Chowan University’s academic offerings are organized into two schools: the School of Undergraduate Studies and the School of Graduate Studies. Each school has structured its degree programs to provide students with a sound general educational background as well as marketable skills. Within the School of Undergraduate Studies, there are nine departments. They are: Criminal Justice, Biology, Business, Graphic Design, Psychology, Sport Science, Teacher Education, Music, and General Education.
Degrees and Major Fields
The Master of Education is awarded in Elementary Education. Additional graduate degrees include a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education and Secondary Education with concentrations in Social Studies Education, English Education, Mathematics Education, and Comprehensive Science Education.
The Bachelor of Arts degree is awarded in the following fields: Biology, Business, General Studies; Integrative Studies; Music; and Social Sciences.
The Bachelor of Science degree is awarded in the following fields: Biology; Business Administration; Business and Design; Criminal Justice; Educational Studies, Elementary Education; Exercise Science; General Studies; Graphic Design; Integrative Studies; Psychology; Recreation, Wellness, and Sport; Social Sciences; and Sport Management.
Concentrations associated with the above B.A. and B.S. programs include Music Industry (Music), Ecology and Environmental (Biology), Chiropractic (Biology), Pre-Dental (Biology, Pre-Professional), Pre-Medicine (Biology, Pre-Professional), Pre-Optometry (Biology, Pre-Professional), Pre-Pharmacy (Biology, Pre-Professional), Pre-Physical Therapy (Biology and Exercise Science), Physician Assistant (Biology, Pre-Professional), Pre-Veterinary Medicine (Biology, Pre-Professional), Pre-Athletic Training (Exercise Science), Accounting (Business Administration), E-Commerce (Business Administration), Information Systems (Business Administration), Management (Business Administration), Marketing (Business Administration), and Applied Psychology (Psychology).
The Associate of Arts degree is awarded in the following fields: Business Administration, Criminal Justice, General Studies, Psychology, Social Sciences, and Recreation.
The Associate of Science degree is awarded in Biology, Pre-Nursing.
Students may choose to minor in one of the following fields: Accounting; Biology; Business Administration; Chemistry; Coaching; Criminal Justice; Cybersecurity; E-Commerce; Economics; Education; Graphic Design; Information Systems; Management; Marketing; Music; Psychology; and Sport Management. The minor cannot be in the same field of study as the major.
Vocation, Application, and Learning in the Undergraduate Experience for Students
A Chowan University education prepares students to consider questions about values (“How should I live?”), identity (“Who might I become?”), and purpose (“How do I reflect, integrate, and apply approaches to vocation from my exposure to a Chowan education?”). In addition to meeting standards of excellence in a major field, students gain insights into the content and skills of a variety of academic disciplines. They use their integrated learning to inform their education and their lives, both personal and professional.
The Chowan University VALUES Core is an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to develop the whole, educated person, one who has developed knowledge and skills beyond those expected in the area of specialization. This breadth of training is based on a liberal education that provides students a broad exposure to the arts and sciences, integrates multiple perspectives, helps students form essential skills of critical thinking and problem solving, fosters a spirit of ethical and social responsibility, develops a questioning mind, cultivates freedom of expression, and enables students to apply their learning to a wide variety of vocations.
The VALUES Core
- allows students to develop self and identity and explore the individual’s role in and impact on society;
- engages students in critical analysis of the past to understand how knowledge of history helps them to navigate their future;
- encourages students to ask critical questions about global issues and challenges;
- enables students to develop the skills necessary to employ the scientific method and assess the way evidence-based knowledge affects the understanding of self, others, and the world;
- encourages students to explore the physical, natural, and behavioral world;
- prepares students to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and thrive in an interconnected world;
- introduces students to an understanding of diverse cultures, arts, and communities.
The VALUES Core extends from the first year experience, which fosters personal, social, and academic growth and develops the skills necessary to be a successful student, through the capstone experience, which encourages students to pursue a deep integration of their major and the perspectives, values, concepts, skills, and knowledge they have attained throughout the entire VALUES Core curriculum.
