Professional Studies Program
West Chester University
Lawrence Center Rm. 222
West Chester, PA 19383
The Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies: Professional Studies
The Professional Studies major was created and approved during the 2001-2002 academic year. The first students were formally admitted during the summer of 2002.
As of September 2009 there are over 400 students pursuing the Professional Studies degree.
As of September 2009 in excess of 1,000 students have earned the Professional Studies degree.
The Professional Studies degree is an interdisciplinary degree program that allows students to create an individualized program of study not otherwise available at the university. Students are encouraged to also obtain information on the website
Students who earn the Professional Studies degree have a surprising number of options available after graduation. Many go to graduate school or to post baccalaureate certificate programs in a field of their choice. Others go on to entry level positions in business and industry in an area associated with one of their academic minors. Many discover that their skills, knowledge and experiences open doors in occupations they never considered. An increasing number of employers are less concerned about the title of a degree, and more concerned about the content and the qualities a prospective employee brings in.
There are several offices on campus that provide students with assistance with career and vocational selection. The University Counseling Center provides vocational testing, at no charge to the student. A trained professional will review the results of the testing with the student. The staff of the Twardowski Career Development Center provides a variety of services for students engaged in the search for a career path. Both offices are located on the second floor of the Lawrence Center. Or you may link to their website as follows:
Professor Bruce Norris currently serves as the Director of the Liberal Studies: Professional Studies degree program.
The Professional Studies program office is located in 144 Main Hall. Students need to schedule appointments to meet with the Director. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 610-436-3548 or 610-436-3486.
Professional Studies is a potentially good fit for the following types of students:
Students must be actively enrolled as an undergraduate at WCU, and have earned a minimum of 30 credits at the time of application. Students must have a minimum WCU cumulative GPA of 2.00. Prospective students must have an initial interview with the Program Director to assess their qualifications. Once a student is deemed acceptable for the major, he/she must file a change of major form with the office of Professional Studies.
Students who transfer to WCU from another accredited college or university are not allowed to apply for direct admission to the Professional Studies Program. These students should meet with Professor Norris after their admission to the university to discuss the program and make their academic plans accordingly, but will not be permitted to apply for the admission to the program until the completion of the their first semester at WCU.
Students in the Professional Studies Program must complete a variety of requirements under the following categories:
Upper Level Electives - 30 credits
Electives at any level - 27 credits
Students should consult the Undergraduate catalog for the year they first enrolled at WCU to determine their general education requirement. Students should consult their academic advisor for specific information about the general education requirement. The Program Director serves as the academic advisor for Professional Studies students.
The Major Breadth (Distributive) Requirement consists of 15 credits of coursework in areas across the university curriculum. The requirement has its origin in the Liberal Arts/Liberal Studies tradition, where students pursue a curriculum that spans a variety of academic disciplines. To complete this requirement, students must take courses in the following areas:
Students in the Professional Studies program must complete a total of 57 credits of major electives. 30 credits of these electives must be taken at the upper level (300/400 level). The remaining 27 credits may be taken at any level 100 or above. Courses that students are using to earn the required academic minors are to be included among these elective credits. The credits may be taken from any academic department on campus.
Students pursuing the Professional Studies degree must earn two academic minors. One of those minors must be from one of the four professional colleges. The second minor may be from any of the universitiy's colleges.
Students will need to apply for each of the minors they wish to pursue. Each minor may have its' own admission or selection criteria. It is the student's responsibility to consult with a representative of the minor department to determine these standards, as well as the specific requirements for the minor.
Verification that a student has earned the minor will be done at the time of final graduation clearance. Failure to earn two minors, as stipulated above, will prevent a Professional Studies student from graduating.
At the time the Professional Studies Program was approved, the Academic Departments of the university were organized into the College of Arts and Sciences and four Professional Schools (Business and Public Affairs, Education, Health Sciences and Music). In the Fall of 2004, the academic units were reorganized to more accurately reflect the institution's mission, philosophy and strategic plan. All departments were placed into Colleges (Arts and Sciences, Business and Public Affairs, Education, Health Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts). Some departments were moved into a new organizational unit.
Since there have been no changes in the minors approved as professional minors for the Professional Studies program, we simply chose to use the professional areas listing. Click here for the current list of professional area minors.
Students should consult the chair of the academic department that owns the minor to determine the specific requirements, and options if any, for their minor. Departments may provide general information about their minors in the Undergraduate catalog, as well as on their departmental web page. However, students should check with their assigned minor advisor to be certain of the specific requirements that must be met. Failure to meet with your minor advisor could lead to misunderstandings about the minor requirements, and could ultimately delay graduation.
The student may check with the minor department office. Many departments also list minor advisors on the student's "My WCU" web page.
The first step should be arranging a meeting with the Program Director to discuss this. Other steps will likely be identified during that meeting. Often, it is best to work from the perspective of identifying the minors that are of no interest, or for which the student is not eligible due to entry criteria. Caution should be employed with this method, as viable minors could be excluded prematurely. Students should research the minors available and of interest, using the Undergraduate catalog, the department office, and the department's web page.
