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Preparing Graduates to Become Lifelong Learners

IDEAs in Action is the first step on your journey as a Carolina student and a lifelong learner. No two of you will follow the same path, but each of you will develop the habits of mind and skills that will prepare you to contribute in a fast-changing world as a citizen, scholar, community member and leader.

Regardless of what you choose to study, IDEAS in Action will strengthen your ability to think critically, work collaboratively and communicate persuasively. Your learning will be experiential and hands-on, and you will have multiple opportunities for practice and reflection.

  • Identify pressing questions, problems and issues
  • Discover ideas, evidence and methods that inform these questions
  • Evaluate these ideas, evidence and methods
  • Act on the basis of these evaluations

IDEAs in Action gives you a roadmap, but you choose your own path. Enjoy the journey!

Graphic explaining the Ideas in Action Roadmap - beginning with First Year Foundations. Focus capacities encompass most of the second year along with Major, while Reflection and Integration, Major, and Electives encompass most of the third and fourth year.

Your experiences at Carolina won’t feel like they fit in a box or on a timeline, but this chart gives you a sense of how you can progress toward your degree. Your adviser will also help you map your path so you can enjoy the here and now and prepare for your future.

This graphic is a series of interweaving arrows - three arrows labelled First-year Foundations, Major/Academic Exploration, and Focus Capacities weave into Reflection and Integration, while finally ending at Action.

IDEAs in Action won’t ask you to check off a list of prescribed courses and there is no defined timeframe for most requirements. Carolina offers an on-going experience to help you build the skills and capacities you will need for your life and career, personalized to your interests, strengths and potential. It begins on your first day at Carolina and extends through all four years, giving you multiple opportunities for practice, reflection and growth.

First Year Foundations

First-Year Foundations

Take ownership of your education, and make the most of the opportunities at Carolina and beyond.

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Focus Capacities


Explore liberal arts and sciences content, bringing depth, breadth, and recurring capacities to your education.

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Reflection & Integration

Reflection & Integration

Put your capacities into practice through flexible and engaging curricular and extracurricular experiences.

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First-Year Seminars

First-Year Seminars invite students to explore new and old ideas and engage with complex issues in a small setting. Students become active learners through inquiry, analysis, discovery, and action.

Triple-I: Ideas, Information, & Inquiry

Triple-I courses bring together three outstanding professors from different fields to examine common themes from multiple perspectives. Each course is a rare opportunity to join some of UNC’s top scholars as they investigate big ideas.

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A student poses wearing a UNC blue polo shirt
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