Minimum Admission Requirements

Minimum Course Requirements

In addition to the requirement that students should hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, the UNC Board of Governors has, since 1988, established minimum course requirements for undergraduate admission. The requirements in effect in 2001-02 were first implemented in the fall of 1990, and continued until the fall semester of 2004, when a second language requirement was added. Effective in the fall of 2006, a fourth unit of mathematics was required for admission. These requirements are summarized below. They are based on actions taken by the Board on April 14, 2000.

Applicants Who Graduated from High School Prior to Academic Year 2003-04

Four course units in English emphasizing grammar, composition, and literature. Three course units of mathematics, in any of the following combinations (it is recommended that prospective students take a mathematics course unit in the twelfth grade):

  • algebra I and II, and geometry,
  • algebra I and II, and one unit beyond algebra II, or
  • integrated math I, II, and III.

Three course units in science, including

  • at least one unit in a life or biological science (for example, biology),
  • at least one unit in physical science (for example, physical science, chemistry, physics), and
  • at least one laboratory course.

Two course units in social studies, including one unit in U.S. history, but an applicant who does not have the unit in U.S. history may be admitted on the condition that at least three semester hours in that subject will be passed by the end of the sophomore year.

Applicants Who Graduated from High School during Academic Year 2003-04 or 2004-05

Six course units in language, including

  • four units in English emphasizing grammar, composition, and literature, and
  • two units of a language other than English.

Three course units of mathematics, in any of the following combinations (it is recommended that prospective students take a mathematics course unit in the twelfth grade):

  • algebra I and II, and geometry,
  • algebra I and II, and one unit beyond algebra II, or
  • integrated math I, II, and III.

Three course units in science, including

  • at least one unit in a life or biological science (for example, biology),
  • at least one unit in physical science (for example, physical science, chemistry, physics), and
  • at least one laboratory course.

Two course units in social studies, including one unit in U.S. history, but an applicant who does not have the unit in U.S. history may be admitted on the condition that at least three semester hours in that subject will be passed by the end of the sophomore year. 

Applicants Who Graduated from High School during Academic Year 2005-06 or Beyond

Six course units in language, including

  • four units in English emphasizing grammar, composition, and literature, and
  • two units of a language other than English.

Four course units of mathematics, in any of the following combinations (the fourth unit of math affects applicants to all institutions except the N.C. School of the Arts.) (It is recommended that prospective students take a mathematics course unit in the twelfth grade):

  • algebra I and II, geometry, and one unit beyond algebra II,
  • algebra I and II, and two units beyond algebra II, or
  • integrated math I, II, and III, and one unit beyond integrated math III.

Three course units in science, including

  • at least one unit in a life or biological science (for example, biology),
  • at least one unit in physical science (for example, physical science, chemistry, physics), and
  • at least one laboratory course.

Two course units in social studies, including one unit in U.S. history, but an applicant who does not have the unit in U.S. history may be admitted on the condition that at least three semester hours in that subject will be passed by the end of the sophomore year.

Articulation with Graduation Requirements in the North Carolina Public High Schools

Following the board’s change in minimum course requirements, the North Carolina State Board of Education revised the requirements for high school graduation by offering four courses of study: (1) career; (2) college tech prep; (3) college prep; and (4) occupational. These requirements are summarized below. Option 3 tracks the UNC minimum course requirements closely.

NC Course of Study Graduation Requirement

Minimum Admissions Requirements (for HS GPA and SAT Scores)

All applicants for first-time admission as freshmen must meet minimum high school GPA and SAT scores. The minimum combined SAT score (on mathematics and critical reading) for admission is 700 or a composite ACT of 15. The SAT (ACT) minimum score is effective for students entering in Fall 2009. The minimum SAT score will be increased to 750 or ACT composite of 16 for students entering in Fall 2011. The minimum SAT score will increase to 800 or ACT composite of 17 for students entering in Fall 2013 and beyond.

The minimum high school GPA for first-time freshmen beginning in Fall 2009 is 2.0. The minimum high school GPA requirement will increase to 2.3 for students entering in Fall 2011 and will increase again to 2.5 for students entering in Fall 2013 and beyond.

The maximum number of chancellor’s exceptions is limited to one percent (1%) of the total number of applicants accepted as new freshmen each year. A chancellor’s exception may be applied to the SAT minimum requirement and/or the GPA minimum requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Year Minimum GPA Minimum SAT (Critical Reading + Math) Minimum ACT Composite
Fall 2009 2.0  700  15
Fall 2010 2.0  700  15
Fall 2011 2.3  750  16
Fall 2012 2.3  750  16
Fall 2013 and beyond 2.5  800  17


Other Admission Requirements

All applicants for admission to any campus, except those exempted by current campus policies, must submit a standardized test score. The SAT I is preferred, but students may also submit the ACT.

Students applying for admission for fall 2006 or after, for whom standardized test scores are required, must submit either the new SAT I (which includes the writing component) or the ACT with the writing component. The ACT without the writing component will not be acceptable as a standardized test for admission after the spring semester of 2006.