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About Summer School

Students and faculty benefit from summer courses and programs that are collaborative, accessible, inclusive, innovative, and interdisciplinary. Students can meet General Education, major and minor degree requirements and engage in experiences not available during the academic year. Students can also explore and learn resume-ready skills through hands-on Makerspace courses and activities. Visiting students take courses for credit to transfer to their home institutions, to meet professional certification requirements, or to satisfy personal curiosity.

Faculty can use summer to enhance their teaching and knowledge and try out new courses and methods of content delivery. They can also mentor students in research-intensive projects and courses.

Summer School programs enhance the University’s recruitment and retention efforts for a diverse, engaged student population and its commitment to equity and inclusion. Summer School supports the University’s effort to provide an inclusive learning and working environment for students, staff and faculty. Click here to learn more.

The vision for Summer School is to be students’ No. 1 choice on how to spend their summer time and its mission to encourage, motivate and support Academic Affairs units in offering summer courses that allow UNC-CH students to make progress toward their degrees and that attract summer visiting students.


The UNC Summer School office administers courses offered in Academic Affairs. More than 50 departments or curricula of the College of Arts and Sciences and six professional schools in Academic Affairs offer a diverse array of summer classes, including field courses, research courses, and graduate-level labs,. More than 550 undergraduate class sections include hundreds of courses that meet General Education perspectives and other academic requirements.

The summer calendar has two sessions, each covering 5 1/2 weeks of classes plus final exams, and Maymester. Regular session classes typically meet every day for 90 minutes. Daytime, late-afternoon, and night courses allow students to coordinate courses with work, family, and travel. Summer School offerings include many of the university’s most popular and sought-after courses.

Maymester, begun as a pilot project in 2007, became a permanent part of First Session in 2010.  About 50 courses are taught in extended class time in three weeks, and a few include travel.

More than 90 percent of the instructors are the same faculty and graduate students who make Carolina one of the top public universities in the U.S. Summer instructors include some selected visiting faculty.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill established what was possibly the first residential summer school in America in 1877.

“The Summer Normal School,” as it was then called, enrolled 235 students in courses in more than 10 disciplines. About half the students were teachers; students came from 42 counties across North Carolina and neighboring states.

Summer School was the first school at UNC-Chapel Hill to enroll women, beginning in its first year and continuing thereafter. By 1925, records indicate that 19,983 students had enrolled in Summer School. From 1934 to 1987, these programs were administered by the Office of Summer Sessions. The traditional name of Summer School was reinstated in 1988.

The University has continued to provide a wide offering of annual summer academic opportunities to its students, the people of North Carolina, and other residents in this country and abroad. About 550 sections of courses are offered in more than 50 disciplines. About 6,000 students attend the summer sessions in Academic Affairs.