North Carolina State University (NC State) began as a land-grant institution grounded in agriculture and engineering. Today, we're building a leading public research university that excels across disciplines.
NC State is a powerhouse in science, technology, engineering and math. We lead in agriculture, education, textiles, business and natural resources. We're at the forefront of teaching and research in design, the humanities and the social sciences. And we're home to one of the planet's best colleges of veterinary medicine.
Our more than 36,000 undergraduate and graduate students learn by doing. They pursue research and start new companies. They forge connections with top employers and serve local and global communities. And they enjoy an outstanding return on investment.
Founded March 7, 1887 by the North Carolina General Assembly under the provisions of the national Land-Grant Act, North Carolina State University is now one of the nation's preeminent research institutions and the university of choice for accomplished, high-performing students from around the world.
NC State's extensive public and private partnerships create a unique culture of collaboration to address the grand challenges facing society. The university's solution-driven research, technology and scholarship lead to new ideas, products and services. It's no wonder NC State is know for its forward-looking philosophy: Think and Do.
With more than 35,000 students and 8,000 faculty and staff, NC State is a comprehensive university known for its leadership in interdisciplinary innovation. As a leader in experiential education, NC State provides remarkable opportunities for students to put learning into practice and to develop career-ready skills.
The university is consistently ranked as a top-tier university by U.S. News & World Report and is regularly named by Kiplinger's as a top-10 best value in public higher education, a ranking that combines academic quality and affordability. Because of this value, NC State students graduate with lower-than-average debt, according to U.S. News.
Beginning their freshman year, NC State students are able to explore their major right away — by conducting research alongside faculty or starting a challenging co-op or internship. NC State has a large and diverse student population with the feel of a tight-knit community.
NC State is located in the Research Triangle region, home to many of the country’s leading Fortune 500 technology, research and pharmaceutical companies. NC State’s Centennial Campus is home to more than 150 corporate and government research partners, incubator companies and NC State research units.
Mission, Vision and Values
As a research-extensive land-grant university, North Carolina State University is dedicated to excellent teaching, the creation and application of knowledge, and engagement with public and private partners. By uniting our strength in science and technology with a commitment to excellence in a comprehensive range of disciplines, NC State promotes an integrated approach to problem solving that transforms lives and provides leadership for social, economic, and technological development across North Carolina and around the world.
NC State University will emerge as a preeminent technological research university recognized around the globe for its innovative education and research addressing the grand challenges of society.
Consonant with our history, mission, and vision, North Carolina State University affirms these core values:
- Integrity—in the pursuit, creation, application, and dissemination of knowledge
- Freedom—of thought and expression
- Respect—for cultural and intellectual diversity
- Responsibility—for individual actions and service to society
- Stewardship—in sustaining economic and natural resources
- Excellence—in all endeavors
Founded March 7, 1887 by the North Carolina General Assembly, the school--then known as the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts--embodied ideals that were rapidly transforming the field of higher education. Chief among them was the belief that colleges should not be reserved for a select few and that the children of farmers, mechanics and other workers should have access to the opportunities and benefits of higher education.
NC State was established under the provisions of the Morrill Act of 1862, which allowed the U.S. government to donate federally owned land to the states for the purpose of establishing colleges that would teach “agriculture and the mechanic arts.” The brand-new school held its first classes in the fall of 1889 with 72 students, six faculty members and one building. In the early 1900s, a new federal program sparked an era of outreach work at the college. The 1914 passage of the Smith-Lever Act created an educational partnership between land-grant colleges and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under this new cooperative extension program, the colleges would send staff to meet with farmers around the state and provide practical agricultural instruction. This led North Carolina to establish the Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service (now the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service) at NC State.
By the 1920s, North Carolina State College (as the school was then known) was beginning to grow beyond its original agricultural and mechanical focus, adding schools of engineering, textiles, education and business, as well as a graduate school. The Depression posed economic challenges for higher education throughout the nation, and State College was no exception. As the crisis slowly eased, the college renewed its growth, adding students and developing new programs until the onset of World War II. State College contributed to the war effort by hosting a number of military detachments and training exercises and by refitting the work of several departments and programs to military and defense purposes.
