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The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) is a public academic institution located in Wilmington, North Carolina. Founded in 1947, it is part of the University of North Carolina System. The institution is classified among R2 Doctoral Universities with high research activity.

Overview of University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW)

Dedicated to the integration of teaching, mentoring, research, and service, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington encourages student engagement, creative inquiry, critical thinking, thoughtful expression, and responsible citizenship through each of its programs. The institution also highly values diversity and globalization, as well as ethics, integrity, and innovation. Above all, it strives for excellence in everything it does.

The total student population at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington is 18,030, with 14,488 of those enrolled working toward undergraduate degrees. The institution employs 760 full-time and 350 part-time faculty members, most of whom provide instructional support. Less than 10 dedicate time to research and public service. As a result, the overall student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1, which is about average for schools in the United States. The university also maintains 542 graduate assistant positions, 471 of which are instructional and 71 which are research oriented.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Midsize
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 16:1
Graduation Rate 72%
Year Founded 1947

Student Enrollment

Total Students18,030


Undergraduate Student

Male 5,071
Female 9,417

Graduate Student

Male 1,240
Female 2,302

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UNCW Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 5,575
Female 10,217


Male 3,401
Female 7,356

Acceptance Rate68%

Male 61%
Female 72%

Enrollment 2,470

Male 816
Female 1,618
Application Fee $80
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Required
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Recommended
Recommendations Required
SAT/ACT Considered But Not Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline February 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

UNCW Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

The cost of attending the University of North Carolina at Wilmington will vary depending on residency and the type of degree sought. As of 2023, undergraduate resident students attending full-time can expect to pay approximately $4,443 in tuition per academic year. Non-residents, however, are charged at a higher rate. The cost of attendance for out-of-state, undergraduate students is estimated at $19,063 per year. Tuition rates are different for graduate students. Residents pay $4,720 per academic year, while non-residents are billed $19,104 per academic year.

It’s important to note that all students are responsible for paying an additional $2,795 in fees. Those interested in attending should also anticipate other expenses such as books, supplies, housing meals, transportation, health insurance, and personal purchases. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington projects that students will spend between $983 and $1,130 on books and supplies each year. The institution also offers housing and meal options. While there are many plans to choose from, the average cost of on-campus housing is $7,700 per year. Eating on campus will also cost around $4,420 per year.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington offers four main types of financial aid to help offset the expense of a college education – grants, scholarships, federal work study, and loans. Those interested in receiving federal student aid must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), but the university also provides institutional merit scholarships. These are generally awarded based on certain academic criteria. There are also a limited number of need-based scholarships and grants available. During the 2020-2021 academic year, 72% of students entering postsecondary education for the first time at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington received some form of financial assistance. Of those, 49% still required some amount of financial assistance from student loans.

Average net price 2020-2021
Net Price $18,792
Average Total Aid $6,253
Students Receiving Financial Aid 72%
Room & Board $12,120

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $7,238
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $21,858
  • Books and Supplies - $1,130
  • Room & Board - $12,120
  • Other - $5,978

Popular Educational Academics at UNCW

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington offers a powerful academic experience to stimulate creative inquiry and critical thinking, as well as help foster a community rich in diversity, inclusion, and global perspectives. It maintains an intimate learning environment for undergraduate and graduate students, with engaged teaching, learning, and research.

Those enrolled can choose from more than 50 undergraduate majors, as well as several master’s and terminal degree programs offered by the following colleges and schools:

  • Cameron School of Business
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • School of Health and Applied Human Sciences
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Social Work
  • Watson College of Education
  • Graduate School

According to data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the University of North Carolina at Wilmington had a first-year undergraduate retention rate of 83% for full-time students and 33% for part-time students in fall 2021. Notably, the rates for those attending full-time are well above the national average of 68% for full-time students. Overall, this indicates that the mass majority of students enrolled at the university were happy enough with their experiences to return to the institution for a second year.

The overall graduation rate for full-time, first-time students who began their studies in fall 2015 was 72%, with a 21% transfer-out rate. Graduation rates indicate how frequently students complete their degrees or certificate programs within 150% of standard time, which is approximately six years. Most students strive to graduate within four years, however. Of those who started their education in 2015, 56% were able to graduate within this timeframe.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which is recognized by the US Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Many of the institution’s programs are also independently accredited.

Student Population Total

Student Population 18,030

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Health Professions and Related Majors 960 Total Graduates / 26%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 739 Graduates
Public Health, General 112 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, Other 52 Graduates
Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy 49 Graduates
All Business Majors 663 Total Graduates / 18%
Business Administration and Management, General 663 Graduates
All Biological and Biomedical Majors 270 Total Graduates / 7%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 184 Graduates
Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography 86 Graduates
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, Fitness, and Kinesiology 252 Total Graduates / 7%
Exercise Science and Kinesiology 182 Graduates
Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Facilities Management, General 43 Graduates
Sports, Kinesiology, and Physical Education/Fitness, General 27 Graduates
All Psychology Majors 205 Total Graduates / 7%
Psychology, General 205 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 39%

Outcome & Salary

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington conducts a First Destination Survey to determine paid employment, enrollment in continued education, and volunteer work after graduation. Of those who responded in 2021, 74% reported being employed and just fewer than 15% said they were attending or had been accepted to graduate school. This means that approximately 14% were still seeking employment or admittance to further education at the time the survey was conducted. According to PayScale, graduates from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington earn an average base salary of $62,000 per year.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $50,400
College Grads Average Salary $62,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $86,200
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $620,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,482,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $75,168
10 Year Projected ROI $544,832
20 Year Projected ROI $1,406,832
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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