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 17,000 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 and an Executive M.B.A. program, structured for working professionals. See academics for more information about the university's educational programs.

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

  • In 2018, UNCW ranked #14 on the U.S. News and World Report list of Best Regional Universities (South), up from #16 the previous year. The university has five graduate programs on the new U.S. News & World Report list of 2019 Best Graduate Schools. UNCW is a featured school on The Princeton Review’s list "2018 Best Colleges: Region by Region" and in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018, which highlights the nation’s “best and most interesting” colleges and universities.

  • Ten UNCW students received Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships in the 2017-18 academic year, awarded by the U.S. Department of State. Four UNCW Honors students were named National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hollings Scholars. Learn more about the university's achievements here.

  • UNCW@Onslow partners with Coastal Carolina Community College, USMC Camp Lejeune, MCAS New River and UNCW’s Office of Military Affairs to coordinate a comprehensive program for non-traditional students including veterans, active-duty personnel and dependents. UNCW was ranked 1st in North Carolina and 40th nationally by Military Times among the top four-year colleges for military-affiliated students. UNCW was also selected by the Council of College and Military Educators to receive the 2018 Institution Award for the university’s “dedication, leadership and numerous accomplishments in providing quality voluntary off-duty education programs,” according to CCME.

  • The U.S. Department of Education has recognized UNCW for its efforts to support students and help them complete their degrees.

  • 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.

  • UNCW has created ETEAL (Experiencing Transformative Education through Applied Learning), a multi-disciplinary, applied learning 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. ETEAL inspires students to focus on creative inquiry, critical thinking skills, and written and verbal communication.

  • 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 $11.4 million in funding in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

  • UNCW is 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. Examples include D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy, a partnership with the New Hanover County Schools; the Miracle Field, a collaboration with ACCESS of Wilmington Inc.; and the well-received Lumina Festival of the Arts series and UNCW Presents, which include a number of community partners.

  • In 2018, UNCW broke ground on Veterans Hall, a 145,000-square-foot building that will house new and existing health and human services programs, as well as expanded support services for military-affiliated students.

  • Programs such as the family-friendly Seahawk FAM arts matinee series 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.

  • The UNCW men’s baseball, golf and tennis teams won their CAA tournaments in 2017-18 and went on to post-season play. The women’s softball team qualified for the CAA tournament for the second straight year, and the men’s soccer team advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Academically, UNCW student-athletes compiled a 3.286 cumulative GPA and nine teams received NCAA public recognition awards for academics. Visit UNCW Athletics to learn more about Seahawk sports.