The campus experienced unparalleled growth during the postwar years as the G.I. Bill brought thousands of former servicemen to campus. In the following decades, the college continued to expand its curricula, creating schools of design, forestry, physical and mathematical sciences, and humanities and social sciences. During these years of growth, the name was changed again, this time to North Carolina State University at Raleigh—the university’s current official name.
The university celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1987, which also saw the creation of Centennial Campus, bringing together academic, corporate, government and nonprofit leaders to partner in teaching, research and economic development.
NC State has developed into a vital educational and economic resource, with more than 34,000 students and 8,000 faculty and staff. A wealth of university outreach and extension programs continue to provide services and education to all sectors of the state’s economy and its citizens. Consistently ranked a best value among the nation’s public universities, NC State — the state’s largest university — is an active, vital part of North Carolina life. Today, more than 128 years after its founding, NC State continues to follow its original mission: opening the doors of higher education to the citizens of North Carolina and providing teaching, research and extension that strengthen the state and its economy.
NC State University is located west of downtown Raleigh on 2,099 acres. The campus acreage includes Centennial Campus on 1,105 acres and Centennial Biomedical Campus on 215 acres. West Campus includes the College of Veterinary Medicine and the stadium/arena complex. Nearby are research farms, biology and ecology sites, horticulture and floriculture nurseries and research forests that cover an additional 3,000 acres. Elsewhere across the state are research farms and 4-H camps.
Research Triangle Park
NC State is one of three nationally renowned research universities in the Triangle area, along with Duke University in Durham and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Within the 30 mile triangle formed by the three universities is Research Triangle Park, a 7,000-acre research park founded in 1959 by leaders in academia, business and government. Today, Research Triangle Park is home to some of the most innovative technology and research-based companies in the world.
The university has 9,553 employees, including 2,360 faculty. Among the many honors and recognitions received by members of the faculty are 9 memberships in the National Academy of Sciences, 18 memberships in the National Academy of Engineering, one membership in the Institute of Medicine, and 778 members of NC State's Academy of Outstanding Teachers.
In the 2021 Fall Semester, the university’s head count enrollment totaled 37,555. Included in this number were 25,695 students in undergraduate degree programs, 9,394 in graduate degree programs, 397 First Professional and 2,069 non- degree-seeking students. The total enrollments by college were:
- Agriculture and Life Sciences - 3,937
- Design - 924
- Education - 1,957
- Engineering - 10,269
- Natural Resources - 2,104
- Humanities and Social Sciences - 4,693
- Management - 4,556
- Sciences - 4,113
- Textiles - 1,001
- Veterinary Medicine - 488
- University College - 1,218
- Other- 1,710
The student population included 2,401 Black or African American students, 2,417 Hispanic students, 2,996 Asian, American Indian and Pacific Islander students, and 1,405 students identifying as two or more races. The fall 2021 class also included 18,552 female students. Students at the university come from 53 U.S. states and territories (including District of Columbia) and 116 foreign countries. The international enrollment is a distinctive feature of the institution as 3,913 international students give the campus a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Outreach and Extension
As North Carolina’s flagship research intensive, community engaged land-grant university, NC State has a unique mission to serve the citizens of this state through technical assistance, professional development, lifelong education, technology transfer, and other means of applying knowledge to real world issues and problems. Faculty, students, and staff from all ten academic colleges and other units engage in collaborative research, learning, and service partnerships with business, industry, government, and communities, in the Triangle region and across the state. Extension and engagement imperatives include economic development, environmental stewardship, K-12 education, leadership development, and entrepreneur support. NC State’s Office of Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development reaches over one million citizens annually through Cooperative Extension, Industrial Extension, McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education, NC State’s Economic Development Partnership, the General Hugh Shelton Leadership Center, and the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center.
NC State is one of 16 constituent institutions of the multi-campus University of North Carolina system. The UNC Board of Governors is the policy-making body legally charged with “the general determination, control, supervision, management, and governance of all affairs, of the constituent institutions.”
North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees. Questions about the accreditation of North Carolina State University may be directed in writing to:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, Georgia, 30033-4097
Or by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using the information available on SACSCOC's website.
Normal inquiries about NC State, such as admission requirements, financial aid, educational programs, etc., should be addressed directly to the university and not the Commission’s office.