Western Connecticut State University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Western Connecticut State University
"Western is an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England's best small...

Western Connecticut State University

Danbury, Connecticut

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing its students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society.


To achieve this, the University offers undergraduate and graduate programs that weave together the liberal arts and professional education, instilling in them a desire for lifelong learning. It sustains a vibrant, inclusive campus that connects individuals through co-curricular programs, cultural events, and service to the community. In addition to its student-centered faculty who are passionate teachers and accomplished scholars, the University also helps connect students to internship, research, and experiential learning opportunities.




Excellence. Western values outstanding achievement that is realized through persistence, effort, honest feedback, and self-reflection.


Curiosity. Western values the questions that drive learning, innovation, and creativity, all of which serve as both the beginning and the desired outcome of education.


Dialogue. Western values the conversations that explore diverse perspectives and encourage shared understanding.


Engagement. Western values the interactions of ideas, peers, and community that are essential to a vibrant university environment.


Opportunity. Western values the possibilities created by affordable, accessible educational environments in which students can grow into independent thinkers and confident leaders.


Respect. Western values the right of all people to be treated with dignity and fairness through its policies, in its classrooms, and among its community.

Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
5,081 undergraduate students
84% of undergrad students are full time
48% male — 52% female
8% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
205 full-time faculty
388 part-time faculty
14 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
57% of first-year students live on campus
33% of all students live on campus

School Location

Western has two campuses in Danbury: a 34-acre main campus in downtown Danbury called Midtown, and a 364-acre campus, about three miles from the main campus, called Westside.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences  
Learning Communities  
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects  
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning  
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2016

76% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2016

49.3% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 0%
Hispanic/Latino 18%
Black or African American 12%
White 61%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 4%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 1%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 3%


The men’s and women’s teams belong to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III. The football program is a member of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC). The 13 other intercollegiate athletic programs are members of the Little East Conference. In addition, the men’s and women’s programs hold membership in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).

Men: Fall — soccer, football; Winter — basketball; Spring — tennis, baseball, lacrosse
Women: Fall — volleyball, tennis, soccer, field hockey; Winter — basketball, swimming & diving; Spring — softball, lacrosse

Academic Programs

Accounting, American Studies, Anthropology/Sociology, Art, Audio & Music Production, Biology, Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Economics, Elementary Education, English, Finance, Health Education, Health Promotion Studies, History, Jazz Studies, Justice & Law Administration, Liberal Arts, Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Mathematics, Media Arts, Meteorology, Music, Music Education, Musical Theatre, Nursing, Performance, Political Science, Professional Writing, Psychology, Secondary Education, Social Sciences, Social Work, Spanish,Theatre Arts

More Distinctions

  • Western was named for the third year in a row to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the General Community Service category and for the first time in the Education category. The 2015 designation recognizes the university's commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.

  • Four WCSU students have been named Fulbright Scholars in the last six years.

  • Western was one of three winners of the Morris Media Group’s 2015 Green Awards, which recognizes businesses, nonprofits, and individuals that are leading the local fight to protect the environment while also creating a sustainable social and economic community.

  • In 2015, associate Chemistry professor Dr. Nicholas Greco won the system-wide Board of Regents Faculty Award. In 2014, Dr. JC Barone, associate professor of Communication and Media Arts, was honored with this award, and Dr. Mary O’Neill, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and Humanistic Studies, won the inaugural award for adjunct faculty members in the system.  It is a testimony to an unwavering commitment to excellence in the classroom that three faculty in two years have been the recipients of this system-wide distinction.

  • A Western student was selected as a Newman Civic Fellow for 2015.

  • The women’s volleyball team earned the 2015 American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award, with an average team GPA of 3.38.

  • The new Visual and Performing Arts Center has been certified as LEED Silver by the United States Council on Green Buildings, signifying that the facility is both energy-efficient and constructed to conserve resources.

  • Western was recently ranked 1st in Connecticut and 11th nationally in PayScale and CollegeNet’s new social mobility index, which determines the ways in which higher education helps students with economic and social advancement.

  • The WCSU Theatre Arts Department was awarded highest honors at the Kennedy Center National Festival in Washington, D.C. for their Fall 2015 production of “Parade.” The production was nominated for 14 national awards and awarded with five.

