Credits earned elsewhere (through course completion or examination completion) may be approved as credits toward a degree at Western Carolina University. Regardless of the basis of credit, 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 12 hours in junior-senior courses in the major field.
No time limit exists on the coursework accepted for undergraduate credit assessment or awarding. However, students who plan to schedule courses with stated prerequisites should consider auditing the prerequisite courses if no work has been attempted in the field within the past five years.
Applicants who attempt coursework elsewhere are required to notify WCU of the work as part of the application process, and students making application as degree-seeking students are required to submit official transcripts from all institutions attended. Grades made in courses earned elsewhere are used as part of the admission process but are not used in computing the GPA at Western Carolina University (they remain part of a student’s higher education GPA). In addition, credits accepted at WCU from other sources are added to earned hours and will affect a student’s overall academic standing. A student may not expect to have the course repetition policy applied on the basis of courses completed at other institutions.
U.S. College or University (Regional Accreditation Required)
Only work passed with a grade of C or better may be considered for credit at WCU. Except for consortium agreements, no credit will be allowed toward graduation or toward fulfillment of major requirements for a course passed with a C- or less at another institution. Credit will not be awarded at Western Carolina University for courses determined to be below the collegiate level nor from an institution not accredited by a nationally recognized regional accrediting agency (appropriate regional accreditation, such as SACS or its equivalent). Undergraduate credit will not be awarded for graduate-level courses.
Early College and other High School Dual Enrollment
Early college or other high school-dual enrollment students are classified as first-year students for admission purposes, regardless of how much college work they have earned. Once an Early College student (or other dual-enrollment student) completes high school and attempts any college coursework at another institution (beyond a summer session immediately following spring graduation from high school), then the applicant is deemed to be a transfer student. The amount of credit earned elsewhere has no bearing on whether the applicant is a first-year student or a transfer student.
Regardless of whether an Early college student is a first-year or transfer student, the total amount of credit to be applied toward a degree at WCU determines the student’s academic standing at WCU (freshman: 0-29 hours; sophomore: 30-59 hours; junior: 60-89 hours; senior: 90 or more hours). High school dual-enrollment students who fulfill the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement by satisfactorily completing the 44-hour general education core or the appropriate associate degree are entitled to the credit benefits of the agreement. Timely submission of college transcripts and examination results are very important in the credit assessment, advising and registration processes as well.
Credit by Examination
WCU awards credit based upon examination results from several test instruments including Advanced Placement, the International Baccalaureate, CLEP subject examinations and DANTES. Applicants should request official examination scores to be sent to the Office of Admission at the point of application or as soon as examination results become available. Timely submission of college transcripts and examination results are very important in the credit assessment, advising and registration processes.
A student may apply to be examined in any course identified by a department head as available for credit by examination. The student must present an approved permission form after the examination has been completed. Students making an A (4.0) or B (3.0) will receive credit. Those making C (2.0) do not receive credit but are eligible for a waiver of a course requirement. With a D or F, credit may be earned only by regular enrollment during a subsequent semester. The GPA will not be affected by the grade made on the examination. All credit by examination attempts must be completed prior to the semester of graduation.
The examination procedure may be attempted only once for any one course. Students who have completed more than two collegiate courses in the field of study concerned may earn credit by examination only after securing written approval of the head of the department in which the course is offered. However, they may take the examination and secure a waiver of a curricular requirement by scoring a C (2.0) or higher.
The fee for scheduling a course on a credit by examination basis is $15. No fee will be assessed if the examination is being used to validate transfer credits or when the student is enrolled full time during a fall or spring semester.
Students who hold an Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) from an institution belonging to the North Carolina Community College System will be exempt from meeting Western Carolina Unvieristy’s Liberal Studies (General Ed) requirements. This benefit applies to students who complete their degrees through the North Carolina Community College standard programs of study, Early College, or Reverse Transfer. Other Associates degrees such as the Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Fine Arts, etc. are not eligible for this exemption.
Military Service Veterans
To receive credit for military service, a veteran must have served at least 12 months in continuous active duty in a branch of military service and must present the registrar an official copy of the Department of Defense form 214. Once the DD214 is received, the student will receive seven hours of credit in free electives. Service school courses will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis using the American Council of Education recommendations for evaluation of military credits. This award of credit does not alter other university requirements or major, minor, concentration or general education requirements for a degree. Questions regarding the transfer of credit for veterans of military service should be directed to the director of Military Student Services at 828-227-2135.
Graduate degree programs require at least 30 semester hours of graduate coursework; graduate certificate programs require at least 12 semester hours. Many programs require substantially more than the minimum hours. At least 24 semester hours of a student’s work toward a degree must be earned through instruction offered by Western Carolina University. Transfer credit refers to any credit transferred to WCU from another institution.
Policies regarding transfer credit vary according to the graduate program. The number of hours that can be considered for transfer into a graduate program at WCU is related to the number of hours required for a graduate program at WCU. No more than 6 hours can be considered for transfer for WCU graduate programs consisting of 30-39 hours. No more than nine hours can be considered for transfer for WCU graduate programs consisting of 40-49 hours. No more than 12 hours can be considered for transfer for WCU graduate programs consisting of 50 or more hours.
Foreign Colleges & Universities
Credit recommendations for college coursework from foreign colleges and universities must be evaluated by an approved agency for foreign transcripts displaying a satisfactory academic record. You may be required to take undergraduate courses to build competency in your field. For students making application at the undergraduate level, the Office of Admission recommends that work taken at postsecondary institutions be submitted to the World Education Services for evaluation.
Credit may be transferred from a technical program of a two-year institution and applied toward an appropriate bachelor’s degree if the institution is fully accredited or is a candidate for regional accreditation (appropriate regional accreditation, such as SACS or its equivalent).
Western Carolina University endorses the concept of undergraduate credit for experiential learning in recognition of valid learning experiences. Departments awarding credit for experiential learning do so on the basis of detailed departmental guidelines and procedures as approved by the Council on Instruction and Curriculum. However, credit is awarded by a department only for those competencies which are related to areas of instruction in that department and which are applicable to the degree program being completed. Credit is not extended automatically or in blanket fashion.
To receive credit for experiential learning, a student must submit a request to the appropriate department head. A faculty committee named by the department head will review the request. If the request seems appropriate, the student will be provided with guidelines for preparing a portfolio which the committee will review to determine the conditions and amount of credit to be awarded.
Credit for all or part of a course(s) may be awarded. If partial credit is awarded, the student will pay the full cost of the course, but will be required to attend only those classes and do additional work as designated. There is no charge for courses for which full credit is awarded. Committee actions, when endorsed by the department head and dean, must be reported to the registrar. The credit awarded is not applicable to the university’s residency requirement.
Credit for courses taken at unaccredited institutions (those that do not hold appropriate regional accreditation, such as SACS or its equivalent) generally is not accepted. If accepted, it may be subject to validation by successful completion of more advanced courses or through the university’s credit by examination and CLEP policies.
Academic Regulations and Policies
Liberal Studies Equivalencies
NC Community College Equivalencies
UNC and NCCC Articulation Agreements