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    Columbia Campus
  Jul 20, 2024
2009-2010 Undergraduate Studies Bulletin 
2009-2010 Undergraduate Studies Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Academic Programs


Academic Programs
General Education Requirements
Special Academic Opportunities

 Academic Programs

Undergraduate degree programs on the Columbia campus are offered through the Colleges of Arts and Sciences ; Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management ; Education ; Engineering and Computing ; Mass Communication and Information Studies ; Nursing ; Pharmacy ; and Social Work  and through the School of Music , the Arnold School of Public Health , and the Moore School of Business . Prospective teachers of art, music, and physical education will receive their baccalaureate degrees through the college that offers their subject areas. In addition to undergraduate degrees in early childhood, elementary, and middle level education and physical education, the College of Education offers a combination undergraduate/graduate program in cooperation with other colleges of the University and provides preparation for certification by the South Carolina State Department of Education. The curricula in Air Force Aerospace Studies, Army Military Science, and Naval Science are nondegree ROTC programs, to be taken optionally in addition to a regular academic major.

For a list of undergraduate programs offered on the Columbia Campus visit one of the following links:

General Education Requirements

The purpose of a complete undergraduate education at the University of South Carolina is to prepare students not just for what they will encounter in the years immediately following graduation, but for the increasingly complex world that will be theirs to comprehend, appreciate, direct, create, and leave to generations hence. To augment the in-depth study in a major field, the faculty at USC have developed a general education program of study that will allow students to become well-rounded, well-educated citizens. In most cases, students can select courses of interest from a varied list of general education courses to meet the following expectations:

1. Students communicate clearly in written English, demonstrating their ability to comprehend, analyze, and interrogate critically.

2. Students perform basic mathematical manipulations, display facility with the use of mathematics in framing concepts for mathematical analysis, and interpret data intelligently.

3. Students demonstrate an understanding of physical and/or life science phenomena and the use of scientific methods and theories.

4. Students demonstrate an understanding of the processes of human behavior and social and cultural interaction, as well as the use of social and behavioral science perspectives to interpret them.

5. Students demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of culture over time and its relation to the present.

6. Students communicate orally and in writing in another language.

7. Students demonstrate an appreciation of literary, visual or performing arts and their cultural context, as well as express informed personal responses to artistic creations.

All general education requirements leading to baccalaureate degrees in colleges and departments at USC Columbia shall include as a minimum:

1. English—6 credits at the level of ENGL 101  and 102  . Students who exempt English 101 and/or 102 without receiving credit toward graduation must enroll in 3 or 6 credits of English above the 100 level.

2. Numerical and Analytical Reasoning—6 credits, to be earned in one of the following ways: MATH 122  or 141  , plus an additional course from PHIL 110  , 111 , mathematics (at the next higher level), computer science, or statistics; two courses from one of the following fields—philosophy (110 and 111 only) or computer science or statistics.

3. Liberal Arts—12 credits, of which 3 hours must be in history, 3 hours in fine arts, and 3 hours in social or behavioral sciences.

4. Natural Sciences—7 credits, including at least one course with a laboratory requirement.

5. Foreign Languages—students shall demonstrate in one foreign language the ability to comprehend the topic and main ideas in written and, with the exception of Latin and Ancient Greek, spoken texts on familiar subjects. This ability can be demonstrated by achieving a score of two or better on a USC foreign language test. Those failing to do so must satisfactorily complete equivalent study of foreign language at USC.

Students must refer to the academic unit in which they are enrolled to determine how these requirements will be met. Most colleges and departments require more than the University’s minimum requirements in basic education course work.

Special Academic Opportunities

Special academic and cultural programs whose scope extends beyond the disciplinary field of any specific college, school, or department are offered at the University.

Cognates and Minors

The University recognizes the importance to students of in-depth study of an area to supplement their major field. Most colleges within the University require either a cognate or a minor in addition to the major as part of degree requirements. Some programs require neither.

The cognate is a minimum of 12 hours in advanced-level courses related to, but outside, the major. It is intended to support the course work in the major. Cognate courses may be drawn from one or more departments, depending on the individual interests and requirements of the student as determined by the student’s departmental major advisor. A cognate differs from a minor in that the courses must be above prerequisite level and may be distributed over more than one subject area.

The minor is normally a minimum of 18 hours of prescribed courses in one subject area. It is intended to develop a coherent basic preparation in a second field of study. It differs from the cognate inasmuch as the courses must be concentrated in one area and must follow a structured sequence.

A key distinction between a minor and a cognate is the point of origin. Minor course requirements are predetermined by academic disciplines and are offered to students not majoring in that field of study. Cognate course requirements are determined on an individual basis by a student and the major academic advisor. A cognate, consisting of courses outside a student’s major, may be concentrated in one discipline or may include several disciplines.