  • Western has received recognition as one of the “Best Teaching Colleges in Connecticut” in the 2016 survey of bachelor’s and master’s education degree programs conducted by the teaching career advisory service, ToBecomeATeacher.org.

  • The Nursing Schools Almanac ranked the Western nursing program as one of the country’s top nursing schools, ranking among the top 20 schools in the New England region.

  • The WCSU chapter of the American Marketing Association has been recognized for the sixth consecutive year as one of the association’s leading collegiate affiliations in the nation. The WCSU chapter has consistently placed among the top 25 AMA collegiate chapters since 2011, now rising to its highest ranking to date at 18th place among the 370 AMA affiliate colleges and universities.

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Engaging in Clinical Experience

Western education majors engage in clinical experience in community classrooms so that they may be prepared to meet the changing needs of tomorrow’s learners.

Nursing students complete courses that include biology and chemistry in addition to nursing courses. They then spend months in hospital settings, advancing their expertise.

Social Work students engage in field experiences that are designated to provide students with direct experience under the supervision of a professional social worker. In their senior year, the students participate in a capstone course that requires students to integrate their professional values, knowledge, and skills within a case-study format.

Engaging in the Arts

The WCSU School of Visual and Performing Arts offers a conservatory-level education at the affordable cost of a public university.

Theatre Arts students combine theatre students with other majors and/or minors such as music, art, and media, to enhance work opportunities within the entertainment industry.

The University’s Art Department programs develop students’ understanding, knowledge, and expertise in graphic design, illustration, photography, or studio art.

Music students can prepare for careers in music and arts related professions, prepare for a career as a music educator, or prepare for a career in audio and music production.

Engaging with the Environment

Western is having an important and growing impact on the preservation of Connecticut’s largest lake, Candlewood. Students and science professors work together to monitor the lake for signs of zebra mussels, which have infected other local waterways. They are also testing and evaluating strategies for more effective methods of containment and eradication of another invasive species, the Eurasian watermilfoil.

The University’s students are also able to participate in a study on a tick-borne illness, working with the CDC under a grant coordinated by WCSU’s professor of Medical Entomology and Epidemiology.

Engaging Student Leaders

The Hancock Student Leadership Program aims to develop future leaders. In this program, students enhance their skills in ethics, communication, compassion, creative problem solving, goal setting, accountability, and team and community building. The shadowing field experience provides an opportunity for students to be mentored by community leaders.

Engaging with the Wide World

For more than 25 years, Western has been a member institution of ISEP, a program that allows students to study anywhere in the world. Students study abroad for a semester, a year, or throughout short-term summer programs. Studying abroad raises global awareness, enhances academic learning, develops leadership skills, advances career opportunities, and facilitates personal growth.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theatre X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theatre X
Opera X
Pep band X
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra X
Television station  

Western’s faculty members are dedicated teachers who are committed to meeting the needs of all their students. They regularly explore new pedagogies—like roleplaying or project-based learning—and work to develop approaches to ensure that their students understand online materials. Western also takes advantage of its location by developing courses that take students on trips to New York. More far-flung experiences involve faculty-led courses to Europe and Central America. In recent years, the Connecticut State University System has recognized several Western faculty as top teachers in the entire state system.


The signature programs, from each of Western’s four schools, include Chemistry and Biology, Nursing, Justice and Law Administration, Music, Psychology, and the Kathwari Honors Program.

For several years, Nursing students have achieved a 100 percent pass rate on Connecticut’s state licensing exam (NCLEX), and Chemistry and Biology students are regularly accepted to top graduate schools in pursuit of doctoral studies in the sciences and medical fields.

Graduates from Justice and Law Administration, Western’s largest major, secure their employment in correction, probation, private security management, rehabilitative services, and more honorable professions.

In the Music program, students are able to practice, perform, and study in the University’s new Visual and Performing Arts Center, which opened in fall 2014. At 130,000 square feet, this uniquely designed facility is divided into three distinct wings (Theatre Arts, Music, and Visual Arts), all of which connect together in the stunning lobby.

Psychology students from WCSU graduate prepared for the jobs of tomorrow, employing strong quantitative analysis and reasoning skills, people skills, and communication skills that enable them to adapt and learn in a rapidly changing world. Students have the opportunity to carry out their own research studies with faculty, and selected studies are published annually in the Journal of Undergraduate Psychological Research (since 2006). Many of WCSU’s 269 graduates in the past 3 years have successfully entered graduate school, and many more have successfully entered careers in mental health; health and human services; business and not-for-profit leadership; and human resources.

