The University of South Carolina was formed in 1801 by Governor John Drayton as South Carolina College with an inaugural class of nine. With a history spanning two centuries, the college played pivotal roles in the Civil War, Reconstruction, and World Wars. Today, USC is the state’s flagship public, co-educational research institution with sea-grant status. The University of South Carolina has raised over $1 billion for its Carolina’s Promise campaign to better educate its over 49,200 total students. USC is headquartered on a 359-acre urban campus in Columbia, South Carolina’s capital, near the Congaree River. Satellite locations are operated in Aiken, Beaufort, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Spartanburg, Sumter, and Union.
According to the U.S. News, USC is the 108th best national university, 52nd top public college, and 89th best school for military veterans. In particular, the University of South Carolina ranks 78th for education, 71st for business, and 49th for business nationally. Forbes named USC America’s 121st best research university and 63rd top public college. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance crowned USC the 32nd best public value in the United States. In Financial Times magazine, the University of South Carolina ranked #1 for best international experience. USC placed 17th in the Princeton Review’s “Best Athletic Facilities” list. Times Higher Education also included USC in its top 225 global universities.
University of South Carolina Accreditation Details
Through 2021, the University of South Carolina is regionally accredited at Level VI by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The Moore School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The College of Hospitality is approved by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA). The College of Arts and Sciences meets the standards of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The College of Education aligns with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
University of South Carolina Application Requirements
With an acceptance rate of 65 percent, the University of South Carolina is classified as “more selective.” First-year students must be graduating or have graduated from a licensed secondary school with an 18-credit, college-prep curriculum. At least four units of English and four units of mathematics are required. AP students must score 3 or above for credit. USC freshmen have an average weighted high school GPA of 3.59. Ranking in the top 25th percentile of your graduating class is preferred. Admitted students typically score at least 24 on the ACT or 1130 on the SAT (critical reading and math only).
Transfers who have attended another regionally accredited college can be accepted with 30 semester or 45 quarter hours. If less, the above freshman criteria is implemented. Incoming transfers must carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.25. Students from SC technical colleges can transfer after finishing the Carolina Core. International students must have 12 years of schooling in their home country and score at least 550 on the paper-based TOEFL. Graduate applicants to master’s or PhD programs must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited university. Maintaining an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is mandatory.
Before the deadline on December 1st, students can apply online to the University of South Carolina by submitting:
• Gamecock Gateway application form
• $65 application fee ($100 for non-U.S. citizens)
• Self-reported academic transcripts
• Official standardized test scores
• One to three letters of recommendation
• English proficiency requirement (if applicable)
• One-page personal goals statement
Tuition and Financial Aid
South Carolina residents enrolling full-time will pay $5,541 per undergraduate semester. Non-resident undergraduates must afford $14,949 each full-time semester. Part-time students can pay $461 (in-state) or $1,245 (out-of-state) per credit. Students must budget for the $200 technology fee, $80 matriculation fee, $35 Carolina Card fee, and $2,210 health insurance if not waived. Room and board is estimated to cost $9,872 extra annually. Graduate students from South Carolina are charged $6,192 per full-time semester. Non-resident graduates enrolling full-time pay $13,266 per semester. Part-time graduates are billed $516 (in-state) or $1,105 (out-of-state) per credit.
Approximately 77 percent of beginning, full-time USC students earn financial aid. Financial packages often include Federal Direct, Federal Perkins, or Direct Grad PLUS loans. There’s also the South Carolina Teacher’s Loan program. Some students qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. In-state students should apply for the South Carolina Need-Based Grant, HOPE Scholarship, or Palmetto Fellows Scholarship. Full-tuition coverage is extended to low-income students with the Gamecock Guarantee. Federal Work-Study (FWS) is available through the USC Career Center. Millions in scholarships are granted annually, including the Stamps Carolina Scholar Award, Hamilton Scholars Award, and McNair Scholars Award.
The University of South Carolina is an elite member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) offering rigorous academics. Along with auditorium-style lecture halls, smaller recitation sessions are offered for increased professor interaction. There’s a student-faculty ratio of 18:1, so only 38 percent of classes will have fewer than 20 students. Divided into 13 schools, USC provides 83 bachelor’s, 84 master’s, and 60 doctoral programs. Some unique undergraduate majors include Advertising, Cardiovascular Technology, European Studies, Jazz Studies, Real Estate, and Tourism Management. Palmetto College offers online degree completion programs for eight majors. Over 400 courses are delivered exclusively for Honors College students.
As a SEC Academic Consortium member, the University of South Carolina is classified for having “very high research activity.” Students can participate in cutting-edge studies in the 200-acre research park called Innovista. The Belle W. Baruch Marine Field Lab, Center for Colon Cancer Research, Energy Frontier Research Center, and Center for Medication Safety are some notable institutes. On USC’s historic Horseshoe, students can also visit the Koger Center for the Arts, Longstreet Theatre, and Carolina Coliseum. Equipped with 80 pieces of cardio equipment, the Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center is open until midnight.
Around 29 percent of students live in USC’s 24 residence halls and 19 living learning communities in Green Quad. Campus life is rich with over 400 student-run clubs. Students could join the Mock Trial Team, Mighty Sound of the Southeast, Habitat for Humanity, Carolina Productions, or Delta Sigma Pi to name a few. There are also 20 fraternities and sororities lining Greek Village. Student-athletes can compete for the Gamecocks in 19 varsity teams in NCAA Division I Southeastern Conference. The University of South Carolina is within two hours from Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head for additional recreation.