Undergraduate Catalog

2012 – 2013

2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Archive

Office of Admissions
Emil H. Messikomer Hall
100 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-3411
Fax: 610-436-2907

Revised June 2017

Academic Programs

Campus and Facilities

Art Collections Historical Properties Observatory
Darlington Herbarium Information Services Planetarium
Description of the Campus Library, Francis Harvey Green Robert B. Gordon Natural Area for Environmental Studies
Geology Museum Music Library Speech and Hearing Clinic

Description of the Campus

West Chester University’s campus is a unique mixture of 19th century collegiate Gothic and contemporary architectural styles. Seventy-seven buildings, comprising more than 3.0 million square feet, are specially landscaped within 406 acres of rolling countryside. The distinctive buildings and magnificent old trees make the campus one of the aesthetic treasures of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Approaching West Chester Borough from the south, the University stretches westward from High Street and provides a gateway to the borough. The Academic Quadrangle serves as a landmark surrounded by the University’s oldest buildings – Philips Memorial Building, Recitation Hall, Anderson Hall, Ruby Jones Hall, and the Old Library. Three of these buildings are constructed of the green-hued serpentine stone that has given West Chester a particular character for more than a century. Over the ensuing decades, the University expanded to the west and south to include residence halls, science and athletic facilities, a dining facility, and general academic buildings. The focal point of student leisure life outside the classroom is the Sykes Student Union, which includes an aerobics/fitness center, a movie theater, a food court, a computer center, meeting rooms, and lounges.

A dynamic, ongoing building program that began in the 1990s has resulted in upgrades and additions to the Schmucker Science Center, improved campus-wide computer technology, renovations and restorations to three historic quadrangle buildings, and the reopening of the Philips Memorial Building, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, and Philips Autograph Library. The acquisition and completion of the Graduate Center, which is located five miles from the main campus and houses the graduate School of Business and College of Education, brought closure to that decade.

The University’s learning environment continued to keep pace with students’ needs into the 21st century with the completion of the dramatic new Swope Music Building and the Performing Arts Center, which includes the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre, and the renovation of the academic building at 25 University Avenue to house the departments of Mathematics and Computer Science, and the offices of the Bursar, Registrar, and Financial Aid. The auxiliary components of the student experience have also undergone significant transformations with the construction of an addition to the Lawrence Dining Center, offering both traditional and fast-food formats; the construction of three new suite-style residence high rises (University Hall, Allegheny Hall, and Brandywine Hall) on North Campus; the construction of The Village on South Campus, a 13-building, apartment-style residence complex; and the opening of two new parking structures. Designs are now underway for the next phase of the building program to include renovations of several academic buildings, as well as the construction of a student recreation center and an adjacent parking structure. A recently installed geothermal well field will provide energy-efficient “green” heating and cooling to the new residence halls and several existing academic buildings, and is targeted for expansion over the next 10 years to incorporate the remaining buildings on campus.

Traveling south three-quarters of a mile from the original campus, the visitor will discover the South Campus area, located on a 300-acre expanse of gently rolling Chester County countryside, which includes apartment complexes housing more than 1,000 students and features the Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center, a nationally acclaimed teaching, performance, and research facility. Surrounding the center are tennis courts, a new multipurpose artificial turf field, and Farrell Stadium, which has the same artificial turf as used by professional football teams. Also at South Campus is the 67-acre Gordon Natural Area, which includes woodlands, fields, and a streamside habitat. This area has been conserved as a research and teaching resource for the natural sciences.

From the archway of learning at the Philips Memorial Building to the hiking trails of the Gordon Natural Area, the visitor will find a rich tradition of educational excellence and a diverse variety of facilities in which to learn, live, and recreate.

