Admissions Policies and Procedures
- General Information
- Freshman Admission
- Transfer Admission
- Transfer: State Policy and Procedures
- Admission to Columbia Campus for USC System Students
- Admission to South Carolina Honors College
- Admission as a Non-Degree-Seeking Candidate
- Readmission of Former Students
- Admission to Other Programs
- Summer School Admission
- Admission of International Students
- Placement Examinations
- Exam Credit
- Proof of Citizenship
- Behavioral/Criminal Infractions Policy
An application for admission must be submitted and approved and an official notification of acceptance issued by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions before any person may enroll in an undergraduate course. Before action can be taken on an application for admission, all credentials required by University policy must be received by the admissions office, which has responsibility for evaluation of credentials for the purpose of admission.
Applications must be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee specified on the application form. Application forms are available online .
Applications submitted more than one year in advance of the anticipated date of enrollment will be acknowledged, but no action will be taken until admission standards for the year in question have been established. The number of students admitted and enrolled in any year will be determined by the capacity of the institution to provide for the educational and other needs of the students and by budgetary or other appropriate considerations. Undergraduate admissions policies and procedures are subject to continuous review by the admissions staff and the Faculty Admissions Committee and may be changed without notice.
Selected applicants who present evidence of special talents for University programs requiring such special talents may be evaluated on the basis of these talents as well as high-school grades and entrance examination scores. The University reserves the right to place conditions on the admission of any student. In the event such action is taken, the conditions will be clearly explained in the letter of acceptance.
Proof of immunity to measles, mumps, rubella and meningitis is required before a student will be allowed to enroll in classes at the University of South Carolina.
Campus visits may be arranged through the University Visitor Center. Individual and group tours of the University leave the Visitor Center during regularly scheduled times on weekdays and by special arrangement. Admissions counselors are available Monday through Friday. The admissions office is usually open throughout the year except for established university holidays. A complete listing of university holidays can be found here.
A freshman applicant is a person who has not attended a regionally accredited college or university after high-school graduation.
Freshman applicants are encouraged to apply in the fall prior to the fall for which they seek admission, but no later than the December 1 priority deadline. Additional information about current admission deadlines, credential requirements and notification dates can be found on the undergraduate admissions website.
Applicants over the age of 25 may not be required to submit entrance examination results; however, they must submit other credentials which give evidence of reasonable academic potential.
SC resident applicants with at least two years of active duty military service may be admitted as freshmen provided that they graduated high school with a 3.0 HS GPA, completed minimum college preparatory course requirements outlined by the SC Commission on Higher Education, and have not attempted any postsecondary work since graduation.
Assessment of Academic Records
Freshman applicants who satisfy the course requirements listed above will be evaluated on the basis of demonstrated academic achievement, including grades, rigor of courses, and test scores. These factors will be used to determine the applicant’s probability of completing the requirements for the desired degree. Click here to view the profile of the admitted class. The overall strength of the applicant pool strongly impacts one’s chance of admission. When warranted, factors such as extenuating personal circumstances, activities, and evidence of leadership and service will be taken into consideration.
An applicant who, having graduated from high school, has attended another regionally accredited postsecondary institution and attempted one or more courses is a transfer student, regardless of credit earned. If fewer than 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of college-level work have been attempted, the applicant must meet both transfer and freshman entrance requirements. Applicants with a Joint Services Transcript may receive up to 6 hours of credit toward the required 30 semester hours.
Additional information about current transfer admission deadlines, credential requirements and notification dates can be found on the undergraduate admissions website.
Note: Deadlines are subject to change at any time. The most up-to-date information can be viewed on the undergraduate admissions website.
All applicants for transfer admission must be eligible to return to the last institution attended as a degree-seeking student.
The applicant must submit official transcripts of all previous college courses attempted whether or not credit was earned and regardless of whether the applicant wishes to transfer any credit. An official transcript must be sent directly to the admissions office from each institution attended. Failure to report all attempted college courses may constitute sufficient cause for later dismissal from the University.
Transfer applicants from regionally accredited colleges and universities are required to have a minimum grade point average of 2.25 (on a 4.00 scale) on all college-level courses attempted.
