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Western Carolina University

As the westernmost institution in the University of North Carolina system, WCU attracts students from around the globe to explore the region’s vast natural diversity. Founded in 1889 as a teaching college, Western Carolina provides comprehensive educational opportunities to more than 11,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs.


In 1888 a group of families in the Cullowhee Valley undertook a community effort to create a school for their children. In its second year a young teacher from Virginia, Robert Lee Madison, was hired to teach some 100 students between the ages of six and twenty. His mission, what he called the "Cullowhee Idea," was to provide competent teachers for rural classrooms. 


Western Carolina University is a public regional institution of higher education whose mission is to create learning opportunities that incorporate teaching research, service, and engagement through on-campus, off- campus, on-line and international experiences. The university focuses its undergraduate, master's and three doctoral programs, educational outreach, research, creative, and cultural activities to sustain and improve individual lives and enhance economic and community development in Western Carolina and beyond.


Western Carolina University has established itself as a national leader in undergraduate research having ranked in the Top 10 for the number of projects accepted to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research annually since 2006.


WCU's Center for Career and Professional Development connects on and off-campus employers with student talent. Our services and partnerships set out to prepare our students not only to meet the workforce needs of our region and state but to become leaders in their field. 

Housing services

  • While college is first an academic experience, it’s also a social experience since you’re making a new home and meeting new people—and Western Carolina University's residential communities are a great place to start.
  • We provide clean, safe, and healthy living environments that enhance and support the educational mission, goals, and creed of the WCU.
  • We strive to create living and learning communities where students feel valued as individuals and where diversity and fellowship with others can be celebrated. While maintaining a high level of quality service, we also encourage and provide opportunities for personal growth and development of character, leadership, honesty, respect, and pride.

Library services

In support of Western Carolina University’s mission, Hunter Library serves the curricular and research needs of students, faculty, and staff while encouraging academic success. The library fulfills this mission by providing access to information; offering research and instruction services; and preserving the intellectual, environmental, and cultural heritage of the university and the region.

ICT services

WCU Faculty, Staff and Students should connect to the “eduroam” wireless network for wireless service. This network uses enterprise security and encryption to keep your information private and secure. Connecting to this network will require some configuration.Western Carolina University is excited to offer a wireless network for clients to connect their gaming systems and other devices.

Medical services

The mission of Western Carolina University Health Services is to meet the healthcare needs of our academic community and to enhance the physical, psychological, environmental and health education needs of our campus. Any student who pays the Student Health Fee is eligible for our services, regardless of insurance coverage. 

Campus life

WCU’s main campus sits in Cullowhee, North Carolina, near the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains, fifty-two miles west of Asheville. The location in the rural mountains amidst incredible biodiversity and unique communities creates an opportunity for academic discovery service. The campus covers approximately 600 acres.

Sports facilities

Campus Recreation and Wellness at Western Carolina University offers:

  • Club Sports
  • Intramural Sports
  • Outdoor Programs
  • Fitness and Wellness

Student clubs

Catamount life is ongoing and full of opportunities for students to become involved and make an impact on campus and within the surrounding community! Students who are involved with organizations are more connected to their university and perform better in the classroom, and with more than 175 student organizations in areas such as Fraternity and Sorority life, Student Government Association, Club Sports, Academic Interest, Leadership, Spirituality, and more… there's an activity for each student at WCU.

Western Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees.As the major accrediting body for public and private institutions of higher education in the 11 southernmost states, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges ( SACSCOC) accredits more than 780 universities and colleges in North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America. Western Carolina University has been accredited by SACSCOC since 1946; the last accreditation review took place in 2017.

Cullowhee, North Carolina, United States

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