As the westernmost institution in the UNC system, Western Carolina University provides
educational opportunities to residents of the state’s western region and attracts
students from around the globe to explore the area’s vast resources.
At Western Carolina University, we view our admissions process as our opportunity
to build the community that defines our institution. We look for people eager to explore
and ready to redefine success.
Programs and courses at Western Carolina are designed to provide hands-on, applied
experience. Students engage with communities across the region as they practice their
profession in real-world environments.
Western Carolina’s unique mountain location helps fuel a vibrant campus community
with more than 170 student clubs and organizations as well as a busy performing arts
calendar and the campus’s own adventure guide service.
Western Carolina is home to 16 Southern Conference athletic teams with more than 375
student athlete competitors. WCU strives to inspire student-athletes to compete like
champions on the field and in the classroom.
Western Carolina was founded to serve the region it calls home, and that has not changed.
WCU continues to focus on regional development initiatives, engaged service and community
programs. It also partners with alumni and donors to ensure access to higher education
for deserving students in the region and beyond.
Qualified individuals who wish to enroll in college courses for personal, educational
or professional enrichment (i.e., fulfill prerequisites for graduate or professional
school, maintain professional licensure or credentials, enhance professional knowledge
or skills, take a course as a senior citizen, etc.) are invited to submit an application
as a special, non-degree seeking student. Special, non-degree applicants must have
earned a high school degree or its equivalent, be in good standing and eligible to
return to their most recent college or university, and possess sufficient prerequisite
course credit or background to warrant enrolling to take courses at WCU.
Because special non-degree seeking students are not being admitted for the purpose
of completing a degree at WCU, some policies and procedures differ from those for
first-year or transfer students. (All non-degree students who wish to be considered
for degree-seeking status must submit the appropriate new application for admission
as well as all required supporting documentation.) Some of the differences include:
Classification as a non-degree seeking student (as opposed to a first-year or transfer
Exemption from orientation
Ineligibility for merit awards or financial aid through WCU
Ineligibility to reside on campus unless participating in a special camp or program
that includes a residential living component
Limitation to no more than 18 semester hours of credit under this status without special
Ineligibility for an evaluation of credits earned elsewhere or a degree audit
Ineligibility for assignment of an academic adviser
Different priority access to registration, course selection and on-campus living accommodations
from that of degree-seeking students.
Because special non-degree seeking students are not actively pursuing a degree at
WCU, these applicants are not required to submit all of the documentation that a degree-seeking
student would have to submit; however, the applicant must provide information that
demonstrates sufficient background and preparation to warrant admission. The minimum
amount of information that a special non-degree student must submit, by application
deadlines, includes the following:
Accurately and completely fill out the appropriate application for admission:
Students desiring to take graduate-level courses must contact the Graduate School.
This nonrefundable processing fee is required for consideration as a special non-degree
The special non-degree seeking student classification is not to be used as a means
of circumventing the academic requirements of degree-seeking applicants or as an attempt
to qualify for undergraduate admission at WCU. Additional information (i.e., transcripts
or standardized test scores) may be required on a case-by-case basis to verify information
or eligibility, substantiate academic background or validate completion of stated
Special Non-Degree Admitted Students
Special non-degree seeking students who are offered admission will receive an acceptance
letter, an information sheet and a checklist to aid in the enrollment process. The
applicability of some of the information will depend on the student’s specific plans
or needs (i.e., number of courses, location or instructional mode of courses, timing
of courses, special needs, etc.). Some of the next steps after gaining admission may
North Carolina state law requires anyone entering college to present a certificate
of immunization documenting compliance with all required immunizations. The statute
applies to all students except:
Students taking all evening classes
Students taking classes that meet off campus
Students taking no more than four day-credit hours in on-campus courses
Students taking weekend classes only
WCU is committed to equality of educational opportunities for qualified students with
All new and returning degree-seeking undergraduate students are required to have a
computer. The computer requirement includes a software and hardware component. Given
this requirement, the faculty incorporates the use of technology within the curriculum.
As a non-degree seeking student, you will be immersed in classes that necessitate
access to the same hardware and software as degree-seeking students.
Depending on your specific situation, you may participate in the book rental program
at WCU, and/or you may have to purchase your textbooks (i.e., supplemental and laboratory
books as well as books for online, distance learning and some specific undergraduate
majors must be purchased). Once you have been admitted and are registered for classes,
contact the University Bookstore for more information.
Non-degree seeking students, particularly those taking courses on campus, may find
the acquisition of a CatCard to be a necessity or a convenience. The CatCard may be
used as an identification card, access card (i.e., to specific facilities and events),
debit card for on-campus purchases, library card, meal card, discount card and more.
Non-degree seeking students may register via the Web. Registration dates will be posted
on the Registrar’s Office website. The academic calendar, catalog, course descriptions, schedules of classes and much
more are available through that site as well.
Non-degree seeking students who will attend class on campus or visit campus routinely,
particularly on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., should obtain a parking permit.
Students may pay by check, money order, cashier’s check or credit card. OneStop Student
Services or Student Accounts can assist with information regarding payment deadlines,
procedures and questions.