Graduate study in North Carolina, USA, graduate, postgraduate, program, study, abroad

Study for in North Carolina, United States

State overview

Known as the ‘Old North State’, North Carolina is composed of more than 100 counties and is an interesting mix of the modern and traditional.

This is a state of contrasts: The Raleigh has more PhDs than anywhere in the United States, yet education in North Carolina is more about employment than research. Important industries run the whole range from tobacco and pig farming to banking and technology.
Whatever, your thoughts on North Carolina, students studying a graduate program here are never far from beauty – the Appalachian Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway are always within reach.

Education profile

North Carolina opened the first public university in the United States in 1795 called the University of North Carolina, with the state’s education system now incorporating 17 public institutions and several private ones. You can study a graduate program in North Carolina at:

Professional, or ‘terminal’, masters are designed to lead to employment rather than further study. Popular courses include: Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) and Master of Library Science (M.L.S.).

Academic masters, however, are generally designed to lead the way into doctorate/PhD study. Popular courses include: Master of Education (M.Ed.), and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.).

Both last between one and three years, depending on the subject.

Doctoral degrees are the most advanced level of higher education, and usually take between four and eight years to complete, which includes the time it takes to write and present a dissertation. 

Immigration and visas

Before travelling to the USA to study in North Carolina, you will need to apply for a non-immigrant visa.

The most common kind of student visa is the F-1 visa, which entitles the holder to study at any US accredited college or university.
To apply for a student visa for a graduate program in North Carolina, you will need to fill out an application form (found on the US Embassy website) and send appropriate documentation, such as evidence of financial standing and proof of university acceptance and academic qualifications, as well as possibly attending a visa interview at the US Embassy in your home country.

Life in North Carolina

Life in North Carolina is a mixture of Old South traditions and New South modernism. The state has everything from ancient mountains and Appalachian trails in the west to beach islands on the Atlantic coast.

North Carolina is a hard state to pin down. A number of different cultures and communities coexist peacefully here. Its major city is sports mad Charlotte, but the real North Carolina is to be found in its adventure sports. Rock climbing, ballooning, hiking, skiing, caving and canoeing are all popular activities for students in North Carolina.

Working in North Carolina

North Carolina is known as a state with many different industries, but it is experiencing particular growth in science, engineering, technology and maths-based (STEM) sectors. This began in the 1950s with the establishment of the Research Triangle Park (RTP), which is a globally recognised research centre home to more than 170 businesses.

North Carolina’s economy also benefits from the banking industry. Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, is the second biggest banking city in the United States behind New York. The state is also the leading producer of tobacco in the country, with revenue from the industry vital to the local economy despite the growing trend against smoking.


Most universities in North Carolina have a dedicated housing department, who will help postgraduates find university accommodation on or near campus. Most graduate halls of residence are equipped with study areas, furniture and are a great way of meeting fellow students.

However, if you do decide to look for private accommodation, you should still contact your housing department as they will be able to advise on good areas to live near your university.

Weather and climate

As with most American states, North Carolina has a varied climate depending on where you choose to live out of its three main areas – the coastal plain, the Piedmont region and the Appalachian Mountains.

The coastal plain region has mild winters and moderate summers, with average temperatures of around 32C.

The weather is more extreme in the Piedmont region, which has hot summers with temperatures of more than 35C, and colder winters than the coastal plain region.

The Appalachian mountains are the coolest part of North Carolina, with winter night temperatures often falling well below -5C and experiences regular snowfall.

What to do next

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