Western Kentucky University


Welcome to Western Kentucky University, home of the Hilltoppers. Our hilltop campus is a place of beauty and friendliness. It embraces a proud heritage and a bold, ambitious future.

WKU is in the midst of a transformation – physical, intellectual, cultural and economic – and is becoming A Leading American University with International Reach. Whether in a neighboring community or in a distant country, WKU faculty and students are engaged in relevant applied research that provides solutions to real problems.

WKU is home to many highly ranked and nationally-recognized academic programs such as Journalism and Broadcasting, Education, Engineering, Business and our award winning speech and debate team. With steady enrollment growth for 15 consecutive years, more than 21,100 students grace our campuses in Bowling Green,Glasgow, Owensboro and the Elizabethtown area. We also send students each semester to Harlaxton College in Grantham, England and other students circumnavigate the globe with the Semester at Sea program just to name a few.

Why choose Western Kentucky University?
Application Process

The student should periodically check the Job Vacancy Binder in the Student Employment Office or visit the Student Employment website for any new vacancies. It is the responsibility of the student to contact those departments with vacancies and arrange for an interview. Once a job is obtained, the department must complete a Student Employment Request form in TopNet which will be forwarded to the Office of Student Employment.

Student must complete an IWAV in the International Student Office (ISO). The IWAV consists of the I-9, I-20 and any required documentation.

Complete the tax withholding forms (K-4, W-4, WSOT) and provide a copy of their Social Security Card. If the student does not have a social security card, they must be requested to work (Student Employment Request Form sent from employing department) in order for Student Employment to generate a Social Security letter. The student will be contacted by ISO to pick up the letter. Upon receipt of their social security card, they will notify the Student Employment office who will then initiate the background check process.

Must be enrolled as a full-time student and making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree. International students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (3.0 Grad GPA, 2.0 UG GPA) be enrolled full-time (9 hrs Grad, 12 hrs UG) in order to be eligible for student employment.

A background check will be required for any international student prior to employment at WKU (if one has not been employed within the last 24 months by WKU).

Benefits of Study Abroad

Studying abroad can be one of the highlights of your student’s career at WKU. Wonderful and challenging experiences await students as they travel across the globe for an internship, service-learning project, or academic program. As a parent, you may be asking yourself, why should my student invest in a study abroad experience? Being aware of the benefits of study abroad may help you understand your student’s decision and assist you before, during, and after the experience.

Personal Development

International education programs provide the opportunity for students to extend their learning beyond the borders of the WKU campus, make global connections, and build skills which are valuable to future employers. Students who study abroad often return with a greater awareness of the world and global issues, a better understanding of their own culture, increased interpersonal, cross-cultural and leadership skills, and improved self-confidence—all skills that will serve them well in their future.

Academic Achievement

By taking the opportunity to study abroad, students are exhibiting initiative and eagerness for a challenging personal and academic experience. There are a number of academic benefits your student can gain from a short or long-term program abroad! Evidence shows that students who study abroad are more likely to graduate from college, have a higher GPA, and report that they learned more in comparison to other students. In addition, students are likely to gain a deeper, more global perspective of course content and develop skills including adaptability, effective communication with diverse groups of people, and foreign language skills.

Career Attainment

Study abroad often includes an experiential, hands-on learning component which allows students to gain real life experience in their coursework or field of interest, experience which is very valuable to employers. Research has shown that those who have studied abroad are more likely to get hired sooner and have a higher starting salary than those who did not. As graduates compete for jobs in this global economy, studying abroad is something that can set your student apart!

Getting Started and Applying

Studying Abroad has been proven to have numerous benefits, both developmentally and professionally, for college students. Following the steps outlined below will get you started on your journey From the Hilltop to the World

The Study Abroad and Global learning is here to help you! If you have any questions or run into any difficulty with the application process.

STEP ONE: Find the best program for you

You can research available programs by using search tools available in the catalog of study abroad programs offered through WKU. The catalog can be accessed from the WKU SAGL homepage at any time by clicking the “Find My Program” button. If you are not finding a program that meets your needs, consult with a Study Abroad Advisor.

The Program Comparison Worksheet can help you think through your goals and priorities for your study abroad experience and narrow down options as you research programs.

Search Options:

  • Map Search  – Search by location.
  • Simple Search — Search by program name, term, and/or location. This is also where you can search for scholarships, such as the World Topper Scholarship and the Semester at Sea Award.
  • Advanced Search – Search by a variety of parameters including city, country, region, field of study, program length, faculty leader and more.
  • WKU Programs – Browse programs led by WKU faculty or with which WKU is closely partnered.

