About the Graduate School

The Graduate School at Western Carolina University serves to support graduate students and faculty, beginning with the support of prospective students as they explore programs of interest and move through the application process. The central mission of the Graduate School is to provide services and resources to promote an engaged and diverse community of study and to ensure quality graduate education and active scholarship.  The Graduate School will advocate for graduate students, faculty, and programs to benefit the scholarly activities within the university and the region.

Activities coordinated by the Graduate School

  • Recruitment of prospective students
  • Collection and processing of applications
  • Coordination of the admission process with academic programs
  • Assisting students with academic policy, course registration, and course withdrawal
  • Coordination and allocation of graduate scholarships and tuition waivers
  • Processing and assignment of graduate assistantships to graduate programs and campus units
  • Monitoring residency status
  • Monitoring academic eligibility
  • Coordination of Graduate Student Association
  • Processing of graduate faculty applications
  • Reviewing theses/dissertations for formatting
  • Processing applications for graduation
  • Working with the Graduate Council to approve new/revised graduate programs, curricula, and policy

Read our Strategic Plan (2013-2017) 

Graduate Program Locations

WCU offers high-quality programs in Cullowhee, Asheville, and online, giving you the convenience and flexibility you need to reach your educational goals.

Western's main campus is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, in a valley of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Scenic vistas, clear whitewater streams, and dense forests abound in our mountain environment. While the climate is mild, four distinct seasons offer a variety of picturesque scenes at any time of year.

Some of the highest mountains in eastern America are near our campus; the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, national forests, and the Cherokee Indian Reservation are only a thirty-minute drive from Cullowhee. 

In addition to the main Cullowhee campus, Western offers resident credit classes at its convenient location in Asheville.

A message from the Dean

Thank you for your interest in the Graduate School at Western Carolina University. Graduate Study has become increasingly important to career advancement and professional development and the Western Carolina University Graduate School is ready to assist you with your climb.

Individuals with graduate degrees provide a highly skilled workforce required to strengthen the region’s global economic position. Individuals with graduate degrees also play vital roles as citizens. They provide solutions to societal and business issues and help create a higher quality of life through applied science, education, and service. Graduate students inspire, think critically, and solve society’s big problems. Higher-level positions and decision-making powers often go to people who have pursued graduate education.

I hope that the Western Carolina University Graduate School is in your future. Our programs serve to launch successful careers that will positively impact the region, state, and nation. Western has much to offer, such as state-of-the-art facilities in the health services, engineering technology, and business. We also offer many of our degree programs at our contemporary Biltmore Park instructional site in Asheville. The Graduate School also offers many meritorious graduate students with teaching assistantships, stipends, and financial assistance grants.

Western graduate students actively engage in collaborative research with world-class faculty in the quest to develop their own expertise. The graduate faculty includes more than 450 experts from over 38 degree programs. You will share your graduate experience with more than 1600 graduate students in Cullowhee, Asheville, and around the world. I am proud of our students, of their achievements, and of the outstanding graduate faculty who are their mentors.

I hope that you take the time to learn more about graduate education at Western Carolina University on this web site, to visit our campus, and to talk with faculty and graduate students. The Graduate School staff is committed to providing timely, accurate, and professional service to you when you need it most.


Brian Kloeppel - Dean, Graduate School and Research



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