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University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Region: North Carolina Country: USA

About the School of Medicine
Welcome to the website for the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. We hope you will find the site informative and easy to use. Take a few moments to learn about our Mission and History. Explore our campus via the Virtual Tour, and learn more About UNC Chapel Hill. Biographical information for our School Leaders and other administrative details can be found in the Administration area.

To be the Nation's leading public school of medicine is not just a lofty statement. It is a very real promise to our students and the people of North Carolina.

I would like to applaud our students for an extraordinary showing on the national USMLE Step 1 board exam. In 2010, we had a 93 percent pass rate, while the national pass rate for first-time takers was 91 percent. Our mean total score was 224, and the national mean total score was 222. On Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, 99 percent of our students passed, with the national pass rate at 97 percent, and the mean score for our students was 243, while the national mean was 233.

We are extremely proud of both the laudable teaching effort that our professors make in our clinics and lecture halls, as well as the hard work our students put in to their academic study and clinical skills each and every day.

As teachers and clinicians, our faculty and staff are clearly preparing our students for a lifetime of achievement. I want to thank them for their knowledge and for providing our students with the tools they need to succeed and become excellent doctors.

I commend our faculty and staff for exemplifying our Vision and Values - making them a real promise and commitment to our students, our patients and our state.

Strategic Plan
The excellence of the UNC School of Medicine is recognized not only by citizens of North Carolina but also nationally and beyond. In the caliber of faculty, staff, and students; the strength and improvements in external rankings; the reputation of the research enterprise; and the standard of care, the School has an expectation and track record of excellence. And true to the nature of all premier institutions, this one does not stand still but continues to plan and to act well ahead of proximal needs.

The first University-sponsored School of Medicine was established in 1879, though there is evidence that medical instruction was given in Chapel Hill before the Civil War.

Dr. Thomas W. Harris, an honor graduate of the Class of 1859 at the University of North Carolina, was dean and professor of anatomy. His only faculty colleagues were Professor A. Fletcher Redd in chemistry and Professor Frederic W. Simonds in botany and physiology. Courses in anatomy formed the basis of the two-year curriculum. Dr. Harris introduced students to clinical medicine and surgery through the free clinics he established in the community. Dr. Harris received no salary from the University and therefore maintained a large medical practice. When the burden of his practice and teaching responsibilities became too great, he resigned in 1885 to devote his time to the practice of medicine in the growing town of Durham. At that time 37 students had attended the School of Medicine.

The school reopened in 1890 with Dr. Richard H. Whitehead as dean and professor of anatomy. His ability as a scientist and teacher established the academic reputation of the school during the next 15 years. The school's reputation has persisted through succeeding generations of faculty.

In 1902 University President Francis P. Venable, along with Drs. Whitehead and Hubert A. Royster, Sr., of Raleigh, established the University Medical Department at Raleigh. Dr. Royster was appointed dean and professor of gynecology. Despite the inability of the state of North Carolina and the University to adequately finance this expanded operation, the leading physicians of Raleigh, many of whom were already on the faculty of the Leonard Medical College of Shaw University, provided clinical instruction for junior and senior students in the Rex, St. Agnes, and Dorothea Dix Hospitals and the Raleigh Dispensary. In 1910 the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching published the Flexner Report, which recommended standards for medical schools. Because the University could not afford to upgrade both the preclinical and clinical programs to meet the recommendations in this report, the University Medical Department in Raleigh closed.

Dr. Isaac Hall Manning, the first professor of physiology and biological chemistry, succeeded Dr. Whitehead as dean in 1905. A member of the medical Class of 1895, Dr. Manning and a few able colleagues strengthened the basic science departments and improved the preclinical science teaching programs. The reputation of the school continued to grow and increasing numbers of students were accepted for transfer to the junior class of leading medical schools in the East, South, and Midwest. Many of these students returned to practice in North Carolina. At the time of the medical school's expansion to a four-year program in 1954, approximately twenty-five percent of the physicians practicing in North Carolina had attended the state's two-year medical school program.

Caldwell Hall, the first University building planned with adequate laboratories, classrooms, and library space for medical instruction, was completed in 1912. Here the School of Medicine functioned until 1938, when it was moved to MacNider Hall, a new and enlarged basic science building.

In 1923 and again in 1937 state commissions were appointed to study the advisability of expanding the school's program to four years. Although the University, the medical alumni, and many leading citizens of the state actively supported these efforts, the lack of funds and the controversy over the location of the expanded school foiled these early attempts. During this period Duke University and Wake Forest College established four-year programs.

Dr. Walter Reece Berryhill became dean of the School of Medicine in 1941. His energy, wisdom, and foresight, coupled with the support of his able faculty colleagues, ushered in an era of progress for medical education in North Carolina.

