Program Overview

 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is ranked highly among its peers. For more information about recent rankings please read UNC School of Medicine again ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report.

UNC School of Medicine again ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report

Application Overview

Applications are accepted year-round, and most students apply 3-6 months in advance.  You may apply at any time and students are usually notified of admission or rejection within 6-8 weeks of application verification through an official email confirmation.  However, we cannot begin confirming specific elective courses until early June (for Periods 2-6) and early October (for Periods 7-12).  We confirm specific electives in the order of accepted applications.

Click here to view the UNC Academic Year Elective Calendar.


To be eligible for participation in the IVS Program, students must be in their final year of medical school upon arrival at UNC for an elective. You must be in good standing at your home institution and have completed a criminal background check and/or have no criminal violations. To participate in electives at UNC School of Medicine, you must submit the following completed documentation to the Office of International Activities:

  • Application form- This is the first information you will put in to the online application system.  
  • Supplemental Documents- To upload the remaining documents electronically, use your email address and password to log back into your online application. After you log in you should have two choices “update application” and “upload documents/forms.” Please email the  when all documents have been uploaded successfully.
  • Visiting Medical Students Health form, vaccination, and/or serological records.  Please note that the TB test must come from an approved country. If it is not from an approved country, you will have to get a TB test in the U.S. List of unapproved countries for TB tests 
  • Cover letter- This letter should outline your personal educational goals that you hope to realize through studying abroad, specifically at the University of North Carolina, as well as your long-term career plans.
  • CV or Resumé
  • English translation of your medical school transcript and grades
  • Copy of your USMLE Step I score report- To participate in electives at UNC School of Medicine, you must have a passing score on the USMLE Step 1 examination or Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (a passing score on the German 'Physikum' exam is also acceptable).  An evaluation from a clinical elective at another US institution may be accepted as a substitute for a USMLE score in some instances. 
  • Copy of your TOEFL score report- Minimum acceptable TOEFL scores are 590 for the Paper-based Test and 100 for the Internet-based Test.  If you are attending medical school in an English-speaking country, you may submit a statement to that effect. However, TOEFL scores may also be required by UNC for any applicant at the OIA's discretion. The University of North Carolina Office of International Activities in the School of Medicine reserves the right to request a telephone interview to determine adequate fluency.
  • Dean’s Office Certification form printed on your school’s stationery or containing signature and seal/ stamp of your institution
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty members at your home medical school or from faculty/physicians who have observed you during other electives
  • $100 non-refundable application fee- Checks and money orders should be made payable to ‘UNC School of Medicine’. Checks must be drawn on a US bank to be accepted.  There is no option to pay online at this time.

We recommend documents be submitted in PDF format for easy uploading. Applications will not be reviewed for a decision until all documentation is successfully submitted and the application fee is received.


UNC charges a $2000 per elective fee in addition to the non-refundable $100 application fee. You do not need to pay the elective fee unless you are accepted for electives at UNC. The non-refundable $100 application fee is a one-time fee, regardless of the number of requested electives or a change to your application. All checks must be valid for deposit in a U.S. bank and made payable to the ‘UNC School of Medicine'.

Fees do not include housing. Each student is responsible for arranging his or her housing, although we send a list of potential housing contacts to all students accepted into our program.


Course descriptions are listed in the Fourth Year Course Electives Book. Please note the following special circumstances for certain courses:

  • Visiting students cannot participate in APSM courses, SURS courses, or AHEC AI courses. Additionally, visiting students are not eligible to participate in Internal Medicine (MEDI) or Family Medicine (FMME) courses located in Charlotte, NC or Wilmington, NC.
  • If you intend to apply for an elective in the department of Dermatology (DERM 401, 402) email for pre-approval before submitting your application materials to our office
  • If you intend to apply for pediatric (PEDS) electives, you must have received high marks in your core rotations in pediatrics and internal medicine, and these grades must appear on your transcript or a letter from your school must provide this information
  • If you intend to apply for family medicine (FMME) electives, please note that FMME 417 is only available for blocks 7-12

Study visits must conform to the beginning and ending dates of the UNC School of Medicine elective periods. Refer to the UNC-CH elective calendar to see UNC established elective periods .

If your application is approved by the Admissions Committee, we will then work on confirming your specific elective course from the list of your preferences. The electives you list on your application are for scheduling purposes only and are not used to determine admission.  If you are accepted and your preferred electives are unavailable, we will contact you for additional preferences.  When your elective is confirmed you will receive a Course Confirmation Notice that lists your elective course title and course dates. 

Since UNC students have priority for registration, it is not possible to guarantee that you will be able to take the particular elective for which you apply; however, we are usually able to place visiting students in one of their choices.  Please note that some departments (example: ANES) are completely full with our own UNC students for certain months, but you can always ask us about availability before applying and review the Historical Data for IVS Scheduled Electives. You are expected to attend the elective every day unless you have received authorization from the course director to be absent. Failure to comply may result in immediate termination of your participation in the elective.

If you cannot attend a scheduled elective, please notify the by email immediately.  If you fail to notify the Office of International Activities of your cancellation at least 8 weeks prior to the start of your elective, UNC will withdraw you from any future scheduled electives and your school will be notified.


The grade for student performance in an elective will be given as “Fail,” “Pass,” “High Pass” or “Honors” on an evaluation form, which may also contain comments.  You will receive the same evaluation form as our UNC medical students.  This is the only evaluation that you will receive in our program.


If you have read and understood the information above, please proceed to the online International Visiting Students Application Form.  After completing the initial application form, please log back in to upload the required documents in electronic format.

Electronic documents are strongly preferred. If you are unable to complete the online application form, download a paper application from the application link. The paper application is only necessary to complete if you did not fill out the online application. Please note, it is not necessary to "check," or upload any documentation to the field labeled "Application" if you completed your application online. The application field will only appear completed if you submit a paper application, because this field is only necessary for applicants who were unable to apply through the online database.

If you have any questions, please visit this link to our FAQs. Contact us for further inquiries.

List of unapproved countries for TB skin tests