Ringing of the Bell
Located on the west side of the McDowell Columns Building in the gazebo is the Chowan University bell. The bell dates back to the 1800s. “The bell swung from two stone pillars until 1880, when it was placed in the Bell Tower, a favorite meeting place for students. The bell was used to change classes, call students to chapel, and celebrate athletic victories.” (Frank Stephenson, Chowan College, 2004)
The tradition of the bell today is to establish a sense of community that begins in the first year and lasts beyond the confines of the four-year university experience. Each September, with faculty lined up on both sides of the brick alumni walk leading to the gazebo, first-year students ring the bell to signify the beginning of their academic studies at Chowan.
The ringing of the bell is repeated again in April of each year. At the close of the Senior Banquet, the faculty and candidates for graduation recess from Thomas Dining Hall to the gazebo. With faculty lined up on both sides of the alumni walk once again, each candidate rings the bell one last time to signify the end of his or her academic studies at Chowan.
Most academic areas offer opportunities for directed research. In a directed research project or course, students work under the guidance of a faculty member to explore an area of interest that is not normally taught in the Chowan curriculum.
The Chowan University Student Research Conference
The purpose of the Chowan University Student Research Conference (CUSRC) is to provide a venue for undergraduate students to present the results of original research in an appropriate professional setting. The CUSRC aims to provide students with valuable experience, to encourage interdisciplinary discourse, and to expose the University and the surrounding communities to the undergraduate research being conducted at Chowan University. The CUSRC is open to students from all disciplines.
For Chowan University students, the university experience is not limited to the classroom. Student internship programs provide practical experience and training. Plans for internships should be made with both academic competency and career plans in mind.
Chowan’s LEAP (Learn – Experience – Apply – Prepare) Program is an experiential learning in action program. The program provides every student an opportunity to learn by doing. Every rising second-year, third-year, and fourth-year full-time student is provided a voucher up to a total of three credit hours for an experiential learning course during the summer term. Experiential learning classes include study internships, practicums, and field work/research.
The LEAP Program emphasizes engaged student learning through direct experience and reflection. Beginning in their first year and continuing through their fourth year, students are provided the opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge acquired in a classroom setting to a real-world experience and to reflect on the experience as part of the learning process. This experiential learning in action program deepens what students learn in the classroom, increases their real-world knowledge, develops their lifelong learning and problem-solving skills, provides them the opportunity to think about what worked and what didn’t, and prepares them for the job market and/or graduate and professional school following their graduation.
Chowan offers programs of study leading to teacher certification in the following specialty areas and for the indicated grade levels: Elementary Education, 1-6.
Chowan also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education and Secondary Education with concentrations in Social Studies Education, Mathematics Education, English Education, and Comprehensive Science Education. The degree program is designed for individuals seeking an initial teaching license through the completion of graduate study.
Chowan’s Master of Education in Elementary Education builds upon the University’s strong undergraduate teacher education program. The course work consists of a Professional Core, Elementary Specialty Area, and Portfolio/Product of Learning. Graduates of the program will be eligible to apply for the North Carolina M-Level license in Elementary Education.
Chowan’s Residency License is a fast-track cohort model designed to assist residency candidates in meeting residency licensure requirements.
These programs of teacher education are approved by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Adult Degree Completion Program
The Adult Degree Completion Program at Chowan University is designed for adults, who, because of family and work responsibilities, need to attend college in a manner other than a traditional day school program. The program is structured to allow qualified students to earn an undergraduate degree at night, through full-time or part-time study, without sacrificing their professional and personal responsibilities. Adult students seeking a baccalaureate degree can choose between weeknight and main campus course offerings to reach their goal. Adult students choose Chowan for a variety of reasons, some of which are to earn a degree for career advancement or as a prerequisite to changing careers. Whatever the reason for completing a four-year degree, the Adult Degree Completion Program at Chowan is conveniently designed to meet the needs of adult students.
Students in the Adult Degree Completion Program major in Social Sciences. This major prepares students for a career that requires the ability to interpret and organize data, evaluate and solve problems, and communicate effectively. Upon completion of all degree requirements, graduates of the Adult Degree Completion Program are able to:
- Apply the body of knowledge learned in their major to work environments and life situations.
- Utilize communication skills developed through assignments in their major as well as in work and life situations.
- Initiate, design, and complete research papers and projects.
- Think critically and creatively about problem-solving.
