What are the minimum course requirements for admission? What if I don’t meet them?

To be eligible to apply and be considered for admission at any of the 16 institutions within the University of North Carolina System, including Carolina, a student must complete the minimum high school coursework within the five traditional academic areas of English, mathematics, physical and biological sciences, and social sciences listed below.

Please note: admission to Carolina is competitive, and successful applicants typically go far beyond these minimum requirements. In particular, most competitive applicants continue taking courses in English, mathematics, sciences, and social sciences through their senior year and complete at least two sequential world language courses.

Minimum Course Requirements

  • 4 units of English emphasizing grammar, composition and literature
  • 4 units of college preparatory mathematics
    • 2 algebra
    • 1 geometry
    • 1 higher level mathematics course for which algebra II is a prerequisite
    • For students attending a North Carolina public high school, the fourth unit of math must be one of the below courses. For North Carolina students not attending a public school and all out-of-state students, the fourth math must be comparable to one of the courses listed below or it must be approved by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
      • AP Calculus
      • AP Statistics
      • Pre-Calculus
      • Discrete Mathematics
      • IB Mathematics Level II
      • Integrated Mathematics IV
      • Advanced Functions and Modeling
      • Essentials for College Math
  • 3 units in science
    • one in a life or biological science (example: biology)
    • one in a physical science (example: physical science, chemistry, physics)
    • one laboratory course
  • 2 units of social science
    • one in United States history
  • 2 additional units of English, mathematics, science, social studies, world languages, or computer science
    • The UNC System encourages students to select these courses in alignment with their academic and career objectives, and recommends completion of two sequential world language courses

International Students: We understand that curriculums differ from country to country, and our staff is sensitive to the intricacies of each curriculum. To be considered for admission, an applicant needs to be on track to complete the pre-university curriculum in their country prior to enrolling at Carolina. For example, students from a British-based education system will need to have completed A Levels, and students in a French-based system will need to have completed the Baccalaureate.

If your high school record lacks any of the units mentioned above or if you hold a GED, you may present at least one of the following to meet minimum eligibility for admission:

  • Complete at least 24 total transferable semester hours from an accredited college or university (excluding hours awarded by dual enrollment, AP, IB or other credit by exam); OR
  • Complete at least 24 total transferable semester hours from an accredited college or university (excluding hours awarded by AP, IB or other credit by exam) after receiving your GED or high school equivalency; OR
  • Be at least 21 years of age by the time you enroll in your first term at UNC.

These minimum course requirements meet the UNC System requirements. If you do not meet the minimum course requirements and cannot present one of the alternatives listed above, you may still apply for admission though we encourage you to explain in your application what circumstances prevented you from fulfilling these course requirements. For additional information on minimum course requirements, please visit the UNC System website.