Graduate Life / Orange County

The largest town in Orange County, North Carolina, Chapel Hill is the official home of the University of North Carolina's flagship university. In walking distance to the west is the town of Carrboro, affectionately called by some the People's Republic of Carrboro. Like Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro are great towns for graduate study: affordable, green, rich in art & culture, vibrant, welcoming, family-friendly and smart--with one of the highest concentration of Ph.D’s in the nation.

Kudos for Chapel Hill

36 Hours in Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC (New York Times, May 27, 2015)


​Many CDG students call Chapel Hill and Carrboro home.  Carrboro especially is a wonderful option for graduate student living. The CDG students who live in Carrboro appreciate its proximity to UNC, value for the arts, and progressive vibe.

UNC Communities Orange County Communities Festivals / Events
Graduate and Professional Student Organizations Places of Worship Carrboro Music Festival
International Student and Scholar Services LGBT Carrboro Film Festival
LGBTQ Center Swing Dance Miscellaneous 
North Carolina Hillel Service Opportunities Carrboro Farmers' Market
Intervarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship    
Muslim Students Association    


Eat and Drink

Chapel Hill and Carrboro offer a variety of options for food and drink. Filled with restaurants, bars, and cafes, Franklin Street is Chapel Hill's favorite thoroughfare. Because it is adjacent to the UNC campus, Franklin Street is an ideal place for students to take coffee breaks, meet up for drinks after class, or enjoy a meal. Franklin Street is not only a prominent feature of Chapel Hill, but also of Carrboro since it connects the two communities. Although Carrboro adjoins Chapel Hill, its food culture is distinct: If you're looking for unique restaurants that use fresh, locally-grown ingredients, quaint coffee shops, or vegan options, Carrboro is for you!

Groceries/Fresh Food Markets Dining Pubs/Bars Study Breaks


On UNC's Campus Live Music Coffee
Farmers' Markets in Chapel Hill and Carrboro In Chapel Hill In Chapel Hill Sweets
  In Carrboro In Carrboro  


Health and Wellness

Medical Insurance for Students

All eligible students enrolled in the UNC System Colleges and Universities, including UNC-Chapel Hill, are required to have health insurance coverage.

This does not mean a student must enroll in the UNC System Student Health Insurance Plan; it means a student must provide proof of active creditable health insurance, and enrolling in the UNC System Student Health Insurance Plan is one means to meet that requirement. A student is encouraged to compare the UNC System Plan against other options, e.g., being a dependent on a parent’s health insurance plan, having an employer’s health insurance plan, having individual plan coverage through another source.

The UNC System endorses a cost-effective Student Health Insurance Plan that covers most health care expenses not included in the Campus Health Fee. This plan is administered by Blue Cross / Blue Shield of North Carolina called Student Blue.

Eligible graduate students are enrolled in the RA/TA Student Blue Health Insurance Plan by individual academic departments. Most Campus Health Services (CHS) charges not covered by the Campus Health Fee are covered by the RA/TA Health Insurance Plan and claims are billed directly to BCBS by Campus Health Services.

For specific information about the RA/TA Student Blue Health Insurance Plan benefits go to the BCBS website for UNC-Chapel Hill RA/TA .

Campus Health Services

All students and Postdoctoral Fellows who pay the Campus Health Fee can use Campus Health Services. Spouses of full-time students and postdoctoral fellows can receive care at CHS. Spouses who pay the Campus Health Fee for the term can use CHS once they show proof of insurance along with proof of their marriage or a notarized affidavit of domestic partnership.

Medical Care Related Links

UNC Health Services Clinics/Hospitals Fitness
Campus Health Services UNC Medical Center Gyms
CAPS Find a Physician Yoga
UNC Wellness    UNC rec center



UNC graduate students generally look for housing off campus in an apartment or home. Looking for a place to live in a new city can feel daunting. Whether you are planning to rent an apartment, buy a house, or find a roommate, these links will help you get started:

Area Find a Rental/Share Real Estate Specialists
UNC Campus UNC Campus Housing
Cost of Living UNC Off-Campus Housing Mill House Properties (rentals)
Chapel Hill Maps Sabbatical Homes Franklin Street Realty

    Safety and Security

    On Campus

    The UNC Department of Public Safety is committed to ensuring that the university environment is safe for all. They offer a wide array of services ranging from bicycle registration to community programs on safety and self-defense. 

