High School Academics

High School Academics



The primary mission of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is to train young artists for professional careers in the arts. However, from its beginning, the School has had a strong commitment to providing a sound, supporting curriculum of academic studies to ensure the broader education of the artist. Vittorio Giannini, UNCSA’s Founding President, put it this way as he spoke in 1963 of his plans for the School:

“It is not enough to be trained as an artist, but as a person. As an artist you will express yourself as a person, and the richer you are as a person the better your expression will be. So, in this framework, you will have academic study.”

The High School Academic Program provides young artists in grades 9-12 with a broad, challenging, and engaging curriculum and offers rigorous instruction in the core disciplines of English, Mathematics, Foreign Language, Science, Social Studies, and Wellness. Faculty and administration value a spirit of free inquiry and mutual respect in the classroom and promote a community that provides equal access and support for all students. The High School Academic program is devoted to developing thoughtful, ethical, compassionate, creative, responsible life-long learners. Students who successfully complete the program are awarded the University of North Carolina School of the Arts High School Diploma. 

Admissions Requirements

Specific Admissions and Transfer Requirements

The High School Academic Program reviews all high school admissions applications after applicants have been recommended for admission by the Schools of Dance, Drama, and Music and the Visual Arts Program. The High School Academic Program may agree to admit or deny admission to UNCSA high school applicants.

The High School Academic Program transfers new students’ prior course credits to UNCSA transcripts. Once a student has been accepted to UNCSA, no course credit may be transferred to UNCSA, except for the courses in progress at the time of the student’s initial admissions review, without the permission of the High School Academic Program. No coursework taken before the ninth grade may count toward the UNCSA high school graduation requirements.

Home-school courses submitted for transfer credit are also subject to a review by subject- area faculty before credit is granted. If transfer credit is denied for one or more home- school courses, the student must take the course(s) in question while enrolled at UNCSA.

At the discretion of the High School Academic Program, math, science, and foreign language credits earned in a home school, private school, or other school where course content is unclear may be transferred only after the student has taken a UNCSA placement test in those subjects prior to the first day of classes.

High School Policies

High School Policies

A. Registration

Registration takes place at the beginning of each semester. Students must show evidence of payment of tuition and fees prior to enrolling in courses. All students are required to register and will not be granted entry to classes without having done so. New students will receive instructions regarding times and places of registration, orientation and placement testing during the summer before their arrival at the School.

While UNCSA high school students enroll in year-long courses at the beginning of each academic year, all students are required to register at the beginning of each semester. High school students are required to attend classes continuously and are not permitted to miss classes at the beginning of the semester. Arrangements for payment of tuition and fees for high school students must be made on a timely basis each semester, and students must be cleared by the financial services office for class attendance by either:

  • presenting a receipt to reflect that all tuition and fees have been paid at the time of registration;
  • in exceptional cases, making arrangements with the financial services office to pay the tuition and fees on a schedule to be determined in consultation with Director of Business Affairs.

High school students who fail to make the necessary arrangements within one week after the beginning of classes in any semester may be asked to withdraw, and will not be able to receive credit for classes. Significant arts and academic class work begins on the first day of each semester. Therefore, students are expected to be present for registration and to attend classes as scheduled on that day. Students who register or start classes late may not make up the academic work they miss as a result of their late arrival, and no one will be permitted to register as a full-time student after the completion of the fourth day of classes in a given semester. If a student’s late arrival on campus results from circumstances clearly beyond the student’s control, an appeal from the student’s parent or legal guardian may be made in writing to the Dean of the High School Academic Program and to the student’s arts school dean. This written appeal must be received by noon of the second day of classes. Vacation plans and attendance at summer programs do not constitute grounds for appeal

B. High School Academic Integrity Policy

In submitting assignments and projects for courses, students take responsibility for their work as a whole, and imply that, except as properly noted, the ideas, words, material and craftsmanship are their own. In written work, if students cite from a source of information or opinion other than themselves without giving credit, either within the body of their texts or in properly noted references and without using quotation marks where needed, or otherwise fail to acknowledge the borrowings, they have in fact presented the work, words or ideas of others as if they were their own. Failure to abide by those simple principles of responsible scholarship is dishonest, as is receiving or giving aid on tests, examinations or other assigned work presumed to be independent or original. A student whose work is found to be dishonestly accomplished and submitted for a grade as his or her own will, at the teacher’s discretion, receive no credit (a zero) for that assignment. The teacher may require that the student revise and re-submit the assignment for a grade, but this new grade may not replace the zero received on the earlier attempt. The High School Academic Program may withdraw a student from a course without credit if he or she repeatedly plagiarizes graded work.