In addition to the general requirements for admission outlined in this section, some departments and colleges within the University set additional requirements that may be higher than the University’s minimum standards. For more specific information concerning entrance requirements for individual colleges and departments, refer to the program section of this bulletin or the undergraduate admissions website.
For the purpose of admission, a transfer grade point average is calculated using all credits attempted and all grades earned on college-level courses (e.g. non-developmental, non-remedial) at other institutions. This process may include a holistic review of the applicant with consideration given to how recent credits were attempted and earned, educational performance, evidence of student persistence and commitment to educational success, and unique life/work experience that can contribute to campus and community life. Colleges within the University have the right to consider all attempted college-level work in determining admission to particular programs and/or advancement into upper-division or professional-level courses. Transfer students should consult the section of this bulletin for the college in which the student plans to study for further information about the use of credits and grades from previous college work. For regulations on graduation with honors, see “Undergraduate Academic Regulations.”
Regardless of the point in an academic career at which students enter the University, all must complete the final year (the last 30 semester hours before graduation) enrolled in classes approved by the appropriate dean of the college, school, or campus from which the degree will be granted. Some USC colleges require half of all degree credits to be earned while enrolled at this University.
Evaluation of Transfer Credits
Transfer credits to USC must be from regionally accredited institutions for academic courses completed with grades of C- or better. Applicability of credits toward a particular degree is determined by the college or major in which the student enrolls. The number of credits acceptable to the University and the number which may apply toward a particular degree may differ.
Students transferring from non-accredited colleges may be allowed to validate credit after admission to the University. Details of the validation procedure vary and may be obtained from the dean’s office of the college in which the student is enrolled.
Original records are required for courses exempted at a previous college. Exemption credit or acceptance of transfer credit by another college has no bearing on the evaluation of transfer credit at the University of South Carolina.
Students transferring to the University from another college or university must, before enrolling in class at the University, have their transcripts evaluated by the University. It is only in the light of such evaluation that students will know definitively the transferability and equivalency of each transfer course. Degree applicability will be determined by the college or school in which the student is enrolled.
Transferability refers to the conditions under which the University accepts credit for inclusion in the student’s record. Transfer courses must have been taken at a regionally accredited post - secondary institution, or, if taken at a foreign post-secondary institution, have been recommended by a NACES - member external evaluation service. Coursework classified as remedial by the University will appear on the student’s record, but will not be used to determine admission eligibility or a transfer GPA. Exceptions to this rule may be made by the Office of the Registrar when state scholarship eligibility rules require inclusion.
Equivalency entails equating transfer credit, both in hours and content, to University of South Carolina coursework. The Registrar’s Office works with USC colleges and schools to coordinate the process of transfer evaluation to equate transfer courses directly to courses in the USC course catalog; to subject codes which represent subjects not offered at USC; or to subject codes that identify courses as remedial/technical/non-accredited coursework. A list of transfer equivalencies for the Columbia catalog of courses can be found here.
Applicability of credit toward a degree refers to the prerogative of academic divisions to count specific credit toward the fulfillment of a student’s degree requirements. The student’s college or school of enrollment is responsible for determining applicability.
However, a transfer course is not applicable towards any University of South Carolina academic program or degree if:
- The transfer course was essentially remedial in nature (example: Developmental English).
- The transfer course was occupational or technical in nature (examples: welding, paralegal, radiography courses).
- A grade lower than 2.0 on a 4 point scale, or equivalent, was earned in the transfer course.
- The transfer course was taken by a degree-seeking University of South Carolina student without prior approval as described in the Earning Credit in Transient Status section of this bulletin.
- The transfer course was taken while a student was on an academic suspension from the university.
- The student received any grade other than W an equivalent course at this university, unless the student was enrolled full time at least one year at the transfer institution.
Exceptions to the rules of applicability may be made only by petition to the dean for undergraduate studies of the College or School in which the student is majoring.
A maximum of 76 semester hours may be transferred for degree credit from a junior college or two-year institution which is accredited by a regional association such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
A maximum of 30 semester hours of credit by correspondence and credit awarded for educational experiences in the military may be applied toward meeting the requirements for a baccalaureate degree. The 30 semester hours of credit which may be awarded for educational experiences in the military should be in accordance with recommendations published by the American Council on Education and be consistent with University policy on the transfer of credit but will only be applied to a degree program upon the approval of the dean of the college from which the degree is to be awarded.
