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Incoming Student

National Student Exchange

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Western Kentucky University

Read more about the Home of the Hilltoppers. 


Have you accepted your placement?

WKU's NSE Coordinator will provide you a checklist to follow to make sure you have everything you need to make your exchange experience the best it can be. 

After you accept your placement, get to these right away.


Where is WKU?

Western Kentucky University (WKU) is overlooks the city of Bowling Green. The "Hill" commands an impressive view of the area and is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful in the nation.  Bowling Green is an attractive, small city of approximately 60,000 people, noted as a regional center for health care, commerce, and cultural life in southcentral Kentucky. The cost of housing, food and other life necessities is lower than many larger U.S. cities.The region features great outdoor recreation and cultural attractions usually only found in larger cities. From the many city and state parks to the new Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center to the Bowling Green Ballpark, home to the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the community and campus offer your choice of activities to unwind from classes. Bowling Green's central location puts it approximately 75 miles from the Nashville International Airport. Louisville and Cincinnati are within 100 and 170 miles, respectively.  Easy access to Interstate 65 puts WKU within a day's drive of 60% of the US population.


What is special about WKU?

WKU is a comprehensive university on par with larger institutions and boasts a growing undergraduate and graduate research agenda. WKU's mission is to prepare students to be productive, engaged leaders in a global society. It provides service and lifelong learning opportunities for all comers. WKU is responsible for stewarding a high quality of life throughout its region.

The Western Spirit. WKU aspires to be the university of choice for students and faculty who are dedicated to academic excellence. True to the Western Spirit, the university offers an inviting, nurturing, and challenging environment , responsive to the intellectual, social, and cultural needs of a diverse learning community. WKU's success is reflected in our alumni, who are known for their leadership, adaptability, and commitment to WKU

Access to great teachers. WKU is the right size for many students. The 2010 full-time enrollment topped 20,000, and WKU's 18:1 student to instructor ratio ensure you get direct access to your professor.   The teachers set WKU apart. WKU faculty have earned advanced degrees from 305 colleges and universities worldwide, including 25 international institutions. And they are experts in their fields with over 70% of full-time faculty having earned a terminal degree in their field.

Expectation for Success. WKU students go on to achieve doctoral degrees at an impressive rate. WKU ranks 28th in baccalaureate graduates among masters-level institutions in the number of graduates who complete doctoral degrees and 22nd among masters degree holders.


What does WKU offer you?

Academic Excellence

WKU offers 79 academic majors and 84 minors including award-winning programs that would enhance any degree:

  • Interdisciplinary Asian Cluster in Potter College of Arts & Letters.The Asian Studies programs facilitate the understanding of the continent and its peoples, including their languages, religions, and cultures. The major and minors provide students with an understanding of the Asian past, as well as with the knowledge to put current issues and problems into broader historical, religious, and cultural contexts. WKU's programs deal with societies in South, Southeast, and East Asia and have the following goals:Introduce the history and culture of Asian societies;Enable students to view international and intercultural issues from different perspectives;Understand the political, social, economic and religious issues faced by developing areas in the modern world;Illustrate the interdependence among geographical areas of the world.

  • Modern Languages. Courses include French, German, and Spanish, but WKU also offers strategically important languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Swahili.

  • WKU School of Journalism and Broadcasting. The 1997 Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act challenged each Kentucky university to identify at least one program capable of achieving national prominence.  WKU's Center for 21st Century Media has achieved such recognition.  The school has won nine consecutive top four overall finishes in the "Pulitzers of College Journalism", the Hearst Journalism Awards.  Additionally, the school has won the Hearst Intercollegiate Photojournalism Competition 18 of the last 21 years. In the 2010-2011 academic year, WKU's Photojournalism program again ranked first in American Higher Education as judged by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and our School of Journalism and Broadcasting finished third among such schools across this nation. We continue to salute the faculty and students who demonstrate our ability to compete and be recognized at a national level.

  • The WKU Forensics team boasts state, national, and international distinction.  The team has won the world championship every year in attendance, the American Forensics Association national tournament title 6 times, the National Forensics Association national tournament title 7 times, and was named the Kentucky state champion consecutively for over two decades.  WKU is the only team to ever win the world title, the AFA national title, the NFA national title, and the NFA national debate title in the same year, a feat the team has accomplished 5 times.