Information Services

The Information Services Division provides computing, information, and network services to the entire campus community. A campus-wide network for data, voice, and video communication provides phones, data, and video connectivity for students, faculty, and staff. In addition to supporting many college and department-specific student computing labs, the Academic Computing Center on the ground floor of Anderson Hall serves as the focal point for instructional computing activity and manages public student labs totaling more than 200 workstations. The labs, which post their open hours on the Web (https://www.wcupa.edu/infoServices/helpSupport.aspx), have consultants on duty to assist students. All computers support general-purpose applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, and database management systems (Microsoft Office suite) plus course-specific software such as SPSS, SAS, Minitab, Mathematica, Quark, and others. The labs also provide access to printers, graphic workstations, digitizers, and optical scanners. Student laboratory facilities are also located in Sykes Student Union. Information Services provides many resources and services to promote the use of technology in the teaching and learning environment. More than 150 classrooms are equipped with presentation technologies. For further information, contact the IT Help Desk at 610-436-3350.

Geology Museum

The West Chester University Geology Museum in Schmucker Science Center houses several collections of historic and scientific importance. Minerals from around the world, drawn from the collections of William Yocom and Ruth Bass, are on display. The collection of the late, well-known West Chester geologist Hugh McKinstry contains fine specimens found in Chester County, as well as specimens from notable localities world-wide and collections of other significant 19th century amateurs. A special cabinet with ultraviolet light houses selected specimens from the extensive collection of fluorescent minerals of John Stolar, Sr. Other exhibits include fossils, the geology of Chester County, and labels written by famous collectors and mineralogists. The museum is free and open to the public on weekdays. Please contact the Department of Geology and Astronomy at 610-436-2727 for more information or go to geology.wcupa.edu.

WCU Observatory

Note: The observatory is currently being renovated with new instruments and is closed.

WCU Planetarium

The Department of Geology and Astronomy operates the University Planetarium which houses a Spitz A-5 planetarium projector. The planetarium is used for astronomy class lectures and labs as well as for school and public programs and monthly public planetarium shows. Approximately 70 schools and other groups attend the free programs each year, and annual attendance approaches 5,000. The planetarium dome is 10 meters in diameter, and the projector was rebuilt and upgraded by Spitz Space Systems in 1993. Persons interested in arranging group visits should contact the planetarium director at 610-436-2788 for details or go to geology.wcupa.edu/planetarium_visits.

Darlington Herbarium

The Darlington Herbarium, housed in Schmucker Science Center, is one of the most highly regarded historical collections of dried plant specimens in the East. Among the 20,000 specimens are plants collected by such famous explorers and botanists as Captain John Fremont, Thomas Nuttall, Sir William Hooker, C.S. Rafinesque, and George Englemann. More than 200 collectors from America's formative years of 1820 to 1850 are represented. The herbarium was the work of Dr. William Darlington (1782-1863), a member of the West Chester Cabinet of Science. Dr. Darlington was eminent in West Chester as a physician, educator, banker, businessman, historian, and botanist. His plants, however, were his first love. A state park has been established in northern California to preserve a rare species of insectivorous plant named in his honor - Darlingtonia.

Robert B. Gordon Natural Area for Environmental Studies

The University has conserved 100 acres of natural woodland and field and stream-side habitat located on South Campus and uses it for several kinds of field studies in the natural sciences. Dedicated in 1973, the area was named for Robert B. Gordon, faculty member and chairperson of the University's Department of Science from 1938 to 1963.

Library Services

West Chester University has two libraries, the Francis Harvey Green Library on the main campus quadrangle, and the Presser Music Library in the Swope Music Building and the Performing Arts Center. Both libraries offer excellent environments for study and research.

Library collections compare favorably with other major public and private libraries in the West Chester area. Library holdings encompass more than four million items, which include the following:

Print Materials

  • More than 760,000 print volumes
  • More than 2,000 print subscriptions

Audio-Visual Materials

  • More than 10,000 films, videos, and DVDs
  • More than 52,000 sound recordings

Internet-Accessible Materials

  • More than 640,000 electronic books
  • More than 2,900 electronic journal subscriptions
  • More than 2.2 million art images
  • More than 77,000 albums of streaming audio
  • Full text of articles from more than 67,000 journals through licensed databases


  • More than 926,000 microfilms, microfiche, and microcards

The vast majority of materials available on the Web may be accessed off campus by entering the 14- or 16-digit number from a current WCU ID. The library Web site, http://www.wcupa.edu/library, provides continually updated access to a wide array of resources and services, including the library’s catalog and all its electronic resources. Electronic materials licensed by the library are available to all students, faculty, and staff with a current WCU ID. Licensing restrictions often prevent the library from making them available to the public. PILOT, the library’s Web-accessible catalog, is the gateway to the vast majority of library holdings, including print, electronic, audio-visual, and microform materials. To find out what the library owns, in print or in electronic form, go to PILOT.

Special holdings in the FHG Library include the Chester County Collection of Scientific and Historical Books, the Normal Collection (publications by faculty and alumni), and the Stanley Weintraub Center for the Study of Arts and Humanities. Important rare books include the seven-volume Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence by John Sanderson and the first four folios (collected editions) of Shakespeare. Also worthy of note are the collections of children's literature, instructional media, and the Philips Autograph Library in Philips Memorial Building.

Library services include reference (in-person, telephone, and e-mail), electronic reserves, and access to coin-operated photocopiers and microform copiers. Students and faculty may borrow materials using both interlibrary loan and E-Z Borrow services. The Interlibrary Loan Department uses the ILLiad Interlibrary Loan system, which provides free access to books and copies of journal articles from more than 7,500 libraries world wide. Articles requested through the ILLiad Interlibrary Loan system are frequently available within 24 hours, and the library has enhanced the ILLiad system to provide Web access to articles requested. The E-Z Borrow system allows student and faculty to request books from more than 60 libraries in Pennsylvania and neighboring states. Both FHG and Presser Music libraries lend wireless laptops to students for use in the library.

Francis Harvey Green Library

The Green Library is a six-story facility housing the University's main library collections. It has seating for over 875 and houses a Starbucks, a popular reading collection, and the Elinor Z. Taylor Graduate Student Room. Most library collections and services are located in the Green Library, including Reference, Circulation and Reserves, Interlibrary Loan, Government Documents, the Instructional Materials Center, and Special Collections.

Presser Music Library

The Presser Music Library contains the University's collection of scores, sound recordings, music books, periodicals, and microforms. The music library offers many services including reference and reserves. This new facility also features the latest equipment for listening to sound recordings in analog and digital formats.

Historical Properties

The Chester County Cabinet of Natural Sciences (1826-1871) and the West Chester Academy (1811-1871) merged to form the West Chester Normal School, which evolved into West Chester University. Historical properties came to the Normal School from the Chester County Cabinet, including a grandfather's clock that belonged to Benjamin Franklin, a telescope owned by Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne, the Darlington Herbarium, and various library and museum collections. Especially notable are the letters of Anthony Wayne, including letters to Wayne from George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and others. The Wayne telescope, letters, and library collections are housed in the Francis Harvey Green Library Special Collections.

Art Collections

The University's permanent art collection is made up primarily of gifts from interested art patrons, senior class purchases, and gifts from the alumni. The permanent art collection is on display in buildings throughout the campus. The collection consists of a number of important works, such as the watercolor, Andress Place, by Andrew Wyeth.

Speech and Hearing Clinic

The Speech and Hearing Clinic (located at 201 Carter Drive, Suite 400) is maintained by the Department of Communicative Disorders to train student clinicians under the supervision of licensed, certified faculty. The clinic provides evaluation, intervention, and consultation services to individuals with speech and language disorders, communication differences, and professional communication enhancement needs, as well as comparable services to those with various hearing disorders. The clinic also provides diverse community outreach and education opportunities for individuals and institutions. Clinic services offered are complimentary for students, faculty, and staff at West Chester University, as well as for students at Cheyney University. Those outside the University community may access clinical services in accordance with a modest fee schedule. Additional information or appointments can be made through the clinic office, 610-436-3402.