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East Carolina University


Founded in 1907 as the East Carolina Teachers Training School (ECTTS), East Carolina University is now a comprehensive public doctoral research institution with sea-grant status. With the third largest enrollment in North Carolina, ECU serves over 23,000 undergraduates and 4,700 post-graduates annually. ECU is nestled on a main 530-acre urban campus in downtown Greenville. There’s also a satellite field station in New Holland next to the Mattamuskeet Wildlife Refuge and a Health Sciences campus beside Vidant Medical Center. ECU is home to nine undergraduate colleges, a graduate school, and four professional schools. The Brody School of Medicine is well-known for developing the gastric bypass surgery.

According to the U.S. News, East Carolina University is ranked as the 194th best national university, 111th top public school, and 154th best college for veterans. In particular, ECU is honored for having America’s 25th best online graduate criminal justice degrees and 18th best online graduate nursing programs. Forbes magazine recognized ECU as the country’s 196th best research university. East Carolina University is consistently named among the Princeton Review’s “Best in the Southeast.” In 2015, Washington Monthly lauded ECU as the #1 “Best Bang for the Buck College” in the Southeast. ECU has also been given the Patriot Award for going above and beyond to support National Guard members.

East Carolina University Accreditation Details

Reaffirmed in 2013, East Carolina University is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This is approved by the U.S. Department of Education to ensure Title IV funding. Many academic departments have gone the extra step to receive programmatic accreditation too. For instance, teaching degrees are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Design programs meet the standards of the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Health science majors are given approval by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

East Carolina University Application Requirements

With an acceptance rate of 77 percent, East Carolina University has selective admissions criteria students must fulfill. First-year freshmen must possess a state-approved high school diploma or GED equivalency. Curriculum prerequisites require at least four units of English, four units of math, three units of natural sciences, two units of social studies, and two units of a single foreign language. Admitted students have an average unweighted GPA of 3.1 on a 4.0 scale. Standardized scores must be submitted using the ACT code 3094 or SAT code 5180. Online programs are no longer available to residents of Massachusetts, Minnesota, Maryland, Ohio, or Arkansas.

Transfers at the undergraduate level must have obtained at least 24 credits from a regionally accredited institution, including English 100 Composition. Undergraduate transfers must be in good standing with a minimum overall college GPA of 2.5. There’s also a transfer program that accepts any students with a qualified associate’s degree. Graduate students must hold a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. university or foreign equivalent. Most master’s and doctoral programs mandate a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. Teaching programs require graduate students to possess valid state certification and nursing degrees require RN licensure.

Prior to the March 15th deadline, interested students should apply to East Carolina University by sending in:

  • Completed online application form
  • Payment for the $70 application fee
  • Official, sealed academic transcripts
  • Standardized testing score reports
  • Two to three recommendation letters
  • Statement of purpose or intent
  • Current resume or CV (graduate students only)

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time undergraduates from North Carolina will pay $3,290 in tuition and fees per semester. Non-residents pursuing full-time undergraduate studies are billed $11,077 in tuition and fees per semester. Undergraduate part-time students can expect to pay $2,250 (in-state) or $6,144 (out-of-state) each semester. At the graduate or professional level, North Carolina residents will be charged $3,428 per full-time semester. Non-residents enrolled full-time should expect $9,729 per semester in graduate tuition and fees. Graduate part-time students will pay $2,320 (in-state) or $5,470 (out-of-state). Housing is estimated to be $2,530 per semester.

Around 76 percent of new full-time ECU students receive financial aid. After filing the FAFSA, students can borrow money through Direct Stafford, Perkins, Parent PLUS, and Graduate PLUS loans that must be repaid. Free gift aid is available to certain students with the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, SMART Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. In-state students could qualify for the North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship (NCELS) or UNC Need-Based Grant. There’s also the ECU Grant for students with an expected family contribution under 10,000. Veterans benefits, employer reimbursement, and federal work-study are available. Scholarships are abundant, such as the Chris Murphy Scholarship, David J. Smith Leadership Award, Gina Gaillard Locklear Scholarship, and Alex Kittrell Scholarship.

Student Experience

East Carolina University is a major research institution offering 102 Bachelor’s, 85 Master’s, 4 Professional, and 21 Doctoral degree options. All of the large school amenities come with a student-faculty ratio of 18:1 to keep professors accessible. There’s an average freshman retention rate of 80 percent, which indicates student satisfaction. Unique undergraduate programs include the B.S. in Atmospheric Science, B.S. in Child Life, BFA in Dance Education, B.S. in Health Fitness, B.S. in Merchandising, and B.S. in Recreational Therapy. Graduate degrees range from Social Work and Public Health to Audiology and Business Administration.

In the J.Y. Joyner Library, ECU students gain access to 1.9 million volumes and 24,000 journal subscriptions, including the J. Edgar Hoover Collection on International Communism. Service learning is a big aspect of East Carolina University’s education. Community service learning centers are located in underserved, rural areas like Elizabeth City, Sylvia, and Lillington. Nearly 10,000 students give hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours annually. Those interested in marine biology can also gain applied learning at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks. The tree-laden Campus Core has 15 residence halls for four years of guaranteed housing.

Life at ECU isn’t only about powerhouse academics though. Students can get involved in more than 400 different campus clubs. For example, students could join the Waterskiing Club, Healthy Pirates Club, People’s Comedy Club, Pirates Who Parent Club, or Art Education Guild. Greek life is popular with 22 fraternities and 15 sororities. Sports lovers can play for the NCAA Division I American Athletic Conference or simply watch the games at the 50,000-seat Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. East Carolina University also has fun intramural sports like racquetball, disc golf, sand volleyball, wallyball, and innertube water polo.