University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Notes of Guidance for Exchange Students
Please check information on host university’s website for accuracy.
Founded towards the end of the 18th century, the University of North Carolina is the oldest state
University in US. With around 23,000 students, UNC is a similar-sized institution to Edinburgh,
but its setting, in the small college town of Chapel-Hill, offers a very different study experience.
Notable alumni include Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls basketball team.
The academic year at UNC is split into two semesters. Semester dates (including examination
periods) are (approx.):
Fall Semester: August 21 – 14 December
Spring Semester: 9 January – 6 May
An orientation programme starts mid August
Further Information: http:/studyabroad.unc.edu/incoming
Selection of Courses
You should have identified the courses you wish to undertake on your application to study at UNC,
but you may wish to change these once you arrive in Chapel Hill. Please read carefully the
guidelines for course selection that appear on the website above, and consult the Study Abroad
Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for advice. The Undergraduate Bulletin provides a broad outline of the
courses offered in each year, but a definitive listing is available from the semester class schedule
which is posted on the University‟s web-site before the beginning of the semester (see Registration
UE exchange participants will enroll in a full time program of courses from any academic
department within the College of Arts and Sciences (Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural
Sciences). Student exchange and course enrollment with the UNC-Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler
Business School is not included in this agreement. UE students may petition the UNC-Chapel Hill
Study Abroad Office for enrollment in courses offered by one of the UNC-Chapel Hill professional
schools, namely the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, or Dentistry, the School of Law, the School of
Public Health, School of Information and Library Science, the School of Social Work, the School of
Government, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the School of Pharmacy, and the
School of Education.
Exchange students are required to take at least 12 credit hours per week, which is usually equivalent
to 4 courses in each semester and exchange students have priority access. Courses numbered 100-
200 can be considered to be equivalent to honours at Edinburgh. Those above 400 are for graduate
students, but you may take one or more at this level with the permission of the UNC instructor.
You may or may not be able to enrol in graduate courses prior to arrival.
Your final course selection must be agreed with your DOS and any course changes made
whilst you are away must have your DOS’s approval. Please ensure that you keep in regular
contact with your School (or Schools for joint Honours students) during your year abroad
and advise them of your email and mailing addresses.
Further Information: http://www.unc.edu/res-aca/catalogs/ugb/
The Study Abroad Office will pre-register you for those courses listed on your application form.
You can amend this by contacting Kate Hoppe (email@example.com) before you leave the UK
(see Contacts below) or by using the electronic registration system on arrival in Chapel Hill. A
„Drop-Add‟ system operates during the early weeks of each semester, enabling you to try out
courses before fully registering. If you are unable to get into a particular course, you should speak
directly with the convening Professor as exchange student status is often sufficient to persuade
convenors to allow admission.
Further Information: http://www.ais.unc.edu/sis/clsched/csbhome.html
Standards at UNC are high and competition is intense. Participation in class is considered to be an
important part of each course. Professors are usually approachable and will expect you to raise
questions or concerns on an informal basis. You will be given an email account at UNC, so try to
remain in close contact with your Director of Studies in Edinburgh. Make sure that you advise
him/her about your final course selection and keep him/her informed of any subsequent
You will find that assessment is conducted more frequently than at Edinburgh. Term papers will
probably be set in addition to mid-term and end of term exams; these must be typed or word-
processed. Your department at Edinburgh may require you to bring back any written assessments
completed at UNC: check this with your Director of Studies. UNC will provide your Faculty with a
transcript of grades for all the courses you undertake during the course of the year. A marking scale
has been prepared to advise University of Edinburgh Examination Boards on the accreditation of
your work. The Examination Board will, however, interpret your performance in the manner it
considers most appropriate.
When submitting your visa application, you will need to provide evidence of sufficient funds for the
period of your stay in US. You can view the requirements on the website,
http://studyabroad.unc.edu/incoming Suitable documentation might include:
a letter notifying you of the award of a maintenance grant and/or student loan
a letter from a bank stating your current financial situation
a letter from a parent or friend‟s bank stating their current financial situation, coupled with a
letter from the bank account holder confirming their willingness to provide a stated level of
Chapel Hill is not an expensive location. You will be required to pay for the following (all figures
tuition fees to the University of Edinburgh – contact the agency which is paying your fees (e.g.
LEA/SAAS) and ensure that payment is arranged
accommodation normally shared – standard double room approx $2000 (£1,151) per semester.
