Best Colleges in South Carolina

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With its southern charm and hospitality, South Carolina is home to several higher education institutions that offer degree programs in fields ranging from marine biology to business management or health sciences. South Carolina's best colleges are located in towns with rich histories, such as downtown Charleston, right off the East Coast, and close to resorts like Myrtle Beach. These schools give students the opportunity to study abroad, participate in numerous student organizations, and play sports on an intramural or varsity team.

Choosing a school to attend is a daunting task. However, the colleges in South Carolina are some of the best in the country and could be a great fit for students looking for quality education in the South.

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Best Public and Private Colleges in South Carolina

#1 Clemson University - Clemson, South Carolina. As a public land-grant research university, Clemson University serves over 26,000 students and offers 80+ undergraduate programs and 130+ graduate degree programs. Not only is Clemson big on traditions and student life, but during the fiscal year of 2021, $162.2 million was awarded in external research funding.

#2 University of South Carolina - Columbia, South Carolina. Serving the heart of South Carolina for over 200 years, the University of South Carolina is a public institution home to over 300 areas of study and 60 nationally-ranked academic programs. U of SC has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as an R1 university for "very high research activity."

#3 Furman University - Greenville, South Carolina. Established in 1826, Furman University is a private liberal arts school with top-notch faculty and a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. With 155 student organizations and over 70 areas of study; the student body has a multitude of options to enrich their studies and life outside of the classroom.

#4 Wofford College - Spartanburg, South Carolina. Wofford College is a private liberal arts college and is one of the institutions of higher education in the southeastern U.S. that was founded before the American Civil War that still operates today. Wofford serves under 2,000 undergraduates and offers 27 degree programs and dozens of minors and concentrations.

#5 Citadel Military College of South Carolina - Charleston, South Carolina. Operating as a public senior military college, Citadel Military College has an 80% acceptance rate and was ranked the #1 Public College in the South for schools with up to a master's degree by U.S. News & World Report. At The Citadel, 1 in 3 cadets earn a commission into the U.S. Armed Forces after graduating, and it is one of six military colleges in the U.S.

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#6 Southern Wesleyan University - Central, South Carolina. As a private institution centered in the Christian faith, Southern Wesleyan University serves 1,300 students — 579 of which are enrolled in an online program. The average financial aid package first-year students receive is $23,982, and SWU has a student-faculty ratio of 14:1.

#7 College of Charleston - Charleston, South Carolina. The College of Charleston is the oldest college in South Carolina and serves over 10,000 students, which represent 48 U.S. states and territories, and 56 international countries. The Princeton Review ranked CofC #1 among public master's-level universities and the cost of attendance after aid averages to $19,654.

#8 Newberry College - Newberry, South Carolina. Established in 1856, Newberry College is a private Lutheran College with a student body of 1,250 and an acceptance rate of 57%. In 1943, Newberry became one of 131 institutions to participate in the V-12 Navy College Training Program and trained 1,000 cadets before the college returned to civilian status in 1945.

#9 Winthrop University - Rock Hill, South Carolina. As a public university, Winthrop University offers bachelor's, master's, and specialist degrees in-person or online to students. With over 46 undergraduate programs to choose from, the average class size at Winthrop is 18 and it has been ranked by U.S. News as a top regional college for over 20 years.

#10 University of South Carolina Upstate - Spartanburg, South Carolina. The University of South Carolina Upstate has had an over $500 million annual impact on the state and was recognized as one of the top colleges for veterans in the South. The school was previously called the University of South Carolina Spartanburg until 2004 and has taught over 30,000 alumni since its inception.

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Best Colleges in South Carolina for Pre-Med

#1 Clemson University - Clemson, South Carolina. As a public land-grant research university, Clemson University serves over 26,000 students and offers 80+ undergraduate programs and 130+ graduate degree programs. Not only is Clemson big on traditions and student life, but during the fiscal year of 2021, $162.2 million was awarded in external research funding.

#2 University of South Carolina - Columbia, South Carolina. Serving the heart of South Carolina for over 200 years, the University of South Carolina is a public institution home to over 300 areas of study and 60 nationally-ranked academic programs. U of SC has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as an R1 university for "very high research activity."

#3 Bob Jones University - Greenville, South Carolina. Bob Jones University is a private, non-denominational university with a student body of 3,000 students —33% of which were homeschooled. Tuition begins at $20,900, and the average cost after financial assistance is $14,000.

#4 Southern Wesleyan University - Central, South Carolina. As a private institution centered in the Christian faith, Southern Wesleyan University serves 1,300 students — 579 of which are enrolled in an online program. The average financial aid package first-year students receive is $23,982, and SWU has a student-faculty ratio of 14:1.

