The University of North Carolina at Asheville is the designated liberal arts university in The University of North Carolina system. An outstanding learning community, UNC Asheville focuses its resources on academic excellence and community partnerships.
UNC Asheville opened in 1927 as Buncombe County Junior College for area residents interested in pursuing higher education. The school underwent several name changes, mergers with local governments and school systems, and moves before relocating in 1961 to its present campus in north Asheville. Asheville-Biltmore College joined The University of North Carolina system in 1969 as the University of North Carolina at Asheville, with the distinct mission to offer an excellent undergraduate liberal arts education. Today, UNC Asheville is the only designated undergraduate liberal arts university in the 17-campus UNC system.
UNC Asheville enrolls approximately 3,500 students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in about 30 majors in the natural and social sciences, humanities, pre-professional and professional areas, as well as the Master of Liberal Arts. With an average class size of 20, UNC Asheville emphasizes a personal approach to undergraduate education characterized by close faculty-student interactions, challenging academic programs and opportunities for learning outside the classroom. The university has received national recognition for its Humanities and Undergraduate Research programs.
U.S. News & World Report ranks UNC Asheville fourth among five public liberal arts colleges in its “America’s Best Colleges” edition. U.S. News lists the Undergraduate Research Program among “Programs to Look For,” along with some of the top research universities in the country. UNC Asheville is consistently rated a “Best Buy” in the Fiske Guide to Colleges, which states, “The University of North Carolina at Asheville offers all the perks that are generally associated with pricier private institutions: rigorous academics, small classes and a beautiful setting. And it does it for a fraction of the cost.” The Princeton Review: the Best 351 Colleges rates UNC Asheville among schools offering the “Best Academic Bang for Your Buck.”
The 265-acre UNC Asheville campus is convenient to the museums, galleries, restaurants and shopping and points of interest in the thriving downtown area, as well as the outdoor opportunities in the surrounding Pisgah National Forest, Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The campus comprises classroom, administration, residence and recreation facilities, with $49 million in capital projects under way, funded by the 2000 North Carolina Higher Education Improvement Bonds. The campus also is home to the Asheville Graduate Center, which offers master’s and doctoral degree programs of other UNC institutions for people of the region, and the Reuter Center, home of the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement.
The University of North Carolina at Asheville is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Ga. 30033-4097, 404/679-4501) to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees.