Undergraduate Catalog

2013 – 2014

2012-2013 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 May 2018

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 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, houses the graduate School of Business and College of Education.

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; 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; and the renovation and expansion of the E.O. Bull Center to consolidate visual and performing arts. 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; the opening of two new parking structures; and the completion of the Student Recreation Center. A third parking garage currently is being constructed. Designs are now underway for the next phase of the building program to include renovations of several academic buildings and the construction of the Business and Public Affairs Center. 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 most of 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, 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 WCU Geology Museum in the Schmucker Science Link displays specimens from collections of historic and scientific importance. The museum is unique in the U.S. because University students who are majors in the Department of Geology and Astronomy have created each exhibit. These exhibits use minerals, rocks, and fossils from around the world drawn from notable 19th and 20th century collectors who lived in Chester County, including William Yocom, William Brinton, Hugh McKinstry, and Ruth Bass. Each exhibit highlights an interesting topic about minerals and rocks. Students can explore electricity and magnetism in minerals using an interactive display; discover how Chester County rocks have been mined and used for hundreds of years; find the beauty of fluorescent minerals under ultraviolet light, from the extensive collection of John Stolar, Sr.; and explore ancient life through the marine creatures preserved along waterways. The museum is free and open to the public Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters, and is open by appointment during summer and winter sessions. Please contact the Department of Geology and Astronomy at 610-436-2727 for more information or to make an appointment.

WCU Observatory

The College of Arts and Sciences maintains an astronomical observatory on the roof of the Schmucker Science Center which is overseen jointly by the departments of Physics and Geology and Astronomy. The main instrument is a 10" Meade reflecting telescope. The observatory has two SBIG CCD cameras and an SBIG stellar spectrograph. The telescope system can be used for basic observing, astrophotography, photometry, and spectroscopy. The observatory is used as an astronomical laboratory for astronomy courses and as a research area for independent study research projects.

In addition to the permanently mounted telescope, there is also a suite of portable telescopes: seven 8" Dobsonian telescopes, three 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, and a 14" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

The observatory is not a public space open to visitation; however, the WCU Astronomy Club offers numerous public events throughout the school year featuring telescopic equipment for all to enjoy. For more information, please visit the WCU Astronomy Club website, www.wcupa.edu/sciences-mathematics/physics/astroclub.aspx.

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 K-12 school and public programs. Approximately 30 schools and other groups attend the programs each year, and annual attendance approaches 3,000. Shows for private groups (schools, retirement communities, and clubs, among others) are offered twice a week in the mornings during the fall and spring semesters. Monthly evening shows are also offered for the general public. The shows consist of an overview of what is currently visible in the night sky. In addition, each show includes a short presentation with a special focus on some aspect of astronomy, the topic of which changes each month.

More information is available on the planetarium website, geology.wcupa.edu/planetarium_group, which includes a sign up for the planetarium e-mail list.

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, at the corner of High Street and Rosedale Avenue, and the Presser Music Library, 121 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 region. Total library holdings include more than four million items:

Print Materials

  • More than 760,000 print volumes
  • More than 1,400 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 4,200 electronic journal subscriptions
  • More than 1.4 million art images
  • More than 115,000 albums of streaming audio
  • More than 25,000 scores
  • Full text of articles from more than 67,000 journals through licensed databases


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

The library’s website, https://library.wcupa.edu/ provides continually updated access to a wide array of resources and services with links to the library’s catalog, databases, electronic reserves, library services and hours, and OneSearch. OneSearch provides a single, Google-like interface to search the vast majority of materials owned and licensed by WCU Library Services. OneSearch and library databases are available on any computer with Internet access. WCU faculty, students, and staff not using a computer on the WCU campus network must enter their WCU ID and password to gain access to many library resources. The library also has a mobile interface, http://subjectguides.wcupa.edu/mobile/1361, allowing access to many library resources and services on smartphones and tablets.

There is no charge for interlibrary loan, and materials not owned by the library may be requested over the Internet.

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 the main library on campus. Key library services include reference (in-person, telephone, and e-mail), library instruction, electronic reserves, interlibrary loan, wireless laptops for use in the library, and access to coin-operated photocopiers and microform copiers. Most articles requested on interlibrary loan are delivered by e-mail. Most books and other physical material requested on interlibrary loan from other libraries must be picked up at the Green Library. Questions regarding library materials and services should be directed to the Green Library Reference Desk, 610-436-2435, refdesk@wcupa.edu.

There is a Starbucks on the first (ground) floor of the Green Library with an exterior entrance from the Quad and an interior entrance from the library.

Presser Music Library

The Presser Music Library contains the University's collection of print, 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 Communication Sciences and 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.