Western Carolina University

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Updated October 2, 2020

Western Carolina University is one of several colleges that make up the University of North Carolina School System. Located in the small town of Cullowhee, this university originally started out at the Cullowhee Academy, which was a small school that functioned as a high school. It also offered boarding for students coming from neighboring towns and became one of the best public schools in the region. After the state saw the need for a normal or teaching school, it decided to turn that high school into a teaching college called the Cullowhee Normal and Industrial School. It also served as a teaching college and then a state college before becoming part of UNC and changing its name to Western Carolina University in the 1970s.

Though it still has its flagship campus in Cullowhee, it also operates smaller campuses in other cities. One of those campuses is in Asheville and gives students the chance to take graduate courses from the university. Another campus is in Cherokee and operates with the approval of the tribal government, though this campus lets students who come from different backgrounds take classes there too. WCU students can work on the university's newspaper, its television or radio stations and its journals and magazines. The university also offers both intramural and varsity sports and has an active Greek community.

Western Carolina University Accreditation Details

It's important that you look for both regional and specialty accreditation when choosing a college, and Western Carolina University actually has both. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is responsible for accrediting degree programs in the southern region of the country and both granted the university accreditation and renewed its accreditation too. It also has specialty accreditation from organizations like the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, Inc. (ABET) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for its programs in computer engineering, electrical engineering and dietetics. The 16 other organizations that granted its specialty programs accreditation include:

  • National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • American Physical Therapy Association
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design

Western Carolina University Application Requirements

WCU uses many of the same requirements that other grad schools do. You must be within one year of finishing a bachelor's degree at the time that you apply, and your degree must come from an accredited college or university. If you do not have your degree at the time that you apply, you'll need to verify that you finished it before classes start. You can complete the online application in well under an hour, but you must pay a $65 nonrefundable application fee when you submit the online form. The university lets you create an account that you can use to check on the status of your application or to work on each individual section over the course of a few days.

Though each department may require different things, most departments ask for a resume that shows where you went to college, what you studied, any professional work or volunteer work that you did and the skills that you developed in those positions. You generally need to submit at least one letter of recommendation, but some departments may require as many as three letters. The university itself requires an official score from a standardized test like the GRE and an official college transcript. Check the requirements of your specific department before you apply.

Tuition and Financial Aid

If you take a minimum of nine credit hours in one semester, Western Carolina University considers you a full-time student. North Carolina residents pay $4,707 per semester for their classes. This figure relates to most graduate programs, but some may cost more than $5,000 a semester, including its programs in physical therapy and nursing. The cost for residents of other states is just over $9,000 a semester. Those who enroll on a part-time basis are subject to fees equivalent to the number of credit hours they take in a semester. WSU also offers housing options for grad students that start at around $3,200 a semester. You'll also need to purchase a meal plan that costs $650 or more.

While you can apply for scholarships as a grad student, you must first receive an acceptance letter and then create an online account. That account lets you view all scholarships and assistant jobs available on campus. You can submit all required documents and applications for those positions online. The responses you gave on the FAFSA can also determine the type of aid you get. Most grad students receive unsubsidized student loans that accrue interest while you're still in school. WCU has some fellowships available for qualifying students as well.

Master's Degree Program in Human Resources

Western Carolina University offers a Master's Degree Program in Human Resources that awards graduates with a Master of Science in Human Resources or an MSHR degree. Unlike MBA programs that often require you take a lot of core business courses before focusing on HR topics, this program focuses specifically on HR. The university offers an online form that you can fill out to get more information about the program. One of the faculty members working in the department will contact you over the phone, go over the application requirements, talk about the benefits of the HR program and discuss some of the jobs you can get after graduation. You can also take a tour of the campus before or after applying.

This is a 36-credit hour program that the university created with a three-year plan in mind. This allows you to work full-time in your current job and take just two classes each semester and still graduate in three years. Full-time students can complete the same program in just two years. WCU offers its MSHR degree program online too for those who want to spend less time driving back and forth from one of its campuses.

Related Resource: Most Affordable Top Online Master's in Human Resources Degree Programs 2020

Eight of the 12 classes that you take are required HR classes, including HR consulting, human resources development and employee and labor relations. The remaining four classes can include electives like staffing and talent management. Western Carolina University also requires that you take a human resources seminar class during your last year.

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