- Combine life and classroom experiences in seeking new career directions.
The unique strengths of the program are:
- Committed Faculty - Faculty bring a commitment to learning and teaching that is student-centered and firmly based on scholarship.
- Engaged Students – An expectation of the program is that adult students can, and will, play a leading role in their own educational process. Students in the program are active and engaged in the learning process.
- Personal Atmosphere – Everybody knows your name at Chowan. Each student’s individual qualities are discovered through working with faculty, staff, and fellow classmates.
Adult Degree Completion Program students are provided access to all student services, to include, but not limited to, Whitaker Library, all electronic resources (Blackboard, email, Internet, Aviso, MyCU, etc.), athletic and cultural/social events, Office of Life Skills, academic advising, counseling services, and campus ministries. An orientation for students is held each August and January.
The University has articulation agreements with the North Carolina Community College System, Roanoke-Chowan Community College (NC), Pitt Community College (NC), Halifax Community College (NC), Tidewater Community College (VA), and Camp Community College (VA). These agreements address the transfer of students to Chowan.
Chowan has a dual degree program agreement with Palmer College of Chiropractic. The agreement is designed for students who intend to pursue a chiropractic education, but want to receive a degree from Chowan. Once the student completes the Doctor of Chiropractic degree program, then the student is eligible to receive a degree from both institutions.
In articulation agreements between NCICU and the North Carolina Community College Systems, students studying Music, Teacher Education, Psychology, or Sociology at North Carolina’s community colleges can seamlessly transfer to Chowan to complete a bachelor’s degree in one of these disciplines.
Chowan University is a participant in the Independent College Articulation Agreement with the North Carolina Community College System. A student who completes the Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degree from a North Carolina Community College institution can continue his or her education at Chowan University, pursuing one of the baccalaureate programs below. To view four-year degree plans for North Carolina Community College Transfer Students, click here.
School of Graduate Studies
The School of Graduate Studies offers the Master of Education degree in Elementary Education; the Master of Arts in Elementary Education and Secondary Education with concentrations in Social Studies Education, English Education, Mathematics Education, and Comprehensive Science Education; and the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership. The mission of the School of Graduate Studies is to provide and promote, within a liberal arts setting, excellence in graduate education that identifies scholars and further empowers emerging leaders for both the northeast North Carolina region and the diverse world beyond, reflecting awareness of the needs of the region and the complexities of the global community.
Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership 4+1 Program
The Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership 4+1 program offers the opportunity to earn both a bachelor’s and masters in just five years, instead of the usual six.
In response to a call for greater interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration among Chowan University faculty and the importance of demonstrating to Chowan students the connections among various disciplines in their education curriculum, the university sponsors an interdisciplinary symposium each year. The symposium is based on the premise that if students have an opportunity to see that their course work is inherently linked and that what they learn in one class can be transferred to another, then their education might seem purposeful. Reinforcing the integration of disciplines and building on the ties that bind all disciplines of study is what makes an education valuable. Past themes include “The World of Mark Twain,” “War and Society,” “The American South,” “Exploring the Environment”, “Leisure and Play in Society,” “A Sense of Place,” “Talking About a Revolution,” “A Pop Culture Society,” From Field to Table: A Foodways Journey,” “Thinking Gender,” “Futures: Past and Present,” “Monsters and the Monstrous,” “A Diverse World,” “Seeing Color,” “A Changing World,” “The Pursuit of Happiness,” “Echoes of Memory,” and “Connectivity.”
The Chowan Academic Forum is a weeklong celebration of the intellectual and artistic life of the University. Held each April, events include the Senior Visual Art Exhibition, academic picnics, readings from The Brown Lady, music concerts, Interdisciplinary Symposium, Chowan University Student Research Conference, and Awards Day Convocation.