Meal plan approx $1400 (£805)
books – these are normally purchased, not borrowed from the library, so can cost around $900
(£518)for the year; second hand book fairs are held on the University campus, so you may be
able to buy textbooks cheaply and sell them on at the end of the year
health insurance – around $1280 (£736)
SEVIS fee approx $200 (£108)
return air travel to US - £500
everyday living expenses such as clothing and travel
Further information: http://studentaid.unc.edu/studentaid/cost/ssa_ug_general.html
An F-1 visa will permit you to work part-time on the University campus, but this should not be
relied upon as a source of income. In order to obtain employment you will need a social security
number. You will be permitted to work no more than 20 hours per week during term-time and full-
time during vacations. Contact the International Center at UNC for advice and information.
Grants and Loans
If you are in receipt of a maintenance grant and/or a student loan, you should inform the awarding
body that you have been selected to participate in the exchange. As the academic year at UNC
begins in August, rather than October, you should request that payment be made early. The
awarding body will need payment instructions, namely details of a bank account into which it can
be paid directly, or a nominated individual to whom cheques should be posted. If payment is made
to a UK bank account, you will need to make arrangements for money to be transferred to an
American Bank (see Banks below). Do not forget to obtain the necessary grant or loan application
forms for the following year. Participation in the UNC exchange is not a course requirement for
any Edinburgh degree, so SAAS and LEAs are not obliged to award grants at a high cost country
International Student Exchange Identity Card - ISE Card
The ISE Card is a student discount card which allows students to enjoy discounts, concessions, or
other benefits at transportation companies, museums, attractions, national parks, accommodations,
restaurants and numerous other venues all over the world. http://www.isecard.com
Opening a bank account at a local bank in Chapel Hill is not difficult for students at the University.
In fact, banks compete for students‟ business, offering such amenities as free checking, debit cards,
etc. If you wish to transfer money from a UK bank you should make sure that the bank is a
NATIONAL, not a local bank. Some banks in the US operate within one state, not nationally. You
will not be permitted to accumulate an overdraft. Money can be transferred to an account in the US,
but this will take around 48 hours carries a charge. You should take sufficient travellers cheques to
cover expenses during your first month at Chapel Hill and sufficient cash in dollars for your first
few days. Your UK bank should be able to recommend counterparts in Chapel Hill, so seek advice
from them; those national banks closest to the UNC campus include:
First Citizen‟s Bank Bank America Wachovia Bank
157 East Franklin 137 East Franklin 165 East Franklin
Street Street Street
919-932-2500 919-829-6500 919-929-0311
A credit card such as Access or Visa will prove useful for emergencies and you might consider
increasing your credit limit. In addition to shops and services, credit cards can be used at certain
banks (or in the case of American Express at their offices) to obtain money immediately from a
British bank account.
UNC advises that you take out its „Blue Cross Blue Shield‟ health insurance policy, which provides
up to $100,000 coverage. If you decide to purchase an alternative policy, this must approved by the
International Center. Remember to take out travel insurance to cover the few days at UNC before
you are formally matriculated and try to have a dental check-up before you leave the UK as dental
treatment in the US is expensive. If you intend to stay in the States beyond the end of the academic
year, you may need to take out additional insurance provide cover for this period. You will need a
Certificate of Immunization, detailing all vaccinations you have ever had, including boosters and
the strength of dosage in each vaccination.
Any vaccines you are not able to get in your home country are available at Student Health Services
on campus once you arrive. The hepatitis B series is only a requirement for those people working in
a patient setting or perhaps in a research lab where they might be exposed to this. You do not need
to worry about this vaccine at this time. The measles, mumps, rubella vaccine is required, the
tetanus booster is required, and the TB skin test.
If you have been vaccinated for TB (BCG vaccination), your test will likely show up positive.
Depending on how strong of a positive reaction there is to the test, you may have to have a chest X-
ray. You should bring documentation showing that you have had the BCG vaccination, and if you
want you can have the chest X-ray done in your home country, and bring documentation of the
results, showing that you don‟t have TB.
Any questions regarding the above, please contact:
International Student & Scholar Advisor
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-5240
Phone: (919) 962-5661
Fax: (919) 962-4282
Further Information: http://www.unc.edu/depts/abroad/incoming/faq/health.html
All students should check the US Embassy/Consulate website for up to date information
The information below applies to any student who will be having their visa processed through the
American Embassy in London or Belfast. If you are not a British Citizen, and are applying through
London or Belfast, check http://www.usembassy.org.uk/cons_web/visa/niv/apply.htm, as there may
be additional requirements to those outlined below.
