West Chester University of Pennsylvania is the largest of the 14 public institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the fourth-largest university in the Philadelphia area.
The University offers more than 100 graduate and undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences, business and public affairs, the social sciences, visual and performing arts, health sciences and teacher education.
Undergraduates are encouraged to participate in experiential learning opportunities, which range from internships to collaborative research with faculty members. In 2014, WCU launched a Summer Undergraduate Research Institute that offers even more undergraduates the chance to pursue significant research. Service learning is an integral component of many courses at West Chester and the keystone of the Honors College.
Distance education — both fully online and hybrid programs involving limited campus time — is helping WCU to meet enrollment demands. The number of seats in distance education courses increased by 38 percent this past year. The University also offer a variety of programs at a center city Philadelphia location, including bachelor's and master's programs in criminal justice and social work, a master's in special education and a graduate business certificate.
The University sponsors the largest varsity program in NCAA Division II: 24 intercollegiate men's and women's sports. WCU won four conference championships this past academic year: men's golf, field hockey, men's swimming and women's swimming. For the second time in three years, WCU has won the Dixon Trophy, which is given to the top athletic program in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
Facilities that serve the local community as well as the campus include speech/hearing and reading clinics; a planetarium; the library; and an extensive music library. Another way that WCU is a good neighbor is by providing unrivaled cultural opportunities to the residents of Chester County and beyond. Last year, 105,000 attended music, theater, dance, art and other cultural events on campus.
West Chester University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and its programs by 20 accrediting bodies. The University's professional education programs are accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Recognized education programs are accredited by an additional nine organizations.