Mary Frances Hobson Lecture and Prize
The annual Mary Frances Hobson Lecture and Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters brings the University and surrounding community together each spring to celebrate the accomplishments of an author of note from the region. Initiated in 1995 by the Hobson Family Foundation of San Francisco, the award serves as a memorial to Mary Frances Hobson (1912-1993), a journalist and poet, who was the first woman to receive the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in journalism from the University of North Carolina. Previously Hobson Prize recipients are: Kay Gibbons, Mark Richard, Jill McCorkle, Randall Kenan, G.D. Gearino, Amy Hempel, Allan Gurganus, Padgett Powell, Sheri Reynolds, Chuck Sullivan, Shelia P. Moses, Michael Parker, Josephine Humphreys, Judy Goldman, Darnell Arnoult, Lee Smith, Robert Morgan, Silas House, Joseph Bathanti, Sharyn McCrumb, Dorothy Allison, Edward P. Jones, Kevin Wilson, Jim Grimsley, Wiley Cash, Crystal Wilkinson, Michel Stone, Daniel Wallace, and David Sanchez.
The Brown Lady
The Brown Lady is an academic and creative publication. It brings together the best work of students exploring a range of disciplines in their chosen fields–everything from creative work in the visual arts, creative writing (prose and poetry), and music performance, to academic pursuits represented by undergraduate and graduate-level papers. The magazine is co-sponsored by the Honors College Student Association.
The Honors College Student Association established The Brown Lady Academic Bowl in fall 2012. The intent of the competition is to foster school spirit through an academic competition among the University’s academic departments and student affairs offices. The event pits sixteen teams comprised of students, faculty, and staff against each other in a fast-paced round of trivia that covers everything from chemistry to pop culture. Champions: 2012 - Department of History; 2013 - Department of History; 2014 - Department of History; 2015 - Department of History; 2016 - Department of Religion; 2017 - Department of History; 2018 - Department of Communication Arts; 2019 - Department of History; and 2022 - Department of Business.
Pre-Law Advisory Program
The American Bar Association has emphasized that there is no preferred major nor recommended curriculum for those preparing for law school. Individuals interested in going to law school may feel comfortable following most programs of study in conjunction with advising through Chowan’s pre-law advisory program. The program is not a major, but a means of assisting students in meeting the requirements to get into law school, regardless of their undergraduate major.
Pre-Health Professional Advisory Program
A pre-professional advisory program is available at Chowan through the Department of Biology. Included in this category are areas of Pre-Dental, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Physician Assistant, and Pre-Veterinary Medicine. Students planning to pursue studies in any of these fields must plan their degree programs carefully. Although all require a similar core of science courses with laboratories, specific entrance requirements, entrance examinations, and admissions procedures vary from program to program. Students interested in these programs should contact the Biology Department and meet with the program coordinator as early as possible.
The Honors College at Chowan University is designed to offer attractive and challenging opportunities for intellectual growth to well-prepared and highly motivated students. The college has both curricular and extracurricular components. The Honors College Committee will normally consider for acceptance into the program any freshman who enters college with at least a 3.25 high school grade point average and an 1100 or higher SAT score. Transfer students and Chowan rising sophomores must have earned at least a 3.50 GPA and a B in English composition.
Chowan honor students will complete the program requirements, which include honors-enriched courses. The emphasis in any course designated as honors is on teaching students to articulate an understanding of a given field, to relate that field of knowledge to others, to think independently, and to write and speak clearly and cogently. Honors classes are generally smaller than usual and provide opportunities for intensive class discussion and innovative teaching. Students who successfully complete the Honors College graduate with a special designation on their diplomas and transcripts. Members of the Honors College hold automatic membership in the Honors College Student Association.
Chowan University supports and encourages students to participate in a study abroad experience. A variety of programs are available, including short trips sponsored by Chowan University. These programs may carry academic credit based on prior approval.
As a way to assist students with their study abroad experience, the M. Elizabeth Harris International Travel Study Endowment was established to assist up to fifteen students from Chowan University. Students who participate in this program will receive a scholarship towards the trip, will be known as Harris Scholars, and will also receive academic credit. Past study abroad trips include visits to Turkey, Greece, Israel, Egypt, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Portugal, and Spain.
Academic advising is a cooperative effort by the advisor and the student to clarify the student’s educational and life goals and to develop plans to reach these goals. While the student is ultimately responsible for setting and meeting goals and published requirements, the advisor provides assistance by helping the student work through the decision-making process and keeping track of the student’s academic progress.
Each new student is assigned a faculty advisor. Each student interacts with this advisor in a series of meetings designed to help students become familiar with university policies and with various university resources, as well as helping them understand their own responsibility for academic planning and personal success.
