Western Kentucky University

Also known as WKU, HILLTOPPERS

1906 College Heights Blvd, Bowling Green, KY

Get more information about Western Kentucky University by clicking links below:
Campus image of Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University (WKU) is situated on a hilltop campus in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It is a public research university with top research faculty and many nationally recognized academic programs. Some of the top WKU programs include journalism, business, education, broadcasting and engineering.

WKU, which is comprised of four campuses and Study Abroad/overseas programs, is the fastest growing university in Kentucky. High school juniors and seniors who are high achievers can enroll in the Gatton Academy for Mathematics and Sciences at WKU.

WKU has more than 170 academic study areas at the undergraduate and pre-professional levels. WKU offers associate degrees, certificates, and bachelor's degrees. There are 50 graduate programs to choose from.

WKU offers flexible programs through its University College, which are suited to non-traditional students such as working adults or those seeking lifelong learning. Flexible classes are offered at locations across the mid-state area.


Western Kentucky University was established in 1906 as one of two teacher training institutions - the Western Kentucky State Normal School in Bowling Green. Classes commenced in 1907. Eventually this state-supported school took over the Southern Normal School, and its owner, Henry cherry, became WKU's first president.  

In 1911, the school moved to the Hill, which is the present site of its main campus. The curricula continued to focus on teacher training for 10 years. The school was approved to grant four-year degrees, and in 1922, was approved to grant four-year degrees.

In 1927, Western merged with Ogden College. In 1930, Western's name was changed to Western Kentucky State Teachers College. In 1931, the first master's degree was offered.

The curriculum began to broaden beyond teacher training, and the name was changed to Western Kentucky State College in 1948.

In 1963, Western merged with the Bowling Green College of Commerce, which became a separate college within Western's structure. The Graduate School at Western also had separate status. In 1965, three more colleges formed:  the College of Education, the Ogden College of Science and Technology, and the Potter College of Liberal Arts. In 1966, the name was changed to Western Kentucky University.


The academic calendar for Western Kentucky University follows the semester format, with fall, spring and summer semesters. WKU also offers a Winter Term in the month of January. Its summer semester is divided into two sessions in June, and two sessions in July.

Colleges and Schools

  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • Gordon Ford College of Business
  • Ogden College of Science and Engineering
  • Potter College of Arts & Letters
  • University College
  • Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science
  • Honors College

Student Life

Students at Western Kentucky University enjoy a wide range of student services, including:

  • Academic Support Services
  • Advising
  • Library
  • Testing
  • Tutoring
  • Campus Safety
  • Campus Security
  • WKU Store
  • Career Services
  • Counseling Services
  • Disabilities Services
  • Health Services
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Community Links
  • Study Abroad 

Students at WKU are encouraged to join one of the many student clubs and organizations that are available for participation. Students may also log onto the WKU-O Blog to find out more about student clubs and activities on campus. There is a Dynamic Leadership Institute (DLI) on campus that teaches students interpersonal skills and the knowledge they will need to engage in leadership activities on campus.

On campus housing is available in one of the WKU Residence Halls, and there is a range of dining options available.


The traditional school colors of Western Kentucky University are red, black and white. The athletic teams are called the WKU "Hilltoppers" or the WKU "Lady Toppers" for the women's teams. The mascot for WKU is "Big Red," a large, red, furry creature that was designed by a WKU student in 1979. Big Red represents the Spirit of Western.

There is a tradition of the "Red Towel at WKU, which began with the late basketball coach, E.A. Diddle. Coach Diddle used to clutch and wave a red towel throughout all Hilltopper basketball games. Now the Red Towel has become synonymous with outstanding basketball, and fans at WKU sporting events will wave red-colored towels in the air as they cheer for "Big Red."


The Western Kentucky University "Hilltoppers" and "Lady Toppers" athletic teams compete in several intercollegiate sports, including:

Men's Sports:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field 

Women's Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball

Satellite Campuses

The campuses of Western Kentucky University include its main campus at Bowling Green, Kentucky, and satellite campuses at:

  • Glasgow
  • Owensboro
  • Elizabethtown 

WKU also sends students each term to Harlaxton College in Grantham, England.

