What does it take to be a Morehead-Cain Scholar?
For starters, here are the four basic criteria:

  • Scholarship

    It isn’t the high-achieving student we seek so much as the scholar—the one for whom knowledge is about more than grades and test scores, and for whom learning is an appetite rather than a means to an end.

  • Leadership

    It’s more than titles held or roles played. Here, leadership demonstrates courage and action. Morehead‑Cains initiate. They act and they impact. They influence and they inspire.

  • Moral Force of Character

    Integrity, empathy, bravery, humility, maturity, generosity: these form the bedrock of the Morehead‑Cain culture.

  • Physical Vigor

    It’s as simple as a demonstrated commitment to an active lifestyle and a dedication to fitness and physical activity.*

    * Due consideration is given to nominees with physical limitations.

The Morehead‑Cain is conferred solely on the basis of merit. Financial need is not considered in the selection of Morehead‑Cain Scholars. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religion.


To be eligible for the Morehead-Cain, you must be:

  • a competitive applicant to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • on track to graduate in the spring

Early Decision policy:

While candidates for the scholarship are more than welcome to apply to other colleges and universities under Early Action or Regular Decision application plans, please note that candidates are not permitted to apply binding Early Decision to other colleges or universities while under consideration for the Morehead-Cain.


These eligibility requirements are the same for all students applying for the Morehead-Cain, but there are five different ways to enter the selection process:

North Carolina

  • Be nominated by your high school (All N.C. high schools are eligible)
  • Apply directly for the scholarship




Great Britain


Out-of-state or International

  • Be nominated by your high school (Please note: Only eligible schools can nominate)
  • Be nominated by an eligible affiliate program
  • Apply directly as a self-nominee if you are a resident of North Carolina who attends an out-of-state school


Admissions Referral Program (ARP)

The UNC Admissions Office refers particularly strong Early Action applicants to UNC to the Morehead-Cain selection process. In most cases, referred students attend high schools that are not eligible to nominate on their own.


Please note:

Admission to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a separate process from the Morehead-Cain application. All forms and correspondence dealing with admission to Carolina should go directly to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosts two independent merit scholarship programs: the Morehead-Cain and the Robertson. A student may not be considered for both scholarships at UNC-Chapel Hill at the same time.