Students seeking higher education in South Carolina will find a variety of reputable colleges and universities to accommodate their academic career goals. Choosing a college can be overwhelming, but with a brief profile of some of the top colleges in South Carolina, the selection task should be easier. Although the University of South Carolina (U of SC) is the state’s leading university, it is not for everyone. South Carolina offers other four-year and two-year colleges that cover degree programs for less money and a smaller campus population. Students who need more specialized institutions for law, faith-based and military programs will find schools like Southern Wesleyan University, Converse College and The Citadel to be suitable choices. Many post-graduate students of South Carolina’s four-year universities boast salary earnings higher than the nation’s average income. In addition, some of those graduates have become notable alumni and made significant contributions to their professions. The following is a brief overview of some of South Carolina’s top colleges.
University of South Carolina
As the Palmetto State’s pride and joy, the University of South Carolina was founded in 1801 and has survived the dark years of the Civil War to become a bright beacon of restoration and unity in the state. Known for its traditional horseshoe campus design, U of SC is the state’s largest university boasting a large student body and an 18:1 student to faculty ratio. In the U of SC system, there are eight additional colleges throughout the state. Physiology, Pathology and Related Sciences, Biology, Research and Experimental Psychology and Finance and Financial Management Services are the most popular out of 100+ majors offered at the university. With its prestigious faculty and successful graduation rate, the university is one of the top producers of Fulbright Scholars and has received several national awards including the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. Some of the distinguished alumni include Darius Rucker, Ainsley Earnhardt and Lindsey Graham.
Located on a 750 acre campus in Greenville, Furman University is a highly respected liberal arts college and one of the most prestigious private universities in the state. Acceptance is highly competitive and selective resulting in a smaller enrollment size. Out of the 60 academic programs rooted in liberal arts and sciences, Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, Business Administration and Biology are among the most popular majors for students. U.S. Men’s National Soccer star, Clint Dempsey and famous Christian/Country music artist, Amy Grant, are two of the most significant alumni of Furman University.
Coastal Carolina University
Located in Conway and only a few miles from Myrtle Beach, Coastal Carolina University is a public liberal arts college that features undergraduate degrees in 73 major fields of study. Marine science, management, Exercise and Sport science, Communication and Psychology are the popular undergraduate majors due to its beautiful location along the coast of South Carolina. For their masters programs, the university offers 17 disciplines with PhD’s in Coastal and Marine system sciences. With a total undergraduate enrollment of 9,615, the student-faculty ratio is 18:1. Coastal Carolina University prides itself on being among America’s 100 Best College Buys.
The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina
The Citadel is South Carolina’s premier military college. As the nation’s well-known Corp of Cadets, The Citadel consists of 2,300 undergraduates from 45 states and a dozen countries. Cadets are rigorously trained and educated to become future leaders in the nation’s military. The school offers 20 undergraduate majors and 27 master’s programs, with a student/faculty ratio of 12:1. New York Times Best Selling author, Pat Conroy and Colonel Randolph Bresnik of the United States Marine Corps are two of The Citadel’s prestigious alums.
Giving U of SC competition for the most popular public university in South Carolina, Clemson is ranked 23rd in the nation and has one of the most recognized sports programs in the NCAA. However, Clemson is primarily a science and engineering school and a selective public research university. Clemson offers over 80 majors and 110 graduate degree programs with Marketing, Engineering, Biological and Biomedical Sciences as their most popular majors.
South Carolina State
South Carolina State University (SCSU) is South Carolina’s only historical black college and has dedicated its efforts to providing quality education to African-American students. Eventually, white students integrated in 1966, and today, the average undergraduate population is nearly 5,000 with a student-faculty ratio of 17:1. The university offers undergraduate degree programs in Biology, Education, Business, Engineering Technology, Computer science/Mathematics and English language/literature. South Carolina State is the only university in South Carolina to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering.
Converse College is a private liberal arts university dedicated to educating and training women. Located in Spartanburg, South Carolina the university provides over 30 undergraduate programs for an average of 1,389 female students. The 12:1 student-faculty ratio ensures that each student receives optimal attention throughout their academic career. Visual and Performing Arts, Education, Psychology and Biological and Biomedical Sciences are some of the most selected majors. Converse College’s two most notable alumni are former Miss South Carolina, Kimilee Karyn Bryant and American poet, Ellen Bryant.