May 23, 2024  
ARCHIVED 2007-2008 Graduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2007-2008 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Study at Western Carolina University

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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 9,000, of which over 1,700 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 17 master’s degrees in over 50 professional and academic areas, 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, birth-kindergarten, business administration, chemistry, college student personnel, communication sciences and disorders, construction management, counseling, educational leadership, educational supervision, elementary education, technology, English, entrepreneurship, health sciences, history, human resources, mathematics, middle grades education, music, nursing, physical therapy, project management, psychology, public affairs, school administration, science and entrepreneurship, social work, special education, or sport management.

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, 109 Camp 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. The programs of instruction, intended primarily for the adult professional student, are taught late afternoons, evenings and weekends. Western Carolina utilizes the educational facilities and resources of the University of North Carolina at Asheville and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Western’s graduate programs are affiliated with the Asheville Graduate Center.

The graduate programs offered in Asheville include: accountancy (MAc); business administration (MBA); college student personnel (MEd); comprehensive education with concentrations in elementary education (MAEd), English education (MAEd, MAT), math education (MAEd, MAT), middle grades education (MAEd, MAT), social science education (MAEd, MAT), and special education (MAEd, MAT); community counseling (MS); educational leadership (EdS, EdD); educational supervision (MAEd); entrepreneurship (ME); health sciences (MHS); nursing (MS); public affairs (MPA); school counseling (MAEd); technology (MS); and two-year college teaching (MAEd). Students enrolled in the counseling and certain secondary education and two-year college teaching programs will enroll in some coursework offered only in Cullowhee.

Through inter-institutional agreements with the University of North Carolina at Asheville and North Carolina community colleges, a program is available to students in Asheville leading to the bachelor of science in nursing degree from Western Carolina University. Students enrolled in this program would complete the first two years of liberal studies and science prerequisites at a local institution, the junior year of study on the Cullowhee campus, and the senior year of study in Asheville. Registered nurses who are graduates of an associate degree or diploma program can complete all remaining requirements for the bachelor’s degree online. Also, through an inter-institutional partnership with Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, most of the course requirements for a bachelor of science degree in birth-kindergarten and engineering technology are offered. Upper-level course work in special education is also available in Asheville.

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, telephone # 828-251-6642 or 828-227-7423,

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


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.

Division of Educational Outreach. The Division’s primary mission is education outreach. As the instructional outreach unit of the University, the Division of Educational Outreach 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, summer sessions, summer travel courses and a variety of specilty courses and programs in addition to distance learning 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 866-WCU-GRAD, or visit us at

Highlands Biological Station. The Highlands Biological Station is a field station for biological research and education focused on southern Appalachian ecosystems and organisms. Since 1977 the station has been an Inter-institutional Center of the University of North Carolina. Thirty-three regional colleges and universities participate in the Station’s programs as member institutions.

The Station is located on the Blue Ridge Escarpment about 30 miles south of Cullowhee in the town of Highlands, North Carolina. The topography, latitude, and high rainfall of the area yields rich biotic and environmental diversity, making the Station an ideal locale for a variety of field studies. Its facilities are open to students and senior investigators engaged in research on the organisms and environments of the southern Appalachian region. Station facilities include housing (36 beds in several residences), a dining hall, well-equipped research space, and teaching classrooms and laboratories. The campus also includes the Highlands Nature Center, which offers educational exhibits and a diversity of public programs, and the Highlands Botanical Garden, which features a great many native plant species in a variety of southern Appalachian habitats.

The Station offers six courses each summer at the advanced undergraduate and graduate levels. Limited financial aid is available for these courses. A grant-in-aid program also provides financial assistance to graduate students conducting thesis research on the biota of the region. Since 2001 the Station has hosted a fall semester-in-residence undergraduate program in cooperation with the Carolina Environmental Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. WCU students majoring in biology or environmental sciences are encouraged to apply to this unique program.

To learn more about the programs and course and research opportunities at the Highlands Biological Station, see our website ( or write to Dr. James T. Costa, Executive Director, Highlands Biological Station, 265 N. Sixth Street, Highlands, NC 28741.

