The FIRST program consists of three parts: 1) a three-year accelerated and enhanced medical school curriculum; 2) conditional acceptance in 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


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.

As a FIRST student, you are ranked to match with your conditional NC residency program.  If you choose to do so, you are free to interview with and rank other residency programs.

Service: Three Years of service to North Carolina

Doctor and PatientDuring the final year of medical school, FIRST students will be matched with loan repayment programs linked to service in a rural or underserved setting.

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.

For more information about FIRST, check out these pages:

    • Criteria for Selection and How to Apply