Affiliated Academic Organizations
Academic Success Program
The Academic Success Program is a special admissions program for students who do not meet current admissions criteria but who show potential to succeed in college.
Students admitted to the program complete a five-week summer session to assist them in developing academic skills in reading, writing, mathematics, and critical thinking, as well as to help them in their transition from high school to college. In addition, the program provides specialized tutoring, academic advising, mentoring and academic monitoring, and academic counseling. Program support continues into the academic year, as students complete SPK 208 and WRT 120 and transition into a major.
For further information, please contact the Academic Success Program, 231 Lawrence Center, 610-436-3274.
University-Wide Internship Opportunities
A number of departments offer the opportunity for internships, field experiences, or practica in which students may earn credit while gaining professional experience in their field of interest. Students need to consult with their department and review the various department listings in this catalog. In addition, other information on internship resources, requirements, and contacts is available at www.wcupa.edu/internships/ and in the Course Policies section of this catalog.
Three University-wide internship opportunities are open to students from any major:
- The Harrisburg Internship Semester (THIS) is a full-semester, 15-credit experience in Pennsylvania state government. It is open to any junior or senior who has a minimum GPA of 3.0. A stipend is involved. See Department of Political Science (HBI 400, HBI 401, HBI 402) or http://www.passhe.edu/this for more information.
- The Washington Center Internships are 15-credit experiences with the U.S. Congress, Executive Branch, interest groups, and lobbies. See www.twc.edu for more information.
- The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Legislative Fellowship Program, open to all junior/senior students with a minimum GPA of 3.5, involves committee staff assignments in policy development and a stipend.
All three programs are administered by the Department of Political Science; contact the chair at 610-436-2743.
Exploratory Studies (EXPS) provides support to undergraduate students before their admission to an academic major. The assignment to Exploratory Studies either reflects the student's own choice or a designation by the University because of one of the following:
- The student does not meet all of the preparation and/or academic requirements for a particular major
- The academic major to which the student seeks entrance has reached its maximum enrollment for the academic year and/or semester
Students are encouraged to take prerequisite courses in their intended major and/or in a particular major program because of implied interests. Academic advisors assist students in interpreting University and department policies and requirements, and with selecting appropriate courses. advisors make referrals and discuss vocational and career interests with undeclared students. Together, the advisor and student develop an educational plan of sound strategies for success.
Students should understand that certain academic programs require prerequisites for further study. If prerequisites are not taken during the period of study as an undeclared major, then University attendance is prolonged. A student may transfer into a program only if all of the following are met:
- There is a vacancy in the desired program.
- Prerequisite courses are completed and/or the required GPA is attained.
- A request has been submitted and approved through the online "Plan Change Request" process.
The Exploratory Studies program is located in 222 Lawrence Center. For more information contact email@example.com or 610-436-3505.
Undeclared Major Declaration Policy
First year students who entered West Chester University as exploratory/undeclared/pre-major must declare a major at the completion of 45 West Chester University earned credits. This is most often equivalent to three semesters of full-time study at the University. Transfer students (Internal and External) who are undeclared must declare a major after two semesters of full-time study as an exploratory/undeclared student. Students must be in good academic standing and must meet all admission requirements specified by the program they plan to transfer into. Exception to this policy may be granted to students who are planning to declare a major with highly restrictive admission requirements and may need additional semesters to complete those requirements. Any undeclared student who does not declare a major within the stipulated period of time will be required to develop an action plan addressing their academic area(s) of interest before the advisor hold will be lifted to enable the student schedule for the next semester.
Request to Postpone/Defer Declaring a Major
An exploratory/undeclared/pre-major student may submit a request to defer declaring a major if the student is postponing major declaration because they have yet to complete the prerequisites for the anticipated major. The process of postponing a major declaration requires an established plan of action by the student, which must be approved by the student’s academic advisor, the chairperson of the Department of Educational Development Services (EDS), and the dean/designee of University College.
