The UNC System is a public university open to anyone who is prepared for success at one of its institutions.

The System-wide minimum admission requirements are guidelines that help future students and University administrators determine if applicants are ready to meet the challenge of a four-year degree program, or if they might benefit from more preparatory work at a community college before transferring into the UNC System.

As a mechanism for predicting student success, the UNC System’s minimum admission requirements take into consideration three key measurements of students’ previous achievement: high school courses, high school grade point average (GPA), and test scores.

The benchmarks outlined below represent a System-wide minimum for admission. However, meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission to any specific university or program. Admission to individual institutions and to some academic programs within institutions may be more competitive and may demand additional requirements beyond the minimums listed below. Please check with each institution for additional information related to its specific admission requirements.

The UNC Board of Governors recently adopted a time-limited policy provision that allows a student to meet minimum eligibility requirements for admissions consideration. A student who earns at least a 2.5 weighted high school grade point average OR a minimum test score on either the ACT (19) or the SAT (1010) is eligible for review by any of the 16 UNC System universities. A student must still take either the ACT or the SAT to be considered for admission.  All applicants must submit a valid score as part of their application to any individual institution. Please note that while these are the minimum requirements for consideration, they do not guarantee acceptance.


To earn admission into the UNC System, you’ll need to have completed some core high school-level coursework. These requirements apply to recent high school graduates only. Older applicants are exempt. For more information, refer to the “GPA and Test Scores” table below.

The “course units” listed below may have been taken while you were enrolled in high school, but they may also include courses you have completed after graduating:

Six course units in language, including

  • four units in English emphasizing grammar, composition, and literature, and
  • two units of a language other than English.

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 University 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.

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.

GPA and Test Scores

In order to predict student success, the UNC System also considers how well students perform in their high school coursework and in national achievement tests.

The UNC System is committed to serving students from all walks of life and at every stage in their intellectual and professional development. Older students seeking admission to the University for the first time, transfer students, veterans, and active members of the military all have encountered immersive learning experiences that enhance their academic histories. Consequently, the University’s expectations regarding GPAs and scores differ according to the applicants’ age and previous experience in higher education and the military.

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

Student’s Age and College Credits

Minimum Admission Requirements for High School Graduates and GED


High School GPA High School CoursesTest Scores

20** years and younger with fewer than 24 transferable credits

2.5 cumulative weighted GPA SAT of 880 on new or 800 on old version (verbal and math) or ACT composite of 17See UNC Minimum Course Requirements on page 1

21** years or older

Exempt 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 service

Exempt 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. If my GPA is over 2.5, but my SAT is less than 880 on the new version (or less than 800 on the old version), or my ACT is less than 17, do I meet the minimum requirement? 
    No, you must meet both the minimum GPA and the minimum SAT or ACT score to be eligible for admission. In rare cases, a campus may offer a student with extenuating circumstances or with a special talent a waiver from one of the requirements.
  5. What if I graduated in 2015, but don’t apply to college until this year? Will I need to have the GPA of 2.5 and the SAT of 800? 
    Students 21 and older are exempt from minimum high school GPA, test score, and minimum course requirements.
  6. 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.

Transferring Prior Credits

If you’re re-entering the System after having studied at either a community college or another university, the links below will lead you directly to information about how to transfer previously earned credits to the institutions in the UNC System.

This website’s transfer student page provides more information about how to apply to our institutions and how to receive credit for the coursework and immersive learning experiences you’ve already completed as an NC community college or university student or as a member of the military.