Nurse Anesthesia Program Overview

Western Carolina University, a member of the University of North Carolina system, is based in Cullowhee, North Carolina and has a current enrollment of over 9,000 students. Located just minutes from downtown Asheville is the WCU at Biltmore Park location, home to the Graduate MS(N) program. All Nurse Anesthesia courses are taught on this campus.

Accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia, Western Carolina University Nurse Anesthesia Program will provide students with academic and field-based experiences that lead to a Master of Science in Nursing degree. Visit the Nurse Anesthesia Program homepage for more information.

Faculty are dedicated to serving as role models, resources, and facilitators of learning while preparing graduate nurse anesthetists to assume positions as certified registered nurse anesthetists. 

The twenty-eight month program is full-time, requires a minimum of 66 course credits, and emphasizes excellence in both didactic and clinical experiences. Students who graduate from the WCU program have a solid foundation for full service nurse anesthesia practice and are prepared to sit for the National Certification Exam. New classes will be admitted in January of each year for the Spring Semester.  Application deadline for the January 2017 class is May 15, 2016.

Accreditation Information
The Nurse Anesthesia Program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs (COA).  The Council on Accreditation is a specialized accrediting body recognized by both the United States Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In October, 2007, the program was awarded initial accreditation through October, 2012. In October, 2012, the Nurse Anesthesia Program received a 10 year continuation of accreditation through October 2022. (AANA, 222 S. Prospect Ave., Suite 304, Park Ridge, IL 60068,  847-692-7050). Click here to visit the COA website.

General Requirements

Bachelor's degree in nursing
Current, unrestricted RN license
Minimum 3.0 GPA on last 60 undergraduate hours
Minimum one year full-time critical care experience
Successful completion of statistics, general chemistry and research
Competitive GRE score

Length of Program

28 months, full-time

Class size

14 - 16

2015 Class Profiles

Female: 56%
Male: 44%
Average Pre-admission Overall GPA: 3.60

Career Opportunities

Anesthesia specialist providing every type of anesthetic
CRNAs safely administer 32 million anesthetics to patients each year in the United States
Collaborate with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists, other health professionals

Attrition Rate

Most recent graduating class (May 2015): 6.3%
Overall attrition (2009-2015): 14.9%

Board Pass Rate

Most recent graduating class (May 2015): First-time test takers: 87%
National average (2014): 86%

Overall pass rate (2009 - 2015): First-time test takers: 93%
Overall pass rate (2009 - 2015): 100%

Employment Rate

Most recent graduating class (May 2014), employed within six months of graduation: 100%
Overall employment rate within six months of graduation (2009 - 2014): 100%

Mission Statement

The mission of the Nurse Anesthesia Program is congruent with the mission of the School of Nursing and Western Carolina University.

The Nurse Anesthesia Program mission is to create an academic center of teaching and learning excellence for the advancement of nurse anesthesia practice.  The program seeks to promote clinical scholarship and life-long learning and aims to support skilled and ethical service to our communities.  Through nurse anesthesia research, education, and practice, students and faculty will seek to enhance the quality of life for people of all cultures, economic levels and geographic locations.

Program Purpose

Our purpose is to prepare outstanding nurse anesthetists by fostering an educational environment where scholarly thinking, dialogue, creativity and ideas flourish. The Western Carolina University Nurse Anesthesia Program will be concerned about excellence and high quality education in the development of nurse anesthesia leaders in practice, education, and research.


Copyright by Western Carolina University      •      Cullowhee, NC 28723      •      828.227.7211      •      Contact WCU
Maintained by the Office of Web Services      •      Directions      •      Campus Map      •      Emergency Information      •      Text-Only

Office of Web Services