#5 Newberry College - Newberry, South Carolina. Established in 1856, Newberry College is a private Lutheran College with a student body of 1,250 and an acceptance rate of 57%. In 1943, Newberry became one of 131 institutions to participate in the V-12 Navy College Training Program and trained 1,000 cadets before the college returned to civilian status in 1945.

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Best Colleges in South Carolina for Teaching

#1 Furman University - Greenville, South Carolina. Established in 1826, Furman University is a private liberal arts school with top-notch faculty and a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. With 155 student organizations and over 70 areas of study; the student body has a multitude of options to enrich their studies and life outside of the classroom.

#2 Wofford College - Spartanburg, South Carolina. Wofford College is a private liberal arts college and is one of the institutions of higher education in the southeastern U.S. that was founded before the American Civil War that still operates today. Wofford serves under 2,000 undergraduates and offers 27 degree programs and dozens of minors and concentrations.

#3 Presbyterian College - Clinton, South Carolina. As a private, non-profit institution, Presbyterian College offers a multitude of degrees of varying education levels with small class sizes and faculty members that have been awarded South Carolina Professors of the Year. Roughly 41% of students participate in Greek life, and 90% of the student body belongs to an athletic or intramural program.

#4 Citadel Military College of South Carolina - Charleston, South Carolina. Operating as a public senior military college, Citadel Military College has an 80% acceptance rate and was ranked the #1 Public College in the South for schools with up to a master's degree by U.S. News & World Report. At The Citadel, 1 in 3 cadets earn a commission into the U.S. Armed Forces after graduating, and it is one of six military colleges in the U.S.

#5 Claflin University - Orangeburg, South Carolina. As a private university, Claflin University offers hands-on experiences and courses taught by top-esteemed faculty ‚ 83% of which hold terminal degrees in their field. At Claflin, students can get a bachelor's degree in one of its 37 programs and can choose from 7 online programs.

Best Art Colleges in South Carolina

#1 Lander University - Greenwood, South Carolina. Lander University is a public, state-assisted university that provides over 3,8000 students with top liberal arts and sciences programs, as well as professional business, education, and nursing programs. In 2019, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education named Lander the fastest-growing public university in the state.

#2 Furman University - Greenville, South Carolina. Established in 1826, Furman University is a private liberal arts school with top-notch faculty and a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. With 155 student organizations and over 70 areas of study; the student body has a multitude of options to enrich their studies and life outside of the classroom.

#3 Winthrop University - Rock Hill, South Carolina. As a public university, Winthrop University offers bachelor's, master's, and specialist degrees in-person or online to students. With over 46 undergraduate programs to choose from, the average class size at Winthrop is 18 and it has been ranked by U.S. News as a top regional college for over 20 years.

#4 University of South Carolina Upstate - Spartanburg, South Carolina. The University of South Carolina Upstate has had an over $500 million annual impact on the state and was recognized as one of the top colleges for veterans in the South. The school was previously called the University of South Carolina Spartanburg until 2004 and has taught over 30,000 alumni since its inception.

#5 University of South Carolina Aiken - Aiken, South Carolina. Established in 1961, the University of South Carolina Aiken is a public school that offers bachelor's degree programs in over 30 areas, as well as the University of South Carolina Extended Graduate Campus programs for students interested in extra graduate courses or degree programs. USC Aiken serves over 3,000 undergraduates and 250 graduate students, and the average cost after aid is $12,000.

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Best Business Colleges in South Carolina

#1 University of South Carolina - Columbia, South Carolina. Serving the heart of South Carolina for over 200 years, the University of South Carolina is a public institution home to over 300 areas of study and 60 nationally-ranked academic programs. U of SC has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as an R1 university for "very high research activity."

#2 Clemson University - Clemson, South Carolina. As a public land-grant research university, Clemson University serves over 26,000 students and offers 80+ undergraduate programs and 130+ graduate degree programs. Not only is Clemson big on traditions and student life, but during the fiscal year of 2021, $162.2 million was awarded in external research funding.

#3 Furman University - Greenville, South Carolina. Established in 1826, Furman University is a private liberal arts school with top-notch faculty and a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. With 155 student organizations and over 70 areas of study; the student body has a multitude of options to enrich their studies and life outside of the classroom.

#4 Southern Wesleyan University - Central, South Carolina. As a private institution centered in the Christian faith, Southern Wesleyan University serves 1,300 students — 579 of which are enrolled in an online program. The average financial aid package first-year students receive is $23,982, and SWU has a student-faculty ratio of 14:1.

