UNC–Chapel Hill
General Information



The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first state university to admit students. It was chartered in 1789 and formally opened in 1795; from early in its history, it has encouraged research and creative activity.

As early as 1853–1854 the catalog of the University carried an announcement of graduate course work. In 1876, after the institution had been closed for the period 1871–1875, the catalog announced the requirements for the master's degree, and the next issue carried an announcement of regulations governing the degrees of master of arts, master of science and doctor of philosophy. Several graduate degrees were awarded before the turn of the century (the first degree of doctor of philosophy being conferred in 1883), but it was not until 1903 that a separate graduate school with a dean was established.

The Graduate School celebrated its 100th year in 2003 by hosting a national forum on graduate education, numerous student and alumni recognition ceremonies, and by commissioning the book Pioneer to Powerhouse: The History of Graduate Education at Carolina.

In 1922, the graduate faculty voted, first, to vest in the Administrative Board of The Graduate School legislative powers in matters that affected graduate education; second, to authorize the Administrative Board to admit members to the teaching faculty of The Graduate School; and, third, to vest in the Administrative Board the responsibility for authorizing curricula and courses carrying graduate credit.

With the exception of the master of business administration (MBA), the master of accounting (MAC), the master's in clinical laboratory science (MCLS), the master's in radiologic science (MRS), the master of law (LLM), the master of education for experienced teachers (MED), and the master of school administration (MSA), all master's degrees offered by the University and the degrees of doctor of philosophy, doctor of education (post-2011), and doctor of public health are conferred by The Graduate School.

Work toward advanced degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill proceeds under policies and regulations established by the graduate faculty. The immediate direction of The Graduate School is in the charge of the Administrative Board, of which the dean is chair. At present, the board consists of academic and health affairs faculty representatives appointed by the chancellor upon nomination by the dean of The Graduate School.

Summer School

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill established what was possibly the first summer school in America in 1877. The "Summer Normal School," as it was then called, enrolled 235 students in courses over ten disciplines. About half the students were teachers; students came from 42 counties across North Carolina and from neighboring states. Summer School was the first school at UNC-Chapel Hill to enroll women, beginning in its first year and continuing thereafter. By 1925, records indicate that 19,983 students had enrolled in Summer School.

Curricula and courses that are offered during Summer School are comparable to those of the fall and spring semesters. Summer School offers two sessions of five weeks each, a three-week Maymester, and other short courses with various beginning and ending dates. The summer program is planned to meet the needs of graduate students who are fulfilling degree requirements in this institution, visiting graduate students who desire to take courses for transfer to other institutions, teachers and administrators who desire to meet state certification requirements, and other students who have special educational objectives.

Graduate students who wish to be admitted or readmitted for the summer to a degree program should contact The Graduate School. The requirements for admission to a degree program starting in the summer are the same as those in the regular academic year. Those who desire other information or those wanting to enroll in the summer as visiting students should visit Summer School's website at summer.unc.edu, or contact Summer School via email at summer_school@unc.edu. Summer School is located at 134 East Franklin Street, Room 200, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3340, or telephone (919) 966-4364.

Visiting Scholars

Registration as a visiting scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill entitles the registrant to certain privileges of the University, the issuance of a UNC One Card and the use of University facilities for the duration of the visiting scholar's stay.

Eligibility for registration as a visiting scholar is limited to those who (1) are not on the University payroll as employees in any capacity, and (2) are visiting the University under the sponsorship of an academic department or school for the furtherance of scholarly interests. Visiting Scholars may include faculty members on leave from other institutions of higher learning, postdoctoral fellows or others who hold the terminal degree in their fields and are invited to visit by a department or school.

Persons interested in applying for visiting scholars status should communicate with the appropriate department or school within the University. Further details concerning University privileges for visiting scholars are available from the EPA/Faculty Benefits Office, CB# 1045, 725 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1045.

The University Year

Two semesters of approximately 17 weeks each and a summer school consisting of two sessions (each five and one-half weeks long) constitute the University year. The requirements for admission to graduate programs and for graduate degrees in the summer session are the same as those in the regular academic year. For the schedule of events of particular interest to graduate students, consult the academic calendars at the Office of the University Registrar (registrar.unc.edu).