Other resources are also available to help you select the best program and navigate the application process:

  • Study Abroad Peer Advisors have studied abroad and are trained to assist you as you search for your own program. You can schedule a session with a Peer Advisor after you select “Request Advising” on any program information page.
  • Walk-in Wednesdays: Peer Advising is a time when you can come by the office for advising or help with the application system without making an appointment. Peer Advisors and/or Study Abroad Advisors will be available to speak with you. Visit the WKU SAGL Calendar for dates and times.
  • Study Abroad Advisors can help you as you try to decide on a program that fits your academic needs, career goals, and financial constraints, or at any stage in the application process. You can schedule a meeting with a Study Abroad Advisor by selecting “Request Advising” on any program information page.
  • Other SAGL Events: Visit the WKU SAGL Calendar for dates and times of event where you could obtain more information. SAGL holds a Study Abroad Fair each semester, which is a great opportunity to speak with numerous program respresentatives.

STEP TWO: Apply for a program or Request Advising

Once you have decided on a program, you can start your application by clicking the “Apply” button on the program page. Please note that there is a non-refundable $150 study abroad application fee that will be charged to your Topnet account after you apply. If you are still unsure, you can “Request Advising” to schedule an advising meeting or “Request Info” to send an email inquiry.

After clicking the “Apply” button, you will be instructed to log in (use your WKU Net I.D. and password). Follow the instructions on screen. Read and complete all required pre-decision materials.

STEP THREE: Complete application materials and attend pre-departure orientations

After you have applied and completed the initial application materials, a Study Abroad Advisor will review your application to check your GPA and disciplinary record for eligibility. Once you have been accepted, will be notified to return to your study abroad application and view the decision. You will then be able to complete the remaining post-decision (pre-departure) materials. You will be required to attend a SAGL general pre-departure orientation and, in most cases, at least one program-specific orientation.

WKU Vision Statement:

WKU: A Leading American University with International Reach.

WKU Mission Statement:

Western Kentucky University (WKU) prepares students of all backgrounds to be productive, engaged, and socially responsible citizen-leaders of a global society. The University provides research, service and lifelong learning opportunities for its students, faculty, and other constituents. WKU enriches the quality of life for those within its reach.

WKU Welcome Center

WKU welcomes you to our beautiful campus nestled among the impressive hills of Bowling Green, KY. Please visit our Welcome Center located in the Augenstein Alumni Center upon your arrival to campus to obtain information, maps, event information and more.

The History of WKU

On March 21, 1906, the Kentucky General Assembly approved legislation to establish two teacher training institutions, or “normal schools,” in the state. A locating commission chose Bowling Green to be the site of one, and the Western Kentucky State Normal School was created.

The new state-supported school took over the building and student body of the privately owned Southern Normal School. The owner of the Southern Normal School, Henry Hardin Cherry, had been actively involved in the campaign to establish teacher training schools and became WKU’s first president. Classes began on January 22, 1907.

On February 4, 1911, the school moved to its present site on “the Hill,” approximately 125 feet above downtown Bowling Green and the former home of The Pleasant J. Potter College. Over the next decade, the curriculum focused on teacher training and certification. Students received practical experience at the Training School, and a model one-room Rural School was opened on campus in 1924. In 1922 the state renamed the institution Western Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College and authorized it to grant four-year degrees. The first such degrees were awarded in 1924.

WKU’s campus expanded in 1927 when it merged with Ogden College, a private young men’s school located on the east side of the Hill. WKU’s name was shortened to Western Kentucky State Teachers College in 1930, and the following year the master of arts degree was first offered. President Cherry died in 1937 and was succeeded by Paul Garrett.

As WKU’s mission broadened, its name was shortened in 1948 to Western Kentucky State College. Dr. Garrett died in 1955 and Kelly Thompson became WKU’s third president.

Under Dr. Thompson, both Western’s curriculum and its campus underwent major reorganization and expansion. In June 1963, Western merged with the Bowling Green College of Commerce, formerly the Bowling Green Business University. Along with the Graduate School, the Bowling Green College of Commerce became a separate college within WKU’s structure. In 1965, the Board of Regents approved the formation of three more colleges: the Potter College of Liberal Arts, the College of Education, and the Ogden College of Science and Technology.

On June 16, 1966 Western Kentucky State College became Western Kentucky University.

Dr. Thompson was president until 1969. At that time, Dero Downing became president and served until 1979. Dr. Downing had taught at WKU prior to becoming president.

John Minton, former associate dean of Graduate Instruction, Graduate Dean, and Administrative Vice-President, was appointed president effective January 31, 1979 when Dr. Downing retired. He served until July 31, 1979, when Donald Zacharias was appointed president. In recognition of his service, the Board of Regents recognized Minton as WKU’s fifth president. At the time of Dr. Minton’s retirement in 1986, he held the position of Vice President for Student Affairs.