#5 Claflin University - Orangeburg, South Carolina. As a private university, Claflin University offers hands-on experiences and courses taught by top-esteemed faculty ‚ 83% of which hold terminal degrees in their field. At Claflin, students can get a bachelor's degree in one of its 37 programs, and can choose from 7 online programs.

Best Colleges in South Carolina for Psychology

#1 University of South Carolina - Columbia, South Carolina. Serving the heart of South Carolina for over 200 years, the University of South Carolina is a public institution home to over 300 areas of study and 60 nationally-ranked academic programs. U of SC has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as an R1 university for "very high research activity."

#2 Furman University - Greenville, South Carolina. Established in 1826, Furman University is a private liberal arts school with top-notch faculty and a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. With 155 student organizations and over 70 areas of study; the student body has a multitude of options to enrich their studies and life outside of the classroom.

#3 Wofford College - Spartanburg, South Carolina. Wofford College is a private liberal arts college and is one of the institutions of higher education in the southeastern U.S. that was founded before the American Civil War that still operates today. Wofford serves under 2,000 undergraduates and offers 27 degree programs and dozens of minors and concentrations.

#4 Presbyterian College - Clinton, South Carolina. As a private, non-profit institution, Presbyterian College offers a multitude of degrees of varying education levels with small class sizes and faculty members that have been awarded South Carolina Professors of the Year. Roughly 41% of students participate in Greek life, and 90% of the student body belongs to an athletic or intramural program.

#5 Lander University - Greenwood, South Carolina. Lander University is a public, state-assisted university that provides over 3,8000 students with top liberal arts and sciences programs, as well as professional business, education, and nursing programs. In 2019, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education named Lander the fastest-growing public university in the state.

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Best Colleges in South Carolina for Computer Science

#1 Wofford College - Spartanburg, South Carolina. Wofford College is a private liberal arts college and is one of the institutions of higher education in the southeastern U.S. that was founded before the American Civil War that still operates today. Wofford serves under 2,000 undergraduates and offers 27 degree programs and dozens of minors and concentrations.

#2 Presbyterian College - Clinton, South Carolina. As a private, non-profit institution, Presbyterian College offers a multitude of degrees of varying education levels with small class sizes and faculty members that have been awarded South Carolina Professors of the Year. Roughly 41% of students participate in Greek life, and 90% of the student body belongs to an athletic or intramural program.

#3 University of South Carolina Upstate - Spartanburg, South Carolina. The University of South Carolina Upstate has had an over $500 million annual impact on the state and was recognized as one of the top colleges for veterans in the South. The school was previously called the University of South Carolina Spartanburg until 2004 and has taught over 30,000 alumni since its inception.

#4 College of Charleston - Charleston, South Carolina. The College of Charleston is the oldest college in South Carolina and serves over 10,000 students, which represent 48 U.S. states and territories, and 56 international countries. The Princeton Review ranked CofC #1 among public master's-level universities and the cost of attendance after aid averages to $19,654.

#5 Coastal Carolina University - Conway, South Carolina. As a public university, Coastal Carolina University has a total undergraduate enrollment of over 9,000 and an acceptance rate of 70%. The public school is right near Myrtle Beach and other resort areas on the East Coast and offers over 100 undergraduate and over 30 graduate-level courses of study.

Best Colleges in South Carolina for Criminal Justice

#1 Citadel Military College of South Carolina - Charleston, South Carolina. Operating as a public senior military college, Citadel Military College has an 80% acceptance rate and was ranked the #1 Public College in the South for schools with up to a master's degree by U.S. News & World Report. At The Citadel, 1 in 3 cadets earn a commission into the U.S. Armed Forces after graduating, and it is one of six military colleges in the U.S.

#2 Charleston Southern University - Charleston, South Carolina. As the Lowcountry's only Christian university, Charleston Southern University serves over 3,3000 students and offers 29 online programs in addition to its 60+ undergraduate programs. It is a military-friendly school and is strongly rooted in the gospel and in deepening the faith of the student body to help them explore their purpose.

#3 Columbia College - South Carolina - Columbia, South Carolina. Columbia College is a private liberal arts school that began as a women's college and welcomed its first coed freshman class in the Fall of 2021. About 97% of graduates are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduating, and 30% of graduates from the school go on to get advanced degrees.

#4 Lander University - Greenwood, South Carolina. Lander University is a public, state-assisted university that provides over 3,800 students with top liberal arts and sciences programs, as well as professional business, education, and nursing programs. In 2019, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education named Lander the fastest-growing public university in the state.

