Three Main Considerations For Choosing Courses:

Primary goal:

  • Plan to complete all degree requirements – general and major/minor specific – within your allotted eight semesters (and as many summers as you wish).  When possible, choose interesting (rather than random) courses for each requirement.  This requires thoughtful examination of the options.

Additional goals:

  • Explore and prepare for life after UNC.  Courses in this category may include courses required for professional or personal post-graduation goals.  These may or may not also meet graduation requirements.  Note that your future opportunities may be enhanced by choosing specific courses within your major and/or additional coursework from other areas.
  • Take advantage of the liberal arts opportunities available at Carolina to take a few courses just because you want to (as long as you still have time to complete courses required for graduation and post-graduate plans).

Note that your primary course planning goal, graduation, has a fixed end point (eight semesters).  However, you may continue to prepare for your career or take courses of general interest through post-graduation programs.  In some cases, it may make sense to defer some of your career preparation until after graduation.


Planning A Flexible, Balanced Schedule Leading To Graduation.


1.  Identify categories of courses you need for graduation.  How many of each type will you need (general education, major, labs, ensembles, writing intensive, other)?  Include flexibility in your planning – you don’t need to be exact at this point.

  • Balance your courses over time; don’t plan more than two labs, two studios or two – three reading/writing intensive courses in a single semester.
  • Start with a simple calculation based on the number of required courses/labs/studios vs the number of remaining semesters.  If you have eight major courses left in four semesters, you know you need to average two per semester.  Do this for each category.

2. If you have not yet finished Foundations, schedule them as soon as possible. Remember that you may not drop courses being used to satisfy your writing or language requirements.

  • English 105 and LFIT must be completed during your first year.

3.  Read course descriptions to identify any prerequisite sequences required for majors or courses you are interested in.  What courses need to be taken in a particular order and/or by a particular time?

  • Consider starting the longest sequences first.
  • Identify any semester-specific required (or desired) courses and plan accordingly. Not all courses are offered every semester or even every year.
  • Intermediate- and/or upper-level courses may not be appropriate for students with no experience in that field even if no pre-requisites are listed.  Check before committing yourself.

4.  Identify courses or course-types with more flexibility.  These can be used to fill in gaps after Foundations and major or major-exploration sequences have been accounted for.

  • Courses with few (or no) prerequisites and those offered frequently don’t have to be taken in a particular semester as long as you fit in all requirements prior to graduation.

5.  Using the Curriculum tools of this website and with help from your advisor, create sample schedules to evaluate different options.

  • ‘What if’ you want to take courses in the summer?  ‘What if’ you don’t?  ‘What if’ you’d like to Study Abroad?  ‘What if’ you add a minor? ‘What if’ you continue to explore multiple interests?
  • Do not expect to identify all of the specific courses you will take each semester between now and graduation.  Use placeholders such as ‘GenEd’, ‘major elective’, ‘elective’ in your sample schedules.  Just make sure that you have enough placeholders to cover all of your requirements.
  • Goals may change with time!  Do not be afraid to adjust your plans as your interests shift.  Remember: the only goal that must be finished within your eight semesters at Carolina is graduation.  You have a lifetime to work on the others.