Western Carolina University’s Graduate School saw an 18.2 percent increase in enrollment of new graduate students this spring, largely driven by programs preparing students for career growth in high-demand fields. Overall Graduate School enrollment climbed 3.7 percent.
Programs exhibiting the highest overall growth included the Master of Project Management, the Master of Science in Sport Management, the Master of Science in Chemistry, the Master of Public Affairs, the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, the M.S.A. in School Administration, the M.A.Ed. in Elementary and Middle Grades Education, the Master of Construction Management and the Master of Health Sciences.
The growing programs represent a mix of residential programs in Cullowhee, programs based at WCU’s Biltmore Park instructional site in Asheville, fully online programs and hybrid programs that combine face-to-face classes with online instruction.
“We believe the growth in each of these graduate programs underscores WCU’s focus on offering programs that meet the educational needs of our students, the region and the state,” said Brian Kloeppel, dean of Graduate School and Research. “Middle grades education, for example, is one of the state’s highest demand teaching roles. Here in Western North Carolina, nonprofit and public sector executives, scientists, health care administrators, school principals – all of these are areas where there is significant job demand.”
In a recent survey of WCU graduate students, most respondents indicated their degree will provide additional opportunities in their current field or place of employment, with nearly a third seeking a master’s degree as a way to shift careers.
Originally published Jan. 29, 2018.