Jun 18, 2024  
CURRENT 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
CURRENT 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog


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


Admissions - General Information

Questions regarding undergraduate admission should be directed to the Office of Admission. Inquiries about graduate admission should be directed to the Graduate School. More information on graduate admission will be found in the Graduate School section of this catalog.

Campus Visit

Prospective students and their guests are invited to visit campus. A visit provides an opportunity to visualize more fully the meaning of attending the university, especially if classes are in session. For more information on tour registration, go to visit.wcu.edu or call the Office of Admission at (828) 227-7317.


Applicants for undergraduate admission must submit all of the following:

  1. A completed application form
  2. An application processing fee (see Fees, Expenses, and Financial Aid  section). The application fee covers the cost of processing the application and is not refundable or applicable toward other charges and payments.
  3. Complete academic records as described below in “Categories of Undergraduate Admission.”

All materials submitted, including transcripts, become the property of the university and cannot be forwarded or returned.

Admission Dates

Applications may be made for admission under the Early Action, Priority Action, or Regular Action cycles. Deadlines are detailed in the following pages.

Advance Deposits

Each new undergraduate student who is admitted to Western Carolina University in resident credit coursework is required to submit an advance enrollment deposit of $300. This payment will be credited to the charges for the first semester of enrollment. Refer to University Policy 96 for information pertaining to students who are required to live on campus. The advance enrollment deposit is non-refundable. The deadline for this payment for the fall semester is May 1 and for the spring semester is December 1. For additional information, see the section on “Fees, Expenses, and Financial Aid” of this catalog.

Mandatory Action Steps for Admitted Students

The Advising Center offers newly admitted students an opportunity to complete a pre-registration designed to help them prepare for their first semester at WCU. Information provided by the student during the program will be used to create an initial schedule. Students are also required to attend one student orientation. During orientation, new students are given a general introduction to the university and to campus life. They will also meet with an academic advisor and be given an opportunity to adjust their schedule. A special program of activities for parents of new students is available during summer orientations. Admitted applicants must complete the immunization form.

Computer Admission Requirement for Undergraduates

Western Carolina University strives to ensure that students have access to the highest quality education and can take maximum advantage of the changes in information and communications technologies. All newly admitted and readmitted degree-seeking undergraduate students are required to have an appropriate, networkable laptop. The computer requirement includes software and hardware components. For further information, see the WCU IT website at https://www.wcu.edu/learn/academic-services/it/index.aspx.

Undergraduate Admission

The university is open to all qualified students without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability.

First-Year Students

Admission to Western Carolina University and placement into courses and programs are based upon a variety of factors including courses taken, rank in class, SAT or ACT scores, and grade-point average. The university reserves the right to require any conditions deemed necessary to help ensure student success. Applications also are considered for admission from prospective students who have achieved high school graduation equivalency by means of tests of General Education Development (GED), if they have completed Minimum Course Requirements or qualify for an exemption e.g., completed college coursework.

Entrance Examinations

Freshman applicants must take the SAT or the American College Test (ACT). The achievement test in subject-matter fields is not required. For the SAT, application forms and information concerning the test fee, dates, and centers may be obtained from the College Board, 250 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10281, or online at https://www.collegeboard.org/. Information and application for the ACT may be obtained from The American College Test National Office, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, Iowa 52243, or online at https://www.act.org/, and from high school guidance counselors. Applicants must request that their scores be sent to the Office of Admission, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina 28723. The college code for the SAT is 5897 and the ACT code is 3172.

Secondary School Preparation

The quality and content of the applicant’s high school program are important. A strong background in English, mathematics, foreign language, social studies, and natural sciences is required. To be considered for any category of admission, students must have graduated from high school and successfully completed the following 15 Minimum Course Requirements (MCR) of college preparatory courses:

Minimum Course Requirements (MCR) at the Sixteen Institutions of The University of North Carolina

The “course units” listed below may have been taken while you were enrolled in high school, but they may also include courses you have completed after graduating:

Six course units in language, including

  • four units in English emphasizing grammar, composition, and literature, and
  • two units of a language other than English.

Four course units of mathematics, in any of the following combinations

  • algebra I and II, geometry, and one unit beyond algebra II,
  • algebra I and II, and two units beyond algebra II, or
  • integrated math I, II, and III, and one unit beyond integrated math III.

The University strongly encourages future students to take at least one mathematics course unit in the 12th grade.

Three course units in science, including

  • at least one unit in a life or biological science (for example, biology),
  • at least one unit in physical sciences (for example, physical science, chemistry, physics), and
  • at least one laboratory course.

Two course units in social studies, including

  • one unit in U.S. history.