In 1947 the North Carolina General Assembly appropriated funds for the construction of the 400-bed North Carolina Memorial Hospital, for a modest enlargement of the medical science building, and for educational and dormitory facilities for a school of nursing. This brought to a successful conclusion the statewide effort proposed by Governor J. Melville Broughton in 1944 to improve the health care of North Carolina through state (and subsequently federal) financial aid for constructing needed hospitals and health centers, increasing medical and health manpower, and expanding The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine's program to four years.

The North Carolina Memorial Hospital (renamed in 1989 as the UNC Hospitals) opened in 1952 and the forty-eight members of the first class in the newly expanded program of the School of Medicine received their M.D. degrees in 1954. An exceptionally able group of clinical department chairs and faculty together with strengthened basic science departments established the school on a firm basis. The first chairs of the clinical departments were Dr. Kenneth Brinkhous in Pathology, Dr. Charles H. Burnett in Medicine, Dr. Edward Curnen in Pediatrics, Dr. George Ham in Psychiatry, Dr. Robert A. Ross in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Nathan A. Womack in Surgery, and Dr. Ernest Wood in Radiology.

Dr. Isaac M. Taylor succeeded Dr. Berryhill, who retired from the deanship in 1964, and began the development of community clinical education programs. Dean Taylor instituted many changes as faculty committees carefully reevaluated the school's curriculum in light of the many changes that had occurred in medical education and the complex roles that physicians were required to fulfill. A new interdisciplinary and more flexible curriculum and a pass-fail, end-of-year examination system began in 1967. The Morehead Fellowship Program in medicine also was established.

During the late 1960s the School of Medicine and the UNC Hospitals expanded with funds obtained through state, federal, and private sources. Projects resulting from these efforts included Berryhill Hall (basic medical sciences teaching facility), the Brinkhous-Bullitt Building (preclinical education building), the Burnett-Womack Building (clinical science building), and the Bed Tower and Spencer Love Clinics in the North Carolina Memorial Hospital.

In mid-1971 the General Assembly approved legislation to create a board of directors for the North Carolina Memorial Hospital and to separate the hospital organizationally from the administration of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Taylor remained as dean of the School of Medicine until June 30, 1971. He was succeeded on September 1, 1971 by Dr. Christopher C. Fordham III.

The partnership between the UNC Hospitals and the School of Medicine enhances the learning environment while maintaining the highest standards for patient care. The relationship between the School of Medicine and the UNC Hospitals is both strong and collegial. The UNC Hospitals' board of directors appointed Mr. John Danielson as the first general director in January 1972, and Mr. Dennis Barry succeeded him in 1975. Mr. Eric Munson was named as the hospital's executive director in 1980 following Mr. Barry's resignation. Dr. William Easterling was associate dean for clinical affairs until 1989 and was followed in this position by Dr. Stanley Mandel from 1989 to 2002. Currently Dr. Brian Goldstein serves as executive associate dean for clinical affairs and chief of staff. Mr. Gary Park became president of UNC Hospitals in 2004.

Dr. Taylor established strong community-hospital relationships, one of his most important legacies. Health manpower legislation in 1971 created funding for the development of the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program, establishing three AHECs in North Carolina. The $8.5 million represented the largest federal grant and, at that time, the largest single contract to date in the University's history. Mr. Glenn Wilson, the first director, played a major role in establishing the AHEC Program.

The original AHEC contract had envisioned a program that would eventually become statewide. In late 1973 the University of North Carolina Board of Governors adopted a statewide plan for medical and health education and submitted it to the North Carolina General Assembly. As a result, the General Assembly appropriated $28.2 million in 1974 to strengthen and expand the AHEC Program. Under the leadership of Dr. Christopher C. Fordham, the program developed into a statewide system of nine AHECs in cooperation with the other UNC-Chapel Hill health science schools (Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health); the Duke University Medical Center; the Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University; and the East Carolina University health science schools (Medicine, Allied Health, Social Work, and Nursing).

Each AHEC accepts the responsibility for community-based health science student rotations and health manpower development in a defined geographic area. The partnership between the academic medical centers and the communities of North Carolina has provided high-quality, easily accessible education for health professionals in all one hundred counties. This imaginative regional program of health professional education significantly helps address North Carolina's problem of access to good medical care through better distribution of physicians and other health professionals, both geographically and by specialty. Dr. Eugene S. Mayer succeeded Mr. Wilson as director in 1978. As a result of Dr. Mayer's strong leadership before his death in 1994, the AHEC Program was poised to continue to contribute to the major changes that were underway in the health care arena. Dr. Thomas Bacon was appointed Director of the AHEC Program in August 1996.

