The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was chartered in 1789 and began admitting students in 1795, making it the first public university in the US. It was also the only public university to award degrees in the 18th century and is one of the original eight Public Ivy schools.
Today, UNC has 14 schools as well as the College of Arts and Sciences. It offers 78 bachelor’s degrees, 112 master’s degrees, 68 doctorate programmes and seven professional degree programmes. Its student population of almost 30,000 is taught by a faculty of more than 3,500. Nearly 90 per cent of classes have fewer than 50 students.
UNC has one of the highest study-abroad rates of any university in the US, with almost a third of its undergraduates studying in other countries before graduation. It has 325 programmes in 70 countries.
The UNC campus is located in the downtown area of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Spread over nearly 730 acres, it is informally divided into three separate areas: north campus (which includes most of the classrooms and some residence halls), middle campus and south campus. There are also plans to build a new research park with expanded science facilities.
The university, with its Tar Heels teams, has a strong athletics programme and is a charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which was founded in 1953.
UNC has more than 300,00 living alumni. Some of its most notable former students include author Thomas Wolfe, Pulitzer Prize Winner Lenoir Chambers, and two Nobel laureates – Aziz Sancarco in chemistry and Olivier Smithies in Physiology/Medicine.