Students are advised to consult their academic dean as to whether a minor or cognate is required for their degree program. For a list of undergraduate minors visit Programs A-Z  .

Teacher Preparation

Teacher education programs at the University of South Carolina Columbia offer prospective teachers opportunity for liberal arts study in the humanities, the social sciences, the natural sciences, mathematics, and the arts integrated with professional education experiences.

Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle Level Teacher Education. Students who seek teacher certification in early childhood, elementary, or middle level education pursue an undergraduate degree in the College of Education in the area of their choice. Certification levels for students graduating after September 2005 are early childhood (preK-grade 3), elementary (grades 2-6), and middle level (grades 5-8). (Note: Students wishing to pursue a bachelor’s degree outside of the College of Education and a fifth-year master’s degree in either early childhood or elementary education should contact the College of Education’s Office of Student Affairs at 803-777-6732 or via e-mail at This option is not available to anyone entering the University after September 1, 2003.)

Programs in Secondary Education. Students interested in teaching in high schools may pursue undergraduate degree programs in the subject area they wish to teach. Students should consult an advisor in the appropriate college for information on course work required for teacher certification. This will include subject area and education courses. As early as the sophomore year, students observe and actively participate in classroom settings. Students then complete a fifth-year Master of Teaching (M.T.) degree. This program begins the summer after completion of the undergraduate degree. Deadline for application to the M.T. degree is October 1 prior to the summer of enrollment. To receive a recommendation for professional certification, students must complete both the baccalaureate degree and the M.T. in Education in the College of Education.

K-12 Programs. Students who wish to prepare to become art teachers may pursue an undergraduate degree program in the College of Arts and Sciences; those who wish to become physical education teachers will pursue an undergraduate degree program in the College of Education; those wishing to become music teachers will pursue an undergraduate degree in the School of Music; and those preparing to become K-12 teachers of dance will pursue the bachelor of arts degree with a major in dance in the College of Arts and Sciences. These programs are designed to offer prospective teachers intensive academic study in the subject area in combination with professional training for teaching kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Information regarding teacher preparation programs is available from the Office of Student Affairs, College of Education, Wardlaw College, Room 113.

South Carolina Honors College

South Carolina Honors College was established in 1978 as a means of encouraging gifted students to develop their full intellectual capacities. For additional information, please visit the  South Carolina Honors College section of this bulletin.

Extended University Programs

Extended University programs are designed for students who need courses at convenient sites and times compatible with their jobs or other schedule restrictions. Undergraduate courses are offered for regular academic credit through the Palmetto Programs, the Fort Jackson Program, the Evening Program, and Weekend Program. For further information about Extended University Programs, please visit the System Affairs and Extended University  section of this bulletin.

Interdisciplinary Independent Study

Interdisciplinary Independent Study provides the opportunity for students to pursue an area of particular interest which involves two or more academic departments. Through an independent study project of their own device, students may pursue topics beyond the scope of regular curricula or explore traditional problems more intensely than regular courses would permit.

Interdisciplinary Independent Study projects may be assigned up to 15 hours of variable credit, depending upon the nature of the individual project. This total is divided between major, elective, and/or cognate credit as determined by the student, the academic advisor, and the project directors. No more than nine hours, however, may be applied to a student’s major requirements.

Study Abroad

Each year hundreds of students participate in study abroad programs in many locations around the world. The Study Abroad Office staff is available to guide students through the study abroad process, providing information about study abroad options, scholarship opportunities and diverse academic, cultural, and linguistic experiences available to them. By developing and implementing quality programming, the Study Abroad staff helps prepare students interested in experiencing a culture other than their own prior to departure and facilitate their return to USC after their study abroad experience has ended.

In addition, the Study Abroad Office assists faculty in developing short-term international programs, provides support services for exchange students who attend USC, and administers exchange programs with international universities. The Study Abroad Office is continually developing new program options for the benefit of interested students.

For more information contact the Study Abroad Office at 803-777-7557, or visit our Web site at

University 101

University 101 is a 3-credit-hour seminar course provided for and offered to freshmen and to other undergraduate students (i.e., transfer students) in their first semester at USC Columbia. This course provides an introduction to the nature and importance of university education and a general orientation to the functions and resources of the University. Many sections are offered for students enrolled in a specific USC college or academic major.

The course helps new students adjust to the University, develop a better understanding of the learning process, and acquire essential academic success skills. It also provides students a support group in a critical year by examining problems common to the new-student experience. Extensive reading, writing, and research assignments relevant to the student’s college experience are required.

Offered in small classes of 20-25 students, University 101 is taught by faculty members and administrative personnel who have a special interest in working with new students. The course may be taken as part of a student’s regular load or as an overload. Course credit is awarded on a letter-grade basis. Credit is applicable as either elective or required credit toward most baccalaureate degrees offered by the University.

