The UNC Policy Manual


Adopted 02/10/84

Amended 04/12/00

Amended 04/11/03

Amended 07/01/07

Amended 01/11/08

Amended 02/27/15

Amended 04/15/16

Amended 07/29/16

Amended 03/30/20

Amended 11/18/21

Amended 02/24/22

Amended 04/20/23


Policy on Minimum Eligibility Requirements for Undergraduate Admission for the

University of North Carolina System


I.                     Purpose.  The University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors has, since 1988, established minimum requirements for undergraduate admission to any constituent institution.   These requirements serve to provide a common set of minimum standards to be considered for admission as an undergraduate student. Exceptions and special considerations to these minimum eligibility requirements are provided in Sections 700.1.1.1[R], 700.1.1.2[R], 700.7.1, and 700.7.1[R] of the UNC Policy Manual.  Any constituent institution may set admissions requirements that exceed the minimums established in this policy upon the approval of their board of trustees.


II.            High School Diploma. All students should hold a high school diploma or its equivalent.


III.           Minimum Course Requirements. The following courses must be completed at the high school level, although those courses may be completed at an earlier time (e.g., middle school).


A.                  English:  four course units emphasizing grammar, composition, and literature.


B.                  Mathematics:  four course units in any of the following combinations:[1]


                             1.           Algebra I, algebra II, geometry, and one unit beyond algebra II; or


2.            Algebra I, algebra II, and two units beyond algebra II; or


3.            Common core math I, II, and III, and one unit beyond common core math III; or


4.            Integrated math I, II, III, and one unit beyond integrated math III; or


5.            NC Math 1, 2, 3, and one unit beyond NC Math 3 identified as meeting the 4th level mathematics requirement for admission to UNC System institutions.


C.                  Science: three course units, including at least:


                             1.           One life science unit (e.g., biology, ecology, zoology); and


2.            One non-life science unit (e.g., astronomy, chemistry, earth science, environmental science, physical science, physics); and


3.            One laboratory science unit.


D.                  Social Studies: two course units, including one unit in U.S. history.[2]


[For students applying for first-time (freshman) admission to constituent institutions through the 2024 spring semester:]


E.                   Two course units of a language other than English.


[For students applying for first-time (freshman) admission to constituent institutions after the 2024 spring semester:]


E.                   Two additional academic courses from English, mathematics, science, social studies, world languages, or computer science. (Note: these courses should be selected in alignment with a student’s academic and career objectives. Completion of two sequential world language courses is recommended.)


F.            Applicants who require special consideration: Constituent institutions shall develop a policy for evaluating applications from students who have not completed all minimum course requirements and shall at least include provisions addressing students with a documented Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan. The institutional policy shall be approved by the board of trustees in accordance with regulations promulgated by the president.


IV.           Recommended Courses. While the minimum course requirements serve as the cornerstone of the UNC System admissions policy, students are encouraged to pursue a challenging and rigorous high school curriculum aligned with their academic and career objectives. Completion of the minimum course requirements does not guarantee admission to any individual UNC System institution. As such, students should consult with their high school counselor regarding additional courses recommended by individual UNC System institutions. Additionally, students should:


A.                  Consider taking the most rigorous courses available at their high school that they can successfully complete.


B.                  Ensure to complete an academically challenging course load in their senior year, even if they have completed the minimum course requirements.


V.            High School Grade Point Average and Standardized Test Scores. Students must meet either the minimum high school grade point average (GPA) or standardized test score in order to be considered for admission. All applicants for admission, except those exempted by current UNC policy or regulation, must submit a standardized test score, even if they satisfy the minimum eligibility requirement through the high school GPA.


A.                  High School GPA: A minimum weighted GPA of 2.5; or


B.                  Standardized Test Scores: A composite ACT score of 19, or combined SAT (mathematics and evidence-based reading and writing) of 1010.


C.                  Chancellor’s Exceptions: The maximum number of chancellor’s exceptions is limited to one percent of the total number of applicants accepted as first-time undergraduates each year. A chancellor’s exception may be applied to the SAT/ACT minimum requirement or the high school GPA minimum requirement.


V.            Graduates of Cooperative Innovative High Schools (Early College).  Each UNC constituent institution must offer to any student who graduated from a cooperative innovative high school program with an associate degree and who applies for admission to a constituent institution the option of being considered for admission as a first-time (freshman) or as a transfer student.


A.                  The constituent institution shall also provide written information to the student regarding the consequences that accompany each option and any other relevant information that may be helpful to the student when considering which option to select.


B.                  Beginning March 1, 2017, the Board of Governors shall report annually regarding the number of students who graduated from a cooperative innovative high school program with an associate degree and which option was chosen by those students when applying for admission to a constituent institution.


VI.          Graduates of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM). Each UNC constituent institution must offer first-time (freshman) admission to any applicant attending the residential program at NCSSM.  Such offer of admission shall be contingent upon the applicant:


A.                  Successfully completing all NCSSM graduation requirements and remaining enrolled and in good standing at NCSSM through the time of the student’s graduation. For the purposes of this policy, “in good standing” shall mean with no pending disciplinary charges or pending academic violations that could lead to dismissal as of the date of graduation;


B.                  Meeting the academic program requirements as outlined in Section 700.1.1.3[R] of the UNC Policy Manual;


C.                  Completing all application requirements established by the constituent institution by a standard public deadline; and


D.                  Satisfying the provisions of Section 700.5.1[R] of the UNC Policy Manual.


This guaranteed offer of admission shall apply only to acceptance to the respective constituent institutions, and shall not apply to any specific school, major, or program of study within the constituent institutions.


This section VI., shall be effective for all NCSSM students applying for first-time (freshman) admission to constituent institutions beginning with the 2022 fall semester.


VII.          Notification of Stakeholders and Educational Policymakers. The president is directed to develop plans and further recommendations to inform key stakeholders and education policymakers of the changes in requirements. 


VIII.        Other Matters


A.                  Effective Date. With the exception of section VI., above, the requirements of this policy shall be effective for all first-time students applying for admission at a constituent institution for any semester beginning with the 2024 fall semester through the 2025 fall semester (including students who attended the institution for the first time in the prior summer term).


B.                  Relation to Federal and State Laws. The foregoing policy as adopted by the Board of Governors is meant to supplement, and does not purport to supplant or modify, those statutory enactments which may govern or relate to the subject matter of this policy.


C.                  Regulations and Guidelines. This policy shall be implemented and applied in accordance with such regulations and guidelines as may be adopted from time to time by the president.



[1]Students applying to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts must only complete three mathematics courses in order to be eligible for admission.

[2]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 be passed by the end of the sophomore (second) year.