Community Life

WKU has outreach programs that allow students and faculty to interface with community business and industry, local organizations and more. The Division of Extended Learning and Outreach (DELO) offers both credit and non-credit classes to students of all ages. DELO partners with local businesses to plan special events, provide customized training, and develop degree programs that meet the needs of the organization.

The ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships brings campus and community together to enrich both higher education and public life. ALIVE CCP facilitates collaborative efforts that address local, regional, and global needs while also enhancing the level of student learning and educational experience.

Admission Requirements & Details

The admissions information below may provide a better idea of the applicants Western Kentucky University accepts. The details may include application requirements and recommendations, as well as any college credits that may be transferred.

College Credits Accepted

  • Dual Credits
  • AP Course Credits

Student Enrollment

Total enrollment at Western Kentucky University is around 20,000 students. The student body is made up of 86% undergraduate students and 16% graduate students.


Estimated Costs & Financial Aid

The average "out of pocket" cost of attendance, after any grants and scholarships are considered, is around $10,600. In order to calculate a more accurate and detailed cost of attendance check out their cost calculator here. There is also a $40 application fee for those applying to a program. The figures listed below are for informational purposes only and do not represent current or future tuition, fees, and expenses.

Tuition & Fees Information

  • Tuition estimates per year:
    • In-State Tuition: $9,500-$11,000
    • Nonresident Student Tuition: $24,000-$28,960
  • Part-time students are charged:
    • State Residents: $400-$470 per credit unit
    • Nonresidents: $1,000-$1,200 per credit unit
  • May provide a prepaid tuition option, which allows tuition to be purchased at current rates for enrollment at a future date

Financial Aid Details

The table listed below helps break down the types of financial aid students receive and the percent receiving aid, as well as the average amount of aid per student per year.

 Percent of StudentsAverage Amount
Any Financial Aid93%-
Receiving Grants & Scholarships89%$7,444
Receiving Student Loans55%$6,215

Academics & Student Services

Student Services

To help students and recent graduates, Western Kentucky University may offer services like:

  • Online course work available
  • Remedial instructional courses
  • Academic counseling for students
  • Employing students to lower education costs
  • Helping students find work after graduation
  • Day care for children

Graduation Rates

Western Kentucky University has an overall graduation rate which is approximately 44%.

Number of Year to GraduatePercent of Entering Class
Students Graduating in 4 Years20%
Graduating in 5 Years16%
Graduating in 6 Years4%

Specialized Programs & Accreditations

  • Art and Design Program
  • Dance Program (more info)
  • Dental Hygienist Program (more info)
  • Dietetics Program (more info)
  • Music Program (more info)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) Program (more info)
  • Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN) Program (more info)
  • Nursing (MSN, DSN) Program (more info)
  • Graduate Level Public Health (Outside School of Public Health) Program (more info)
  • Speech-Language Pathology Program (more info)
  • Elementary and Secondary School Teacher Education Program (more info)
  • Theatre Program

Intercollegiate Athletics

Western Kentucky University is a Member of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), with many of the sports being in the NCAA Division I-A classification. The most popular sports played are listed below:

  • Baseball (Conference Usa)
  • Basketball (Conference Usa)
  • Track and Field (Conference Usa)
  • Football (Conference Usa)
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

Programs Offered

The program list below is organized by areas of study. The programs that have a link will direct you to the program's profile page where you can learn more about education requirements and career pathways.

Get more information about the programs offered by Western Kentucky University by clicking the request information to the right.

(C) Certificate or Award | (A) Associate's | (B) Bachelor's | (M) Master's Degree | (D) Doctorate (PhD,...)

Agriculture Operations


Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Business and Marketing Studies

Communications and Journalism

Computer and Information Sciences



Engineering Technology

English Language and Literature

Ethnic Cultural and Gender Studies

Family and Consumer Sciences

Foreign Languages and Literature

Health and Clinical Professions


Interdisciplinary Studies

Legal Professions and Studies

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Library Science

Mathematics and Statistics

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Physical Sciences


Public Administration and Social Services

Recreation and Fitness Studies

Social Sciences

Visual and Performing Arts

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