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Graduate programs among best in nation, according to US News and World Report

WCU's Educational Leadership Program is one of five graduate programs ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

U.S. News and World Report included Western Carolina University in several categories of its recently released 2021 Best Graduate School rankings.

WCU offers more than 40 graduate degree and certification programs, with courses available online, in hybrid format, and as traditional classroom instruction at the Cullowhee campus and the Biltmore Park instructional site in Asheville.

Brian Kloeppel

“During this time of workforce and economic change, graduate school enrollment continues to grow at Western, where we deliver high-quality curricula by excellent credentialed faculty in nationally ranked programs," said Brian Kloeppel, dean of WCU's Graduate School and Research. "Our graduate students have a high return on their investment, and instruction is delivered in flexible online, hybrid or residential format.”

As a regional comprehensive university, WCU offers master's degree programs and applied doctoral programs in high-demand areas, designed with three things in mind: quality, flexibility and affordability.

WCU has been consistently ranked among the highest in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in numerous categories. Already this year, the magazine has put WCU as a top 10 university in the South in its annual guidebook and at 123rd for online bachelor’s degree programs out of 358 institutions evaluated.

The following are U.S. News & World Report rankings for WCU graduate programs and comments on each by Kloeppel:

Physical Therapy Program, 137 out of 244 nationally ranked programs (top 56 percent)

"Cohorts of our Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) students live and learn in Asheville or Cullowhee, locations where they utilize lecture, lab, and clinical preparation and typically have a 100 percent pass rate on their first-time attempts on the National Physical Therapy Examination.”

Speech Language Pathology, Communications and Sciences Disorders Program, 109 out of 260 nationally ranked programs (top 41 percent)

"Communication Sciences and Disorders has an internationally known faculty and a state-of-the-art audiology clinic to train highly qualified applicants for the rewarding field of speech language pathology.”

Educational Leadership, 141 out of 204 nationally ranked programs (top 69 percent)

"This three-year cohort-based program utilizes a hybrid delivery model with monthly in-residence instruction in our Asheville location by a highly diverse faculty that empowers leaders to ascend in the rapidly changing delivery of education.”

Master of Fine Arts, 193 out of 235 nationally ranked programs (top 82 percent)

“The Master of Fine Arts Program promotes individuals to create and deliver artistic themes in multiple mediums utilizing the WCU Fine Art Museum and at installations not only across Western North Carolina, but on multiple continents with mentorship from Distinguished Professor Tom Ashcraft.”

Master of Public Affairs, 187 out of 275 nationally ranked programs (top 65 percent)

“MPA graduates learn from faculty and regional experts in a hybrid format at our Asheville location where they prepare for careers in county, state and federal public service or nonprofit organization management.”

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