Overview of North Carolina Colleges & Schools

Search For A Degree is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

What Colleges Exist in North Carolina?

Aggregating information about the accredited colleges in North Carolina is a cinch with MatchCollege.  In fact, you can quickly learn more about a specific college’s tuition, acceptance rates, degree programs, and financial aid trends in seconds.  We have curated an exclusive portal for all accredited colleges that include public colleges, private universities, community colleges, and liberal arts colleges throughout North Carolina.  Top ranked colleges can be found by searching on this page or via our proprietary search module to learn more about specific colleges and their associated degree programs.

Finding the Best Colleges in North Carolina

Finding the best school for you starts with you and your priorities.  The MatchCollege proprietary search tools can help students looking to apply to colleges in North Carolina rapidly access important information about an array of 4-year universities and 2-year colleges.  In fact, we have compiled a complete list of community colleges, private universities, career colleges, public universities, and liberal arts schools for schools across the North Carolina state college system.  Each school contains the latest published information on variables such as tuition, enrollment, financial aid, student to teacher ratios, sports programs, online degree programs, campus information, and traditional degree programs for top ranked North Carolina colleges.

Learning important features about accredited colleges in North Carolina is a cinch with MatchCollege.  You simply would request information from the schools that fit you best to generate an admissions packet sent your way in a secure, safe fashion with MatchCollege.  With this additional information, you can determine if it makes sense to connect with the school’s admission team to talk further with them about the school.

North Carolina is home to a large number of colleges and universities, both public and private, located throughout the state. The state is moderately large in population and among the smaller states, though larger than most New England states, geographically. It is bordered by Virginia to the north, Tennessee to the west, Georgia to the Southwest, and South Carolina to the South.  Raleigh is the capital and second largest city in the state, the largest being Charlotte. A higher concentration of schools will be found within or near these two cities, though schools can be found in most sections of the state.

The University of North Carolina is one of the oldest educational institutions in the United States, having been founded in 1789 in Chapel Hill. The school was joined over time by other publically funded institutions that became part of a single consolidated system beginning with the merger of three colleges in 1931 as part of measures to control costs of due to the Great Depression. The process continued until 1971 when all bachelor degree granting public institutions were brought together under the umbrella of the University of North Carolina banner, with each school maintaining its own board of trustees and chancellor, but answering to the governance of a unifying body. The system enrolls over 180,000 students annually, graduating approximately 40,000 students each year, a majority of which are bachelor degree seeking students. The system is responsible for 75% of all bachelor degrees awarded in the state. The system consists of 16 colleges and universities and one high school.

University of North Carolina System Schools include:

Private institutions in the state have a history of offering a liberal arts education, with many of the institutions being rooted in Christian methods of education or teachings as part of its foundation. This often includes connection to a specific denomination or church. Private schools tend to have higher tuition costs, lower student enrollment, and an excellent student to teacher ratio. Private institutions also receive little to no public funding, utilizing private sources and tuition fees to maintain operations, often leading to more extracurricular study programs, updated facilities, and specialized education.

Private colleges and universities in North Carolina Include:

North Carolina is also home to career schools and community colleges. Career schools offer specialized education and training in specific areas of study, preparing individuals for entry into the workforce. Such schools can be found in most urban centers throughout the state. Community Colleges are managed and operated by the North Carolina Community College System and are located throughout the state. Such schools provide transfer opportunities to four year institutions or career training similar to those provided by career schools. Community colleges also confer two year associate degrees to graduates.

The most populous city in North Carolina is Charlotte, followed by Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, and Winston-Salem.  While the most populous county in North Carolina is Mecklenburg County with Wake County close behind.   If you are interested in visiting the state of North Carolina, consider visiting their state page or the state chapter of the Chamber of Commerce.

College Degree Breakdown for the State of North carolina

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, NCES, O*NET Online

Doctoral or professional degree 105,590 2.5
Master's degree 70,550 1.7
Bachelor's degree 849,970 20.1
Associate's degree 99,520 2.4
Postsecondary nondegree award 274,330 6.5
Some college, no degree 99,930 2.4
High school diploma or equivalent 1,536,730 36.3
No formal educational credential 1,194,400 28.2

Public Universities & Colleges

Image of Public College Campus

There are zero public 4-year state universities and colleges in North Carolina. These four-year institutions predominantly offer bachelor's or higher level programs and some may even include research facilities. See a state-wide list of the state universities and colleges in North Carolina.

Private Universities & Colleges

Image of Private College Campus

In North Carolina there are zero accredited private four-year colleges. Similar to public schools, private colleges and universities offer bachelor's or higher level programs and research opportunities, although they usually have smaller classes and higher tuition. Compare admission requirements and tuition details for private colleges in North Carolina.

Community Colleges

Community College in North Carolina

Community colleges are public institutions that offer low cost, high quality education for residents throughout the state. These schools offer 2-year programs that grant associate degrees or offer training courses in specialized trades. North Carolina" Community colleges also are the number one transfer-out programs available for four-year colleges and universities. Learn more and compare community colleges in North Carolina.

Liberal Arts Colleges

Liberal Arts Colleges

North Carolina has zero accredited liberal arts colleges. These schools primarily focus on undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences through comprehensive and flexible curriculums. Compare all the liberal arts colleges in North Carolina.

Bible & Christian Colleges

Christian Colleges

Bible and Christian colleges generally provide specialized undergraduate education with a focus on religious or biblical study. There are approximately zero such colleges in North Carolina located throughout the state. See a full list of Christian colleges in North Carolina along with program and tuition information.

Browse Schools by Career in North Carolina

Follow the links below to get information on accredited schools in our database that offer programs or degrees.

Medicine & Healthcare

Law & Criminal Justice

North Carolina College Student Resources

Hundreds upon hundreds of college resources have been created by the MatchCollege team over the past decade for both high school students and North Carolina college graduates, alike. Resources will help you find colleges, degree program, career insights, and admissions insights not found anywhere else. Leverage the articles below to help facilitate your college search process today.

North Carolina State Educational Resources