Women’s and Gender Studies

Established in 1974, women’s and gender studies at the University of South Carolina provides students with the opportunity to learn about the achievements, experiences, and perspectives of women in various disciplines throughout the curriculum. Because of its interdisciplinary focus, the courses offered through women’s and gender studies are not restricted to one college at the University.

In addition to individual courses, students may elect to pursue a minor or cognate in women’s studies. A student may also pursue an emphasis in the field through the Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies degree program. For details, visit the Women’s and Gender Studies section of the bulletin. Further information may be obtained from the College of Arts and Sciences or the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

Career and Pre-Professional Counseling

Students interested in careers requiring postgraduate professional training should plan their undergraduate curricula to meet the entrance requirements of the professional schools involved. Special advisors are available to offer assistance in career and curriculum planning in the following fields of postgraduate specialization:

Law (Eileen Korpita, pre-law advisor). Most law schools require for admission a B.S. or B.A. degree and an acceptable score on the Law School Admission Test. A solid liberal arts education is the best academic background for the study of law. Hence, no particular major or specific courses are required for successful performance in law school.

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Optometry, Podiatry (Eileen Korpita, health careers advisor). Students may obtain general advice concerning health related careers from the health careers advisor in Rooms 127-129, Sumwalt. Medical schools urge undergraduate students to obtain a broad liberal arts education but also require certain specific courses for admission. These include courses in the areas of biology, chemistry, English, mathematics, and physics. A very high scholastic average and a good score on the appropriate national admission examination (MCAT, DAT, etc.) are also essential for admission. Premedical, predental, preveterinary medicine, preoptometry, and prepodiatry students should have their course programs approved by the faculty advisor beginning with their freshman year in order to increase their chance for admission to a professional school.

Religious Vocations (Carl D. Evans, advisor). The professional schools of theology and religious education usually require a B.A. degree for admission. In regard to the undergraduate program, a broad liberal arts education with emphasis in religious studies, philosophy, English literature, history, and languages is recommended. Students planning professional religious vocations should work with the advisor in planning their academic program to be sure that they are adequately prepared for graduate professional study.

Education (Office of Student Affairs). Students may obtain general advice concerning teacher preparation from the Office of Student Affairs in the College of Education, Room 113, Wardlaw College.

Distance Education

Independent Learning by Correspondence

Independent learning courses are designed for students who are unable to attend classes on campus. Teachers and persons in business fields often find these courses useful for professional development, and many take courses for self-improvement.

Admission. Independent learning courses may begin at any time. Formal admission to the University is not required. However, degree-seeking students are responsible for determining that courses are applicable for their purposes. An application must be completed for enrollment. Textbooks are available online through the University Bookstore from MBS Direct.

Academic Regulations. The courses offered through independent learning meet the same University standards of prerequisites, sequence, etc., that are required in residence work. The maximum time for completion of a course is 12 months from the date of enrollment. The minimum time limit for completion for a college-level course is two months from the date of enrollment. University of South Carolina students who wish to enroll in independent learning courses must secure the approval of the dean of the school or college in which they are registered. Students planning to transfer independent learning credits to another institution should secure the approval of that institution prior to enrollment. A maximum of 30 semester hours earned through independent learning may be applied toward a degree. Students who wish to take independent learning courses during the last 30 semester hours of degree credits must petition for permission through the dean of the school or college in which they are majoring.

Examinations. Examinations must, when possible, be taken at the University. Otherwise, the examination must be supervised by an official approved by the Office of Distance Education. In order to receive credit for an independent learning course, a student must make a passing grade on the final examination. Students are expected to maintain a passing average on all written assignments, but the assignment grades will not be counted toward the final grade unless the student passes the final examination. Teacher Certification. Independent learning credits may be applicable for educator certificate renewal. Specific questions concerning South Carolina certification or renewal of teaching credentials should be directed to Division of Teacher Quality, Office of Teacher Certification, South Carolina Department of Education, 3700 Forest Drive, Suite 500, Columbia, SC 29204. Call them at 803-734-8466, or visit them on the Internet at Teachers in other states should contact their respective Departments of Education. For further information, contact the Office of Distance Education, 915 Gregg Street, 803-777-7210, or toll free at 800-922-2577. A course catalog is available at

Technology-Assisted Learning

The Office of Distance Education coordinates for various academic units courses offered with the assistance of technology. Courses are offered each fall, spring, and summer semester. Information about course offerings is available at Students interested in courses offered through distance education must be admitted through undergraduate admissions or The Graduate School of the University. All courses meet the same University standards of prerequisites, sequence, etc., that are required in residence work and are subject to the same academic regulations. For further information, contact the Office of Distance Education, 915 Gregg Street, 803-777-7210, or, toll-free, 800-922-2577.