Western Carolina University

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Public, 4-year or above
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Master's Colleges & Universities: Larger Programs
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Western Carolina University, located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, is the westernmost campus in the University of North Carolina (UNC) system. Situated on a 600 acre campus near the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains, the school has been consistently ranked among the best public regional institutions in the South. The fifth oldest institution in the UNC system, Western Carolina University began as a semi-public secondary school, founded in 1889. Over the next 60 years, the school’s curriculum and scope expanded significantly and by 1949 the school was chartered as a four-year institution under the name Western Carolina Teachers College, eventually evolving even further into the university it is today.

Academic Programs

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1946, Western Carolina University offers a variety of programs ranging from undergraduate to master degrees. More than 120 undergraduate majors and concentrations are offered as well as over 50 graduate programs with focus on high-demand degrees including a variety of programs in engineering science, healthcare, education, humanities, business and the arts. In addition to The Honors College and Graduate School , Western Carolina University is made up of six colleges and schools which include the College of Health and Human Sciences; College of Arts and Sciences; College of Fine and Performing Arts; College of Business; College of Education and Allied Professions; and The Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology.

Ranked among the top universities in the nation for its undergraduate research, students have ample opportunity to gain real-world experience by working with professionals, volunteering in the community, and participating in faculty-mentored student research.

Student Life

With an enrollment figure of over 10,000 (most of whom are undergraduate students), nearly 20% of Western Carolina University’s students self-identify as belonging to a racial minority group and more than 75% of students’ ages fall between 18 and 24 years. Freshmen students are required to live on campus for two academic years and Western Carolina University’s campus features more than a dozen residence halls, including one for graduate students and another for married students. Honor College students reside together in one of the residence halls in the central part of campus. On campus dining options include the university’s main cafeteria as well as multiple national brand options such as Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, McAlister’s Deli, Pizza Hut and more.

A member of the Southern Conference, Western Carolina University’s varsity teams compete at the NCAA Division I-AA level. The university sponsors more than a dozen teams, including men’s baseball, basketball, football, golf, and track and field and women’s basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field.

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