Pennsylvania State System Visiting Student Program
Undergraduate students enrolled in a degree program who have earned 12 college-level credits and are in good academic standing have the opportunity to enroll as a visitor for a fall, spring, or summer term at any of the other 13 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education institutions. The program allows students to take advantage of specialized courses, programs, or experiences not available at the home institution without losing (home) institutional residency. Students may take a maximum of 24 credits via the Visiting Student Program. Students cannot use this program to repeat courses. Visiting Student Program information is available at the Office of the Registrar, 25 University Ave., 610-436-3085.
Students interested in pursuing environmental degree programs may choose from those identified below. Consult the departments listed for details on these programs.
Ecology and Conservation
Offered by the Department of Biology, this program provides a strong background in theoretical and applied ecology and conservation, with an emphasis on field experience. It prepares students for careers as biologists in state and federal environmental agencies, industry, environmental consulting firms, and land conservancies, as well as graduate work in ecology and conservation.
Offered by the Department of Geography and Planning, the Environmental Track of the B.S. in Geography offers course work related to conservation and sustainability oriented towards understanding the spatial patterns of human systems and landscapes, environmental processes, food systems, and the effects of people on the environment. With heavy emphasis on the application of geographic information systems (GIS) and other geospatial technologies, students gain valuable technical skills. The degree prepares graduates for a number of public, private and non-profit career choices including governmental conservation agencies at the federal, state, and local levels; private land conservation agencies, such as the Nature Conservancy and regional land trusts; and environmental consulting companies. The geography environmental degree also prepares students for graduate study in geography, sustainability science, environmental science, landscape ecology, earth sciences, environmental planning, or related disciplines.
Environmental geologists monitor and remediate water and soil contamination, address wastewater and stormwater problems, map and analyze earth materials, assess risk from natural hazards, and identify new and sustainable sources of energy and other resources. Offered by the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, the B.S. in Geoscience degree emphasizes skills necessary for environmental employment and meets the course requirements of the Pennsylvania Professional Geologist license. Courses incorporate project-based learning with hands-on training in field methods and cutting-edge scientific instruments. Graduates are prepared for geoscience careers in the thriving environmental industry of the greater Philadelphia region where hundreds of alumni are successfully employed.
Offered by the Department of Health, this program synthesizes a rigorous scientific preparation with specialized, applied environmental courses and a required full semester internship. Courses include topics such as industrial hygiene and safety, risk assessment, environmental regulations, water quality, emergency preparedness, waste management, toxicology, and a research-based seminar. These courses develop the students' quantitative skills and provide hands-on experience with state of the art sampling and analytical equipment. This degree program prepares graduates for careers as environmental/occupational health and safety scientists in industry, hospitals, research institutions, consulting firms, and government. This program is accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC). (See the Department of Health's page in the catalog for specific program information.)
National Student Exchange Program
West Chester University is one of approximately 200 participating colleges and universities across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands that offers students the opportunity to spend a maximum of one year of study at another college or university. The exchange program enables students to experience a quarter, semester, or year at another institution. While encouraging students to appreciate various cultural perspectives, the National Student Exchange Program also allows them to take advantage of specialized courses and programs that may not be available at West Chester. Successfully completed course work will transfer back to WCU and be applied to the student’s academic record.
To qualify for the program, students must be full time, have a 2.50 cumulative GPA, and should be a sophomore or junior during the period of exchange. Applications and further information, including the two different tuition options, are available from the National Student Exchange coordinator in the Center for International Programs. The priority deadline for application is February 15th of each year. A nonrefundable fee is required of all students who apply for the National Student Exchange Program. For more information, contact the Center for International Programs (610-436-3515) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Chester University recognizes that some students will select career goals that will require pursuit of academic degrees after the baccalaureate, either in graduate school or at a professional school. Students with such goals are encouraged to discuss them with appropriate members of the faculty.
Students interested in graduate studies in one of the health professions (medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, podiatry, or physician assistant studies) are encouraged to apply for admission to the Pre-Medical Program, which is supervised by members of the Pre-Medical Committee. More information about this program can be found on the Pre-Medical Program catalog page.
