Jun 18, 2024  
ARCHIVED 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General University Degree Requirements

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

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

*: See graduate catalog for graduate degree requirements.

** See section on Grading and Quality Point System for requirements concerning composition condition (cc) marks.

Liberal Studies Program



At Western Carolina University, all bachelor’s degree programs include courses in Liberal Studies designed to provide each student with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of an educated person. These include the ability to think critically, to communicate effectively, to identify and solve problems reflectively, to use information and technology responsibly, to appreciate the creative and performing arts, and to seek personal development and lifelong learning.

Through a First-Year Seminar in Liberal Studies, first-year students begin to experience intellectual life at the university level. Through participation in an Academic Learning Community, students begin to experience the integration of knowledge. The core provides students with the academic skills and intellectual habits needed throughout the undergraduate experience; therefore, it should be completed as soon as possible. The Perspectives component of the Liberal Studies program exposes students to important modes of inquiry, discovery, and interpretation through study of the concepts, principles, and theories of the Liberal Arts. Because all disciplines at the university can offer courses in the Liberal Studies program, the Perspectives provide a broadened worldview and knowledge base, with opportunities to take courses outside areas of familiarity or major interest. Students also take at least one three hour course at the upper level (300 or 400 level) in a Perspectives area outside their major. It is a primary goal of the Liberal Studies program to promote a lifelong love of learning.


Click below to view the requirements for the Liberal Studies Program.

Liberal Studies Program Requirements

Perspectives Courses and the Major


If a particular Liberal Studies Perspectives course (with the exception of the Upper Level Perspective) is required by a degree program or major, the Perspectives category requirement met by that course will be satisfied for students in that program.

Liberal Studies and Transfer Students


Courses transferred from other institutions to fulfill Liberal Studies requirements will be evaluated by the registrar in consultation with the appropriate department head, advising center designee, or the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs for liberal studies, based on university guidelines. Credit earned by examination and advanced placement may be applied toward fulfillment of Liberal Studies requirements.

Students who have completed the general education core (44 hours) or the Associate of Arts degree or the Associate of Science Degree in the North Carolina Community College System will have the Liberal Studies requirements waived. However, if a student has completed the Associate of Applied Science Degree in the North Carolina Community College System, the student’s academic transcript will be evaluated for transfer credit. When a transfer student has completed the General Education or Liberal Studies requirements of a public or private institution outside of the University of North Carolina system, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Advising Center and the Liberal Studies Oversight Committee, will determine whether that institution’s general education program is sufficiently similar to Western Carolina University’s Liberal Studies program to warrant a blanket waiver of the Liberal Studies requirements.

Programs of Study


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

Degree Programs

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

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

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

An Approved Program

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

Special Studies Programs

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

A Special Studies Program is developed by the student in consultation with an academic adviser in one of the primary departments and in consultation with advisers/faculty from all involved departments.

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

The Special Studies Program will be approved by all involved department heads, the curriculum committees of all involved colleges, and the University-Wide Curriculum Committee. The University Curriculum Committee should pay particular attention to the assessment component(s) of the proposed program and will approve or disapprove the special studies program.

Study Abroad

Undergraduate students can apply their financial aid to study in 37 countries worldwide through the following programs offered by the Office of International Programs and Services: the University of North Carolina Exchange Program (UNC-EP), the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), and several Western Carolina University exchanges. Students with a 2.75 GPA and higher can study internationally for a semester or a year by paying the Western Carolina University rate for tuition and fees and comparable room and board charges. Students pay tuition and fees to WCU and comparable room and board charges to the host institution. Financial aid assists students with study abroad costs and scholarships are available through external grant agencies. Some summer programs include intensive language courses and internships are available through many of our overseas partners and financial aid, grants, and scholarships are available. For more information call (828) 227-7494.

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

Cooperative Transfer Agreements with Community Colleges

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

Cooperative Program in Agriculture and Life Sciences

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

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

Cooperative Program in Forestry

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

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

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

Experiential Programs

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

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

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

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

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

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