Students who do not have the unit in U.S. history may be admitted on the condition that they pass at least three semester hours in that subject by the end of the sophomore year.

Admission Procedure

WCU Admission Cycle for First-Year Students (including high school students who are dually enrolled in college)


Early Action - Honors College Priority Deadline. The deadline is November 1 for a non-binding decision.  Candidates who do not complete the application process (i.e., submitting all required documentation) by November 1 or applying beyond November 1 will be rolled into the next cycle, described below.  Early Action preliminary decisions on complete applications are made by mid-December.  The nonrefundable enrollment deposit is due by May 1 in order for admitted students to reserve a space in the entering class.

Priority Action - Financial Aid/Scholarship Priority Deadline. The deadline is January 2.  Decisions will be mailed on a rolling basis between January and April.  The nonrefundable enrollment deposit is due by May 1 in order for admitted students to reserve a space in the entering class.

Regular Action.  The deadline is February 1. Decisions will be mailed on a rolling basis and will be made by the end of April.  The nonrefundable enrollment deposit is due by May 1 in order for admitted students to reserve a space in the entering class.

Late Admission. Admission may continue after the February deadline.  The application will be reviewed depending on space availability and extenuating circumstances; however, students should meet all application deadlines.  Decisions will be made on a rolling basis.  All decisions will be made no later than May 15 of any year.  To reserve a space and to have great priority in the pre-registration and placement process, students should submit enrollment deposits as soon as possible after their admission offer and the decision to attend WCU.


Application deadline: November 1. Decisions are made on a rolling basis. The deposit deadline is December 1.

WCU Admission Cycle for Transfer Students


The application deadline is April 1. Applications will be accepted beyond June 1 if space permits.

Decisions will be made on a rolling basis. To reserve a space and to have greater priority in pre-registration and placement processes, students should submit the enrollment deposit as soon as possible after the admission offer and the decision to attend WCU.

Enrollment deposit (non-refundable) due no later than June 1.


The application deadline is November 1. Progress reports will be required for candidates enrolled in the fall term at the sending institution. Decisions will be made on a rolling basis. All decisions will be conditional, pending receipt of an official transcript from the sending institution reflecting final grades.

Enrollment deposit (non-refundable) due no later than December 1.


The application deadline is April 1. Decisions will be mailed on a rolling basis up through the enrollment date. The deposit deadline is May 1.

Home-Schooled Applicants

This policy deals with those students who are applying for admission as first-year or transfer applicants, who are required to submit secondary-school records, and who are participating (or have participated) in a secondary home-school program.

Home-schooled students will have their records considered only under the following conditions:

  1. The student provides an official transcript of all work completed (high school and college if dually enrolled). This should include course names, descriptions, grades, and the amount of credit awarded.
  2. The student provides official score reports for the SAT or ACT.

All home-schooled applicants must meet standards equivalent to those used for applicants from approved secondary schools. This includes an indication of the successful completion of work equivalent to high-school units listed under “Secondary School Preparation.” Each applicant will be reviewed individually for academic strengths and weaknesses.

Categories of Admission

First-Year Students

Standard Admission

Each applicant is evaluated based on individual strengths and weaknesses for placement into the regular course sequence. Priority is given to those applicants who have demonstrated a strong potential for success in the academic programs at WCU. Factors used in the evaluation process include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Courses selected by the student in high school and the grades achieved in those courses. A strong college-preparatory curriculum is recommended. All students who are admitted must meet the Minimum Course Requirements (MCR) of The University of North Carolina system. Special attention may be given to work completed during the senior year.
  • Scores achieved on either the SAT or the American College Test (ACT).
  • Academic performance in college courses or on placement examinations. Applicants should submit official college records and examination results as soon as they are available.
  • Personal essays, recommendations, and other supporting documentation. These materials are optional but may be requested or submitted and can provide added insight to support to admission decisions. Information that sheds additional light as to why an applicant believes WCU would be a good fit, provides examples of determination or explains any unusual circumstances or inconsistencies in performance are particularly beneficial in the admission review process.

Priority consideration for admission will be given to applications completed before each application deadline. Therefore, the earlier a student submits all required documentation, the greater the likelihood of a favorable decision.

Admission to the Academic Success Program

Students whose high school records and test scores do not qualify them for standard admission but who show some potential for successful college work may be considered for admission to the university’s Academic Success Program (ASP). Students admitted into the ASP still must meet all Minimum Course Requirements (MCR) prior to enrollment into the regular fall term. An applicant’s high school records and ACT or SAT scores will be the primary information used to determine admission. The applicant must demonstrate the aptitude and motivation necessary to be able to successfully complete between 12 to 16 semester hours of college coursework in the first fall semester of enrollment.

