Carolina Away

We’re so glad that you have chosen to join us and are ready to begin your Carolina experience! Although this fall is going to look different from what we’d expected, we are more committed than ever to building our community together. One of the ways we’ll build our community is through a new program called Carolina Away.

What is Carolina Away?

If you’re a new first-year or transfer student who’s not comfortable or unable to join us on campus, Carolina Away will allow you to take digital courses and participate in small-group experiences with classmates, faculty, and staff. Approximately 1,000 new Tar Heels will participate this fall.

Through Carolina Away, you’ll have the opportunity to build relationships with other Tar Heels while diving into your first semester of classes. In addition to the innovative digital versions of existing UNC-Chapel Hill courses, you’ll have access to new courses exploring urgent contemporary issues of society, politics, economics, culture, and science revealed by the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll also be part of learning communities that focus on these themes through readings, discussions, and guided experiences.

Looking ahead to the future once you come to campus, you’ll continue to gather, join discussions, attend events, and plan collaborations with the other Tar Heels who participated in Carolina Away.

Note for global students: Based on the information that we have right now, we believe that Carolina Away is a good option for you to begin your Carolina journey. Most newly admitted students will not be able to get to enter the US in time for the start of fall semester given the Department of State suspension of visa services as well as travel restrictions. Additionally, if you are a student transferring from another institution within the US, you may have additional considerations when deciding if Carolina Away is the right option for you. UNC’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is happy to provide additional information and help you determine if Carolina Away is right for you.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award: baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees and certificates. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education that oversees colleges and universities in an 11-state area including North Carolina.

Note for students transferring in as juniors: Carolina Away is not available for students admitted into Clinical Laboratory Science, Radiologic Science, or Nursing. Please contact your department to discuss options for the fall.

Carolina Away Courses

Through Carolina Away, you’ll complete 15 credits of digital courses during the fall semester. Whether you’re a first-year or transfer student, the courses you choose will allow you to explore a range of disciplines while fulfilling common general education requirements, meeting requirements in your anticipated major(s), and/or beginning the core sequences for STEM fields.

Course offerings include a wide range of classes taken by new undergraduate students. We’d like to highlight these specific classes which may be of particular interest as foundations to help you thrive at Carolina:

  • English 105: English Composition and Rhetoric (required of all Carolina students to graduate)
  • Education 101: First Year Thriving, a course for first-year students that will encourage you to build skills to thrive at college and introduce you to specialized learning and research opportunities that represent the true strengths of the university.
  • A one-credit COVID Investigations and Learning Communities course.

COVID Investigations  and  Learning Communities

Carolina Away features learning communities that focus on themes related to the new issues of society, politics, economics, culture and science revealed by the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.    These learning communities are rooted in specially developed one credit hour courses that are led by a dynamic instructor with a guest expert each week drawn from Carolina faculty researchers, community experts, and skilled  practitioners.

You’ll explore  these topics through directed readings, discussions, and small-group experiences with your classmates. In addition to connecting with student groups, each class will engage with academic departments, research centers or institutes, all of which can serve as a supportive home for pursuing future interests at UNC. Examples of the type of subjects covered in the COVID Investigation courses include:

