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Application Phase Site Assignment Process Events and Timeline

Thank you for visiting this page. Please read on for key events, information, timelines, and FAQs related to the Application Phase site assignment process. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, please reach out to Mary Hauser ( and Valerie Glassman (

UNC School of Medicine: One School, Six Application Phase Sites

UNC School of Medicine is made up of six sites: Asheville, Central Cross-Regional, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington where students engage in clinical learning across Application and Individualization Phases (3rd and 4th years). Capacity at each of the six sites is maximized to ensure that students get the clinical experiences they need to progress in their training.

In 2023, the capacity for each site was as follows:

  • Asheville—35 students
  • Central Cross Regional—77 students
  • Charlotte—9 students
  • Greensboro—18 students
  • Raleigh—27 students
  • Wilmington—27 students

Capacity changes slightly from year to year and exact numbers are communicated at class meetings during the MS1 year.

Site Representatives Visit Class Meetings

Representatives from the sites visit MS1 Class Meetings throughout fall to share information about their campuses with students.

Site representatives are available to meet with students to answer individual questions for the half hour after the Class Meeting (1:30 – 2:00 PM). This is a good opportunity to ask about things like housing, research options, etc. at each site.

Open Houses

Each site holds an Open House in the fall/winter to give students a chance to visit in person and learn more about the unique aspects of Application Phase experiences in different locations. Open House dates are all scheduled during curriculum-free times and are announced at class meetings and via email.

The Offices of Medical Student Education sponsors a bus to take students to the Wilmington, Asheville, and Charlotte Open Houses. Instructions for how to sign up for Open Houses and bus seats are shared via email and during class meetings. Students are not required to ride the bus—they may drive on their own—but all students are required to sign up for Open Houses and to notify campus representatives if their plans change so that campuses can plan for the correct number of visitors.

Student Government Campus Representatives

Another great way to learn more about each site is to talk with its Student Government Curriculum Representative. This 2023-24 representatives for each site are:

Campus Assignment Process Details

In early March, students receive a Qualtrics survey that asks the following:

  • Are you a member of one of the School of Medicine’s special programs?
    • MD/PhD
    • FIRST
    • Kenan Scholars
  • Do you have an exemption that requires you to be assigned to a certain campus? Exemptions include:
    • Primary and substantive responsibilities for the care of another person who is unable to live independently (brief description of caregiving responsibilities required)
    • A health matter that requires regular, in-person health care at an established provider (attestation from provider required at the time of form completion)
      • Applies to Central, Cross-Regional Campus, only
  • How do you rank the six sites?
    Each student will rank the six sites (Asheville, Central Cross-Regional, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington) in order of preference.

Next, the form asks if students would like to enter the lottery as a “pod.” A pod is a group of up to three students who apply to the lottery as a single unit. The purpose of pods is to offer students the opportunity to maintain community formed during the Foundation Phase (e.g., friends, roommates, academic support systems). If students wish to “pod,” they submit the names of group members and an attestation that all group members agree to a single site rank list. Students in special programs (FIRST, etc.) and those who request exemptions may not participate in a pod.

Students in the aforementioned special programs and students with approved exemptions are assigned to campuses. The remaining students and pods of students are assigned to campuses using a computer program that generates an optimal set of placements given campus capacities and student rankings.

Site assignments are announced via email in early April. Students with immediate concerns should first contact their advisors and then Dr. Glassman ( and Dr. Alice Chuang (

Life happens! If students need to appeal their assignment, they may do so during the Neurons to Networks course in the MS2 year (September). Students who have had a change in their medical needs or other change in life circumstances that requires them to reconsider site assignment may submit an appeal to the Student Success Committee via Dr. Glassman ( Appeals may be made on the grounds of:

  1. A change in health status that requires an individual to be placed at a particular location to maintain care with a provider (attestation required)
  2. A change in personal circumstances that would make it significantly preferable for a student’s well-being to be placed at a particular site (e.g., illness of a loved one)

Campus Assignment Process Timeline

  • Early March—Site Assignment Form opens for one week
  • Early April—Site assignments shared with students via email
  • September (Neurology/Neurons to Networks Course)—Fall Appeals Period (students may submit an appeal regarding their site assignment)