Dr. Zacharias became WKU’s sixth president in 1979 and served until August 31, 1985.

More colleges and reorganization followed throughout the years as WKU continued to expand. The Bowling Green Community College was established in 1986.

Kern Alexander was the seventh WKU president. He had ties to the university through his graduate work at WKU. His tenure as president was a transitional period in the University’s history, serving from 1986 until 1988 during whichWKU’s regional campus in Glasgow opened.

Thomas Meredith took office as WKU’s eighth president on August 31, 1988. He was also tied to the university through his graduate work. Among his accomplishments were the introduction of WKU’s first strategic plan, Distinguished Professorship Program and several new masters degree programs. The campus became fully computer-networked, two new residence halls and a health and activities center opened, and WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni and Athletic Hall of Fame were established. Dr. Meredith served as president until May 17, 1997 when he assumed the duties as the Chancellor of the University of Alabama System.

WKU’s current president, Gary A. Ransdell, was appointed on September 12, 1997.

The College of Health and Human Services was established in 2002. It was established to bring together all health and human services programs under one administrative unit. The College consists of seven departments that represent an array of disciplines, and offers degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degree levels.

The Division of Extended Learning and Outreach (DELO) launched in 2003. DELO is the outreach arm of the university, offering both credit and non-credit classes to students of all ages. The division partners with faculty and departments to offer convenient and flexible learning opportunities to students. The division works with businesses and organizations to provide customized training, plan special events, and develop degree programs that meet specific needs in the community.

An administrative unit since 1994, University College was reorganized in 2009 as an academic unit; it now houses those units and programs formerly part of the Bowling Green Community College, and serves as the administrative home of WKU’s regional campus programs.

Today, the University’s six colleges are:

  • College of Health & Human Services
  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • Gordon Ford College of Business
  • Ogden College of Science & Engineering
  • Potter College of Arts & Letters
  • University College

WKU has housed the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky since 2007. The mission is to offer a residential program for bright, highly motivated Kentucky high school students who have demonstrated interest in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

In 2008, the WKU Board of Regents approved creation and development of a fully independent Honors College at WKU. The purpose of the WKU Honors College is to offer high-achieving young scholars the environment of a small, highly selective college, while providing the resources and benefits of a large public university. This combination of outstanding research opportunities with an intimate and rigorous intellectual environment not only produces nationally recognized scholars and globally engaged leaders it changes lives. Equally as important, the Honors College experience is helping these scholars make their educational and career dreams come true.

Degree offerings have expanded to meet the needs of the region and state and include programs in electrical, civil and mechanical engineering and three stand-alone doctoral programs: educational leadership, nursing practice and physical therapy.

Through the years, WKU students have enjoyed an intimate scholarly environment on a vibrant campus and are encouraged to become involved in community service, applied research and study abroad. These are among the reasons why WKU is becoming the University of choice in the Commonwealth and A Leading American University with International Reach.

A century of growth has made WKU a respected center of learning and a place where students can succeed on a global level.


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Counseling and Student Affairs, Educational Administration, Leadership and Research, Military Science, Psychology, School of Teacher Education

College of Health and Human Services

Allied Health, Communication Disorders, Consumer and Family Sciences, Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport, School of Nursing, Public Health, Social Work

Gordon Ford College of Business

Accounting, Economics, Finance, Information Systems, Management, Marketing, MBA

Ogden College of Science and Engineering

Agriculture, Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geography and Geology, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Psychological Sciences

Potter College of Arts & Letters

Art, Communication, English, Folk Studies and Anthropology, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, School of Journalism and Broadcasting, Modern Languages, Music, Philosophy and Religion, Political Science, Sociology, Theatre and Dance

University College

Alive Center for Community Partnerships, Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Computer Information Technology, Chinese Flagship, Confucius Institute, Regional Campuses, Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility, Leadership Studies Program, MA Leadership Dynamics, Systems Management, University Experience, WKU FINISH-Project Graduate, Adult Learner Services, Women’s Studies Program, WKU South Campus

Other Related Areas

Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science

WKU is the home of the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky which offers a residential program for bright, highly motivated Kentucky high school students who have demonstrated interest in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The Graduate School

The Graduate Office serves both as the point of contact for prospective and new graduate students and as a liaison between students and faculty members of all graduate programs. We are ready to share information and to offer further direction for graduate study in more than 80 degree and certificate programs.

Honors College

Affiliated Areas- Office of Scholar Development, Office of Undergraduate Research, Flagship Chinese Language Program

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