  • Electrical, Mechanical and Civil Engineering. WKU has built three strong undergraduate programs in Electrical, Mechanical and Civil Engineering.  These programs help drive America's economy by putting more licensed engineers on job sites and shop floors.  In 2005, WKU's three engineering programs were fully accredited by ABET, Inc., the professional organization responsible for accreditation of engineering programs.

  • SKyTeach. WKU launched SKyTeach in Fall 2008.  SKyTeach is funded by a grant from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI).  WKU is one of only 12 universities nationwide selected for the $125 million grant, receiving $2.4 million.  SKyTeach, modeled after the highly successful and nationally recognized UTeach program at the University of Texas at Austin, is designed to increase the quantity and quality of math and science teachers through a specialized curriculum, teaching opportunities, and financial assistance.  The program also partners with 10 area school districts.

  • Honors College. WKU is home to the only Honors College in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, providing students the individualized experience of a highly-selective private college with all the resources and benefits of a larger university at a public school price.  Honors College students are involved in travel abroad, undergraduate research, service-learning, and nationally competitive scholarships.

  • Folk Studies. The Programs in Folk Studies offers instruction in folklore and folklife at the baccalaureate and graduate levels. The graduate program aims to offer both outstanding training for the MA student intending a career in public folklore or historic preservation, and excellent preparation for further graduate work toward a doctoral degree elsewhere. As well as building a solid foundation for graduate work in folklore, museum studies, or historic preservation, the undergraduate minor in folk studies is intended to give any student the skills, knowledge, and insight to participate effectively in an increasingly diverse workplace and society.

  • Music. Our reputation for training successful undergraduates as performers and teachers has earned us the respect of school districts throughout Kentucky, the region, and with the National Association of Schools of Music, who has continuously accredited the university since 1948. Faculty members teach all classes and lessons. The music faculty have been trained at some of the finest music institutions in the world, are active as performers, conductors, composers, leaders, clinicians and researchers nationally and internationally. Our goal is to provide the best professional models possible for our students in every area of study. Our faculty-to-student ratio ensures that all students are receiving the special attention that is needed to be successful. Class size at all levels provides that personal approach that is similar to those found during high school preparation.

  • Other nationally recognized academic areas include:Agriculture, Biology, Business, Elementary Education, Management, Marketing, Psychology, Sociology, Theater & Dance,

  • WKU's growing graduate opportunities include the following:

    • Masters of Accountancy (new), Masters in Business Administration, Masters in Public Administration.

    • New Doctoral Programs. In the years ahead, we will be facilitating these numbers with our own doctoral degrees. This past may, we achieved an important milestone by graduating the first five recipients of our independent Doctor of Education degree. With 131 students in this degree program, we will soon be graduating thirty-five Ed.D.s a year. WKU is also in the process of beginning a Doctor of Nursing Practice program and a Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Both will have a profound impact on our delivery of quality health care across our region. These three new doctoral programs are all practice-based doctorates which will facilitate the evolution of our curriculum at the graduate level. As we graduate 100 or more doctoral students a year, we add further evidence to the transformation of WKU.


What can you do at WKU?

Hands on practical learning opportunities

  • ImageWest is one of the only a few full service, student-run advertising and public relations agencies in the nation.

  • ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships. WKU established the ALIVE Center as part of the Regional Stewardship initiative.  Established in 2003, the ALIVE Center promotes community development across Central Kentucky through campus and community partnerships.  The Center connects faculty, staff, students and community members with service opportunities through volunteerism, curricular and co-curricular service-learning and community-based research. The Center also serves as a free public meeting space, as well as a comprehensive information source helping community members experiencing hardship finds the appropriate agency to address their specific needs.

  • The Institute for Rural Health Development and Research provides dental services, medical services, health screenings, and health education to area communities.  With its two mobile Wellness Units, the Institute provides preventative services and health education to the medically under-served and uninsured in rural Kentucky.  The program's hands-on approach achieves two goals – it provides a valuable service to the region while offering practical field training to students.

