minimum score of 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-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.
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.
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 Examination (GRE). A minimum GMAT score of 450 is recommended. In addition, applicants must present an undergraduate GPA sufficient to meet formula requirements as follows:
200 times the undergraduate GPA plus the GMAT score must equal at least 950; or, 200 times the GPA for the last two years plus the GMAT score must equal at least 1000.
For students using the GRE, the admissions criteria are the same as the Graduate School. The program requires a minimum GPA of 2.75 on the last two years of coursework. Letters of recommendation or personal interviews may be requested.
Master of Arts and Master of Science Degrees
Applicants for degrees in history, applied mathematics, biology, chemistry, English, 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 Examination is required for American history, applied mathematics, biology, chemistry, communication sciences and disorders, community counseling, English, human resources, music, psychology, and technology.
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 Examination. 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 Two-Year College teaching English must submit a writing sample (such as an undergraduate paper).
Applicants for the MAEd 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 MAEd 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 Examination. 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 MAT 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 MAT in Comprehensive Education concentration in English must submit a writing sample (such as an undergraduate paper). Applicants for the MAT 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 MAT concentration may not qualify for the MAT 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. Letters of recommendation and/or 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 MBA program: MBA 500, 505, 510, 515, 520, 525. Applicants who have completed appropriate coursework at the undergraduate level, with a grade of B or higher within the last five years, 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 Program
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 admissions to the MCM 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 MCM program in order to enroll in any 600-level CM courses.
Master of Education Degree Program
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 Examination 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 Program
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 15 semester hours of credit may be granted for work previously completed at the master’s level.
Candidates must pass an oral examination in defense of a written thesis and 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
Applicants are expected to have earned an average grade of B or higher on the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework. Satisfactory scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical portions of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations are required.
An essay written on a topic specified by faculty of the Department of Physical Therapy and evidence of understanding of the scope of physical therapy practice are required. 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 should include laboratory components.
Three letters of recommendation are required: preferably one from an academic instructor and one from a practicing physical therapist who are in a position to judge the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study. The third letter may be from a physical therapist, an instructor, or another person familiar with the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study.
Applicants must be unconditionally admitted to the M.P.T. program prior to enrolling in physical therapy courses. The department accepts only full-time students.
The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education/APTA. 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 Examination (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 MPM 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 the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations. 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 selfassessment 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
Applicants must possess a BSN 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 Examination (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.
Master of Science in Sport Management
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 Examination 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.
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 Examination 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. If master’s degree is not in administration, the student may be required to take pre-requisites.
- 3 years leadership experience in community college or higher education institutions
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
Admission 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. In no case, however, will the requirement of one year of full-time residence be waived.
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. 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 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, 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 coordinator, and the dean of Research and Graduate Studies must be on file in the Graduate School. 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.
An unbound copy free of errors must be submitted to the dean of Research and Graduate Studies at least three 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 theses 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 three original copies on required thesis paper. All copies must be returned to the Graduate School at least two days before commencement for the graduate dean’s signature. Upon approval, three copies must be presented to the library for binding at the student’s expense. The student may also have a personal copy bound by the Hunter library at cost.
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 Research and Graduate Studies 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 Research and Graduate Studies 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.
Thesis Defense. Students who write theses are expected to defend their work during oral examinations. The oral examinations will not be administered until after the final draft of the thesis has been completed.
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 Research and Graduate Studies.
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 one of two actions 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 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.
- 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.
Regardless of the course of action selected, all students must be enrolled for credit during the semester in which they complete their graduate work or are scheduled to receive their degrees.
Graduation and Licensure
Application for Graduation. Students who expect to be awarded a degree must file an application for graduation in the Graduate School the semester prior to their graduation date. (Forms for this purpose may be obtained in the Graduate School.) 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.
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.
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.