Potential Distance Education or Online Students

Thank you for your interest in Western Carolina University's distance learning programs!  Please browse the information below for answers to many of your frequently asked questions.  Have additional questions?  Contact us!

Where is Western Carolina University located?

Western Carolina University is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, near the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains, fifty-two miles west of Asheville. 

What is the mission of the university?

Teaching and learning constitute the central mission of Western Carolina University. The University seeks to create a community of scholarship in which the activities of its members are  consistent with the highest standards of knowledge and practice  in their disciplines. The commitment of the community to service, research, and creative activities complements the central mission and extends the benefits of its scholarship to society. As a major public resource for western North Carolina, the university promotes regional economic development through  its teaching, research and service. Western Carolina University seeks to provide an environment in which students, faculty, and staff jointly assume responsibility for learning, where free exchange of ideas, intellectual challenge, and high standards of scholarship prevail.

What are some important facts about the university?
Information found at this web site focuses on what a resident student may want to know, but some of the information will be helpful to you. See also: Why WCU? 

When did WCU offer the first distance learning program?
1997 - Communication Disorders Consortium 
1998 - Project Management
As you can see, Western Carolina has been offering fully-online programs for quite some time, and is recognized nationally as a leader in both programs and services to online students.

What programs does WCU offer?

Visit our program offerings page for a complete listing of the programs offered through our partnerships with community colleges, communities in our region, and the departments and colleges at Western Carolina University. Many of our programs are fully-online.

What are the requirements for acceptance to a program?

Each program has an individual web site outlining the program requirements, for both admission, and degree completion.  For example in the Emergency Medical  Care requirements are posted on the Emergency Medical Care web site. 

What courses does WCU offer?

Western Carolina University offers a variety of distance learning courses – both online, face-to-face, and in the hybrid format that incorporates both online and face-to-face learning.  For a list of liberal studies courses offered each semester, please visit our class schedule webpage

Do I have the computer hardware and software needed?

Western Carolina University strives to ensure that students have access to the highest quality education, taking maximum  advantage of the changes in information and communications  technologies. All newly admitted degree-seeking undergraduate students along with all readmitted students are required to have an appropriate, networkable computer. The computer requirement includes both  software and hardware components. Computer Requirements Explained in Detail

Are the university and the programs accredited?

Western Carolina University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor's, master's, education specialist, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Western Carolina University. Also, the university holds 21 special program accreditations and is a member of more than 30 state and national associations and organizations to which its professional programs are related.  Please see the WCU Undergraduate Catalog for more specific information about accreditations, associations and organizations.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Please read the Eligibility Requirements and Applying for Financial Aid information. The FAFSA should be completed annually.  The priority deadline for North Carolina institutions is typically in mid-March. Visit FAFSA State Deadlines at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.htm for specific information.

What is the cost?

Please visit Distance Learning Tuition and Fees.  

How will I meet the liberal studies requirement?

Undergraduate Studies: A Pathway to Intentional Learning for Western Carolina University 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 assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate 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 or other degree program in the North Carolina Community College System, the student's academic transcript will be evaluated for transfer credit on a course by course basis. 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 Assistant Vice Chancellor for undergraduate studies, in consultation with the Advising Center and the Liberal Studies 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.
Liberal Studies Checklist

North Carolina Community College Course Equivalents

EXAMPLE: 44-hour general education core found under Associate of Arts in any community college catalog:

Upon completion of the 44-hour general education core, students are eligible for the Transfer Core Diploma. The diploma may assist with university transfer since it signifies that the student has completed the general education core requirements per the North Carolina Comprehensive Articulation Agreement.
 English Composition  6 credit hours
 Humanities/Fine Arts
  (including at least one literature course) 
 12 credit hours  
 Social/Behavioral Science
  (including at least one history course) 
 12 credit hours 
 Natural Science  8 credit hours
 Mathematics/Computer Science*  6 credit hours 
 TOTAL  44
 *CIS 110 is an option toward requirements in the transfer core diploma, but in the AA degree it counts as an elective.

 (From Southwestern Community College, Sylva, North Carolina catalog)

If I would like to talk to someone, whom may I contact?

Please contact Division of Educational Outreach at 1-866-928-4723 or 1-828-227-7397.
Email: distance@email.wcu.edu 

Applying to the University 


Distance Application

What additional information will be required?

• Final official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. You must have a cumulative 2.0 G.P.A. or better on all coursework at other colleges and be eligible to return to the college attended most recently.
• Official high school transcripts, except under these conditions:
you have earned (at a minimum) an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science Degree, or you are 24 years of age or older.

How do I pay the application fee?

1. Pay online when submitting our application

2. Pay online after submitting your application. You will need your WCU student ID/92# and DOB to access this site

3. Mail check/money order to the Office of Admission. Please include your full name, DOB, and student ID/92# on the check/money order. Payments should be mailed to:
Western Carolina University
Office of Admission
102 Camp Building
Cullowhee, NC 28723

How may I submit transcripts and other documents?

Request a final official copy of your transcript be sent from each college you have attended.  Also have your high school transcript sent, unless: 
you have earned an associate’s degree, or you are 24 years of age or older and have completed 30 hours of college-level work with at least a 2.0 GPA

Transcripts need to be sent directly from all schools attended to:

The Office of Undergraduate Admission
102 Cordelia Camp Building
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, North Carolina 28723

Or, if you are applying to a graduate program at WCU:

The Graduate School
109 Cordelia Camp Building
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, North Carolina 28723

What are the requirements for acceptance to WCU?

Transfer Student Admission Requirements

How do I submit scholarship documentation (i.e. TEACH)? 

Please work with the Financial Aid office if you have a scholarship. You may reach the Financial Aid office by calling 828-227-7170.

Receipt of Acceptance to a program or acceptance as a certification, undeclared, or non-degree seeking student.


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