Veteran students may receive credit toward graduation for training received under many of the armed forces college training programs. University credit also may be given for specialized and technical training done under the auspices of the armed forces and for courses taken through the United States Armed Forces Institute/DANTES. This training may be accepted by the University for credit only if it is at the college level, if it is approved by the University, and if it is appropriate to the particular University course of study in which the student enrolls. Armed forces training will not be evaluated until the applicant has been accepted for admission; however, credentials should be submitted with the admission application. No credit is given for high-school or college-level GED tests.
(Information regarding educational benefits to veterans and the children of deceased or disabled veterans may be found in the section on financial aid. Additional information for veterans is available from the Office of Veteran Student Services, University of South Carolina Columbia.)
A maximum of 30 semester hours of credit earned while classified as a nondegree special student in the University may be applied toward meeting the requirements for a baccalaureate degree.
A student planning to pursue work at other institutions or through correspondence must complete this work before attaining senior classification (90 semester hours).
Courses completed at any institution while the student is suspended by the University will not be accepted toward a degree at USC. All college-level coursework attempted under academic suspension will be used to evaluate a student’s eligibility for admission.
Credits from SC Technical Colleges
Effective June 1, 2022, students who graduate with an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree from a state of South Carolina public two-year institution of higher education are guaranteed to receive a minimum of 60 transfer credit hours and junior class standing upon enrolling at the University of South Carolina – Columbia. All degree requirements, course prerequisites, minimum grades and credit requirements still apply. (South Carolina proviso 117.152).
Transfer: State Policy and Procedures
Section 10-C of the South Carolina School-to-Work Transition Act (1994) stipulated that the Council of College and University Presidents and the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education, operating through the Commission on Higher Education, develop better articulation of associate and baccalaureate degree programs. To comply with this requirement, the commission upon the advice of the Council of Presidents established a Transfer Articulation Policy Committee composed of four-year institutions’ vice presidents for academic affairs and the Associate Director for Instruction of the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education. The principal outcomes derived from the work of that committee and accepted by the Commission on Higher Education on July 6, 1995, were:
- An expanded list of 86 courses which transfer to four-year public institutions of South Carolina from the two-year public institutions;
- A statewide policy document on good practices in transfer to be followed by all public institutions of higher education in the State of South Carolina, which was accepted in principle by the Advisory Committee on Academic Programs and the commission;
- Six task forces on statewide transfer agreements, each based in a discipline or broad area of the baccalaureate curriculum.
In 1995 the General Assembly passed Act 137 which stipulated further that the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education “notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, shall have the following additional duties and functions with regard to the various public institutions of higher education.” These duties and responsibilities include the commission’s responsibility “to establish procedures for the transferability of courses at the undergraduate level between two-year and four-year institutions or schools.” This same provision is repeated in the legislation developed from the Report of the Joint Legislative Study Committee.
Act 137 directed the commission to adopt the following procedures for the transfer of courses from all two-year public to all four-year public institutions of higher education in South Carolina.
Statewide Articulation of 86 Courses
- The Statewide Articulation Agreement of 86 courses already approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for transfer from two- to four-year public institutions shall be applicable to all public institutions, including two-year institutions and institutions within the same system. In instances where an institution does not have synonymous courses to ones on this list, it shall identify comparable courses or course categories for acceptance of general education courses on the statewide list.
Admissions Criteria, Course Grades, GPAs, Validations
- All four-year public institutions shall issue annually in August a transfer guide covering at least the following items:
- The definition of a transfer student and requirements for admission both to the institution and, if more selective, requirements for admission to particular programs.
- Limitations placed by the institution or its programs for acceptance of standardized examinations (e.g., SAT, ACT) taken more than a given time ago, for academic course work taken elsewhere, for course work repeated due to failure, for course work taken at another institution while the student is academically suspended at his/her home institution, and so forth.
- Institutional and, if more selective, programmatic maximums of course credits allowable in transfer.
- Institutional procedures used to calculate student applicants’ GPAs for transfer admission. Such procedures shall describe how nonstandard grades (withdrawal, withdrawal failing, repeated course, etc.) are evaluated; and they shall also describe whether all course work taken prior to transfer or just course work deemed appropriate to the student’s intended four-year program of study is calculated for purposes of admission to the institution and/or programmatic major.
