About UNCW

seahawk sculpture

Seahawk Points of Pride

  • The University of North Carolina Wilmington, the state’s coastal university, is dedicated to the integration of teaching, mentoring, research and service. Widely acknowledged for its world-class 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 and critical thinking and a community rich in diversity, inclusion and global perspectives. See UNCW's Strategic Plan for more information about the university's vision, mission and values.

  • A public institution with nearly 18,000 students, UNCW offers a full range of baccalaureate- and graduate-level programs, as well as doctoral degrees in educational leadership, marine biology, nursing practice and psychology; and many distance learning options, including clinical research, an accelerated RN-to-BSN program, an Executive M.B.A. program structured for working professionals, and the nation’s only bachelor’s degree program focused on coastal engineering. See academics for more information about the university's educational programs.

  • Wilmington College, as the university was formerly known, was founded in 1947 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. UNCW is recognized nationally as a military-friendly university and works closely with Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River to offer programs designed for military personnel and their families. UNCW has received numerous accolades for its commitment to quality educational programs for service members, veterans and their families.

  • 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 the university. UNCW has been part of the University of North Carolina System since 1969.

  • In February 2020, UNCW Chancellor Sartarelli was recognized as one of North Carolina’s most influential leaders by Business North Carolina. Chancellor Sartarelli is listed among several other North Carolina CEOs, entrepreneurs and leaders on the publication’s 2020 Power 100 List.

  • The university’s efforts to advance research and scholarly activities have earned UNCW the elevated designation of “Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

  • In fall 2019, UNCW became the first university in the nation to offer a B.S. in Coastal Engineering.

  • 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 researchers secured more than $12 million in sponsored funding in the 2018-19 fiscal year.

  • UNCW faculty, staff and students conduct research that has regional, national and global impact. Since 2017, the university has hosted two Global Marine Science Summits that brought scholars and other experts from around the world to the UNCW campus. The 2019 summit focused on “Advancing the Blue Economy: Innovation, Resiliency & Collaboration.”

  • UNCW moved from the Regional Universities category to National Universities in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of colleges and universities, ranking 95th among Top Public National Universities on the publication’s list of Best Colleges 2021. The university also ranked 8th nationally on the U.S. News list of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.

  • Long recognized for providing a high-quality, affordable education, UNCW ranked 32nd on Kiplinger’s Best Public College Values 2019 list, a 30-place jump from the 2018 ranking.

  • UNCW’s first-year experience program was included on the U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 list of Colleges with Great First-Year Experiences. UNCW was one of only eight North Carolina institutions and one of only three UNC System institutions to make the list. UNCW’s first-year programs help to increase student retention and graduate rates, a key component of the university’s Strategic Plan.

  • The 2018-19 academic year brought UNCW its largest gift to date - $10 million from Old Dominion Freight Line Executive Chairman David S. Congdon ’78 and his wife, Helen, to establish the David S. Congdon School of School of Supply Chain, Business Analytics and Information Systems and rededicate the Computer Information Systems building as Congdon Hall. Overall giving for 2018-19 set a new record of $23.2 million.

  • In November 2019, UNCW received $1.6M in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to transition the National Drug Court Resource Center to North Carolina. Housing the NDCRC at UNCW will increase the university’s visibility and will give the opportunity for graduate students from two disciplines to collaborate with faculty for research.

  • In January 2019, UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was awarded a $100,000 NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM grant from the NC IDEA foundation. The grant will support CIE’s Mentor Group and Consultant Portfolio programs and the Milestone Accelerator Fund over two years.

  • UNCW has completed most of a $400 million investment in campus construction. Work has been completed on Veterans Hall, which will house new and existing health and human services programs, as well as expanded support services for military-affiliated students. Renovations are also finsihed on Dobo Hall, which was severely damaged during 2018’s Hurricane Florence, and two new residence halls - Sandpiper and Pelican - opened in fall 2020. Work is also underway on two more residence halls. All together, the new Student Village will have 1,800 beds. Randall Library is also in the planning and design stages for a 40,000 square-foot expansion to serve our growing campus community.

  • The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges reaffirmed the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s reaccreditation in 2013, which will remain in effect until the next review in 2023.

  • The foundation of UNCW’s educational experience is Applied Learning, a multi-disciplinary model that incorporates faculty- and staff-facilitated learning opportunities, such as internships, study abroad, community-based projects, research, directed independent study options and other educational opportunities. Applied Learning inspires students to focus on creative inquiry, critical thinking skills, and written and verbal communication.

  • The university takes a leadership role in the long-term growth of the region. UNCW actively supports economic development through the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which works to identify and nurture high-growth companies in southeastern North Carolina, and advanced biotech research at its CREST Research Park.

  • 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. Examples include D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy; Pathways to Excellence agreements with North Carolina community colleges, creating a path to guaranteed admission for their students; and collaborations with universities throughout the world.

  • Programs such as family-friendly arts activities and MarineQuest introduce children and teenagers to UNCW, while the annual College Day invites adults of all ages to participate in classes taught by UNCW faculty.

  • Former UNCW basketball standout Devontae Cacok '19 became the first Seahawk to be part of an NBA championship team in 2020 as a player for the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • UNCW student-athletes continue to perform at high levels in the classroom as well as in their sport. Eight teams -- men's cross country, men's soccer, women's cross country, women's golf, women's beach volleyball, women's swimming and diving, women's tennis and women's volleyball -- received Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA for placing among the top 10 percent nationally in the classroom for the 2019-20 academic year.