If you do not plan to apply for your visa through the London or Belfast Embassy, then you will
have to contact the Embassy you intend to apply through directly, and ask for their application
Sometime in the summer months - probably in June or July – students will receive a visa Certificate
of Eligibility, in the form of an I-20 (this appears in very small print on the bottom left of the form).
The pages of this document must not be separated and are necessary to apply for the F1 student
visa. (Students who receive an IAP-66 OR DS-2019 instead of an I-20, will be applying for a J1
student visa). The Certificate of Eligibility is more important than the visa, as the visa is only for
entrance. Once in the US, the I-20 or IAP-66 OR DS-2019 demonstrates your eligibility to be there.
However, your I-20 or IAP-66 OR DS-2019 and your visa will BOTH be required for entry to the
US. Students should not discard or leave the I-20 or IAP-66 OR DS-2019 at home.
The visa application process is two staged:
1) Obtain a visa application form (DS-156) and a paying-in slip. To do this, send a stamped,
self-addressed A4 sized envelope with 27p postage, and a cover note requesting the two
specific items to: United States Visa Forms, P.O. Box 499, Leeds LS3 1XU.
Use the paying-in slip to pre-pay the visa application fee (£46 at time of writing) at a bank.
Take both the DS-156 and the paying-in slip to the bank, as both forms must be endorsed.
Students are advised to request these items from the Embassy in advance of receiving the
IAP-66 OR DS-2019/ I-20, but not too far in advance as the paying-slips are issued for
limited periods and have expiry dates that are strictly adhered to.
2) Apply for the visa by sending in all the appropriate visa application components (see over)
to the Embassy (The Visa Branch, 5 Upper Grosvenor Street, London, W1A 2JB). The
Embassy currently estimate that it will take up to 5 working days from date of receipt to
process your application, unless you have ticked box 33 on the DS-156, in which case your
application may take up to four weeks to process. Note that the standard application time
may also increase during the busy months of June and July.
The visa application components are as follows:
Completed visa application form DS-156 (endorsed by bank showing payment of
Completed form DS-157 (MALE APPLICANTS ONLY) – obtain form from
Passport valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the US with at least two
Colour passport photograph (see
Supporting financial documents (a copy of the financial documents that you submitted as
part of your EAP application)
Letter from home university stating that you are a continuing student and will be resuming
studies at the university on return to the UK in the following academic year
ALL PARTS of the completed Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or IAP-66 OR DS-2019) –
this is sent to you by your exchange institution. Don‟t forget to sign the form, and do not
separate any of the pages before sending the whole document to the Embassy. If you have a
IAP-66 OR DS-2019, don‟t forget to answer the questions on the back of the white copy and
sign the back of the pink
Stamped self-addressed envelope, special delivery recommended
Students planning to travel abroad during the summer prior to attending their institution should
think ahead and allow sufficient time for their visa applications to be processed. Specialist visa
courier services might claim to be able to obtain a visa within a week or so, but nothing can ever be
guaranteed (see http://www.usembassy.org.uk/cons_web/visa/niv/apply.htm for information). We
have been advised that under no circumstances should students travel to the States on the visa
waiver scheme and expect to be able to change their status on arrival at their institution. It is not
possible to change your status while in the US. If you go to Canada or Mexico and apply for your
visa there, they will probably reject your application, as you will be seen to be using a backdoor
route into the US. The Embassy will say they are not able to assess your home ties. It also means
you will not be able to re-apply for your visa for several months.
Useful Embassy details:
Embassy Website: www.usembassy.org.uk
Recorded Information: 09068 200290, 24 hours a day for comprehensive recorded information.
Calls cost 60p per minute.
Operator Assistance: 09061 500590, Mon-Fri 8am – 8pm, Sat 10am – 4pm, to get operator assisted
visa information. Calls cost £1.60 per minute.
The I-20/IAP-66 OR DS-2019 will be returned with the passport and visa. It is a very important
document and should be carried with the passport during the year. For example, it is necessary to
have your IAP-66 OR DS-2019 and I-20 signed by somebody on campus if you leave the US
during the period of study.
Students should contact the International Office if they have not received their I-20/IAP-66 OR DS-
2019 two months before they plan to depart for the States. On no account should students enter the
States on a tourist visa.