- Lists of all courses accepted from each technical college (including the 72 courses in the Statewide Articulation Agreement) and the course equivalencies (including “free elective” category) found on the home institution for the courses accepted.
- Lists of all articulation agreements with any public South Carolina two-year or other institution of higher education, together with information about how interested parties can access these agreements.
- Lists of the institution’s Transfer Officer(s) personnel together with telephone and fax numbers and office address.
- Institutional policies related to “academic bankruptcy” (i.e., removing an entire transcript or parts thereof from a failed or underachieving record after a period of years has passed) so that re-entry into the four-year institution with course credit earned in the interim elsewhere is done without regard to the student’s earlier record.
- “Residency requirements” for the minimum number of hours required to be earned at the institution for the degree.
- Course work (individual courses, transfer blocks, statewide agreements) covered within these procedures shall be transferable if the student has completed the course work with a “C” grade (2.00 on a 4.00 scale) or above, but transfer of grades does not relieve the student of the obligation to meet any GPA requirements or other admissions requirements of the institution or program to which application has been made.
- Any four-year institution which has institutional or programmatic admissions requirements for transfer students with cumulative grade point averages (GPAs) higher than 2.00 on a 4.00 scale shall apply such entrance requirements equally to transfer students from regionally accredited South Carolina public institutions regardless of whether students are transferring from a four-year or two-year institution.
- Any multi-campus institution or system shall certify by letter to the commission that all course work at all of its campuses applicable to a particular degree program of study is fully acceptable in transfer to meet degree requirements in the same degree program at any other of its campuses.
- Any course work (individual courses, transfer blocks, statewide agreements) covered within these procedures shall be transferable to any public institution without any additional fee and without any further encumbrance such as a “validation examination,” “placement examination/instrument,” “verification instrument,” or any other stricture, notwithstanding any institutional or system policy, procedure, or regulation to the contrary.
Transfer Blocks, Statewide Agreements, Completion of the A.A./A.S. Degree
- The following Transfer Blocks/Statewide Agreements taken at any two-year public institution in South Carolina shall be accepted in their totality toward meeting baccalaureate degree requirements at all four-year public institutions in relevant four-year degree programs, as follows:
- Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences: Established curriculum block of 46-48 semester hours
- Business Administration: Established curriculum block of 46-51 semester hours
- Engineering: Established curriculum block of 33 semester hours
- Arts and Sciences, curriculum II: Established curriculum block of 48-51 semester hours
- Teacher Education: Established curriculum block of 38-39 semester hours for early childhood, elementary, and special education students only. Secondary education majors and students seeking certification who are not majoring in teacher education should consult the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences or the Math and Science transfer blocks, as relevant, to assure transferability of course work
- Nursing: By statewide agreement, at least 60 semester hours shall be accepted by any public four-year institution toward the baccalaureate completion program (BSN) from graduates of any associate degree program in nursing (ADN), provided that the program is accredited by the National League of Nursing and that the graduate has successfully passed the National Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and is a currently licensed registered nurse.
- Any “unique” academic program not specifically or by extension covered by one of the statewide transfer blocks/agreements listed in #4 above shall either create its own transfer block of 35 or more credit hours with the approval of CHE staff or shall adopt either the Arts/Social Science/Humanities or the Science/Mathematics block by September 1996. The institution at which such program is located shall inform the staff of the CHE and every institutional president and vice president for academic affairs about this decision.
- Any student who has completed either an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree program at any public two-year South Carolina institution which contains within it the total course work found in either the Arts/Social Sciences/Humanities Transfer Block or the Math/Science Transfer Block shall automatically be entitled to junior-level status or its equivalent at whatever public senior institution to which the student might have been admitted. (Note: As agreed by the Committee on Academic Affairs, junior status applies only to campus activities such as priority order for registration for courses, residence hall assignments, parking, athletic event tickets, etc., and not in calculating academic degree credits.)
Related Reports and Statewide Documents
- All applicable recommendations found in the commission’s report to the General Assembly on the School-to-Work Act (approved by the commission and transmitted to the General Assembly on July 6, 1995) are hereby incorporated into the procedures for transfer of course work among two- and four-year institutions.
