Center for International Programs

Visiting Scholar Programs and Services Home

Welcome to West Chester University (WCU)!

WCU takes seriously our role in enhancing international understanding through a curriculum of the highest caliber, and through the development of meaningful partnerships with people from all over the world. We value your contributions toward the international vision of WCU. The contact you have with students, as well as with faculty and staff, will open our minds to new ideas and cultures in ways that enhance our awareness of global dimensions.

The Office of Visiting Scholar Program Services (VSPS) aims to provide you as a new international scholar or visitor to WCU with resources and information that will help prepare you before and after your arrival on campus.

Please read carefully the information about how to obtain a J1 visa.

Please explore our website to orient you to WCU and to the city of West Chester. If there are websites or resources that have been helpful to you and other visiting international scholars, we would appreciate your feedback.

We encourage you to communicate with your faculty mentor and department chairperson about your travel plans and with any concerns you may have. VSPS is also a resource for you to answer questions. Please do not hesitate to contact and to visit us in the Old Library when you arrive on campus.

Angela Howard
Assistant Director

About West Chester, PA

History and Demographics

The borough of West Chester is the county seat of Chester County. It is located 25 miles to the east of Philadelphia and 17 miles south of Wilmington, Delaware. Valley Forge, the Brandywine Battlefield, Longwood Gardens, and other historical attractions are near West Chester. The area was originally known as Turk’s Head - after the Inn of the same name located in what is now the center of the borough.

West Chester has been the seat of government in Chester County since 1786. West Chester was settled in the early 18th century, principally by members of the Society of Friends. In the heart of town is its courthouse, a classical revival building designed in the 1840’s by Thomas U. Walter, one of the architects for the Capitol in Washington, DC. West Chester is rapidly growing suburban complex surrounding Philadelphia.

As of 2011, there were an estimated 19, 248 people residing in West Chester. The 2010 census revealed the racial makeup of the borough was 78.7% White, 12.1% African American, 13.4% who identify as having Hispanic or Latino orgins,1.4% Asian, 0.2% Native American, and 2.4% from two or more races. The average household size was 2.28. The median income for a household in the borough was $45,052.

Strategically located at the center of the mid-Atlantic corridor between New York City and Washington, D.C., West Chester is convenient to major cultural and commercial institutions and recreational activities. West Chester is located just 25 miles west of Philadelphia and 17 miles north of Wilmington. New York City and Washington, D.C. are accessible by car or train in less than three hours, and Philadelphia International Airport is less than an hour's drive from the campus.

Helpful links for West Chester and WCU

Virtual Tour

Immigration Information

Those wishing to come to West Chester University as visiting scholars must obtain a J-1 visa. The following link is the US Government‘s homepage for J-1 visas. For further information, please contact Assistant Director Angela Howard at

Global Engagement: Visiting Scholars

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International Engagement:

International Department Calendar