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Frequently Asked Questions

General Curriculum Questions

If you started your UNC degree before Fall 2022, you should follow the Making Connections Gen Ed curriculum. If you started your UNC degree in Fall 2022 or later (including taking summer classes at UNC prior to starting in Fall 2022), you must follow the IDEAs in Action Gen Ed curriculum.

In general, you may not change to a different curriculum. If you were following the old Making Connections curriculum and took an extended leave of absence from UNC, you may be eligible to opt forward to the new IDEAs in Action curriculum, particularly if you completed less than a year of coursework prior to the leave of absence. Please meet with an academic advisor to discuss your options.

No. However, it is recommended that you start the GLBL-LANG requirement in your first two semesters, and preferably in your first semester. This is particularly helpful if you plan to pursue the same language you studied in high school. Some language courses are offered only in the fall or only in the spring.

Yes. American Sign Language level 3 can be used to fulfill the GLBL-LANG requirement. Some courses have already been pre-approved and will transfer to UNC as GENR 203 (level 3). Other courses will require you to submit a Credit Re-evaluation request. The Language Placement website provides additional details on all options for fulfilling the GLBL-LANG requirement.

You can select FY-Seminar, FY-Launch, and Triple-I courses based on your interest, but it helps to have an open mind when you’re selecting your courses because you may not get your first choice or ideal course every time. If you are unsure about the courses you would like to take, talk to your academic advisor. They can provide support to help you make the right choice.

Yes, in some rare cases, a 3-credit course with embedded lab may be used to fulfill this requirement. Approved courses will have the FC-LAB attribute.

No, if you are pursuing a degree program in Nursing, Clinical Laboratory Science, Radiologic Science, or Dental Hygiene, you must complete at least 6 of the 9 Focus Capacities (plus the Lab). If you double major in a different program, you must complete all 9 Focus Capacities (plus the Lab) as part of your second major.

Yes, if you complete the two-course Senior Honors Thesis sequence, you will fulfill both the High-Impact Experience and RESEARCH Gen Ed requirements.

No. But you are encouraged to take a course in your major/minor if available.

Yes. If you attend more than two approved events in a single semester, the additional event(s) will count towards your overall total. If you attend 8, full-time semesters at UNC-Chapel Hill, you are required to complete 16 Campus Life Experience events. If you attend 3 events in a single semester, all 3 events count towards the 16 required for graduation.

This requirement broadens your perspective on the major by examining its relationship to work in at least one other field. This requirement is only for the BA degree. You may fulfill the requirement by completing a second major, completing a minor, or completing three courses numbered above 199 in departments outside your major.

Overlapping Courses (Double Counting)

Yes, with some caveats:

  • Some courses are approved for two (2) Focus Capacity requirements. However, a single course may be used to fulfill only one Focus Capacity requirement. In other words, you must complete nine (9) courses for the nine (9) Focus Capacity requirements.
  • The same course may not be used to fulfill both the Research & Discovery requirement and the High Impact requirement.

The chart below provides the ‘overlapping’ rules for the IDEAs in Action curriculum.

 FY-Seminar or FY-Launch1 FC + LabResearch or High-ImpactComm BeyondSup Ed
FY-Seminar or FY-Launch +
---checkmark YEScheckmark YES NO NO
Focus Capacities +checkmark YES---checkmark YEScheckmark YES NO
Research & Discovery +checkmark YEScheckmark YES---checkmark YEScheckmark YES
High-Impact Experience +checkmark YEScheckmark YES---checkmark YEScheckmark YES
Communication Beyond Carolina + NOcheckmark YEScheckmark YES---checkmark YES
Supplemental Gen Ed + NO NOcheckmark YEScheckmark YES---

Your Tar Heel Tracker will optimize the best use of courses for fulfilling Gen Ed requirements. Your Gen Ed progress bar and summary report will reference courses approved for two Focus Capacities and which requirement it’s being used to fulfill.

Yes, with the exception of College Thriving, Writing at the Research University, and Lifetime Fitness. Some majors/minors may have additional restrictions. For more info, check the Catalog.

Courses Taken at Other Institutions

Yes. Some courses have already been pre-approved as UNC equivalent courses, which means the Gen Ed(s) associated with the Study Abroad course are the same as when the course is taken at UNC. Other courses can be submitted for Gen Ed review via the Study Abroad Student Credit Portal. To learn more, visit the Study Abroad website.

Yes. If you think the transfer course meets the learning outcomes for a Gen Ed requirement or is equivalent to a UNC course that meets a Gen Ed requirement, you can submit a Credit Re-Evaluation request. To learn more about the process, visit the Undergraduate Admissions website. The Catalog provides the learning outcomes for each requirement.

  • First-Year Foundation requirements
    • Transfer credit may be used to fulfill the Writing at the Research University and GLBL-LANG requirements. You will need to complete the remaining First-Year Foundation requirements at UNC.
  • Focus Capacity requirements
    • Yes, if you receive equivalent course credit, you may use the transfer credit to fulfill the same Gen Ed requirement as the UNC course.
  • Reflection & Integration requirements
    • Yes, if you receive equivalent course credit, you may use the transfer credit to fulfill the same Gen Ed requirement as the UNC course. There are some types of High-Impact Experiences that are not awarded through transfer credit (i.e., internships, independent study).
  • Supplemental Education requirement (BA degree only)
    • Yes, if you receive equivalent course credit, you may use the transfer credit to fulfill the same Gen Ed requirement as the UNC course.