ASP features additional tutoring and small, clustered classes designed to ease the transition from high school to college. Freshmen admitted to ASP may be required to begin their program during the summer term and fulfill all summer requirements to continue in the fall.

Admission to the Spring Entry Program

Students whose academic records do not qualify them for standard or ASP admission but who show some potential for successful college work may be considered for admission to the university’s Spring Entry Program (SEP). Students admitted into the SEP still must meet all Minimum Course Requirements (MCR) prior to enrollment in the spring term. An applicant’s academic record, including any college coursework, attempted prior to enrollment at WCU in the SEP, will be the primary information used to determine eligibility to enroll. The offer of admission may stipulate additional requirements including acceptable performance elsewhere in a full load of college coursework during the fall semester prior to spring entry at WCU.

Transfer Students

Applicants must have official transcripts, with statements of honorable dismissal, submitted by all institutions formerly attended. The applicant must meet first-year admission requirements and submit an official high school transcript with SAT or ACT score results unless the application meets exception criteria. Transfer applications and required documentation should be submitted by April 1 for fall and summer terms. The deadline for spring is November 1.

Admission decisions will be based primarily on a transfer student’s academic performance in college. Applicants should have earned a minimum higher education grade point average (GPA) of 2.20 (C average) on all work attempted to be considered; however, a minimum of 2.20 does not ensure admission to the university or to a specific program of study. Applicants who are ineligible to return to the last institution attended for any reason cannot qualify for admission.

Students transferring from any unaccredited institution, if admitted, may be placed on academic probation and may be permitted to validate transfer credits by attaining satisfactory grades at Western Carolina University or successfully completing validation examinations.

The academic records of transfer students will be evaluated by the Office of the Registrar, the Advising Center, and the department head of the student’s major. University policies on the transfer of undergraduate credit are explained in the section of this catalog on academic regulations.

Cooperative Transfer Agreements with Community Colleges

Cooperative agreements exist between WCU and many community colleges across North Carolina. For additional information regarding articulation agreements and partnerships with other schools, refer to online resources at http://admissions.wcu.edu/TransferAgreements.

All Former Students

A student who has not been enrolled at WCU for three or more consecutive terms is considered a former student. Any other student resuming enrollment should contact the Advising Center at (828) 227-7753 for information about course registration.

Readmission of former students is not automatic. Students are required to reapply and be admitted under any of the following conditions:

  • They were suspended or dismissed when they ceased enrollment at WCU
  • They ceased WCU enrollment for three or more consecutive terms (summer included)
  • They wish to change levels or change classifications (e.g. change from non-degree seeking to degree-seeking or from undergraduate to graduate level)














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See Graduate Catalog for information about admission to the Graduate School.

Returning After Suspension or Dismissal

Students who were suspended or dismissed when they ceased enrollment at WCU must reapply for admission. Conditions for readmission may be specified. 

Post-Baccalaureate Students

Graduates of accredited four-year institutions may apply for admission to work toward another undergraduate degree. Western Carolina University is authorized to offer 10 different bachelor’s degrees: Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Music (BM), Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA), Bachelor of Science in Education (BSEd), Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE), Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSW). A student may obtain from the university a second bachelor’s degree provided the degree is in a different major. Students may not earn a second degree in the same major. The general requirements for second degrees are stated in the section of this catalog on degree programs and requirements. Students seeking to pursue advanced degrees should refer to the Graduate School section.

International Students

International students are an important component of campus life and are very much welcome at the university. International Students are granted regular, provisional, special, non-degree, or guest matriculant admission to Western Carolina University as appropriate in each case. Western Carolina University is authorized under Federal law to enroll non-immigrant students. International students should submit an application form, application processing fee (waived under some exchange agreements), SAT, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, or Pearson PTE scores, and transcripts evaluated by an approved evaluation company. International applicants from countries where English is not the primary language or who have attended a school where English is not the primary language of instruction must submit a minimum score of 537 (paper-based), or 75 (internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or a minimum score of 6.0 on the IELTS (with no score lower than 5.0 in each area), or a minimum score of 95 with Duolingo, or a minimum score of 50 with Pearson PTE. To receive a visa, students need to provide a statement of financial responsibility. It is expected that international students will not begin studying until the admission process is completed and the student has met all admission conditions.

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 but no later than the stated deadlines.

Application deadlines for international students are as follows: February 1 for international freshman applicants for the fall term, April 1 for international transfer applicants for the fall term, and November 1 for the spring term. Contact International Programs and Services here.