In the Kathwari Honors Program, students can choose to study along one of two pathways: a complete program open to first-year students and first-semester sophomores, or a one-year program (or associate option) available to juniors and seniors. Kathwari Honors students not only have the opportunity to graduate in less than four years, but they are also held to a standard that enables them to succeed as Fulbright Scholars and students at the world’s leading graduate schools, including Northwestern University’s Kellogg School and Emory University’s School of Law.

First-Year Experience

The First-Year Experience program is designed to provide academic and cocurricular support as students transition into the college lifestyle. Faculty reach out to the wide range of students—recent high school graduates, transfer students, and non-traditional students—to help them identify the resources, skills, and procedures that will help them succeed. Both in and out of the classroom, faculty, staff, the administration, and peers work together to welcome first-year students to their new academic home.

The WCSU Writing Center

The WCSU Writing Center offers free, one-on-one consultations for all currently enrolled WCSU students. The Center is staffed by graduate and advanced undergraduate student tutors from a variety of majors who have been identified by their professors as advanced writers. Western’s overall goal is to help students become better writers, not just to produce better papers. Its emphasis is on learning.

The Math Emporium

A solid foundation in mathematics provides an essential first step for newly enrolled students to stay on track for academic success and graduation at Western. Students who enter Western without adequate preparation to tackle advanced mathematics at the college level gain a powerful advantage at Western’s Math Emporium. The Emporium program, targeted for students enrolled in 100-level basic mathematics courses, is adapted to the specific learning pace of each student and designed to combine software-based learning tools, traditional lecture instruction, and one-on-one tutoring.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy X
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Philosophy X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X


Other: Health Promotion & Exercse Sciences

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 43 246 343 186 0 0 0 818

Memories are created in the moments when peers gather around common goals or talents—artistic, musical, athletic. Western has more than 80 clubs and organizations, 14 intercollegiate athletic programs, outstanding theatre productions, concerts, artistic installations, and guest lectures.


Western offers more than 80 clubs and organizations that meet with a focus on topics including print and broadcast media (newspaper, academic journals, and radio station), culture, spiritual beliefs, leadership, activism, professional goals, academics, honors, civic engagement, wellness, sports/recreation, performing arts, government and politics, and other special interests.

The Program Activities Council produces approximately 80 events a year, including a movie series, comedy series, and excursions to New York, Boston, and other interesting destinations.


Nearly 350 student-athletes compete as part of Western’s intercollegiate athletic program each year. Teams compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III. The football program is a member of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference. The 13 other intercollegiate athletic programs are members of the Little East Conference. In addition, the men’s and women’s programs hold membership in the Eastern College Athletic Conference.


The School of Visual and Performing Arts offers the Western community the opportunity to attend events in theatre and music in a stunning new venue for performances and lectures. This new Visual and Performing Arts Center features a concert hall, studio theatre, art gallery, painting studio, recording studio, scene shop, dressing rooms, and sculpture studio.

Guest Speakers

Western students can engage in conversations with individuals who are both inspirational and of renown. Previous guest performers and guest speakers have been the Dalai Lama, CEO of Ethan Allen Farooq Kathwari, President of the NCAA Mark Emmert, President Bill Clinton, Senator Richard Blumenthal, the CEO of Terra Cycle Tom Szaky, and musicians including John Scofield and Chick Corea.

Campus housing Options for Undergraduates

Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students  
Special housing for disabled students  
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing  
Wellness housing  
Other housing options X


Other: Honors Housing

A degree earned at Western means that students are prepared for a career in their discipline. It also confirms that they have an excellent liberal arts foundation in critical thinking, global awareness, communication, and other key skills sought by most employers. Western’s 2015 placement rate is 73 percent, with students finding jobs or enrolling in graduate schools in their chosen fields.


The Cooperative Education Internship Program gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and explore career fields in their major, all while earning academic credit and, frequently, a salary. Students have interned in diverse employment segments including Fortune 500 firms, Big 4 Accounting Firms, small businesses, government entities and not-for-profit and health organizations. Recent co-op internships have included internships with the FBI, Deloitte, Securities and Exchange Commission, legislative internships, IBM, United Technologies, and Ability Beyond.