#5 Anderson University - Anderson, South Carolina. Anderson University is a selective, Christian university that offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in-person and online, giving the student body the opportunity to earn an education that fits their personal schedule. The university participates in NCAA Division II athletics and recently announced it would add a football team starting in 2024.

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Best Engineering Colleges in South Carolina

#1 Clemson University - Clemson, South Carolina. As a public land-grant research university, Clemson University serves over 26,000 students and offers 80+ undergraduate programs and 130+ graduate degree programs. Not only is Clemson big on traditions and student life, but during the fiscal year of 2021, $162.2 million was awarded in external research funding.

#2 Furman University - Greenville, South Carolina. Established in 1826, Furman University is a private liberal arts school with top-notch faculty and a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. With 155 student organizations and over 70 areas of study; the student body has a multitude of options to enrich their studies and life outside of the classroom.

#3 Winthrop University - Rock Hill, South Carolina. As a public university, Winthrop University offers bachelor's, master's, and specialist degrees in-person or online to students. With over 46 undergraduate programs to choose from, the average class size at Winthrop is 18 and it has been ranked by U.S. News as a top regional college for over 20 years.

#4 Coastal Carolina University - Conway, South Carolina. As a public university, Coastal Carolina University has a total undergraduate enrollment of over 9,000 and an acceptance rate of 70%. The public school is right near Myrtle Beach and other resort areas on the East Coast and offers over 100 undergraduate and over 30 graduate-level courses of study.

#5 College of Charleston - Charleston, South Carolina. The College of Charleston is the oldest college in South Carolina and serves over 10,000 students, which represent 48 U.S. states and territories, and 56 international countries. The Princeton Review ranked CofC #1 among public master's-level universities and the cost of attendance after aid averages to $19,654.

Best Colleges in South Carolina for Nursing

#1 University of South Carolina - Columbia, South Carolina. Serving the heart of South Carolina for over 200 years, the University of South Carolina is a public institution home to over 300 areas of study and 60 nationally-ranked academic programs. U of SC has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as an R1 university for "very high research activity."

#2 Anderson University - Anderson, South Carolina. Anderson University is a selective, Christian university that offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in-person and online, giving the student body the opportunity to earn an education that fits their personal schedule. The university participates in NCAA Division II athletics and recently announced it would add a football team starting in 2024.

#3 Presbyterian College - Clinton, South Carolina. As a private, non-profit institution, Presbyterian College offers a multitude of degrees of varying education levels with small class sizes and faculty members that have been awarded South Carolina Professors of the Year. Roughly 41% of students participate in Greek life, and 90% of the student body belongs to an athletic or intramural program.

#4 College of Charleston - Charleston, South Carolina. The College of Charleston is the oldest college in South Carolina and serves over 10,000 students, which represent 48 U.S. states and territories, and 56 international countries. The Princeton Review ranked CofC #1 among public master's-level universities and the cost of attendance after aid averages to $19,654.

#5 Erskine College - Due West, South Carolina. Erskine College is a private Christian institution and one of the oldest colleges in the South. The small institution began as an academy for men but began to admit women in 1894 and has grown to be a leading college for students pursuing a graduate degree or medical school.

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Frequently Asked Questions About South Carolina Colleges

How many colleges are in South Carolina?

There are currently 61 operating colleges and universities in South Carolina. The largest school in South Carolina is the University of South Carolina — with a student body of almost 30,000.

With Bold.org’s Schools of Interest you can discover majors, programs, and Q&A about South Carolina schools!

Are colleges free in South Carolina?

Colleges are not free in South Carolina, but it is possible to get up to 90% of the costs covered by outside scholarships and scholarships from the school you'll be attending.

Fortunately, Bold.org has exclusive scholarships for university students, helping take some of that financial burden off their shoulders. New scholarships are added daily, supplying various scholarship opportunities for dental school students.

Is community college free in South Carolina?

Not all community college is free in South Carolina. A new initiative by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster called SC Workforce Scholarships for the Future will assist students interested in attending the state's 16 technical colleges with no tuition cost. The governor called upon the General Assembly for additional funding to extend the program into 2024.

How to establish residency in South Carolina

Establishing residency for college is an important indicator during the college search, especially when it comes to determining how much you'll be expected to pay for school. To establish residency in South Carolina, an individual must live in the state for 12 consecutive months and change any documentation that will be needed (driver's license, vehicle registration).

Students must provide evidence of their residency and document that they meet the benefit of in-state tuition. Such documents include a statement of full-time employment, possession of a valid South Carolina driver's license, or ownership of a principal residence in South Carolina.

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