The University of North Carolina System is open to anyone who is prepared to succeed at one of 16 public universities across the state of North Carolina. To ensure a consistent measure of preparedness, the UNC System established minimum benchmarks required of high school students to be eligible for admission to any System institution.

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Students and families are encouraged to explore all 16 UNC System institutions and learn more about their unique locations, program offerings, and campus cultures.

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Download this helpful guide for application deadlines and other important admission information for each of our 16 universities.

The Minimum Eligibility Requirements (GPA and standardized test scores) and Minimum Course Requirements (required high school courses) outlined below are required for admission Systemwide. While meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission to any specific university or program, they determine eligibility for admissions consideration. Admission to individual institutions and specific academic programs may be more competitive and demand additional requirements beyond the minimums listed below. Please check with each institution for additional information related to specific admission requirements.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements

The Systemwide minimum admission requirements are guidelines to help future students and university administrators determine if applicants are ready to meet the challenges of a four-year degree program, or if they might benefit from additional preparatory work at a community college before transferring into the UNC System. As a mechanism for predicting student success, the UNC System’s minimum eligibility requirements consider three key measurements of students’ previous achievement: high school courses, high school grade point average (GPA), and test scores*.

*The UNC Board of Governors recently adopted a time-limited policy provision (through Fall 2025) that outlines the minimum eligibility requirements for admissions consideration.

To be eligible for review by any of the 16 UNC System universities, a student must:

  • earn at least a 2.5 weighted high school GPA


  • score a minimum SAT of 1010 or ACT composite of 19

Historically, a student has been required to take either the ACT or the SAT to be considered for admission and submit a valid test score as part of their application to any individual institution; however, test requirements are currently waived for students who apply for admission through Fall 2024.

Please note that, while these are the minimum requirements for consideration, they do not guarantee acceptance.

Minimum Course Requirements for Incoming, First Year Students

In addition to meeting the minimum admission requirements, students need to have completed some core high school-level coursework. All UNC System universities require the courses listed below and consider how well students perform, including performance in national achievement tests. 


Four course units in language, including:

  • four units in English, emphasizing grammar, composition, and literature


Four course units of mathematics, in any of the following combinations:

  • 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.

The System strongly encourages future students to take at least one mathematics course unit in the 12th grade.


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 sciences (for example, physical science, chemistry, physics), and
  • at least one laboratory course.

Social Studies

Two course units in social studies, including one unit in U.S. history. Students who do not have the unit in U.S. history may be admitted on the condition that that they pass at least three semester hours in that subject by the end of the sophomore year.

Additional Courses

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

  • 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:

  • 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.)

Minimum Course Requirements for High School Graduates and GED Completers

The UNC System is committed to serving students at every stage in their higher education journey. Older students seeking admission to UNC System institutions for the first time, transfer students, veterans, and active members of the military have all encountered immersive learning experiences that enhance their academic histories. Consequently, the UNC System has specific expectations regarding GPAs and test scores based on each applicant’s age and previous military or higher education experience.

The chart below outlines the minimum requirements for GPA and national test scores based on applicant age and experience. 

Student’s Age and College CreditsHigh School GPATest ScoresHigh School Courses
20** years and younger with fewer than 24 transferable credits2.5 cumulative weighted GPASAT of 1010 or ACT composite of 19See Minimum Course Requirements above
21** years or olderExempt from minimum High School GPA, test scores and course requirements***
Any age with 24** or more transferable college credits (does not include AP, IB or credit by exam)Exempt from minimum High School GPA, test scores and course requirements***
Active-duty service member or veteran with 3** or more years of active duty serviceExempt from minimum High School GPA, test scores and course requirements***

** Criteria must be met by the time of enrollment at the UNC institution
*** Being exempt from these requirements does not guarantee admission. While applicants are not required to meet these GPA, test score and course requirements, institutions will only admit applicants who meet all campus-specific admission requirements.

Frequently asked questions

Is the GPA score based on the weighted or unweighted GPA?

The weighted GPA will be used to determine if the student satisfies the minimum GPA requirement.

Is the GPA calculated based on all my courses or just the courses for the college preparatory curriculum?

The GPA is the cumulative GPA based on all courses taken during high school.

If I take the SAT more than once, will my highest combined score be used even if it is from two different test dates?

Yes, the highest score received on any administration of the same version of the SAT for critical reading will be combined with the highest score received on math. The College Board implemented a new version of the SAT in March 2016. Scores can be combined within test versions (ex: old math and old reading) but cannot be combined across test versions (ex: old math and new reading).

If I take the ACT, will my highest individual sections be used to calculate a new composite score?

Yes, the highest individual scores will be used to determine a new composite score.

What if I am a student with prior college credits or I am interested in transferring to a UNC System institution?

If you’re re-entering the System after having studied at either a community college or another university, visit the transfer students page for more information about how to transfer previously earned credits to the institutions in the UNC System.

What if I am a student who already has a bachelor’s degree?

Students seeking a second degree are advised to speak with a transfer counselor at individual universities prior to completing the application process. In some cases, programs will not accept students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree. In other cases, some of the work completed toward the first degree might count toward the second degree, or can satisfy prerequisites. Consulting with an advisor can help students determine whether the pursuit of a second degree (as opposed to a master’s degree or a learning certificate) is the right choice.