Other Eligible Persons

Non-degree-seeking Students

Persons not seeking degrees may apply as Non-degree-seeking students by completing an application and paying the application fee. Non-degree-seeking students are not admitted to any degree program, are not eligible for financial assistance, and are not assigned to advisors. Non-degree-seeking students applying to live in university housing should indicate their status on the housing contract. Admission categories for special students include the following:

Special Students

Upon approval, people not seeking degrees but wishing to take courses for personal enrichment or advancement may take up to 18 semester hours as a non-degree student. Academic credentials may be required to validate a student’s eligibility for admission. Non-degree students who wish to take more than 18 semester hours must meet regular admission criteria.

Alternative Teacher Licensure Students

Persons who have earned a previous four-year degree and are returning to complete those requirements necessary for teacher licensure and are not pursuing a degree may apply as an alternative-teacher-licensure student (alternativelicensure.wcu.edu). Candidates interested in middle-grades education may apply to the Graduate Certificate Program that leads to an initial license in middle grades. Those interested in elementary education may apply as second-degree-seeking students; they must complete all requirements for the initial license and also major in elementary education. Those who plan to meet alternative teacher licensure requirements must provide transcripts of all college work to the Office of Alternative Teacher Licensure, 223 Killian Building, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina 28723.

Dual Enrollment Students

Dual enrollment students are those students who plan to take courses at Western while currently enrolled in a local high school. Applicants must submit a letter of parental consent, a letter of permission from their high school principal or guidance counselor, SAT or ACT scores, and an official high school transcript. Dual enrollment students may not live in campus housing.

Extension Students

Individuals may enroll in extension courses with the approval of the coordinators of the courses. An extension student who later desires to enroll in courses for degree credit must meet regular admission requirements.

Transient (Visiting) Students

A student interested in enrolling for a semester or a summer session before returning to another institution may be admitted as a transient. WCU would not be considered the student’s home institution; therefore, the student would be deemed to be a nondegree-seeking student at WCU (e.g., no eligibility for financial aid or scholarships through WCU, no evaluation of credit earned elsewhere, etc.).

Students Applying for Special Consideration

Persons of above-average ability who do not meet admission requirements in any category may request special consideration by submitting a letter of explanation and supporting information. However, regular admission guidelines are regarded as sound for the student and the university. Few exceptions are made.

Military Readmit Policy

A military student who wishes to return to Western Carolina University after being absent for military service for more than 3 consecutive semesters, and who left the University in good academic standing may apply to return under the Military Readmit Policy.  The student must complete the Intent to Return Form-Military Readmit and notify the Military Student Services offices.

Military service for the purposes of readmission is defined as service, whether voluntary or involuntary, in the Armed Forces, including service by a member of the National Guard or Reserve, on active duty, active duty for training, or full-time National Guard duty under federal authority, for a period of more than 30 consecutive days under a call or order to active duty of more than 30 consecutive days (this does not include National Guard under state authority).  A service member is someone who is a member of, applies to be a member of, performs, has performed, applies to perform, or has an obligation to perform, service in the Armed Forces services on the basis of that membership, application for membership, the performance of service, application for service, or obligation to perform service. 

The student will be admitted with the same academic status. This status is defined as being admitted to the same program to which the student was last admitted or if that exact program is no longer offered, the program that is most similar to that program unless the student chooses a different program. The student will be enrolled with the same number of credit hours previously completed unless the student is readmitted to a different program to which the completed credit hours are not transferable. The student will be readmitted with the same academic standing. The cumulative length of the absence and of all previous absences from the school for military service may not exceed five years. Only the time the student spends actually performing service is counted.

Curriculum and licensure requirements change over time. WCU will consider each returning military student’s situation on a case-by-case basis to determine if the service member is better served by completing degree requirements in effect at the time of their return or recommend the student be allowed to complete the requirements in effect at the time they originally enrolled at the institution.

Appeals of Admission Decisions

Admission decisions may be appealed by presenting a written request for reconsideration to the Director of Undergraduate Admissions, who reviews any appeal related to academic preparation or credentials. The final appeal of admission decisions may be submitted to the Associate Vice-Chancellor for Undergraduate Enrollment. Appeals of decisions related to criminal, disciplinary, or behavioral factors are referred to the dean of students. The request should indicate the reasons for reconsideration and any factors the applicant feels were not given adequate consideration in the admission process. Applicants will be notified in writing of the final decision by the Office of Admission.

Summer Session Admission

All policies in effect during the regular academic year are applicable to summer enrollment. Further information is available upon request from the Division of Educational Outreach, Graduate School, or Office of Admission.

Application Falsification

Students furnishing the university with false, misleading, or incomplete information relating to their application or academic record will be subject to rejection or dismissal.