Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Undergraduate Degree Programs

The University offers programs of study leading to the bachelor of arts (B.A.), bachelor of arts in education (B.A.Ed.), bachelor of arts in media and journalism (B.A.M.J.), bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.), bachelor of music (B.Mus.), bachelor of science (B.S.), bachelor of science in business administration (B.S.B.A.), bachelor of science in information science (B.S.I.S.), bachelor of science in nursing (B.S.N.), bachelor of science in pharmaceutical sciences (B.S.Ph.S.), and bachelor of science in public health (B.S.P.H.) degrees.

The College of Arts and Sciences offers more than 50 major fields of study. Professional school majors are also available to undergraduates by application and acceptance. Specific requirements for each major are included in this catalog. For information about the other undergraduate degree programs, please refer to the professional schools’ sections in this catalog.

Bachelor of Arts

Students seeking a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree must complete the Supplemental General Education requirement. Among other options, completing a minor or a second major fulfills the Supplemental General Education requirement.

Bachelor of Science

Four-year programs leading to the degree of bachelor of science (B.S.) provide for specialization in a particular field and necessary instruction in related fields. In some B.S. programs offered by professional schools, General Education requirements may be reduced. Most B.S. programs, however, require students to complete quantitative reasoning courses beyond the General Education minimum and/or require specific quantitative reasoning courses.

Bachelor of Fine Arts

A four-year program leading to the degree of bachelor of fine arts is offered by the Department of Art and Art History. It provides, for qualified students, preprofessional training in creative aspects of the field of art. Approximately one-half of the program is in the field of the major, and the other half is in the liberal arts and sciences.

Bachelor of Music

The four-year program leading to the degree of bachelor of music, housed in the Department of Music, emphasizes training and achievement in the performance or composition of music. Approximately one-half of the program is in the field of the major, and the other half is in the liberal arts and sciences.

Dual Bachelor’s–Graduate Degree Programs

The University offers dual bachelor–graduate degree programs. The programs currently offered are listed below. The requirements for the bachelor’s degree must be completed within eight semesters of study (or 10 semesters of study for transfer students). The requirements for the graduate degree can be completed in as few as two additional semesters, for a possible total of 10 (or fewer) semesters of study. For information about the requirements and application process, please consult the relevant academic unit in this catalog.

Joint Degree Programs with the National University of Singapore (NUS)

UNC–Chapel Hill undergraduates can spend anywhere from two to four semesters at the National University of Singapore and receive a joint bachelor of arts degree from both institutions. Programs are offered in biology, economics, English, geography, history, and political science.

Requirements for Undergraduate Degree Programs

The requirements and limitations that apply to all undergraduate degree programs are as follows:

  • Students must successfully complete at least 120 semester hours of coursework (requirements are higher than this minimum in some bachelor of science degree curricula)
  • Students must have at least a 2.000 final cumulative grade point average on all work attempted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.   
  • Students must satisfy all General Education requirements. In some B.S. programs offered by professional schools, General Education requirements may be reduced. No course used as a General Education requirement may be declared Pass/Fail
  • A minimum of 45 academic credit hours must be earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses. These may include credits from study abroad programs sponsored by the University, only if they are faculty-led, graded UNC credit courses.1 
  • At least 24 of the last 30 academic credit hours applied to the degree requirements must be earned in UNC–Chapel Hill courses.
  • No more than 45 semester hours in any subject, as defined by subject code, may be used toward fulfilling the B.A. graduation requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences (excluding ENGL 100ENGL 105, and ENGL 105I).
  • Students completing the requirements for more than one major field of study will earn only one degree and receive only one diploma. For additional information, including which degree is awarded when completing more than one major field of study, refer to Policies and Procedures.

Additional Notes

1

Study abroad transfer credit does not count toward the minimum of 45 academic credit hours that must be earned from UNC-Chapel Hill courses. Students who have transferred in the maximum of 75 transfer hours from other institutions may study abroad on programs sponsored by the University where transfer credit is earned, but they still must earn 45 credit hours from UNC-Chapel Hill courses. For additional information, please refer to University Policy Memorandum #14; approved Fall 2020 for Spring 2021 Implementation. 

Terms in Residence 

Students who enter the University as first-year students are expected to complete their undergraduate degree in eight semesters. Summer terms are not included in the semester count. Students who wish to attend a ninth semester must submit a written petition to, and receive permission from, their dean's office. Permission to enroll in a ninth semester or beyond must be secured in advance. Permission to enroll in a ninth semester or beyond will not be granted for the sole purpose of completing multiple areas of study (i.e., a secondary major and a minor or two minors). However, students who receive permission to enroll in a ninth semester or beyond for other reasons may retain a secondary major or minor.

Transfer students (who transfer in the UNC–Chapel Hill equivalent of two or more semesters) may enroll in up to 10 total semesters and complete up to three areas of study (i.e., a secondary major and a minor or two minors).  

