North Carolina State University (NC State) began as a land-grant institution grounded in agriculture and engineering. Today, we're 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 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.
NC State University is one of the nation's preeminent research enterprises and the university of choice for accomplished, high-performing students from around the world. The university's extensive public and private partnerships create a unique culture of collaboration to address the grand challenges facing society, and our solution-driven research, technology and scholarship lead to new ideas, products and services. It's no wonder NC State is known for its forward-looking, results-oriented philosophy, expressed in a single phrase: Think and Do.
With more than 37,000 students and more than 9,000 faculty and staff, NC State is a comprehensive university known both for its leadership in interdisciplinary innovation and its sense of tight-knit community. As a leader in experiential education, NC State provides unparalleled opportunities for students to put learning into practice and to develop career-ready skills.
Thanks to our signature combination of quality and affordability, NC State is consistently ranked as one of the nation's best values in higher education. We're the No. 2 best public university in North Carolina for value (Money magazine) and the No. 6 best value among public universities nationwide (U.S. News & World Report). In addition, NC State students graduate with lower-than-average debt, according to U.S. News.
NC State is located in North Carolina's Research Triangle region, home to many of the country’s leading technology, research and pharmaceutical companies. NC State’s Centennial Campus, a national model for public-private research parks, is home to more than 70 university academic units working alongside more than 75 corporate, government and nonprofit partners.
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.
As a preeminent public research university, NC State University will be increasingly recognized nationally and internationally for its innovation in education, research, scholarship and engagement that solves the world’s most critical challenges. NC State will be known as a diverse, equitable and inclusive community that has a transformative impact on society and advances the greater good.
Consistent with our mission and vision, NC State affirms these core values that direct our actions and align our decision-making with the best interests of the Wolfpack community.
- Excellence — in innovation, education and discovery, reflected in our unwavering commitment to pursue research and scholarship that solve problems and advance the greater good.
- Community — in how we respect and care for all at our university, value the contributions of every member of our Wolfpack, promote health and well-being, and help one another succeed.
- Inclusion — through a culture that promotes personal excellence and institutional equity by seeking, welcoming and supporting individuals and ideas from a broad diversity of backgrounds.
- Freedom — in thought, expression, inquiry and dialogue as a critical part of our mission to pursue and disseminate knowledge while promoting civil and respectful discourse.
- Integrity — in all we do, reflected in our commitment to the highest standards of ethical behavior and our dedication to transparency and accountability in governance.
- Collaboration — across colleges, disciplines and perspectives, and in how we partner with a broad range of organizations to find solutions to challenges at home and around the world.
- Sustainability — in our commitment to wise stewardship of resources, prudent financial planning and environmentally responsible operations.
Founded March 7, 1887, by the North Carolina General Assembly, the college 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 federal Morrill Land-Grant 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 taught by six faculty members in 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 professional 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 NC State Extension, part of the N.C. Cooperative Extension partnership) 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 unprecedented 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 — NC State'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 with NC State in teaching, research and economic development.
Today, 136 years after its founding, NC State — North Carolina's largest university — has become a prestigious Research 1 institution, recognized nationwide for our groundbreaking discoveries. Still, NC State continues to follow its original mission: creating economic, societal and intellectual prosperity for all.
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.
NC State is one of three nationally renowned research universities in North Carolina's Research Triangle area, along with Duke University in Durham and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Within the triangle formed by the three universities is Research Triangle Park, a 7,000-acre research park that's home to some of the most innovative technology companies in the world.
Faculty and Staff
The university has 9,448 employees, including 2,463 faculty. Among the many honors and recognitions received by members of the faculty are 19 memberships in the National Academy of Engineering, seven memberships in the National Academy of Sciences and two memberships in the National Academy of Medicine.
In the 2022 fall semester, the university’s head count enrollment totaled 37,873. Included in this number were 27,317 students in undergraduate degree, nondegree and certificate programs, and 10,556 students in graduate degree, nondegree and certificate programs. The total enrollments by college were:
- Agriculture and Life Sciences: 3,887
- Design: 936
- Education: 1,808
- Engineering: 11,246
- Humanities and Social Sciences: 4,548
- Natural Resources: 2,049
- Management: 4,496
- Sciences: 4,152
- Textiles: 982
- Veterinary Medicine: 477
- University College: 1,369
- Advanced Analytics and nondegree students: 1,923
The combined undergraduate and graduate student population was 8.11% Asian, 7.01% Hispanic, 6.17% Black or African American, 3.96% two or more races/ethnicities, .32% American Indian or Alaskan Native and .06% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. The fall 2022 undergraduate class was 49% female and 51% male. Students at the university come from 54 U.S. states and territories (including the District of Columbia) and 95 foreign countries, including 2,664 international students.
Outreach and Extension
As North Carolina’s flagship land-grant university, NC State has a unique mission to serve the state's citizens through technical assistance, professional development, lifelong education, technology transfer and other means of applying knowledge to solve real-world problems. Faculty, students and staff from across the university collaborate in research, educational and service partnerships with businesses, nonprofits and community organizations in the Triangle region and across the state. Extension and engagement initiatives include economic development, environmental stewardship, K-12 education, leadership development and startup incubation. NC State provides direct service and support to over 1 million citizens annually through NC State Extension, Industry Expansion Solutions, NC State Continuing and Lifelong Education, the Economic Development Partnership, the Shelton Leadership Center and the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center.
NC State is one of 17 constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina System. The UNC Board of Governors is the policymaking body legally charged with “the general determination, control, supervision, management, and governance of all affairs, of the constituent institutions.”
NC State is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, educational specialist and doctorate degrees. North Carolina State University also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. 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, GA 30033-4097
Questions may also be submitted by calling (404) 679-4500 or by using the information available on the commission's website.
Other inquiries about NC State on topics such as admission requirements, financial aid, educational programs, etc., should be addressed directly to the university and not the commission’s office.