The Center for Business Research (CBR)

The Center for Business Research (CBR) in the Ancell School of Business engages students to conduct research for local and regional organizations. The CBR produces reports on projects under the direction of faculty and the company that requests the research. Examples of reports include comprehensive marketing plans, statistical surveys and interactive marketing, strategic management plans, e-commerce and website analysis, and advertising plans.

The Career Development Center

The Career Development Center (CDC) at Western provides a wide variety of programs and services designed to assist students with their career exploration, experiential education, and career-planning and job-search activities. Students can explore careers through the use of online assessment tools, personal career counseling meetings with staff members, and participation in numerous CDC sponsored events that include career panels of successful alumni and area employers.

On To Success

Distinguished Western alumni include former Connecticut governor M. Jodi Rell; Paul Pasqualoni, defensive line coach for the Houston Texans of the National Football League; Gil Simmons, weekday morning and midday meteorologist for WTNH-TV; Dr. Ana Ribeiro, postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Neurobiology and Behavior at The Rockefeller University in New York; and Alison Healey, attorney in the National Security Division’s Office of Intelligence at the Department of Justice, in Washington, D.C.

Juliana Marques is a good example of why the financial site Payscale ranked Western the best in the state and 11th in the nation for increasing students’ Social Mobility. Marques emigrated from Brazil to Danbury when she was 18. Like many Western students, she worked during the day, taking classes at night and on weekends. She earned a degree in accounting in 2007 and an internship in Praxair’s tax department during her senior year. She went on to get her law degree at the University of California School of Law and now works as an attorney in Los Angeles.

Employers who have hired Western graduates include Boehringer-Ingelheim, Cartus, Praxair, General Electric, FBI, CNBC, World Wrestling Entertainment, Viacom, the Anti-Defamation League, Barden Corp., IBM, Western Connecticut Health Network, McGladrey, Reynolds & Rowella, and numerous public and private entities to include law firms, schools, and state and federal agencies.


Admissions Fall 2016

 5,235 total applicants
2,999 total admissions
680 total freshman enrollment

57.29% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2018-19 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Standardized test scores

Class rank
Extracurricular activities

Application Essay
Character/personal qualities
Alumni/ae relation
State residency
Racial/ethnic status
Volunteer work
Work experience

Freshman Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 450 550
SAT Math 450 540
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite    
ACT Math    
ACT English    
ACT Writing    




Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $4,600 $14,886
Fees $4,477 $4,477
Total $9,077 $19,363
Room and Board (on campus) $4,000 $4,000
Room Only $2,000 $2,000
Board Only $2,000 $2,000
Estimated Total On Campus $13,077 $23,363


Average Financial Aid Packages 2014-2015

$8,711 first-year students
$5,467 all undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

49% on average, the percentage of need that was met
10% of financial need students that had need fully met

$5,467 average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,227 average need-based loan

Aid Information

More than 81 percent of Western’s full-time undergraduate students received financial aid in 2014-15. To be considered for financial aid at Western Connecticut State University, you must complete and submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) no later than the following priority deadlines:

March 15: Fall semester admits
November 15: Spring semester admits

Western Connecticut State University Federal School Code: 001380

For detailed information about financial aid, grants, and scholarships, visit Western’s Financial Aid web site at http://www.wcsu.edu/finaid/ or call (203) 837-8580.

Transfer and International Students

Transfer Applicants

  • Completed application for admission
  • Official final high school transcript (required only for students with less than 15 college credits)
  • Official transcript(s) from all previously attended colleges
  • Nonrefundable $50 application fee payable to “WCSU”
  • Personal Essay


International Applicants

  • Completed application for admission
  • Official secondary/high school transcript indicated courses completed and grades. Transcript must be in English.
  • Official transcript(s) from all previously attended colleges
  • TOEFL, SAT I, or ACT scores
  • Nonrefundable $50 application fee payable to “WCSU”
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal Essay
  • Completed Declaration of Finances accompanied by supporting bank statement for I-20. Visit http://www.wcsu.edu and click on International Students for more information.


For additional questions about admissions procedures, visit Western’s Admissions web site at http://www.wcsu.edu/admissions or call (203) 837-9000.

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