Maintained by the Educational Policy Committee. Last approved on January 27, 2017, see Resolution 2017-1

Students must complete a major field of study as prescribed by the academic unit.

Requirements for Majors

The following requirements and limitations apply to all undergraduate academic majors at the University:

  • Unless specifically prohibited by departments or curricula, major or minor courses may be used to satisfy General Education requirements.
  • Courses in a student’s major academic unit, or specifically required by the major, including foreign language courses, electives, and any additional required courses (or any courses cross-listed with such required courses) may not be declared a Pass/Fail course.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in coursework taken at UNC-Chapel Hill in the major core is required. Some programs may require higher standards for admission to the program, for prerequisite courses in specific sequences, and/or for specific core courses, particularly for professional school programs with additional accreditation standards.
  • All students, including students transferring from another institution, must take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill.
  • Some majors require a gateway course that must be taken first, before enrolling in any other courses that satisfy the core requirements in the major. Students must earn a grade of C or better (C- does not qualify) in the gateway course. 
  • No more than two courses (six to eight credit hours) of BE credit may be used as part of the major core.

Requirements for Minors

Students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences who wish to complete a minor in a professional school must receive permission from the professional school.

The following requirements and limitations apply to all undergraduate academic minors:

  • A student may have no more than two minors, regardless of the student’s major degree program. Academic units may exclude certain minors from being elected and completed by students majoring in these units.
  • More than half (not merely half) of the credit hours and courses (including cross-listed courses) taken to satisfy the minor requirements must be counted exclusively in the minor and not double-counted in other majors or minors.
  • At least nine hours of core requirements in the minor must be completed at UNC–Chapel Hill and not at other academic institutions. Certain academic units may require that more than nine hours must be completed at the University.
  • Some academic units may disallow the double-counting of courses in the minor and as General Education courses.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in coursework taken at UNC-Chapel Hill in the minor core is required. Some programs may require higher standards for minor or specific courses. 
  • No more than one BE credit course (three to four credit hours) may be used as part of a minor.
  • All courses in the minor unit must be taken for a regular letter grade. Courses in a student’s minor unit, or specifically required by the minor, including foreign language courses, electives, and any additional required courses (or any courses cross-listed with such required courses) may not be declared a Pass/Fail course.
  • If students plan to pursue the completion of a minor, they are encouraged to declare their minor by early in the junior year.

Combining Majors and Minors

Students in the College of Arts and Sciences are permitted to study up to three subjects in depth. They may do this in one of the following ways:

  • one major
  • two majors
  • one major and one minor
  • two majors and one minor
  • one major and two minors

Students enrolled in professional schools who wish to have a second major or minor in the College of Arts and Sciences must receive permission from their professional school and the College of Arts and Sciences; students who receive permission to have a second major in the College of Arts and Sciences are required to complete all General Education requirements. Students enrolled in professional schools who wish to have a second major or minor in a different professional school must receive permission from both professional schools.

A student may pursue in-depth study in multiple areas by fulfilling all major/minor requirements in each of the selected disciplines, in addition to General Education requirements. Students may not pursue two concentrations (emphases, options, or tracks) within the same major. In general, students may pursue a minor in the same department or curriculum as the major, provided they follow the double-counting rules described below and do not exceed 45 credit hours of coursework in any one subject. For example, a major in Asian studies with a concentration in Japanese and a minor in Korean, both housed in the Department of Asian Studies, are permitted. Some departments may restrict majors and minors within the same academic unit, so please consult an academic advisor, the department, or the curriculum.

Courses that fulfill core requirements for a major or minor may be double-counted (applied to a second major or minor) with the following general limitation: more than half (not merely half) of the courses and course credit hours taken in each major/minor must be exclusive to that major/minor. In a 10-course major, for example, at least six courses, and at least 51 percent of the credit hours, should be counted exclusively in that major and should not double-count even if cross-listed with courses in a student’s second major or a minor. Some majors may further restrict double-counting courses. Students who are pursuing two majors and a minor (or two minors and a major) may, in principle, use a single course to satisfy requirements in all three areas of study, provided that more than half (not merely half) of the courses and course credit hours taken in each major/minor are exclusive to that major/minor.

Graduation

Beginning with the first day of registration for the term for which students expect to graduate, they should file an application for graduation online in ConnectCarolina or in person in the office of the dean. For students in the College of Arts and Sciences, this is the office of the Academic Advising Program. A student who has not filed an application for graduation on or before the announced deadlines for fall or spring graduation will not be included in the graduation program.

Students must pay tuition, fees, and other obligations owed the University before receiving a diploma.

Graduation Requirements and Tar Heel Tracker

Total graduation requirements are determined by ConnectCarolina’s Tar Heel Tracker degree-audit system. Students are also encouraged to meet with their academic advisor. 

Additional Policy and Procedures

The Policies and Procedures section of this catalog contains information on many important topics, including registration, academic course load, academic eligibility, repeating course enrollments, final examinations, and the grading system, among others.

Undergraduate Honors: Degrees with Distinction

To graduate with distinction or with highest distinction, students must have completed at least 45 academic hours at UNC–Chapel Hill and have an overall grade point average of at least 3.500 or 3.800 respectively. The grade point average is based on the grades received and recorded by the Office of the University Registrar as of the degree award date. No changes are permitted to the awards after that date.

Undergraduate Honors: Degrees with Honors

Students who wish to graduate from UNC–Chapel Hill with honors or highest honors must complete a senior honors thesis project in their major field(s) of study. Such students need not have been members of Honors Carolina. They must, however, meet academic eligibility standards set by Honors Carolina and the individual departments, curricula, and professional schools that sponsor senior honors thesis programs.

Students with double majors may graduate with honors or highest honors in both fields of study. To do so, they must complete a distinct project in each field. Students may not undertake a senior honors thesis project in a minor field (Creative Writing is the sole exception) or in a field outside of their declared major(s).

Students who successfully complete a senior honors thesis project will have the designation “Honors” or “Highest Honors” recorded on their diplomas and transcripts and will be denoted in the Commencement bulletin at graduation. Creative Writing minors earning honors or highest honors will also be recognized in the Commencement bulletin and have a special remark added to their transcripts, but no designation will appear on their diplomas.

Application for honors work: Students should apply to the honors advisor in the department or curriculum of the major. Ordinarily, application is made during the junior year, although it is done earlier in some departments. Detailed information concerning the application should be obtained from the honors advisor in the major.

Requirements for eligibility: Students who wish to undertake a senior honors thesis project must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.300 or higher. Academic units that wish to impose a higher grade point average eligibility standard may do so by requiring that students meet both the cumulative 3.300 grade point average standard set by Honors Carolina office and a higher grade point average standard for all coursework required for the major.

Nature and purpose of honors study: Programs are provided for students who have demonstrated a high level of scholastic ability and achievement and who desire to pursue an intensive, individualized program of study in their major discipline. Senior honors thesis students must complete an original and substantial research, performance, or creative project under direct supervision by a faculty advisor.

Senior honors thesis projects are scheduled as a two-semester sequence of honors courses led by unit-designated faculty, independent study overseen by the faculty thesis advisor, or a combination of the two. Detailed guidelines on approved senior honors thesis scheduling formats are available on the Honors Carolina website. Regardless of the scheduling format used, students must complete a total of 6.0 credit hours of senior honors thesis coursework during consecutive semesters, not during summer sessions.

A special written or oral examination on the student’s program is required during the final semester of honors study. The department or curriculum may impose other requirements that it deems appropriate. In every instance, study for honors will require academic excellence. When the student has fulfilled all requirements, the department or curriculum will recommend to the associate dean for honors that the degree be awarded with honors or with highest honors. The degree with highest honors is conferred in recognition of extraordinary achievement in a program of honors study.

Procedures for granting degrees with honors: The grade for coursework in connection with an honors project is determined by the faculty advisor and is (like all grades) subject to appeal. Successful completion of honors study does not automatically confer departmental honors. Before awarding a degree with honors or highest honors, the College of Arts and Sciences requires the recommendation of a student’s examining committee and the endorsement of that committee’s recommendation by the chair of the department or curriculum. A negative recommendation by the department is final and cannot be appealed. The associate dean for honors makes the final decision to award a degree with honors on the basis of the department’s positive recommendation and the student’s cumulative grade point average.

Phi Beta Kappa

This national collegiate honor society is open to undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences and in exceptional circumstances (as described below) to students enrolled in undergraduate professional degree programs. The following students in the College of Arts and Sciences are eligible for membership:

  • Students who have completed at least 75 semester hours of graded academic coursework in the liberal arts and sciences at UNC–Chapel Hill with a quality point average of at least 3.850
  • Students who have completed at least 105 semester academic course hours in the liberal arts and sciences, at least 45 of which must have been graded coursework taken at UNC–Chapel Hill with a quality point average of at least 3.750

No grades made at an institution from which a student has transferred shall be included in determining a student’s eligibility. The quality point average shall include all academic coursework in the liberal arts and sciences taken and counted toward the candidate’s degree (physical activity grades and hours are not included). Grades and hours received on courses taken after the candidate has received his or her degree shall not be counted.

Undergraduate students not enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences who meet the general semester hours and quality point average described in the second bullet above and who have completed at least 90 semester hours of coursework in the departments and curricula of the College of Arts and Sciences (or the equivalents accepted for transfer credit from other institutions) are eligible for election.

Dean’s List

To be eligible for the Dean’s List, full-time students who enter the University as first-time, first-year students beginning in fall 2010 must meet the following requirement:

  • A 3.500 grade point average with no grade lower than a C and enrollment in at least 12 hours of letter-grade credit, exclusive of physical education activities (PHYA) courses.

The grade point average is based on the grades received and recorded by the Office of the University Registrar at the time the Dean’s List is published. No changes are permitted to the Dean’s List after that date.