The UNC Policy Manual


Adopted 08/06/87

Amended 09/21/87

Amended 08/30/89

Amended 08/21/95

Amended 02/21/97

Amended 04/12/00

Amended 03/05/02

Amended 03/15/04

Amended 12/01/04

Amended 04/03/06

Amended 12/06/10

Amended 01/20/15

Amended 04/02/20


Regulation on Minimum Eligibility Requirements for Undergraduate Admission for the University of North Carolina System


I.             Purpose.  This regulation implements the minimum eligibility requirements established in Section 700.1.1 of the UNC Policy Manual for baccalaureate degree-seeking applicants for first-time undergraduate[1] admission.


II.           Minimum Course Requirements (MCR). Applicants must complete the set of courses defined in Section 700.1.1 of the UNC Policy Manual, which includes four English courses, four mathematics courses, three science courses, two social science courses, and two foreign language courses.  


III.          Minimum Admissibility Requirements (MAR). Applicants must achieve either a minimum 2.5-weighted high school grade point average (GPA);[2] or a minimum SAT of 1010 or ACT of 19.


A.     The SAT score scale on which this minimum standard is based is the sum of the critical reading and mathematics subtests, a sum that has a possible range of 400-1600. The ACT score scale on which this minimum standard is based is the average (rounded to the nearest whole number) of the four subtests, and the possible range is 1-36.


B.     The test score minimum may be met by a “superscore,” defined as a combination of subtests from more than one administration of the same test. However, the SAT scores may not be calculated by conversion of ACT scores, or vice versa.


IV.              Supplemental Institutional Requirements. In instances where an admissions officer requires supplemental information about academic performance in order to satisfy the Board of Governors standards, the ACT with writing or SAT II achievement tests shall be considered acceptable.  This regulation limits the supplemental information an admissions officer may request to one of the two tests. Admissions officers should refrain from setting any minimum scores on these tests unless and until they have been validated for predicting graduation and retention and found to be nondiscriminatory with regard to these applicants.[3] Additional information can be found in Section 700.1.2.1[R] of the UNC Policy Manual.


V.               Exemptions. The following groups of applicants are exempt from some portion of the MCR or MAR, although institutions may set alternative undergraduate admissions requirements for these populations.  Students in these categories are not counted as chancellor’s exceptions.


A.               Applicants who are at least 21 years old at the start of their first undergraduate term are exempt from both MAR and MCR;


B.               Applicants who have earned at least 24 transferrable credits from a regionally accredited postsecondary institution[4] are exempt from both MAR and MCR;


C.                Graduates of home schools are exempt from the minimum GPA requirement but must meet the minimum test score and MCR;


D.               Graduates of non-traditional high schools that do not have grades or operate on a scale other than that on which the policy and regulation are based are exempt from the minimum GPA requirement but must meet the minimum test score and MCR;


E.                Graduates of foreign high schools (excluding American high schools in foreign countries) for which high school GPA and/or required admissions test scores are not provided, or are provided on a scale that is not comparable to the GPA scale on which this admissions policy is based, may be exempted from the MCR and MAR.


VI.          Applicants Who May Require Special Consideration or Exceptions to Policies. Each campus shall establish policies describing the admission of students requiring special consideration with regard to MCR or students for whom chancellor’s exceptions are made to MAR. Such students would not otherwise be eligible for admission at the institution, and further evaluation of their records is necessary.  Any student admitted under special consideration or chancellor’s exception must show demonstrable promise for academic success at the institution. Policies must include faculty participation in the decision-making process and must be approved by the campus board of trustees.


A.     Special Considerations for MCR. Institutions may waive some minimum course requirements for applicants who have superior academic records in high school, as measured by grades, rank in class, test scores, or the rigor of courses taken, or who demonstrate special talents. These applicants must have completed the eleventh grade and met virtually all of the minimum course requirements as well as the requirements for high school graduation.


B.     Chancellor’s Exceptions for MAR. The maximum number of chancellor’s exceptions is limited to one percent (1%) of the total number of first-time undergraduate applicants accepted in the academic year of admittance.  The calculation of this one percent shall exclude the populations described in paragraphs V., or VI.A., above.


1.      A chancellor’s exception may be applied to any first-time undergraduate who does not meet either the SAT/ACT minimum requirement[5] or the high school GPA minimum requirement.


2.      Students admitted through Summer Bridge or other summer enhancement programs must meet MAR or be counted as a chancellor’s exception


VII.         Campus Criteria. Any campus may set admissions requirements that exceed minimums established by the Board of Governors upon the approval of their campus board of trustees.


VIII.        Reporting Requirements.  A report of the admission of students requiring special consideration to the MCR and chancellor’s exceptions to the MAR must be made annually to the board of trustees at each respective campus.  Notation of any special consideration or exception shall be required annually as a part of student data reported to the UNC System Office.  Responsibility for oversight rests with the chancellor.


IX.          Other Matters


A.    Effective Date. The requirements of this regulation shall be effective on the date of adoption of this regulation by the president, and comply with the effective dates included in Section 700.1.1 of the UNC Policy Manual.


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

[1]A first-time undergraduate shall be defined as a degree-seeking student with no prior post-secondary experience (after high school) attending any institution for the first time at an undergraduate level.  This includes students enrolled in academic or occupational programs.  It also includes students enrolled in the fall term who attended college for the first time in the prior summer.

[2]The weighted GPA, as calculated from an unweighted base scale of four points, where added weighting is applied to accelerated, honors, and dual enrollment coursework.

[3]Validation can be either through national, UNC System, or campus data.

[4]Transferrable undergraduate credit counted as part of these 24 hours shall also include credit earned at foreign institutions deemed to have the equivalence of regional accreditation.  Equivalence of regional accreditation generally refers to recognition by the foreign country’s Ministry of Education and/or recognition by a credible organization offering credential evaluation services. Undergraduate credits awarded for AP, IB, or other credit by exam may not be included as part of these 24 hours.

[5]Mapping from a below-threshold score on one test to an above-threshold score on another test by means of concordance tables or other methodologies is not permitted.