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About Western Carolina University

Campus Panorama


Western Carolina University is the UNC system's westernmost campus, providing access to higher education for deserving students in the mountain region and driving economic development in the far west as well as across the state. While we remain committed to our regional mission, our reach and impact has expanded in our more than 125-year history.

Over the past decade, Western Carolina has grown exponentially, enrollment exceeding 12,000 students from across the state, country and the globe. This growth is fueled by our vision to be a national model for student learning and engagement as well as our offering a broad range of academic programs that are recognized among the top nationally for quality and affordability. These include programs such as accounting, athletic training, communication sciences and disorders, entrepreneurship, geosciences and natural resources, forensic science, nursing, teaching education and much more. 


Our main campus is located 50 miles west of Asheville in Cullowhee, NC. It's proximity to the tremendous biodiversity of the Southern Appalachian Mountains provides research and discovery access for a wide variety of academic programs as well as unlimited outdoor recreation opportunities. Our students partner with businesses and service providers on a regional research and development as well as community service.

We also have offered degree programs in Asheville for more than 75 years. Now located at Biltmore Park Town Square, our Asheville location focuses on professional and graduate degrees for working students. We also partner with local industry to provide educational training in the most in-demand fields.


Our academic programs and courses are designed to provide classroom study and applied experiences that prepare students for lifelong success. We offer more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors along with more than 40 graduate degrees and certificate programs. Western Carolina also has one of the most active, well-supported and successful undergraduate research programs in the nation. For more than 10 years running, we have been among the top 10 schools in the country for the number of research projects accepted into the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Last year, we were No. 2 in the nation. 

Western Carolina University is recognized as a community engaged university by the Carnegie Foundation, a distinction reserved for campuses that demonstrate a commitment to the surrounding communities that are woven into the fabric of the university. Through the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, students are provided with all the tools necessary to support an engaged learning experience outside of the classroom through meaningful service to our community. 

Our distinguished faculty includes national award-winning authors, nationally and internationally recognized experts, and winners of Emmy, O. Henry, and National Endowment for the Arts awards—to name a few.

University Accolades

    • Recognized as one of America's Colleges of Distinction for 2017.
    • Named a "Best College Value" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.
    • Voted the Top Adventure College in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic for four consecutive years.
    • Ranked by the U.S. News & World Report among the Top 100 universities nationally for online bachelor's programs.
    • Ranked among the Top 50 public regional universities in the South. 
    • Listed in Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in North America.
    • Ranked one of the nation's Top 10 military-friendly universities. 
    • Recognized by Princeton Review as one of the nation's best schools at which to earn an MBA. 
    • Named to the President's Community Service Honor Roll for eight consecutive years.
    • Ranked in the Top 10 universities for eleven consecutive years for the most undergraduate research projects accepted to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. 
    • Leads the Southern Conference for the largest number of student-athletes maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher. 
    • Home to the oldest and largest residential Honors College in the University of North Carolina system. 

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