- The policy paper entitled State Policy on Transfer and Articulation, as amended to reflect changes in the numbers of transfer blocks and other Commission action since July 6, 1995, is hereby adopted as the statewide policy for institutional good practice in the sending and receiving of all course credits to be transferred.
Assurance of Quality
- All claims from any public two- or four-year institution challenging the effective preparation of any other public institution’s course work for transfer purposes shall be evaluated and appropriate measures shall be taken to reassure that the quality of the course work has been reviewed and approved on a timely basis by sending and receiving institutions alike. This process of formal review shall occur every four years through the staff of the Commission on Higher Education, beginning with the approval of these procedures.
Statewide Publication and Distribution of Information on Transfer
- The staff of the Commission on Higher Education shall print and distribute copies of these Procedures upon their acceptance by the commission. The staff shall also place this document and the Appendices on the commission’s Home Page on the Internet under the title “Transfer Policies.”
- By September 1 of each year, all public four-year institutions shall on their own Home Page on the Internet under the title “Transfer Policies”:
- Print a copy of this entire document (without appendices).
- Print a copy of their entire transfer guide.
- Provide to the staff of the commission in satisfactory format a copy of their entire transfer guide for placing on the commission’s Home Page on the Internet.
- By September 1 of each year, the staff of the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education shall on its Home Page on the Internet under the title “Transfer Policies”:
- Print a copy of this document (without appendices).
- Provide to the commission staff in format suitable for placing on the commission’s Home Page of the Internet a list of all articulation agreements that each of the sixteen technical colleges has with public and other four-year institutions of higher education, together with information about how interested parties can access those agreements.
- Each two-year and four-year public institutional catalog shall contain a section entitled “Transfer: State Policies and Procedures.” Such section at a minimum shall.
- Publish these procedures in their entirety (except Appendices)
- Designate a Chief Transfer Officer at the institution who shall
- provide information and other appropriate support for students considering transfer and recent transfers
- serve as a clearinghouse for information on issues of transfer in the State of South Carolina
- provide definitive institutional rulings on transfer questions for the institution’s students under these procedures
- work closely with feeder institutions to assure ease in transfer for their students.
- Designate other programmatic Transfer Officer(s) as the size of the institution and the variety
- Refer interested parties to the institutional Transfer Guide of the state’s four-year institutions
- Refer interested parties to the institution’s and the Commission on Higher Education’s Home Pages on the Internet for further information regarding transfer.
Admission to Columbia Campus for USC System Students
USC-System Common Curriculum
The purpose of the USC-System Common Curriculum is to recognize the essential curricular requirements that already exist at each of our USC institutions which are common to all. Collectively we are in agreement that we share the following competency categories: written and spoken communication, numerical and analytical reasoning, foreign language or culture studies, natural science, and history. As is the current practice, each institution will identify courses which meet the competency requirements and these will be accepted across the USC-System to meet the USC-System Common Curriculum. At each of our USC-system institutions the USC-System Common Curriculum is consistent with the individual institution’s own baccalaureate general education and major program requirements.
The USC-System Common Curriculum is described as follows:
|Communication - Writing||6|
|Communication - Speech||3|
|Foreign Language or Cultural Studies1||3|
|Social or Behavioral Science||3|
3 hours or appropriate placement test score
University of South Carolina system students who wish to apply for admission to the Columbia campus must complete the system transfer application, which is available here. A student who wishes to be considered for admission from another USC campus must fulfill one of the following requirements:
- Be in good standing, meet the admission requirements for a baccalaureate degree on the Columbia campus, and have a USC GPA of 2.0 or higher.
- Be in good standing and have completed 30 semester hours with a GPA of 2.0 or higher on a USC campus.
Some colleges and schools have a higher GPA requirement to be considered for Columbia admission. Please review the undergraduate admissions website or your intended academic department in the Undergraduate Bulletin for current system transfer requirements and deadlines.
