University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Updated August 6, 2020

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of the oldest public colleges in the country. Founded in 1789, the university quickly established itself as one of the top schools of higher education. It became known as a Public Ivy, which refers to a university that offers the same opportunities and experiences as an Ivy League school but at a much lower price. Though other schools later became Public Ivy colleges, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first. The university goes by several different names, including UNC, Carolina and Chapel Hill.

One reason for its strong reputation is because UNC is selective in terms of who it accepts every year. Its acceptance rate among undergraduates is less than 29%, and it accepts only 28% of those who apply for one of its graduate programs. Though the university offered fewer than 20 programs during its early years, it now offers more than 70 bachelor programs, over 100 master programs and more than 70 doctoral programs. ARWU, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report and Washington Monthly all ranked UNC among the top 50 colleges in the United States, and it also appeared on lists created by Times, QS and ARWU of the top colleges in the world. Located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, UNC has a total online and offline population of nearly 30,000 students.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Accreditation Details

Like all colleges in the United States, UNC has accreditation from a top organization. It received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The SACSC returned to the university in 2015 for its routine renewal and found some minor issues with the campus. Though UNC did not receive its renewal, the commission did give the university one full year to make the changes it identified before coming up for renewal again. UNC immediately formed its own internal commission devoted to making the necessary changes prior to the deadline.

UNC also has program accreditation in place for some of its individual programs. This accreditation comes from a number of organizations, including:

  • American Bar Association
  • American Library Association
  • Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
  • North Carolina Board of Nursing
  • North Carolina Department of Education
  • American Dental Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Physical Therapy Association
  • Council on Social Work Education

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Application Requirements

Though the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill originally offered a traditional paper application, it now asks that all graduate students apply online on the admissions website. Prior to starting the application, students will need to create an online account that keeps their private information confidential. Students can log back into their accounts later to see whether they received an acceptance letter. Admission to the fall semester is only available to those who apply by the middle of June. Students interested in receiving financial aid will need to complete their applications by the middle of December the year before they hope to start classes.

The simple application asks students about their backgrounds and for information that shows their accomplishments. They will need to list any colleges they attended, their grade point averages and any professional experiences they might have. In addition to the application, students must also submit documents that verify the information listed in those applications. This often includes an official transcript from the college the student attended as an undergraduate and up to three letters of recommendation. Students applying for admission to specific professional programs will also need to submit the scores they obtained on tests like the LSAT, GRE or MCAT.

Tuition and Financial Aid

UNC allows each of its graduate schools to set its own rates for students. Those entering graduate programs in the Department of Education can expect to pay just over $5,600 each semester to take a full course load of classes, which is the equivalent of nine credit hours of work. This rate, however, only applies to students who can show that they are residents of North Carolina. Students taking classes online from other states and those who move to the state for graduate school pay around $14,000 a semester. These figures include the cost of fees charged by the university, but do not include the cost of room and board.

All graduate students who receive acceptance to the university may also apply for financial aid. Students living on or near campus may qualify for teaching assistant and research assistant positions that may their tuition costs, and students may also apply for positions as resident advisers on campus. Those taking online classes can apply for scholarships directly from the university and from other sources. UNC requires that all students complete the FAFSA and list the university on that application to apply for financial aid. Most graduate students qualify for unsubsidized student loans from the federal government and can borrow alternative loans from private lenders.

Master's of Education

When the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill decided to start a Master's of Education program, it wanted to give its students more options than other colleges did. There are now multiple programs open to students, including an Master of Arts in Education, International Education, a Master of Arts in Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship and a Master of Arts in Teaching. The Master of Arts in Teaching is a program designed for students who want to teach English and/or Social Studies to high school students or Math and Science to either middle school/junior high school students or high school students. UNC also offers a program designed to help current teachers complete a graduate degree faster that utilizes the skills and experiences they already have.

Students entering any of these programs must demonstrate that they have an undergraduate degree in education or a similar field and that they have some teaching experience as well. Each program requires that students take 30 or more credit hours of work, which must include a research component and some outside experience in the form of a classroom teaching experience or an internship. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill also asks that all graduate students in its Department of Education complete a portfolio project during their last year of school.

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