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 or 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.

Information Technology. Information Technology is responsible for providing technology assistance, information and services in support of Western’s mission and aspirations. These services include providing information resources to students, faculty, staff and administration to support teaching, learning, research, administrative and regional engagement efforts. Information Technology provides advice, planning and technical guidance for the appropriate use of technology in support of the university’s educational endeavor. Information Technology is located in various campus buildings with assistance available at many of Western’s facilities beyond the Cullowhee campus. The university is an active member of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.

Information Technology has over 60 staff and is comprised of the following units: Applications Programming, Educational Technologies, Information Technology Services, Networking and Communications, Systems and Operations, Technology Service Center and Web Services. The University uses a state-of-the-art administrative system that allows students and faculty to do virtually all of their business with the university, such as register for courses or post grades, online. 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 information. WebCat, based upon the WebCT Vista software, is the primary instructional delivery system in support of traditional classroom and online courses.

There are over 3,000 microcomputers in offices, classrooms, and lab facilities all with connections to high speed broadband networks. Students enjoy high-speed network connectivity from their residence hall rooms, with two ports per room, or from the wireless network available throughout the Cullowhee campus. There are four general student computer lab facilities which are open at least eighty hours per week. The lab located in Hunter Library is open 24 hours from Sunday afternoon through Friday night during fall and spring semesters. Users may call the Information Technology Help Desk at 227-7ITS (227-7487) or 866-WCU-7ITS (866-928-7487) to request assistance with any Information Technology service or resource. Faculty routinely work with the Coulter Faculty Center to integrate technology into their teaching activities.

Information Technology supports both Windows and Macintosh operating systems along with various software applications including a focus on Microsoft Office products. Office products are provided for faculty, staff and students along with the Windows operating system. Many software packages are centrally licensed with a limited number of licenses available in labs and classrooms. Statistical packages include SPSS, Minitab for Windows and SAS which is provided by a grant by the SAS Institute. Other specialized software found in labs includes digital media editing, geographical information system, and engineering design programs. Information Technology also provides computer virus protection software to all faculty, staff and students and is committed to keeping computers safe, secure and current in a highly networked campus computing environment.

The campus network interconnects with the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), which provides Western access to interactive videoconferencing as well as a very high speed network path to the Internet (655-megabit). IT’s Web Services unit supports the WCU Web site at and provides the campus with Web publishing assistance by providing departmental access to the Red Dot Content Management System. The Information Technology Web site at provides a variety of useful technology information and self-help resources as well as links for downloading software and accessing computer purchasing information.

Institute for the Economy and the Future. Western Carolina University’s Institute for the Economy and the Future (IEF) 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 IEF 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 IEF 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 IEF 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 cooperating with enterprises to promote economic development
  • Incubating businesses

To fulfill its mission and generate new initiatives the IEF 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.

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 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.

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 are 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:

  • The GATE Program (Graduate Assistant Teaching Experience), a program designed to enhance the graduate experience by providing a thoughtful and thorough preparation in the art of teaching
  • 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.

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 has two campuses, one located west of the WCU campus and one on Ocracoke Island. A center 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.

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.

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.

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.

Reading Center. The Reading Center in the College of Education and Allied Professions offers assessment and individual tutoring as well as reading improvement courses for all students of Western Carolina University. Also, in conjunction with academic programs for the preparation of birth-kindergarten, elementary, middle grade, special education and reading teachers, the Reading Center provides an enrichment program for school-age children. This program offers assessment of reading strategies and several weeks of one-to-one tutoring for children enrolled. The Center also provides a resource room which includes children’s literature, mathematics, social studies, and science materials, as well as teacher resources of many 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 Room 138 of the Killian Building on the campus in Cullowhee.

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

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.

Centers and Institutes Affiliated with Graduate School and Research


Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines. The Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) is a research and educational outreach center. The primary mission of PSDS is to conduct scientific research into coastal processes and to translate that science into management and policy recommendations through a variety of professional and public outreach mechanisms. PSDS personnel foster faculty and student participation in these areas of research through grant writing and active engagement of students in research projects.

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.