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Western Carolina University: Degree Programs and School Info

Learn what degree programs Western Carolina University offers. Research its academics, and read about its admission and financial aid info to make an informed education decision.

About Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University was established in 1889. The school is located on a 600-acre campus in Cullowhee, North Carolina, about 52 miles west of Asheville. The school is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked the university number 32 among the best regional universities in the South and number 11 among public schools in the South.


Western Carolina operates five undergraduate colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Allied Professions, College of Business, College of Fine and Performing Arts and College of Health and Human Sciences. Undergraduate programs also are offered through the Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology. The school's graduate degree programs are offered through the Kimmel School and Graduate School.

Undergraduate students can major or concentrate in more than 200 fields of study. Graduate students can choose from 12 master's degrees in 40 fields of study, as well as an Education Specialist degree or a Doctor of Education. The school also offers online undergraduate and graduate degree programs, certificate programs and degree completion programs. Professional programs are available at Biltmore Park, the school's Asheville location.

The school operates 12 centers that focus on such diverse topics as marketing, Cherokee studies, small business and the performing arts. Additionally, the university's Hunter Library holds more than 700,000 volumes of text and is the largest library in the area.

Students are able to study abroad in locations like Argentina, Fiji, South Korea and Uruguay. The school also encourages and makes available internship opportunities for students. In addition to interning in North Carolina, students can complete internships throughout the United States in locations like Florida, Arkansas, Texas and Washington, D.C.


Undergraduate applications can be submitted online or by mail. The school doesn't accept the common application. Applications must be submitted by February 1 for Regular Action I Freshman and March 1 for Regular Action II Freshman. Admission notifications are made on a rolling basis, no later than one month after submission of the application.

Student enrollment for the 2011-2012 school year was approximately 9,500. In the fall of 2011, the student body was 56% female and 44% male. Students hailed from the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Western Carolina University charges different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students. During the 2012-2013 school year, in-state students paid $3,778.50 per semester, while out-of-state students paid $8,577 per semester. That same academic year, the cost to live in a double room in one of the school's residence halls ranged between $1,747 and $2,513 per semester.

The school accepts grants and loans and makes scholarships available to students. Some of these scholarships are merit-based. Undergraduate students can participate in the federal work-study program, while graduate students can receive funding through graduate assistantships.

School Type 4-year, public**
Degrees Offered Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-bachelor's and post-master's certificates**
Religious Affiliation None**
Academic Calendar Semester*
School Setting Distant town**
Student Body Approximately 7,600 undergraduate and 1,700 graduate students (Fall 2011)**
Student Housing 13 residence buildings are available; freshmen are required to live on campus; limited graduate and married housing available*
Schools and Programs Five undergraduate colleges and one graduate college, as well as a school of construction management and technology; more than 200 undergraduate and 40 graduate fields of study*
Student-Faculty Ratio 13 to 1 (2012)**
Most Popular Fields of Study Based on degrees awarded in Fall 2011: Bachelor's: Education (331); Master's: Education (263); Doctoral: Education (14)**
Overall Graduation Rates 51% (Fall 2010)**
Admissions Rate 39% (Fall 2010)**
Entering Class Size First-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates: 1,440 (Fall 2010)**
First Year Retention Rates 72% of full-time, first-year students who began studies in Fall 2010**
SAT/ACT Score of Middle 50% of Admitted Students ACT composite, 19-24
SAT: Critical reading, 470-560; math, 480-570; writing: 440-530 (Fall 2010)**
Application Due Date February 1 for Regular Action I Freshman and March 1 for Regular Action II Freshman*
Decision Notification Date Within one month of application*
Tuition & Financial Aid
Tuition $3,778.50 for in-state and $8,577 for out-of-state students per semester (2012-2013 school year)*
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Students Receiving Type of Aid) Federal grants (41%); state/local grants (55%); institutional grants or scholarships (64%); student loan aid (65%)**
Percent of Students Receiving Aid 84% (Fall 2010-2011)**

Sources: *Western Carolina University, **National Center for Education Statistics.

School Contact Info

  • Main Address: 102 Camp Building, Cullowhee, NC 28723
  • Phone: 828-227-7317
  • Website:

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