Admission to South Carolina Honors College
Regardless of chosen major, qualified students at USC have the opportunity to participate in the University’s Honors College. A special application for admission into the South Carolina Honors College is required. Most students in the college enter as freshmen. Students who have already completed at least one semester - at USC or elsewhere - may apply as transfer students. Details are provided later in this bulletin; please consult the index. Those who wish to participate in the college should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Admission as a Non-Degree-Seeking Candidate
Applicants who wish to attend the University for one semester or on some limited basis may be approved to do so upon submitting an application accompanied by an explanation of their educational goals. The admissions office reserves the right to determine the proper category of admission and to determine what credentials may be required.
This category is for part-time applicants who are not interested in earning a degree at USC. A maximum of 30 semester hours may be earned in this category. Applicants who have been officially denied admission as degree-seeking students are not eligible for admission as non-degree students. Courses completed by special students carry full University credit; however, none of the hours is applicable to a degree until the student applies and qualifies for admission to a degree program. Visiting or transient students are required to submit transient permission from their home institution that includes verification of good academic standing. All special applicants who have completed a bachelor’s degree must present official proof of degree. Proof of degree is designated as an official transcript from the degree-granting institution or an official letter from the degree-granting institution certifying the degree and date earned.
High-school juniors and seniors who have excelled in their studies may enroll in appropriate courses at the University upon recommendation of the school counselor or principal and with approval of the USC department in which courses are to be taken. Interested students must submit high-school records and test scores that demonstrate exceptional performance and potential for success in college courses.
An auditor may apply as a special student (see above). Classes that are audited at USC may not be retaken for credit towards a degree later.
Certification of active duty military status is required.
Persons attending the University in any of these categories will be non-degree candidates. Credit earned while attending as a non-degree candidate may be used toward a degree only after the student has applied for and been accepted into a degree program. An applicant denied admission to any degree category is not eligible for admission as a non-degree student. The period of enrollment in these categories is limited by either time or number of allowable credits. The official acceptance letter explains all enrollment restrictions for the category in question. Non-degree students are not eligible for financial aid, veterans’ benefits, or on-campus housing during the fall or spring terms. Rooms on the campus may be available to students in the summer whether or not they are working for degrees.
Readmission of Former Students
An application for readmission must be submitted by any former student who wishes to return to the University after missing a major (fall or spring) semester. Summer sessions do not count as a major semester in this instance. The readmit application is available here. Readmission to the University and to the program in which the student was previously enrolled is not automatic. An interview may be requested and some basis for a favorable decision may be required.
The University of South Carolina’s minimum USC GPA requirement for readmission is 2.0, but some colleges and schools have a higher requirement. Please review the undergraduate admissions website for current readmission requirements.
Students who leave the university due to complications related to public health emergency (e.g., COVID-19) or military service and have not attempted any college credits during their absence will be readmitted based on degree progression requirements. The absence is limited to 2 major semesters.
Students who attend the University as special students (including probationary or non-degree candidates) are not considered for “readmission” because these students were not fully admitted to the University originally. If special students wish to return to the University as degree-seeking candidates, they must apply for regular admission as freshmen or transfer students, furnishing all official transcripts and any entrance test scores which may be required.
Students who leave the University in good standing, miss one or more major semesters, and attend another institution while away must submit the application for readmission and official transcripts of all college-level work attempted during their absence from the University. Such applicants must meet the same requirements as transfer students.
A student who leaves the University on suspension must apply for readmission upon completion of the period of suspension and qualify for readmission to the major program requested. To attempt to return to the University prior to the completion of the suspension period requires:
- an application for readmission and a petition for reinstatement if a major semester has been missed; or
- a petition for reinstatement if the attempt is being made after notification of suspension but prior to missing a major semester. A petition for reinstatement is made to the University college from which the student was suspended.
If students attend another college-level institution while suspended from the University, they must maintain a satisfactory average at that institution in order to retain the privilege of being considered for readmission at the conclusion of their suspension. The University does not transfer credit earned during a period of suspension, but the quality of grades could affect the decision on readmission.
Applications should be submitted before these deadlines:
- Fall term: July 1
- Spring term: November 1
- Summer term: April 1
Note: These deadlines are subject to change at any time. Check the undergraduate admissions website for the most up-to-date information.
Admission to Other Programs
Application should be made through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and all usual requirements for admission must be met.
Senior and Regional Campuses
For complete information, consult the admissions office on the campus where the student plans to enroll.
