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Graduate Programs Grow at WLU

WEST LIBERTY — West Liberty University is a forward-looking, four-year public university steeped in a rich heritage as West Virginia’s oldest institution of higher education and offering nearly 70 undergraduate majors and 30 programs. It offers students an education with quality academics and personal attention at an affordable cost at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

President Stephen Greiner has been at the helm now for a little more than a year and one of his goals, after listening to students, staff and alumni, has been to increase graduate programs in order to serve area professionals and students interested in advancing beyond a four-year degree. WLU graduate programs currently include the master of arts in education, the master of science in physician assistant studies, the master of professional studies, the master of science in criminology and the online MBA degrees. But more are in the pipeline.

One of the newest graduate programs, the online MBA has attracted many interested students and will graduate its first class in August 2017. Applications also are good for fall 2017.

“This online MBA was definitely needed. West Liberty University did a specific ‘needs assessment’ prior to beginning the program and there was a huge interest in the marketplace,” explained Gregory Chase, associate professor of economics and finance at WLU’s Gary E. West College of Business.

“It is a very cost-competitive MBA when compared with others in the valley. We are trying to serve the workplace and the needs of our regional employers.”

The other new master’s program announced last February also is doing well.

“The master’s in criminology is going great. We welcomed a full cohort of 12 into the program for 2016-17 and have conducted work with Wheeling police on a grant for their K9 unit.

“We are currently beginning the data collection phase of our research projects. In addition, we are offering courses in key areas that future employees have requested, including cyber crime and grant writing,” said Keith Bell, assistant professor of Criminal justice and program director of the new master’s in criminology, which is housed in the College of Liberal Arts. Both of these newest master’s programs offer career advancement at an affordable cost. The MBA also represents a distance-learning milestone for the university since it is the first program designed to be 100-percent online.

“The number of students seeking online programs continue to climb and we find that students are pleased to have this option that works so well with busy schedules and working students,” Greiner said.

Soon a master’s of biology will be unveiled and is expected to begin enrollment in the fall of 2017. Other master programs planned to start in the near future include a master’s in Dental Hygiene and a master’s in clinical psychology, which have been approved by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. Both are now waiting for approval by the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accreditation body for post-secondary education institutions in the central U.S.

“We are working hard to improve and expand our academic offerings as we strive to be the best. Our faculty, staff, alumni and students deserve this. We want to provide our community and the entire state of West Virginia with the quality academics needed for today’s student, both undergraduate and graduate,” Greiner said.

These new graduate programs have translated into a bump in enrollment and a sense of excitement on the Hilltop.

Additionally, Hilltopper Athletics has expanded recently and now includes two new sports.

West Liberty University will have a total of 18 varsity intercollegiate sports beginning with the 2017-18 academic year after adding men’s soccer this month and women’s acrobatics and tumbling this past November.

Undergraduate students interested in learning more about West Liberty University can plan to attend the next Black and Gold Day, which offers campus tours, information sessions and a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship drawing.

Register online at westliberty.edu/ admissions.

Students interested in learning more about WLU graduate programs should call the admissions department at 304-336-8076 for details on how to apply or visit westliberty.edu/graduate-programs.

For more information, call 866-937-8542.

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