Students who are interested in exploring a career in law are encouraged to meet with the Pre-Law Advisor early in their academic careers and to participate in the Pre-Law Society. Because no single major course of study guarantees admission to law school, students should take courses that sharpen their reading comprehension, critical thinking, analytical reasoning, research, and oral and written communication skills. These skills can be gained through courses across all disciplines. In addition to undergraduate academic performance (reflected in a student's grade point average), law school admissions officers consider a student's score in the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) in making admissions decisions. Beyond these quantitative measures of academic potential, law school admissions officers will consider other nonquantitative factors, including a student's personal statement and letters of recommendation. The Pre-Law Advisor is available to assist students in preparing all aspects of their application package. For more information, contact Sandra M. Tomkowicz, J.D., Professor and Pre-Law Advisor, 484 Business and Public Management Center, at 610-436-2365 or email@example.com.
West Chester University, in cooperation with The Pennsylvania State University at University Park provides a program in which, at the end of five years, a student earns a B.S. in Physics from West Chester University and a B.S. in Engineering from Penn State University. Students spend three years at West Chester University, where they complete all the mathematics, physics, cognate, and general education requirements of the degree. Subsequently, they spend two years at Penn State taking only engineering-related courses. Students may choose from many fields of engineering, some of which are listed in the "Physics" section of this catalog. This program is not available to transfer students.
A similar dual-degree, cooperative physics/engineering program is available through West Chester University's affiliation with the School of Design and Engineering of Philadelphia University. This program is available to all freshmen and to transfer students. Please contact the Department of Physics and Engineering for further information on either of these cooperative programs.
Armed Services Programs
Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is available through a cross-enrollment agreement with Widener University. Students receive from 1.0 to 3.0 free elective credits per course (maximum 14 credits) towards their baccalaureate programs.
West Chester students also may enroll in the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Program (AFROTC) through an agreement with Saint Joseph's University. All aerospace studies courses are held on the Saint Joseph's University campus, and these courses earn transfer credit at WCU.
The University, with the approval of the Council of Trustees, permits West Chester University students enrolled in the Armed Services Reserve Officer Candidate Program (ROC) to receive six baccalaureate credits upon successful completion and certification of ROC military requirements. These credits are classified as free elective transfer credits. Depending on the status of the student's program at the time of ROC credit transfer, these credits will be counted toward, or in excess of, the 120 credits required for a baccalaureate degree.
ROC programs are contingent on successful completion of a military requirement during vacation and the awarding of a college degree before being granted the service commission.
Brandywine Ballet Program
West Chester University and the Brandywine Ballet offer a joint program: an undergraduate degree from WCU and a certificate in ballet from the Brandywine Ballet. This program allows students the opportunity to pursue a University degree with a broad educational emphasis while concurrently receiving advanced ballet training in a professional setting.
The Certificate in Ballet program is a rigorous, professional program that combines ballet training with a full-scale production each semester. The Brandywine Ballet engages professional faculty and choreographers to work with the students whose schedule includes a minimum of five company classes and 10 hours of rehearsal each week. All ballet training is conducted at Brandywine Ballet Company's state-of-the-art facilities in West Chester, located in close proximity to the West Chester University campus. Each semester will culminate in a full-scale, professional production of contemporary and classical ballet on the WCU campus in the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall. Students enrolled in the Certificate in Ballet program may choose any undergraduate major at West Chester University.
Admission to the Certificate in Ballet program is a two-pronged process. Students must apply and be accepted to West Chester University through the normal application process and audition with the Brandywine Ballet for admittance into the Certificate in Ballet program. Individual auditions will be scheduled by appointment.
Total costs for the certificate in ballet program include standard West Chester University tuition and fees plus an additional fee for participation in the ballet program. West Chester University offers both need- and merit-based scholarships. The Brandywine Ballet offers scholarships specifically applicable to the ballet program fees. Students seeking scholarships are encouraged to apply to the University early in the fall of their senior year.
For information on the Brandywine Ballet program, contact:
Brandywine Ballet Company
Howard Business Park
317 Westtown Road, Suite 5
West Chester, PA 19382
Box Office, 610-696-2711; Administrative Office, 610-692-6402; or fax, 610-696-0975.
General questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification
Individuals who are interested in post-baccalaureate teacher certification, at either the undergraduate or graduate level, should contact The Graduate School for admissions materials. Applicants will be referred to the appropriate faculty advisor(s) for completion of the Approved Program of Studies form.