C. Academic Probation

Because a high school student’s graduation from UNCSA is contingent upon the successful completion of required academic courses, the High School Academic Program may place newly admitted or currently enrolled students on academic probation. A newly admitted student may be placed on academic probation if he/she enters UNCSA with a weak academic record from a previous school. A currently enrolled student may be placed on academic probation if he/she makes insufficient academic progress at either the midterm of a semester or the end of a semester, acquires excessive absences in one or more academic courses, or repeatedly violates the Student Code of Conduct or the policy on Student Responsibility for Coursework. Insufficient academic progress is generally defined as earning two or more grades of D or one grade of F. However, as other factors such as attendance and conduct may need to be considered, students may also be placed on probation at the discretion of the Dean of the High School Academic Program. Students placed on academic probation will receive a letter from the High School Academic Program detailing the reasons and expectations for their probationary period(s). Should a student fail to meet the expectations of the probation, the High School Academic Program may recommend that the student be withdrawn from UNCSA or barred from returning to UNCSA the following academic year.

D. Class Attendance

Regular, prompt class attendance is a student’s responsibility and the expectation of the faculty of the High School Academic Program. Each high school student is provided with a copy of the High School Academic Program attendance policy and is responsible for knowing and abiding by its rules and procedures. A student with excessive unexcused absences in a course, as defined by the attendance policy, may be withdrawn from that course without credit. New and currently enrolled high school students who have excessive absences during past semesters and/or who have failed one or more courses in a previous semester may be placed on academic probation. Failure to meet the expectations of this probation may result in a student’s withdrawal from UNCSA.

E. Long-Term Absence for Medical Reasons

A student who must leave school for medical reasons, either by order of the UNCSA Wellness Center or by choice (with a physician’s written recommendation), may remain enrolled in High School Academic Program courses with excused absences for up to a total of twelve (12) consecutive academic class days. Arts Wednesdays will not count against these twelve days. During this time, the student’s academic teachers will make reasonable efforts to send home the student’s academic coursework and assignments. After missing twelve consecutive academic class days, however, a student on medical leave will be withdrawn from UNCSA and UNCSA will assist the student in the process of transferring to another school by providing documentation of academic work completed while enrolled at UNCSA. A student withdrawn from UNCSA after an extended medical leave will be allowed to re-apply for admission for the next academic semester. Acceptance will be subject to the approval of the UNCSA Wellness Center, the relevant Art School Dean, and the High School Academic Program.

F. Non-Resident Status Graduation

In rare circumstances, twelfth-grade students who must withdraw from UNCSA during the academic year may receive permission, upon request, to complete their UNCSA high school diploma requirements through an approved correspondence or on-line program and qualify to receive the UNCSA high school diploma. Typically, only seniors who have experienced a catastrophic event (medical or financial) or who have been hired by a professional performing arts company during the course of their senior year may be given permission to graduate non-residentially. These students must receive permission from their Arts School Dean and from the High School Academic Program, which maintains the UNCSA high school graduation list and monitors a student’s progress while on non-resident status. This permission is valid for one twelve-month period from the date of permission, after which the High School Academic Program will permanently remove a non-resident student from the graduation list. High school seniors who have been suspended long-semester from UNCSA for disciplinary reasons are not eligible to graduate from UNCSA on a non- resident status basis and must adhere to the requirements of their suspension for re-applying to and graduating from UNCSA.

High School Diploma Requirements

High School Diploma Requirements

Students must meet the course and credit requirements of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for the high school diploma. These academic requirements are similar to the diploma requirements at traditional public and private high schools. Additionally, the High School Academic Program requires that all 12th-graders be enrolled in at least two academic courses, that all 11th-graders be enrolled in at least three academic courses, and that all 10thgraders, all 9th-graders, and all 8thgraders be enrolled in at least four courses throughout the school year. Electives beyond the basic academic requirements for graduation may be chosen from available high school courses for qualified students, college courses, schedule permitting. UNCSA high school students may not take academic courses in the High School Academic Program unless they are enrolled full-time in a UNCSA arts program, with the exception of students approved by both the High School Academic Program and a student’s art school for Non-Resident Status Graduation. Furthermore, no UNCSA high school student may be simultaneously enrolled in another academic credit- granting school, including correspondence and on-line programs, without the permission of the High School Academic Program.

Total Credits Required for High School Graduation*

English  4 units
Mathematics (Including Algebra I) 3 units
Science (1 Physical Science, 1 Biology, 1 Additional Science) 3 units
Social Studies (1 U.S. History, 1 Civics/Economics, 1 World History) 3 units
Wellness/Health and Physical Education 1 unit
Electives (Including Arts) 6 units
Total  20 units

*Total to be accumulated in grades 9-12