Frequently Asked Questions

What does “Central Cross-Regional” mean? If I am assigned to the Central Cross-Regional site, how far will I have to drive to my placements?
Central Cross-Regional students are placed at clinics across the Triangle and Triad area—from east of Raleigh to Greensboro. While many placements are close to Chapel Hill, others may be up to an hour away. AHEC housing may be available to Central Cross-Regional students doing a short-term rotation at a clinic in Greensboro. Please be prepared for the need to commute across the region (up to an hour) during Application Phase.
Will I get my fourth, fifth, or sixth choice of site preference?
The computer program used to make site assignments is set to “optimize” for first through third placements. This means that the program tries to generate a combination of assignments that results in the maximum number of people getting one of their top three choices (and the fewest number of students getting their bottom choices). Student preferences vary from year to year and site capacity changes, so there is no guarantee that all students will receive a higher ranked campus. We strongly recommend that students take time to learn about the sites and develop a list of at least four sites where you feel good about continuing your MD journey.
What additional expenses should be considered when considering a year or more at a branch campus?
When considering a branch campus, keep in mind changes to rent or other housing costs, the cost of moving and the cost of returning to Chapel Hill. If you complete Application Phase at a branch site, you will have the option of staying there for Individualization Phase, thus eliminating the cost of a second move. There are additional considerations at each site. Contact the Financial Aid office for more information and/or reach out to branch campus directors for more site-specific information.

Financial Aid:

Site Directors:

How can I learn more about housing options at the sites?
Housing options are unique to each site and always evolving. The best contacts for detailed information are the site directors and students who are currently at a site or have recently been there. The following people are a good first point of contact for site-specific housing questions.

Do I need a car for Application Phase?
Yes. Regardless of which site you are assigned, you will need a car for Application Phase. For some placements, you may not need to travel far, or you may be able to rely on public transportation, but you are very likely to need to drive to an assigned clinic at some point during your Application Phase year.
If I received an exemption for Central Cross-Regional during the campus assignment process, doesn’t that mean that I will only be placed in Chapel Hill during Application Phase?
No. If you have an approved exemption (medical or primary caregiver) during the campus assignment process and are assigned to Central Cross-Regional, this exemption will carry over to your clinical placements. Course coordinators will make every effort to schedule your rotations in Chapel Hill. However, this does not mean that you will only be assigned to clinics in Chapel Hill for CBLC. There are not enough clinics located within Chapel Hill to place all of our CBLC students. Please expect to have a 20–50-minute commute for at least one of your clinic placements during Application Phase.
If I attend an Open House, am I committing to a campus? Does attending an Open House
give me preference for being placed at a site?
No, attending an Open House is only for your information. Your attendance at these events
will not play a role in the assignment process.
I sometimes hear the Application Phase sites referred to as “branch campuses.” What is the
difference between a “campus” and a “site”?
The campus and site distinction has to do with the LCME accreditation process and the level of approval a location goes through in order to become a part of UNC SOM. Both campuses and sites must offer a comparable educational experience, meaning that they must address all of the UNC SOM competencies in Application and Individualization Phases and use the same assessments. Some sites may become campuses in the future. In case you are curious, Asheville, Charlotte, and Wilmington are branch campuses, while Greensboro and Raleigh are sites.
Once I get my campus assignment, when will I know the calendar for my whole Application Phase year?
The Application Phase calendar is typically developed over the summer and released in the fall. The Curricular Affairs team aims to finalize and release the calendar as soon as possible so that students can make plans. In 2022, the calendar was finalized and released in early September. The Asheville Campus calendar is released shortly thereafter. Please note that while the overall Application Phase calendar dates are firm, clinic placements and schedules are subject to change. As preceptor schedules and commitments shift, student schedules need to be adjusted, all with the goal of ensuring each student a productive rotation experience.
Who is on the Student Support Committee (SSC) and what do they do?
The Student Support Committee is comprised of members of the Offices of Medical Student Education and the Office of Scholastic Enrichment and Equity. This committee meets weekly to discuss matters that impact students’ experiences throughout their medical school journey, including requests for exemptions from the campus assignment process, possible leaves of absence, class scheduling matters, and other such relevant topics.