The mission of the Office of Life Skills is to promote student success by providing educational assistance and guidance in an environment that is both challenging and supportive: academically, socially, and spiritually. The Office serves to help students resolve issues affecting their academic success such as absences, illness, scheduling problems, administrative paperwork, and appeals processes. The Office also serves as a liaison between concerned parents and the campus community. Parents are encouraged to contact the Office with concerns or suggestions at 252.398.6365.
Chowan Tutoring Program
The University offers a tutoring program to provide academic assistance for the entire student body. Student tutors and the coordinator work one-on-one with students. The program, which operates four nights per week, is housed in Marks 104. Tutoring is available to students at no additional expense.
It is University policy to ensure that no qualified student with a disability is denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity. The Learning Center is responsible for ensuring that the academic needs of students with disabilities are met. Accommodations include, but are not limited to, extended time testing, distraction reduced test environments, note takers, textbooks in alternative format, and computer software.
All students with any type of disability are required to contact the Dean of Accessibility Services for information and guidance. In order to receive any academic accommodation, students must self-identify with the Learning Center and complete an eligibility process, which includes submitting recent, valid documentation of the disability. If the request for an accommodation is granted, the student receives a letter noting the type of accommodation. Students must provide their instructors with a copy of the letter. Instructors must work with the Learning Center to ensure students with learning disabilities receive the appropriate accommodation. Students must request an accommodation at the beginning of each semester.
Prior to registration all new students are evaluated in the area of mathematics. In cases where evaluation results indicate specific academic deficiencies, a student may be advised or required to enroll in a developmental course. Because such work is preparatory and supportive of university-level work, no academic credit is awarded for successful completion. The student should complete such work as early as possible in order to make appropriate progress toward graduation.
The Writing Center provides a quiet, supportive and resourceful environment for all students in any major to get help with their writing assignments at any stage of the writing process. The center is located in Marks Hall.
Watermark is a transformational student platform that empowers instructors and advisors and engages students. Faculty report attendance and academic progress. Students check their class attendance. Advisors and advisees use it as a medium for collaboration on degree progress.
First Year Experience Program
The purpose of the First Year Experience Program is to assist students in making a successful transition to Chowan University. The guiding principles of the program are to help students become part of the campus community; foster personal, social and academic growth; and develop the skills necessary to be a successful college student. During their first year, students will develop:
- “A Sense of Capability” by building academic skills.
- “A Sense of Academic Culture” by familiarizing themselves with Chowan University and university culture in general.
- “A Sense of Purpose” through an exploration of why they are at the University.
- “A Sense of Resourcefulness” by learning how to navigate the University to seek help and information.
- “A Sense of Connectedness” to the University by learning about and/or participating in CU’s rich academic, social, cultural, and spiritual communities.
With its approximately 100,000 physical books and 350,000 ebooks, 91,000 streaming educational videos, 132 databases, and access to over 73,000 periodical titles, Whitaker Library is conceived as an integral part of the educational process. The library operates on the assumption that the ability to locate and evaluate needed information with confidence is one of the distinctive marks of an educated person. By means of formal and informal instruction in research methods and bibliography, the student is encouraged to progress from the heavy reliance on textbooks and assigned readings characteristic of the freshman to the independent work of the upper-level student who has learned how to discover and gain maximum benefit from modern information resources.
If resources are needed beyond those locally provided, students and faculty may choose to use reciprocal borrowing agreements in place between Chowan and East Carolina University, Shaw University, and Halifax Community College, or interlibrary loan (ILL). Working with interlibrary loan member libraries provides access to nationwide resources. Several special collections are available, including the Oscar Creech Baptist Collection and the McDowell Collection of Archives and Antiquities. The library also houses the Music Media and Teaching Resource Centers.
Chowan University maintains a continuing assessment effort to provide academic excellence to all students. As a part of a comprehensive assessment program, the University also regularly evaluates each academic major. Assessment at Chowan involves faculty, students, administrators, and staff. The Office of the Provost collects and analyzes assessment reports from each academic and administrative unit annually and determines that each unit has developed plans to bring about program improvement and improved student learning.