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The FIRST program consists of three parts: 1) a three-year accelerated and enhanced medical school curriculum; 2) direct progression into an affiliated residency program 3) followed by three years of service in North Carolina with ongoing support in practice. Read below for details of the program components.

Medical School: Three-Year MD Curriculum

Year 1

  • Assigned your own patient panel
  • Intensive summer curriculum

Year 2

  • 1/2 day per week in clinic
  • Close mentorship
  • Enhanced faculty apprenticeship

Year 3

  • 1/2 day per week in clinic
  • Early acting internships
  • Progressive responsibility
  • Community opportunities

A More Detailed Look at the FIRST Curriculum

  • Curricular Time: 134 weeks (similar to other students and meets LCME requirements)
  • Vacation: 1st year winter break: 2 weeks; Summer- 2 weeks (flexible scheduling); 2nd Year winter break: 2 weeks: other vacation 4 weeks
  • Shelf study time: 6 weeks
  • Step 1 study time: 8 weeks (same as TEC)
  • Campus: Application Phase options at Asheville, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, or Wilmington
  • Dual Degree Programs:  Unfortunately, due to the accelerated nature, FIRST is not compatible with MD/MPH or MD/MBA programs; however, it is possible to pursue these after residency during the 3 service years


If your career interests change during your time in medical school, you will revert to the traditional TEC curriculum.  This is to ensure you have ample opportunity to explore electives and interview for residency.

FIRST Resident Liaison Kyle Melvin, MD and FIRST director, Catherine Coe, MD
FIRST Resident Liaison Kyle Melvin, MD and FIRST director, Catherine Coe, MD

Acceptance into the FIRST Program comes with direct progression into our affiliated NC Residency Program pending successful completion of your medical school training (See Sites and Specialties for affiliated programs ). Upon meeting the academic and professional standards for graduation from medical school, you will be ranked to match into the NC Residency Program through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Should you choose to rank us, you would match into a position at the residency program. You are free to interview and rank other programs.

UNC Family Medicine, with support from key statewide leaders, will provide ongoing support, mentoring, and opportunities for continuing medical education throughout the three years of service after residency.

Criteria for Selection / How to Apply

Application Components

1. Fill out the online application.

2. Letter of Recommendation: Writers should email letters directly to, or mail directly to:
UNC Department of Family Medicine
590 Manning Drive
Campus Box 7595
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

If you have any questions, email us at Application deadline: January 6, 2021.

Interviews will be held January 14 & 15, 2021.
Please note: The January deadline and interview dates are for current first year students already enrolled at UNC School of Medicine. Students who have been conditionally accepted and are expecting to begin medical school at UNC in August 2021, may apply as well, but their deadline isn’t until March 2021. Please feel free to contact any of us for further information.

Sites and Specialties

  • Asheville (Mountain Area Health Education Center)
    • Family Medicine
    • General Surgery
    • Psychiatry
  • Chapel Hill (University of North Carolina)
    • Family Medicine
    • Psychiatry
    • Pediatrics
  • Greensboro (Cone Health)
    • Family Medicine
  • Wilmington (South Eastern Area Health Education)
    • Family Medicine
    • General Surgery

5th Class of FIRST Scholars