Summer School Admission
New undergraduate students entering the University for the first time in a summer term who expect to continue studying toward a degree submit only one application. They must meet all requirements for admission as degree-seeking students before the beginning of the summer term.
Summer Attendance Only
Students who wish to attend the University for the summer only should apply as special students under the “Admission as a Non-degree-Seeking Candidate” paragraph included in this section. Students enrolled in degree programs in another college who wish to take summer courses at USC as transients should seek written approval to take specific USC courses from a dean or department chair in their home college.
Admission of International Students
The University of South Carolina welcomes the applications of qualified international students.1 At least six months before the beginning of the semester they wish to enter, and in the case of freshman applicants, at least nine months beforehand, students must send a complete application, including standardized test scores, school records, and financial statements, to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Students who have attended colleges or universities outside of the United States are required to submit a professional credential evaluation of all work completed.
International applicants must be proficient in the English language. A score of 550 or above on the paper version of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required. (A score of 210 or higher on the computerized version is required, and a minimum score of 77 on the Internet version is required.) The Office of Undergraduate Admissions also accepts the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the PTE Academic Test (PTE). Students must score at least a 6.5 on the IELTS, or at least a 53 on the PTE. English proficiency scores are not required for international students from countries where the primary language of instruction is English nor from graduates of high schools in the United States.
An English proficiency test will be administered to international students, except those from English-speaking countries, upon arrival at the University. All international students must demonstrate sufficient proficiency in written and oral English to progress at the University level. Students who are not proficient in English will be required to take noncredit, concentrated English language training until proficiency is demonstrated.
In addition, freshman applicants must have completed a level of education equivalent to that of students entering from accredited secondary schools in the United States and have superior grades on their school work. Applicants who seek to enter from another college or university in the United States must meet transfer admission requirements.
International applicants will not be allowed to enroll in classes until they establish their ability to pay education expenses. The policies of certain countries have created financial difficulties for their citizens studying at the University. Applicants from these countries will be so notified and required to make an advance deposit of expenses. Applicants from other nations must submit certification of financial support to satisfy this requirement. Some financial assistance from the University is available to qualified international students.
Applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
Student Orientation and Testing Programs
All new undergraduate students are expected to take placement tests (math and foreign language) and attend an orientation program (advisement and registration for classes) prior to their enrollment. Information on these programs may be obtained electronically on the Office of New Student Orientation's website or by calling 803-777-2780. Summer orientation days for parents, freshmen, and transfers are held in June and early July. Abbreviated orientations are also held immediately prior to classes beginning in August, January, and summer school. Optional programs include: Welcome Week, a fall, week-long schedule of events designed to ease the students’ transition to the University environment; and University 101, a semester-long, freshman seminar course offered for University credit.
Math and Foreign Language Placement Examinations
All students, both freshmen and transfers alike, must meet the prerequisites for any collegiate math courses that they take at the University of South Carolina.
For foundational math courses at the 100 level, these prerequisites can be met after taking one of two Math Placement Tests (Algebra and Precalculus, respectively) as described at this link.
Likewise, all freshmen and transfer students must meet the prerequisite requirements for any foreign language courses they take at the University. These prerequisites can be met after taking the Foreign Language Placement Test. Students must take the level of course in which they have placed. For more information is available at this link.
Candidates who do not pass a particular placement test are not permitted to repeat that test. The required credits must be obtained instead by enrollment and satisfactory completion of the course(s) involved. Specific information about placement test content and policies may be obtained from the appropriate department.
Baccalaureate degree candidates may qualify for course credit through successful completion of select Advanced Placement (AP) Exams; International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams; College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams; Cambridge International A Level Exams; and Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Exams.
A complete listing of transferrable exam credit and minimum score thresholds can be found here.
Official exam credit results must be submitted to the University of South Carolina directly from the exam provider.
Multiple successful exam credit scores submitted for the same equivalent course will only be recognized in one instance of the course on students’ official academic record at USC.
Exam credit will be transcribed to the academic record similar to a transfer course. Successful exam scores will be equated directly to courses in the USC course catalog or to subject codes which represent subjects not offered at USC. Exam credit course equivalencies will be posted to the record along with a grade of “CR,” the attempted hours, and earned hours. The exam credit will appear on students’ advising transcript in Self Service Carolina, while only exam credit earned hours will appear on the official transcript.