    The town of Chapel Hill also provides a Safe Ride Program to help students get home safely after hours. 

    Off Campus

    For additional security and safety concerns contact the Chapel Hill police and fire departments.

    Emergency 911

    Chapel Hill Police

    (919) 968-2760

    Chapel Hill Fire Department

    (919) 968-2781


    Sports and Culture

    Whether you are in the mood to admire, applaud, or cheer, the Triangle offers a wide variety of outstanding opportunities.

    From intense college basketball and football rivalries to the region's professional hockey team and minor league baseball team sports is a strong part of our culture.

    The area also contains vibrant theater and music scenes with local theater troupes, orchestral and chamber productions, comedy clubs, and headliner singers at indoor and outdoor venues. 

    Theater and Music

    In addition to the on-campus Carolina Performing Arts Center there are a variety of cultural venues in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

    Chapel Hill boasts a number of classic move theaters including The Chelsea and The Varisity on Franklin.  

    In addition, Chapel Hill is the home to the Playmakers Reperatory Company as well as the Paperhand Puppet Intervention.

    In Carrboro there are a number of great music venues including the Cat's Cradle. Every year people come from all over to enjoy the Carrboro Music Festival.


    In addition to the biggest rivalry in college basketball, UNC hosts a wide variety of athletic contests throughout the year. 

    In addition, Ice Hockey fans can cheer on the Carolina Hurricanes in nearby Raleigh. 

    Transportation and Getting Around

    Getting around Chapel Hill

    Transportation at UNC provides ways for students to get around campus by bus, shuttle, or foot.

    GoTriangle is where to go to find all the information you need about travel options in the Triangle that are safe, convenient, inexpensive, and more sustainable. All centrally located in one online resource. Check out the Trip Planner and Information for Students.

    Its free to ride buses by Chapel Hill Transit and Triangle Transit. No ID or pass is needed to ride Chapel Hill Transit. You must get a bus pass from UNC's Department of Public Safety (DPS) to ride the Triangle Transit Authority buses. NextBus posts real-time bus arrival times. You can find bus routes near your apartment with the apartment finder map from Redefine Travel.

    If you need to use a car, Zipcars are available on-campus.

    Zimride is a private ride-sharing network for Chapel Hill.

    UNC's Commuter Alternative Program (CAP) is designed to reward commuting students who do NOT drive alone to campus. 

    Biking is popular among UNC students. Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, and Raleigh are award-winning bike-friendly communities. Maps for biking around the area can be found at Bike Carrboro. The organization Cycliclious Movement has area resources for biking in Chapel Hill.

    Parking at UNC

    Many lots on campus offer unrestricted parking on weekends and after 5:00 pm on weekdays. Information about parking hours is posted on signs at the entrance to each lot. For parking during the day, students can register for a parking permit. About 700 parking permits for GS available on-campus through lottery (register in April/May).There are a variety of Park-n-Ride lots available within Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas. For some of the Park-n-Ride lots, a CAP permit must be applied for online from DPS.

    UNC Safe Ride Services

    UNC Safe Rides are available to all students, faculty and staff and provide secure rides along several routes during late night hours, generally from around 11pm to 3am. 

    In addition there is a late night bus service that runs on campus.

    Getting to and from UNC and Chapel Hill

    UNC is located about 20 minutes from the RDU international airport. In general, you will need to grab a cab or find a ride to and from RDU, but an airport shuttle is provided by OSSA for major university holidays. There are also Greyhound and Amtrak stations located in Durham. 

    Working Spaces


    ​Graduate Student Recommended Cafes