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The University of North Carolina System comprises North Carolina’s 17 public institutions. UNC was chartered in 1789 as the first public university in the United States. North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities is a statewide organization that supports North Carolina’s 36 private, for-profit, and liberal arts colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The University of North Carolina System, the state’s largest school system, includes UNC – Chapel Hill, Winston-Salem State University, NC State University, and North Carolina Central University. The North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, on the other hand, includes Duke University, Davidson College, Gardner-Webb University, St. Andrews University, and Wake Forest University.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill was chartered in 1789 and opened in 1795 as the nation’s first public university. The four-year, public institution has a student population of 29,137, and student-to-faculty ratio of 14 to 1, according to College Navigator. The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education offers online courses in several subjects, including African and Afro-American studies, anthropology, art, business, communication studies, computer science, English and comparative literature, French, geography, information and library science, linguistics, music, philosophy, and sociology. UNC – Chapel Hill offers distance education graduate degree programs in health leadership, nursing, public health, health care administration, molecular diagnostics science, radiologic science, and technology and communication, and a doctoral degree in physical therapy.

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University was founded in 1887 in Raleigh. The university is the largest four-year institution in North Carolina. U.S. News & World Report ranks North Carolina State University No. 101 in National Universities in the 2012 edition of Best Colleges, and No. 3 for Best Value. U.S. News & World Report also ranks NC State No. 1 in online computer information technology programs admissions selectivity and 6 in faculty credentials and training. NC State offers online bachelor’s degree programs in engineering, and agricultural business management. Online master’s degrees are available at NC State in agricultural education, animal science, teaching, agricultural engineering, business administration, civil engineering, computer science, and instructional technology, and a doctoral degree in education is also available online.

Duke University

Duke University was established in 1924 when the Duke Endowment, a philanthropic foundation, expanded Trinity College into Duke University. Trinity College was established in 1838 and moved to Durham, N.C. in 1892. U.S. News & World Report ranks Duke University No. 10 in National Universities in the 2012 edition of Best Colleges. Duke University offers nine free courses through Coursera, including bioelectricity, a course in reasoning and argumentation, astronomy, human physiology, neuroscience, and genetics and evolution. Duke also offers online master’s degrees, including degrees in environmental management and nursing.

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