Proof of Citizenship
USC students must present proof of citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S. before enrolling. This policy has been adopted by the University in order to comply with section 59-101-430 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, which requires that lawful presence in the United States is verified before enrollment at any public institution of higher education. Verification of immigration status for non-citizens will be conducted by International student officials. For other students, a proof of citizenship verification process has been adopted to deter and prevent false claims of citizenship by unlawful aliens attempting to evade the eligibility requirements of section 59-101-430. Students who are not verified as citizens during the Federal financial aid application (FAFSA) process must present proof of citizenship in the form of one of the following acceptable documents:
- Copy of the South Carolina driver’s license if the student first became a licensed driver in the state after January 1, 2002;
- A Certified Birth Certificate indicating that you were born in the United States or a territory of the United States.
- Current U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport that has not been expired more than 10 years;
- Certificate of Naturalization — USCIS Form (N-550 or N-570);
- U.S. government issued Consular Report of Birth Abroad;
- Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561);
- Unexpired U.S. Active Duty/Retiree/Reservist Military ID Card (DOD DD-2)
The University can accept photocopies of birth certificates and other citizenship documents so long as we reserve the right to demand production of the certified original in the event we have any questions about whether the copy is true and accurate, or in the event any of the information on the copy is unreadable.
More information can be found on the Office of the University Registrar's website.
Behavioral/Criminal Infractions Policy
The University of South Carolina-Columbia expects students who join its community of scholars to uphold the tenets of the Carolinian Creed and to conduct themselves according to these standards. Therefore, all applicants for undergraduate admission must disclose any school behavioral, academic or criminal infraction charges occurring prior to their enrollment at the university. Questions pertaining to infractions will be asked on the application for admission. Applicants will be instructed to provide any updated information occurring after submission of the initial application for admission. The signature [or electronic signature] section of the application attests to the accuracy and completeness of all questions on the application. Failure to provide complete and correct information is grounds for immediate revocation of admission and cancellation of registration or enrollment at the University of South Carolina.
The questions dealing with infractions will direct the applicant to provide a written description of the infraction, appropriate date(s), and ultimate resolution or current disposition. Applicants disclosing an infraction will be flagged in the admissions system to prevent any definitive admission decision until the infraction is reviewed and the student cleared for final action by the director of admissions.
Behavioral infractions are defined as disciplinary violations at an educational institution (including a college or university) resulting in sanctions including suspension or expulsion since the 9th grade. A designated member of the admissions staff will review the application to first determine academic admissibility. If the student is admissible, the staff member will review the infraction and follow up as necessary, including contacting the applicant’s previous educational institutions. The facts of the case will be documented and sent to the director of admissions who will make the final determination of admission.
Criminal infractions include misdemeanors, felonies or other crimes more serious than minor traffic violations (e.g. speeding, driving without a license, etc.). A designated member of the admissions staff will review the application to first determine academic admissibility. If admissible, the staff member will review the criminal infraction to determine the appropriate course of action. If upon investigation the staff member deems the offense to be minor the case may be documented and referred to the director of admissions for a final determination of admission.
If the infraction is more serious, in most instances the case will be sent to a special ad hoc committee1 for review and determination of eligibility for admission and enrollment. The committee will have access to all application materials and information regarding the infraction and may at their discretion request additional information from the applicant or appropriate authorities outside the university.
The committee will make a formal recommendation of action to the director of admissions. If the committee approves admission they may also note any special conditions of enrollment or eligibility for on campus housing and/or referral to the campus Judicial Affairs Committee. The final decision will be made by the director of admissions.
The director of admissions will notify the applicant of the final admission decision. If there are special circumstances or conditions on the applicant’s admission these will be communicated to the applicant. If the student is deemed as unfit for university enrollment this will be communicated.
The director of admissions will provide an annual written report to the University Admissions Committee regarding number of cases reviewed and final action in each infraction category.
The ad hoc committee may include representation from the following offices: Judicial Affairs, Faculty Senate Committee on Admissions, Housing/Student Affairs, Campus Safety and Counseling Center. The director of admissions or designee will be ex officio and provide staff support to the committee.