About UNCW

seahawk sculpture

Seahawk Points of Pride

  • In 2017, the University of North Carolina Wilmington will celebrate its 70th anniversary. Wilmington College, as the university was formerly known, was founded in 1947 in the historic port city of Wilmington by local leaders and citizens dedicated to providing higher educational opportunities to students in southeastern North Carolina, notably veterans returning home from World War II. Today’s Seahawks, under the leadership of Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli, are honored to build on the legacy of excellence established by generations of students, faculty, staff, leaders, alumni and friends of UNCW.
  • UNCW has been part of the UNC system since 1969. Widely acknowledged for its superb faculty and staff, and continuously recognized at a national level for scholarly excellence and affordability, UNCW offers a powerful academic experience that stimulates creative inquiry, critical thinking, thoughtful expression and responsible citizenship.

  • UNCW, a public institution with nearly 16,000 students, offers an array of high-quality programs at the baccalaureate and master's levels as well as select doctoral programs. UNCW offers a number of distance learning options, including an accelerated R.N.-to-B.S.N. program taught exclusively online that is specifically structured for working professionals. See academics for more information about the university's educational programs.

  • The university also operates extension sites in several regional counties. UNCW, recognized nationally as a military-friendly university, works closely with Coastal Carolina Community College, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River to offer programs designed for military personnel and their families. In 2016, UNCW was ranked 11th by U.S. News & World Report on a list of Best Colleges for Veterans in the South and was named one of the Best Colleges for Vets by Military Times.

  • UNCW has the top transfer student graduation rate in the University of North Carolina system as well as one of the leading four-year graduation rates.
  • In December 2013, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaffirmed the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s reaccreditation, which will remain in effect until the next review in 2023. UNCW’s review from SACS requires no additional reporting requirements, an accomplishment that only an average of 35 percent of universities achieve.

  • UNCW’s faculty has created a multi-disciplinary, applied learning model – known as ETEAL (Experiencing Transformative Education through Applied Learning) – that incorporates internships, study abroad, community-based projects, research, directed independent study options and other educational opportunities. ETEAL inspires students to focus on creative inquiry, critical thinking skills, and written and verbal communication.

  • According to Moody's Investor Service, UNCW's strategic market position, strong fiscal management and track record of state support contributed to its May 2016 decision to upgrade UNCW's General Revenue Bonds to Aa3.

  • Faculty and students at all levels – undergraduate through post-doctorate – from academic programs across campus are actively involved in generating new knowledge from research. The public and private grants funding their efforts contribute to the university’s mission while enhancing our region’s economic vitality through the discovery of new products and services, the formation of innovative businesses and job creation.

  • UNCW was selected to be part of a $250 million national public-private initiative involving more than 150 companies, educational institutions, nonprofits and government partners working to bring safe drugs to market faster and educate a new biopharmaceutical workforce. 

  • The university incorporates diversity and inclusion, global perspectives and community engagement into its programs. UNCW has formed numerous partnerships with schools, governmental agencies and nonprofits that provide students with internships, volunteer opportunities and research experiences. In February 2016, the Peace Corps recognized UNCW as one of the nation's top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. 

  • The U.S. Department of Education recognized UNCW for its efforts to support students and help them complete their degrees. The university’s retention rate of first-time, full-time freshmen is 85 percent. 

  • Five members of the UNCW community received Fulbright awards in 2017: Tiffany Ernst '17; Nicholas Sweet ’17; Ann Potts, WCE associate dean for teacher education and outreach, Elizabeth Barber, a part-time faculty member in WCE's Department of Elementary Education and Leadership; and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Aswani Volety.

  • UNCW consistently receives national recognition for quality and affordability from Kiplinger's Personal Finance, U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and other publications. UNCW was named a Best College Value for 2017 by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, ranking in the top 100 public universities. U.S. News & World Report ranked UNCW 6th among public universities in the South and 16th overall. UNCW is a featured school on The Princeton Review’s list of Best Southeastern Colleges 2017 and in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018, which highlights the nation’s “best and most interesting” colleges and universities. 

  • The UNCW men’s basketball team captured its third consecutive CAA regular season title during the 2016-17 season and the program's first back-to-back titles since 2002 and 2003. The men’s tennis and women’s softball teams also went on to post-season play, and numerous individual athletes achieved honors, including men’s golf team member Thomas Eldridge and softball player Lauren Moore, who were named the CAA Scholar-Athletes of the Year in their respective sports.