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NC Public School Curriculum and UNC System Minimum Admission Requirements

Minimum Requirements for Graduation from a North Carolina Public High School

College-Prep Diploma

English -- 4 Credits 
     English I, II, III & IV

Foreign Language -- Not required for high school graduation
    A two-credit minimum is required for admission to a university in the UNC system.

Mathematics -- 4 Credits 
    Algebra I, II, Geometry & one beyond Algebra II
    Integrated Mathematics I, II, III and a credit beyond Integrated Mathematics III

Science -- 3 Credits 
     A physical science, Biology & Earth/Environmental Science

Social Studies -- 4 Credits 
    Civics & Economics, World History, American History I and American History II
    Civics & Economics, World History, AP US History, plus additional social studies course

Health & Physical Education -- 1 Credit

Electives -- 6 Credits and other credits designated by the LEA

For more detailed information, visit the North Carolina State Board of Education.

** These requirements are established by the North Carolina State Board of Education; local public school boards of education usually require additional units for graduation.

Basic Subjects Traditionally Taught in Public Elementary & Middle Schools

Grades 1-6 Grades 7-8
Language Arts
     English Grammar
Language Arts
     English Grammar & Composition
     Grade 7 -- Life
     Grade 8 -- Earth/Space
Social Studies/History
     Grade 1 -- Families
     Grade 2 -- Communities
     Grade 3 -- Early America
     Grade 4 -- The U.S. & North Carolina
     Grade 5 -- Western Hemisphere Nations
     Grade 6 -- Eastern Hemisphere Nations 
Social Studies
     Grade 7 -- World Studies
     Grade 8 -- America  & North Carolina
Health, Safety & Physical Education
Health, Safety & Physical Education

Minimum Admissions Requirements at the 16 Institutions of the University of North Carolina System

For the class of 2006 and beyond, the following courses are required for admission—in addition to an institution’s own specific requirements:

  • Six course units in language including:
    • Four in English emphasizing grammar, composition and literature, and
    • Two units of a language other than English
  • Four course units in mathematics including:
    • Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry and one unit beyond Algebra II,
    • Algebra I, II and two units beyond Algebra II, or
    • Integrated Mathematics I, II, III and one unit beyond Integrated Mathematics III
The fourth credit of math applies to effects applicants to all institutions except the North Carolina School of the Arts.
It is recommended that prospective students take a mathematics course credit 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 phsyical science (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.  An applicant who does not have the unit in U.S. History may be admitted on the condition that at least three semester hours in that subject will be passed by the end of the sophomore year.

“Course units” as defined in these requirements may include those high school-level courses taken and passed by an applicant after graduating from high school, as well as those taken while enrolled as a high school student.  For some transfer students and students who graduated from high school prior to 1990, special considerations have been made.

Individual constituent institutions may require other courses in addition to the minimum requirements.

High school students should take the ACT or SAT either in their junior year or in the fall of their senior year.  Scores are forwarded directly to the admissions officer of the campus applied to by the agency which administers the test.

In reviewing applications, admissions officers consider an applicant’s high school courses taken and grades received, class rank or grade point average, ACT or SAT scores, extracurricular activities and recommendations.  Check with the student’s university of choice for specific requirements.

For transfer students, requirements for admission usually include a transcript from high school and each former college attended, eligibility to return to the institution last attended, “C” cumulative average grade on all work attempted at other colleges and an application fee.