  • Data science and the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn about the power and limitation of epidemiological models, how medical geographers assess herd immunity, and  the challenges of translating models into accurate media stories
  • Religion, meaning and story in a time of disease. Learn about religious responses to pandemics  in the past  and the surprising roles that religion has played in supporting public health measures in earlier eras. The course also covers contemporary  issues from the resurgence of antisemitism to intersections among faith and science in the pursuit of treatments and care.
  • Race, equity and disease. As the virus spread, it revealed frightening discrepancies in disease outcomes, ones that mapped onto America’s contemporary divisions of  class, race and ethnicity.  How does a rigorous understanding of racial  inequity help to explain the biological expression of the disease at  the population level?
  • Politics and the pandemic. The spread of the coronavirus, for a time, was a uniquely unifying event at a global level.  As the pandemic continued, though,  divisions remerged  within countries  and new splits began among nations. This course  looks globally and  offers accounts of politics, public opinion, the role of governance at the level of cities  and among nations in understanding  political agendas, public  responses, and  disease dynamics.
  • COVID, work and the road to a new prosperity. What does America owe essential workers? How will the lessons of nationwide remote working lead to a rethinking of offices and firms? Will the new unemployment and paycheck support programs lead to universal basic income  programs?
  • Disaster, resilience, and COVID. Hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, and mudslides count among recent disasters that have pressed communities to the edge of their resources. What are the social, cultural, and physical factors that shape community strength in times of disaster? How does this knowledge help us understand how to manage COVID-19? How can communities prepare to recover from a series of disasters?
  • Speed Science: How do scientists accelerate discovery?  In  this course, students learn about the steps scientists take to scale and connect scientific research around an emerging problem.  Sessions cover strategies of redirecting promising platforms of drug discovery toward a new pathogen, applying emerging knowledge from clinical settings towards basic research and then back to clinics, the benefits and risks of disseminating early experimental results, and the role of partnerships among scientists, private companies, and government agencies.
  • Digital intimacy, imagination, and isolation. In an era of quarantines, humans have cut themselves off from each other and turned to the internet to find connection. Musicians, writers, and artists of all kinds have become  pioneers in  inventing  new  ways of  digital presence. How are artists’ search for audiences and forms of expression  remaking  our ideas of relationships, human spirit, and collective purpose?
  • Women, gender and the Global Pandemic. In the midst of the “hard stop” put on economic activity, surviving the pandemic came to depend on a different economic logic than global market efficiencies. Caregiving, sheltering, mutual aid, and household provisioning were made possible by essential workers. This course explores the disproportionate ways women led in these activities and enabled survival during lockdowns.  Participants will examine the legacies  of these activities in the new economic circumstances that are emerging

Outside the Classroom

You’ll have dedicated, comprehensive, and holistic advising and support. A team of student-support professionals will help you develop your strengths as you navigate the transition to the University, both during your time in Carolina Away and once you begin your residential experience in Chapel Hill. You’ll also have a mentor who will help you form connections with your Carolina Away and physical campus communities and who will support you as you begin your Carolina career.

If you participate in Carolina Away but are within driving distance of campus, there may be opportunities to visit campus and attend small events. As the fall schedule develops, we’ll share more about these opportunities. We’d encourage you to carefully review the latest information about what we expect residential learning and living to be this semester, paying particular attention to the Community Standards that you will be agreeing to. Please note that these standards will apply if you’ll be on campus in any way – whether to live, take classes, participate in activities, or use campus facilities.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition for Carolina Away will be the same as for residential learning. Required fees are still being determined but will not be more than those for residential learning. We will share additional information in the coming weeks as soon as we are able to.

Financial Aid

Once you let us know you’d like to participate in Carolina Away, the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid will review your current financial aid to see if any adjustments are appropriate. If so, they’ll email you with information on viewing your financial aid in your ConnectCarolina Student Center. Please anticipate receiving this within three weeks of when you indicate your plan to participate in Carolina Away.

More Information

We hosted a webinar to share additional information about the Carolina Away program and addressed several questions from participants. You may click this link to access the Carolina Away webinar recording.

We hope you’ll explore our Frequently Asked Questions and reach out to us if there is any additional information we can share. We look forward to hearing from you regarding additional questions you may have. To help us answer your questions quickly, please contact us at

Committing to Carolina Away

To participate in Carolina Away, log into ConnectCarolina and click on the Let us know your plans for Fall Term tile.

Please let us know your plans for the fall semester by June 30, 2020. By letting us know your plans by June 30, you’ll be guaranteed a spot in the program and ensure we have enough course sections for all Carolina Away participants. We’ll be able to provide you with an updated financial aid package, too.

This decision is not binding: you will be able to change your selection until the end of July. It’s best to let us know as soon as possible to ensure that we can make the needed adjustments in your course schedule and any residential changes before the semester begins. You can simply return to ConnectCarolina to make this update.

Carolina Away FAQs