The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, chartered in 1789, has the distinction of being the first state university in the nation. The cornerstone of its first building, Old East, was laid in 1793, and UNC opened to students in 1795. Carolina was the only public university to award degrees to students in the 18th century. Now in its third century, UNC belongs to the select group of 61 campuses forming the Association of American Universities.
The University, the flagship campus of the 16-member University of North Carolina system, serves as the state's all-inclusive institution. The array of programs at all levels and the extent of specialized research and public service programs set the University apart. Academic achievement, top-notch research and technological advancement are paramount to the University's leadership.
The University's 14 colleges and schools provide instruction in more than a hundred fields, offering 84 baccalaureate, 165 masters and 108 doctoral programs. The University also provides professional degrees in dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, law, and library science. The strength of the University over the past two decades has much to do with growth in the health sciences field.
The history and tradition of Chapel Hill remains constant and vital in the midst of growth and cutting edge modernization. Historic old buildings, beautiful oak trees, brick sidewalks and stonewalls are just a few of the charming features of the 729-acre campus. The American Society of Landscape Architects selected the Carolina campus as one of the most beautifully landscaped spots in the country in 1999, just one example of our nationally recognized stunning grounds. The campus is bordered by Franklin Street, Chapel Hill's main thoroughfare, offering a variety of shops, coffee houses, and cafes.
The University's strong athletic presence enhances the academic reputation enjoyed by the students. UNC teams compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 28 varsity sports. The Tar Heels consistently rank at the top of the conference and frequently participate in NCAA championships, including the women's soccer team which won the 2003 NCAA championship. In addition to competitive sports, the University provides several recreational options and athletic facilities: an Olympic-sized pool, the Tom Fazio-designed Finley Golf Course, numerous tennis courts and playing fields, mountain bike trails, climbing walls, a ropes course, and a tartan-surfaced track.
UNC is located in the heart of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It's a friendly, cultured, diverse town of about 48,000 in the geographical center of North Carolina. Chapel Hill is at the western point of the Research Triangle, an area comprised of Chapel Hill, the cities of Durham and Raleigh, and the Research Triangle Park, home of many corporate offices and scientific research centers. Chapel Hill's main street, Franklin Street, borders the campus and offers shops, coffee houses, cafes, movie theaters, and houses of worship. The town has a historic district, museum, library, parks, malls, and many recreational facilities.