  • WKU's Center for Research and Development provides state-of-the-art research facilities and access to world class applied research centers and scientists.  The Center is home to WKU's Applied Physics Institute, the Institute for Combustion Science and Environment Technology, Advanced Materials Institute and Cyber Defense Center, the Innovation and Commercialization Center, and a Small Business Accelerator with 20 technology based businesses.  The Center brings together scientists, engineers, WKU faculty, and students for research collaborations.

  • The Applied Research and Technology Program (ARTP) focuses on WKU's growing responsibility for applied research and the use of faculty and students to identify and solve problems throughout the United States and beyond.  The ARTP contains 13 centers that are working both in the laboratory and directly in communities to find solutions to real-world problems in the region and across the globe.WKU Public Media boasts a highly skilled student staff working alongside the professional staff. These students broadcast many WKU basketball games, both home and away, throughout the year. They have been recognized with regional Emmys on a wide variety of programs.

  • More opportunities.


What sort of research can you get involved with at WKU?

Significant research programs

  • The Kelly Autism Program
  • The Hoffman Environmental Research Institute        
  • Center for the Study of Civil War in the West
  • Center for the Study of Capitalism
  • Center for Gerontology
  • Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Center for Applied Economics
  • Center for Leadership Excellence
  • Center for Gifted Studies
  • World Council for Gifted and Talented Children
  • See more research opportunities


What is International Reach?

International Reach

WKU is committed to an internationally diverse community that includes both students and scholars. Not only do the best and brightest Americans seek out WKU, but so do people from many other countries.

  • WKU offers wide array of study abroad programs open to all students.
  • WKU hosts the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad with program sin English-speaking countries adn KIIS: Study Abroad is with language based programs in many countries
  • WKU offers study away programs that take you to places within the United States -- no passport required.
  • WKU' s Confucius Institute [BROKEN LINK]. In 2010, WKU opened the Chinese Learning Center in conjunction with WKU's new Confucius Institute. WKU is serious about building a significant Chinese presence across campus and throughout Kentucky.   WKU's primary means of bringing the Chinese culture to Kentucky is the establishment of a Confucius Institute at WKU.  Through a partnership with Hanban, the Chinese headquarters for the more than 300 Confucius Institutes worldwide, WKU has established a Chinese language program in the public schools of South Central Kentucky.  WKU is creating a Chinese major in the Department of Modern Languages and working with K-12 Modern Standard Chinese language instruction. The Confucius Institute positions WKU uniquely in the following:Promoting understanding of Chinese language and culture through children's programming, training courses, cultural workshops, and events. The WKU Chinese Flagship has redefined language education.  The goal of this program is to take students with little or no knowledge of the Chinese language up to superior levels of proficiency by the time they graduate from WKU.  Students not only study the Chinese language and culture, they participate in mandatory study abroad experiences and internships during their college careers.  The WKU Chinese Flagship is one of nine Chinese programs throughout the United States funded by the federal Language Flagship Program.

    • Introducing fully articulated K-16 instruction in Modern Standard Chinese
    • Serving as a regional center for Chinese teacher training and Chinese curriculum development. 
    • Helping address the needs of the business community and the general public. 
    • Building connections and partnerships between Kentucky and China


What accredition does WKU offer for your courses?


WKU maintains a wide variety of accreditations so students can transfer their courses back to the home campus.

Current accreditations


What association memberships does WKU maintain so you can benefit from coming here?

Association Memberships

  • American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
  • American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
  • American Association for State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
  • American Council on Education
  • Association for Continuing Higher Education
  • Association for Collegiate Conference and events Directors-International
  • Association of Schools of Allied Health Professionals
  • Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Council on College and Military Educators
  • Institute of International Education
  • Kentucky Association for Continuing Higher Education
  • National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships
  • National Association for School Psychologists
  • National Association of Schools, Public Affairs and Administration
  • National Collegiate Honors Council
  • North American Association of Summer Sessions
  • The Renaissance Group
  • Southern Regional Education Board (SREB)


What programs are limited or closed?

Admission (Limited or Closed Programs)

  • Engineering (some programs)
  • Chinese Flagship
  • Honors College
  • Nursing
  • Public Health
  • Speech and Communication Disorders
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Environmental Health Science
  • Health Care Administration
  • Exercise Science
  • College of Business (All Departments)
  • Journalism and Broadcasting
  • Teacher Education
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Systems Management
  • Pre-professional Programs



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 Last Modified 4/11/19