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Unique Enrichment Opportunities for Gifted Students #4

While school provides our students with a good foundation of learning, oftentimes, students benefit from outside opportunities as well, or even more so. Especially for our gifted and talented students, outside opportunities may provide them the chance to interact with their like minded peers, it may give them the chance to explore areas of study that they would not have otherwise at school, and these opportunities could be the “spark” that ignites a lifelong passion. For the next four weeks, we will share an amazing enrichment opportunity geared specifically for gifted students!

Opportunity #4

Who/What: The mission of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, an innovative and collaborative leader in secondary STEM education, is to advance our state, nation, and world by creating opportunities for broad access to exemplary public education that fosters, challenges, inspires, and empowers students and communities to design their future.

Residential Program

For more than 40 years, NCSSM has opened doors and created opportunities for promising students across North Carolina. As part of the University of North Carolina System, they are a public, two-year residential high school where talented juniors and seniors live on our campuses in Durham and Morganton in a supportive, close-knit learning community to capitalize on their potential, grow as leaders, and discover limitless possibilities.

Residential program graduates from both Durham and Morganton are eligible to receive four years free tuition to any UNC System University. Students must successfully complete all of NCSSM's graduation requirements and remain in good standing with a weighted GPA at or above the threshold to be set by the UNC System President and NCSSM Chancellor. Residential students who maintain a weighted GPA of 3.5 or higher will also receive automatic acceptance into any UNC System University. More information can be found here.

Online Program

NCSSM Online offers a supplemental, two-year, sequenced honors programs for students who remain enrolled at their local schools. NCSSM Online provides fascinating courses and valuable preparation for college along with a learning community of accomplished, motivated peers. All NCSSM Online courses are designed around providing high potential students a transition into the college learning environment. Courses are offered on the semester system. Courses are designed, created, and taught by NCSSM faculty. Each course includes a required one-hour, weekly evening webinar via Zoom. Our Online courses are hosted through Canvas, a mobile-friendly system adopted by UNC System campuses and North Carolina Public Schools. Most courses have 20-25 students.

Summer Program

NCSSM offers specialized coursework in areas such as artificial intelligence, biomedical sciences, and engineering, students have the opportunity to engage in real-world, hands-on experiences.



Each year, 680 students live and learn in the two-year Residential program as high school juniors and seniors taking rigorous math, science, and humanities courses at NCSSM-Durham, situated among historic in-town neighborhoods within walking distance of Duke University in this mid-size city.


In 2022, NCSSM’s two-year Residential high school experience opened the doors to the first class of the residential program at the Morgantown, NC campus. This campus offers rigorous math, science, and humanities courses in new and newly renovated historic buildings on a ridge-top setting. In this picturesque western North Carolina town surrounded by natural beauty and outdoor recreation, each year we serve 300 juniors and seniors from across NC in a life-changing living-learning community.


The Residential and Online Program is for 11th and 12th grade high school students. The Summer Programs are for rising 5th through 12th graders who seek academic challenge, growth, and like-minded peers. These courses are offered during various week during the months of June and July.

Why: NCSSM students are thinkers, makers, and doers. Your classes, taught by experienced teachers with advanced degrees, will challenge and excite you. All residential students are required to be enrolled in five core courses each semester. Art courses, music courses, drama courses, physical activity/wellness courses, residential education courses, independent study, and forums are not included in the five. More information about their courses can be found HERE.

Residential Program

Research and Innovation Opportunities: NCSSM students have a wealth of opportunities and options for research and innovation. The objective is to engage each student as a thinker, maker, doer in an experience that requires the application of knowledge and skills to address challenges in the world beyond the classroom. The possibilities to engage in research abound in any field of interest from STEM to humanities, and the range of opportunities beyond research continues to expand.

January Term (J-Term): NCSSM also offers its students a January Term, is a special session during which NCSSM provides significant opportunities for students to engage in unique educational experiences. These experiences include both regular coursework, offered in a different format, and unique learning opportunities beyond the standard curriculum, both in and out of the traditional classroom context. During January Term, in the place of regular classes, students choose from many stimulating academic options: participate in one of the specialized January Term courses arranged by one or more NCSSM faculty members, take an academic course offered for credit, or request a course that supports project work or travel experiences. January Term aims to engage students in a rigorous exploration of a subject area of great interest in a way that contributes to their academic and personal growth and serves them well in their future academic aspirations. Successful completion of two January Term courses (or equivalent) per year is a requirement for graduation from NCSSM.

Summer Programs

Summer Accelerator courses offer students from anywhere in the world academic growth through engaging, challenging STEM courses on topics they can relate to. Students learn with like-minded peers and are taught by scientists, university professors, engineers, and others who bring real-world experience and activities to the Accelerator learning experience. The Summer Accelerator programs have a fee associated with them but financial aid is offered to students who apply early. Space in each course is limited, so participants are encouraged to apply early. Applications are received until all spots are filled.


Eligible applicants may apply to NCSSM’s Residential (Durham and/or Morganton), Online, or Summer Ventures program or all three, using one electronic application. There is no application fee or cost for tuition, meals, room/board, or textbooks for these three programs. The application process for the Class of 2026 will open on October 15, 2023, at noon and close on January 5, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.

Has your student experienced any of these opportunities before? If so, what should other parents know? What additional enrichment opportunities or programs have you heard of? Comment below!

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