No, at least one of the minors must come from one of the Professional Colleges. Students may complete as many minors as they want and are able, provided that at least one of them is from a Professional College.
While the flexibility and individualized nature of the Professional Studies Program is appealing, it also creates the potential for misunderstanding and mistakes in planning and executing the student's academic plan. By meeting on a regular basis with your academic advisor, you reduce the likelihood that these mistakes will occur. Advisees are encouraged to carefully review advising session notes and advising sheets immediately after an advising session. Errors are sometimes discovered during that review and should be rectified as soon as possible.
Students are responsible for developing an academic plan to complete all of the requirements for their program of study. The academic advisor is a good sounding board for this plan. In addition, students must meet with their academic advisor in order to have their advising hold lifted. That enables the student to enroll in courses at the appointed time.
Academic advisors are also interested in helping the student clarify their short-term and long-term goals. The selection of minors and of elective courses may depend to some degree on those goals.
In the final analysis, it is the student's responsibility to know what the requirements are for earning their degree, and to then complete them. The academic advisor is an excellent resource to use to ensure that the student is on the correct path.
Students should meet with their academic advisor whenever they feel a need to do so.
Students should meet with their academic advisor at least once each semester to review their progress toward degree completion, discuss course selection for upcoming semesters, and address other important issues.
It is recommended that students meet with their advisor in the weeks leading up to their course enrollment appointment. After this meeting the advising flag is removed so the student can schedule classes.
Prior to the appointment, students should review the materials they received in previous sessions. They should be aware of outstanding requirements and, if possible, identify possible course selection options for the upcoming semester. In addition, they should prepare a list of questions to be discussed at the session. Students should bring their Professional Studies materials with them to each advising meeting.
STUDENTS SHOULD MAINTAIN A FILE WITH ALL MATERIALS FROM ADVISING SESSIONS. DO NOT THROW ANYTHING OUT!
Students are encouraged to submit their application for graduation when they have approximately one academic year of courses remaining. Typically, this occurs when the student has earned 90 credits. This allows the student to identify any unmet requirements with ample time to take those final courses.
Graduation applications are submitted online, via the myWCU portal. An email confirmation of the receipt of the application will be sent. A bill will be issued for the graduation fee, currently $56.00. This fee should be paid by the application deadline for the semester in which graduation is planned.
Throughout this time, the student should be in regular contact (at least once a semester) with their major and minor academic advisors. Any unmet requirements should be identified and taken by the student. The Graduation analyst from the Registrar's office will invite the student to a meeting where a review of their general education requirements will take place.
If at any time there is a question about the process, the student should contact the Graduation Analyst in the registrar's office or the major academic advisor.
The final graduation clearance process is initiated by the Office of the Registrar. A list of all students who have filed their final application for graduation for the specific term will be sent to the Program Director. The Program Director will review the record of each student on the list and indicate if the student has completed the degree requirements. Typically, comments on the list will include the need for the student to successfully complete the courses they are taking in that semester to earn their academic minors. The list is returned to the Office of the Registrar.
The minor departments also receive a list of students graduating with a major or minor in that department's discipline. They must indicate if the student has earned the minor (or will do so upon successful completion of that semester's courses).
Finally, the graduation analyst in the Office of the Registrar will verify that the student has completed the appropriate general education requirement.
A "NO" from any one for these offices will prevent the student from graduating.
The Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies: Professional Studies program is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Prior to the ceremony, students should assemble at the location identified for CAS majors. When CAS students are called, Professional Studies students will walk across the stage.
In the event of inclement weather (spring commencement), it is necessary to hold two indoor ceremonies. Professional Studies students will attend and participate in the indoor ceremony specified for CAS students.
The Office of the Registrar's website has a Graduation section that contains the information regarding graduation in general and about the ceremonies for the current semester. The Quad, WCU's student newspaper, also presents information in a timely manner.
Students may schedule an appointment by calling the program office at 610-436-3548 or 610-436-3486. If put into voicemail, please leave your name and return number, and a contact will be made.
Yes, students are encouraged to submit basic and simple questions (those requiring short answers) via email. Please submit these questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions requiring longer, in-depth answers should be saved for face-to face meetings or phone calls. Students should refrain from using email to schedule advising appointments. A phone call during normal university business hours is preferred.
Yes, student grades, GPA, identifying information (such as WCU ID numbers and social security numbers) and personal information should not be included in any email communications, as privacy of emails cannot be assured. The rule of thumb is: if you would not discuss something in a loud voice in a crowded elevator, you should not cover it in an email.
Yes, Professional Studies students may, and are encouraged to, participate in internship experiences. Yes, credits earned through intership experiences may be applied to major electives.
HOWEVER, there are presently no credits given directly through the Professional Studies program for interships. Students who want to earn credits for interships should check with their minor departments to see if it is possible to earn credits through that department. Professional Studies students interested in internships should consult the Program Director.