Students with Green Cards, a US passport, or Canadian nationals do not need to apply for a visa.
Canadian‟s will still need an I-20 or IAP-66 OR DS-2019, which will be issued automatically.
If you are planning to apply to BUNAC for the period before the exchange ask them for advice.
There is an information sheet in the International Office.
All students must attend for interview.
As an undergraduate exchange student you are guaranteed campus accommodation if you return the
standard application form by 1st May. The Form can be printed from Study Abroad’s website.
Campus accommodation is of a high standard, but always requires you to share with another
Rooms on campus are not equipped like Pollock Halls, and you should expect to have to provide
bed linen, pillows, towels, crockery, cooking utensils, desk lamps, coat hangers and waste paper
bins. Once you have obtained accommodation at UNC, write to the Housing Office there to ask
what you are expected to provide. Only take electrical appliances which connect to 110/120 voltage
and can be used with a travel plug. Many campus rooms already have a telephone installed; campus
calls are free and local usage is cheap. There are no communal telephones and, if you are placed in
a room without a telephone, installation is expensive.
If you wish to apply for University-owned accommodation on your return to Edinburgh, please
contact Accommodation Services at Pollock.
Further information: http://www.unc.edu/depts/abroad/incoming/faq/housing.html
Travel and Luggage
You are required to make your own arrangements for travel to Chapel Hill. Direct flights from
London to Charlotte are possible, but these can be expensive. Previous exchange students have
advised that it is most convenient to fly to Washington DC or Newark, then take a connecting flight
to Raleigh-Durham. A shuttle bus will be run by the Study Abroad Office on the day preceding
orientation (this is also the first day the Residence Halls will be open to students), so you should
inform them of your travel plans if you wish to be collected. If you arrive on any other day, a
shuttle can be taken directly to the campus for $20. When you arrive in the United States, have
your passport, visa papers (including evidence of financial support), letter of admission and “To
Whom it May Concern” letter to hand.
Previous exchange students have advised that it is expensive and impractical to send luggage in
advance. It is, however, cheap and easy to send books and printed materials back using the US
Surface Mail. You will find that you have to buy many essential items when you arrive, but it
would be useful to take a sleeping bag, towel and coat hangers to ease the process of moving in.
Chapel Hill is hot and humid in August, so remember to take summer clothing. Winter will,
however, be cold, so you should take a winter coat and thick pullovers. Clothing in USA is
generally cheap, so you might consider buying these after you have arrived.
We hope your stay at your exchange destination will pass without any undue incident with regard to
your safety. However, as you will be staying in a different environment and culture, you should be
prepared to take necessary precautions if appropriate.
We would advise you to consult with the Study Abroad Office on your arrival and also look at the
following website which will give you up-to-date government information on the country you will
If you find yourself without any access to cash, without your passport, or in any other serious kind
of trouble, the British Consulate will try to help. In the unlikely event of you being arrested for a
serious offence, insist on the Consulate being informed; a consular officer who can advise on local
procedures etc will contact you as soon as possible.
Please also inform the International Office and your DOS of any problems relating to your health or
safety whilst on your study abroad exchange.
Some destinations may be more accessible than others for disabled students. If you require any
adjustments due to disability or specific learning difficulty and you wish to study abroad please
contact Helen Leitch in the International Office (Helen.Leitch@ed.ac.uk). We will work together
with you to explore the help available at your host institution. It might also be helpful if you
discuss this with your Director of Studies and the Disability Office as well.
Emily Mallasch Helen Leitch
Exchange Student Coordinator International Office
Study Abroad Office 57 George Square
University of North Carolina Edinburgh
Campus Box 3130, 201 Porthole Bldg. EH8 9JU
Chapel Hill Tel: 0131 651 1927
NC 27599-3130, USA Fax: 0131 668 4565
Tel: 001 919 962-7002 Email: Helen.Leitch@ed.ac.uk
Fax: 001 919 962 2262
These notes are for guidance only. We have tried to keep them up to date, but it is very difficult to
do so without your input. So, if you can keep notes of any inaccuracies in this information we
should be glad to hear of them on your return to Edinburgh. Any other observations and
impressions about your stay will also be useful and will help those students who participate in the
exchange in future years
International Office, University of Edinburgh, 57 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JU
tel: 0131 651 1927 fax: 0131 668 4565
email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.ed.ac.uk