Dr. Fordham assumed the additional responsibilities of vice chancellor of Health Affairs in 1977. He relinquished his duties as dean of the School of Medicine in June 1979 and continued as vice chancellor until March 1980 when he became chancellor of the University. Dr. Stuart Bondurant succeeded Dr. Fordham as dean of the School of Medicine in 1979. He assumed his duties just as a great decade in the school's history culminated with accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

Dr. Bondurant's priorities during his tenure as dean reflected his commitment to continuing and enhancing the tradition of excellence in education at the School of Medicine. Dr. Bondurant appointed a faculty curriculum review committee and established a Student Research and Academic Enrichment Program. A substantial number of medical students now carry out research with a faculty mentor, with some of their research leading to publication.

Innovative partnerships between the School of Medicine and other institutions, including University programs, industry, and state government, were also hallmarks of Dr. Bondurant's years as dean. The Department of Nutrition, for example, is the first in the country to be shared between a medical school and a school of public health.

Under Dean Bondurant's leadership, a major curriculum review reached a successful conclusion with full faculty approval in the spring of 1983. With the dramatic changes in the health care arena, another curriculum review began in 1992, charged to design an educational program that was dynamic and perpetually responsive to the changing health care environment. That curriculum reflected the goals of faculty and students for the education of physicians in the twenty-first century, giving special emphasis to education for practice as a generalist physician and for practice in the ambulatory care setting. The curriculum also emphasized teaching students and young physicians to adapt to changing needs, including understanding and using new technologies and incorporating health promotion and disease prevention into their practices.

During Dr. Bondurant's tenure, the School of Medicine greatly increased the scope of its activities and reinforced its commitment to excellence. Five new departments were added during his 15-year tenure as dean: Biomedical Engineering, Emergency Medicine, Nutrition, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Radiation Oncology. Many new centers, institutes, and specialized programs were created and nurtured, from the Ambulatory Care Center and Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center to the Program on Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and Gene Therapy Center, the latter developing from initiatives originally begun by Dean Berryhill and sustained by Drs. Brinkhous and Graham and others. Dr. Bondurant remained as dean until July 1994.

Dr. Michael A. Simmons served as dean from July 1994 to July 1996. Under his leadership, a Department of Orthopaedics was established. Two new centers were established: the UNC Center for Cardiovascular Disease, and the UNC Neuroscience Center, which incorporates the former Brain and Development Research Center and focuses on the neurosciences more broadly.

At Dr. Simmons' resignation in July 1996, Dr. Bondurant returned as interim dean for one year during which time the School was accorded re-accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education for the maximum seven-year period.

Dr. Jeffrey L. Houpt was named vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine in June 1997. In 1998 the N.C. General Assembly passed legislation that established the UNC Health Care System, bringing under one entity UNC Hospitals and the clinical programs of the School of Medicine. Dr. Houpt was named Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Munson's title changed to President of the 650-bed UNC Hospitals, and he was named Chief Operating Officer of the UNC Health Care System. In 2000 Rex Healthcare in Raleigh became a wholly-owned subsidiary of UNC Health Care, while retaining its identity and authorities subject to ratification by the UNC Health Care Board of Directors. The creation and expansion of this integrated health care system has better positioned North Carolina's only state-owned university hospital to operate competitively in a rapidly changing health care environment.

University of North Carolina School of Medicine Degree Programs :


  • Master Degree
  • MD Anaesthesiology
  • MD Anatomy
  • MD Biochemistry
  • MD Community Medicine
  • MD Dermatology
  • MD Emergency Medicine
  • MD General Medicine
  • MD Microbiology
  • MD Paediatrics
  • MD Pathology
  • MD Pharmacology
  • MD Physiology
  • MD Psychiatry
  • MD Radiodiagnosis
  • MD Skin & V.D
  • MD TB & Chest Diseases
  • MS Anatomy
  • MS ENT
  • MS General Surgery
  • MS Ophthalmology
  • MS Orthopaedics
  • Biochemistry & Biophysics
  • Bioinformatics & Computational Biology
  • Doctorate/PhD
  • Cell & Developmental Biology
  • Cell & Molecular Physiology
  • Genetics & Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology & Immunology
  • Molecular & Cellular Pathology
  • Neurobiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology


  • Master Degree
  • Oral Biology

Allied Health Science

  • Master Degree
  • Program for Early Autism Research, Leadership & Service (PEARLS)
  • Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science
  • Doctorate/PhD
  • PhD Program in Occupational Science
  • PhD Program in Speech and Hearing Sciences
  • PhD Program in Human Movement Science

Video Presentation

2012 UNC School of Medicine Commencement

Contact Details

Address: 125 MacNider Hall, CB# 7005 UNC-CH, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7005


(919) 966-4468

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