  • All IDEAs in Action requirements are satisfied through your associate’s degree, with the following exceptions:
    • Global Language
    • Research and Discovery
    • Lifetime Fitness
    • Communication Beyond Carolina
    • Supplemental General Education (for BA degree only)
  • If you receive equivalent course credit, you may use the transfer credit to fulfill any of the requirements listed above.
  • Although not required, you may elect to enroll in College Thriving, Triple-I, and a First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch course.

See FAQ section for Transfer Students (below).

Transfer Students

  • First-Year Foundation requirements
    • If you articulate in 24 or more credits taken at another institution (earned after graduating from high school), you are exempt from the First-Year Seminar/First-Year Launch, Triple-I, and College Thriving requirements.
    • If you articulate in fewer than 24 credits prior to your first semester at UNC, you are required to complete all First-Year Foundations requirements.
    • Writing at the Research University and Global Language can be completed via transfer course credit.
    • College Thriving, FY-Seminar/FY-Launch, and Triple-I cannot be completed using transfer credit.
  • Focus Capacity requirements
    • Yes, if you receive equivalent course credit, you may use the transfer credit to fulfill the same Gen Ed requirement as the UNC course.
  • Reflection & Integration requirements
    • Yes, if you receive equivalent course credit, you may use the transfer credit to fulfill the same Gen Ed requirement as the UNC course. There are some types of High Impact Experiences that are not awarded through transfer credit (i.e., internships, independent study).
  • Supplemental Education requirement (BA degree only)
    • Yes, if you receive equivalent course credit, you may use the transfer credit to fulfill the same Gen Ed requirement as the UNC course.

No. The content and structure of these courses are tailored for students in their first two semesters of college. Seats are limited in these courses, so the seats are restricted to first-year students only who are required to complete these courses.

  • All IDEAs in Action requirements are satisfied through your associate’s degree, with the following exceptions:
    • Global Language
    • Research and Discovery
    • Lifetime Fitness
    • Communication Beyond Carolina
    • Supplemental General Education (BA degree only)
  • If you receive equivalent course credit, you may use the transfer credit to fulfill any of the requirements listed above.

If you transfer in less than 24 hours of college coursework taken at another institution (earned after graduating from high school), then you are required to complete all First-Year Foundation requirements.

You must complete College Thriving, First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch, Triple-I + Data Literacy, and ENGL 105 in your first two semesters at UNC. For example, if Spring 2023 is your first semester at UNC, then you must complete the requirements in Spring 2023 and Fall 2023. All students are strongly encouraged to begin Global Language during their first two semesters at UNC, if not already satisfied.

Test Credit and Other Experiences

The following requirements may not be completed using by-exam test credit:

  • College Thriving
  • FY-Seminar/FY-Launch
  • Triple-I
  • Writing at the Research University
  • Lifetime Fitness
  • High Impact

Of the 9 Focus Capacities, students may fulfill up to 5 Focus Capacities (+Lab) using by-exam credit. Your Tar Heel Tracker will optimize the best use of courses for fulfilling Gen Ed requirements. Additional by-exam credit will count towards general elective credit.

Volunteer work that did not receive academic college credit may not be used to fulfill the High-Impact Experience requirement.

No. Varsity student athletes who participate in a sport for at least one semester are exempt. ROTC students who participate in the program for at least one semester are exempt. You still have the option to take a Lifetime Fitness course.

Yes. Participating in a UNC-approved study abroad program fulfills the High-Impact Experience requirement.

Yes. If you receive academic credit from a department/school at UNC for an internship experience, it will fulfill the High-Impact Experience requirement. If you do not receive credit for the internship experience, it is not eligible for the High-Impact Experience requirement.

Registration and Credit

No. All Gen Ed courses must be taken for a letter grade, with these exceptions: 1) Lifetime Fitness courses are offered only pass/fail, 2) College Thriving is offered only pass/fail, and 3) some forms of High-Impact Experience courses are offered only pass/fail. For graded courses, you must earn a D or better to pass the course and satisfy the Gen Ed requirement.

Yes. You must register for both the Triple-I class and the data literacy class, for a total of 4 credit hours. They must be taken in the same semester.

No. If you complete the course with a passing grade (i.e., D or better), you have fulfilled the Triple-I requirement and may not take another Triple-I course. If you do not complete the course with a passing grade, you will have to take another Triple-I to fulfill this requirement.

No. If you complete the course with a passing grade (i.e., D or better), you have fulfilled the requirement and may not take another FY-SEMINAR or FY-LAUNCH course. If you do not complete the course with a passing grade, you will have to take another FY-SEMINAR or FY-LAUNCH to fulfill this requirement.

Yes. You should complete your First-Year Foundations requirements in your first two semesters (fall & spring). However, some First-Year Foundations courses may have offerings in the summer. First-year students are welcome to enroll in these courses to fulfill their requirements.

No. The content and structure of these courses are tailored for students in their first two semesters of college. Seats are limited in these courses, so the seats are restricted to first-year students only who are required to complete these courses.