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College of Arts and Sciences

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Departments, Schools and Programs

Here's a quick look at our departments, schools and academic programs. 

Departments and Schools

In the African American Studies Department, you will use interdisciplinary tools and resources to study the experiences of people of African descent and to evaluate historical, cultural, social, economic and political developments in South Carolina, the South, the United States, and beyond.

When you study anthropology, you'll have the opportunity to conduct research and fieldwork locally and abroad. Through our interdisciplinary approach to cultural, prehistoric and historic, linguistic, and biological anthropology you’ll learn to appreciate cultural and biological diversity.

Internationally recognized research projects and first-class instruction are the hallmarks of the University of South Carolina’s Department of Biological Sciences. Graduates of the department are pursuing careers in academic institutions, research institutes, governmental agencies, health facilities, industry, and public education.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry isn't just one of the best in the Southeast; it's one of the strongest in the country. The discipline offers a challenge for everyone and provides unsurpassed opportunities to solve significant scientific problems and benefit society as a whole. Chemists are in demand in industry, government and academic labs.

The state-of-the-art Criminology and Criminal Justice Department focuses on the causes of and societal responses to crime and deviant behavior. We prepare students to address the challenges of crime in society as criminal justice professionals, researchers, and educators.

Understanding and caring for our planet requires an appreciation of the sweeping arc from the solid earth, to freshwater and marine systems, to the relationship of humans to those environments. Our mission at the School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment is to achieve an understanding of Earth’s diverse environments and human relationships through research, and to convey that understanding through education, and outreach to the broader community.

We believe in the power of words and the value of writing and creative expression.

Whatever your dreams or career aspirations, English Language and Literature courses provide you with adaptable skills for a changing world: the skills of reading carefully, communicating clearly, and thinking creatively about issues that matter to you.

Since classical times, geography has been a discipline of explorers and travelers. Geography takes you outside the classroom, offering opportunities to apply and to enhance what you've learned in the field. Our students can be found measuring trees at Congaree National Park, mapping historic buildings in downtown Columbia, and launching weather balloons from campus. Our Department of Geography is ranked among the top departments in the discipline by the National Research Council.

When you study history, you gain unique perspectives about the past, how it has impacted the present, and how you can apply your knowledge to make a better future. 

Knowing a second language is something that everyone can benefit from.

If you want to travel, you need to know other languages. If you want to be successful in business, you need to understand other cultures. If you want to conduct research in the international community, you need to understand the language your peers are speaking.

We can help you reach your goals.

Mathematics has an impressive research record both in pure mathematics and in its applications to science and industry. Whether pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree, our program trains students in the analytical skills needed to excel in the flourishing knowledge economy.

In the Department of Philosophy, we'll teach you how to examine a complex problem, analyze its internal logic, question assumptions, understand other points of view, and find unique and effective solutions to problems.

The Physics and Astronomy Department is known for the global impact our students, faculty and alumni make with their research and cutting-edge international collaboration. We have ample hands-on research opportunities for all of our students—from undergraduates to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The research opportunities and classroom instruction we provide pay off, too. We have an excellent record of launching our undergraduate and graduate degree recipients in rewarding jobs, with the majority of them going on to successful careers in research, academia and industry all over the world. 

Whether it’s a step toward law school or the beginning of a career in public administration, our Political Science program is designed to create the leaders of tomorrow by addressing the central questions of politics.

As a psychology major you will learn to use research methods and statistics to study the brain and behavior, and apply these methods to solving some of humankind’s most important issues. Coupled with critical thinking skills gained through a strong liberal arts education, our majors graduate well-equipped to pursue careers in psychology, health, business, education and law to name a few. 

The study of religion provides insight into the fascinating variety of ways in which people live their lives in light of the sacred. How do they understand the existence of God or gods? Where do they seek answers to questions of fundamental concern? How do they find meaning and purpose in life?

Do you ever wonder why people behave the way they do? Do you want a degree that's flexible enough to take you down a multitude of career paths? Studying sociology will help you understand how society and individuals function together while giving you the research, communication and analytical skills you need for any career path.

Statistics has applications in everything from medicine and public health to engineering and sports. Not only that, statisticians and data scientists are consistently rated as the best jobs by numerous publications due to their high demand, excellent working conditions, and high salaries.

In addition to world-class theatre and dance productions, the Department of Theatre and Dance offers you the rigorous instruction and experience necessary to succeed in the professional world.


The School of Visual Art and Design boasts most comprehensive Visual Arts program in South Carolina. We offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in Art Education, Art History, Studio Art, and Media Arts.

Women's and Gender Studies will prepare you to think critically and examine society through the lens of equality and social justice. Our interdisciplinary field offers you the opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics ranging from women’s health to globalization. The department looks at gender and its intersections with race, class and other important categories of identity to understand the lives of women and men.

Interdisciplinary Programs

With an interdisciplinary program of study focusing on the natural sciences, combined with outstanding academic and healthcare resources and research facilities, the Cardiovascular Technology degree program helps prepare students to work directly with heart patients. 

Cyber Intelligence prepares you to master all sides of cybersecurity challenges — political, psychological, and global. Courses from computer science, mathematics, geography, philosophy, political science and more will give you a holistic foundation for understanding and solving problems at the intersection of technology, human behavior and policy.

Data drives the modern, global economy. The University of South Carolina offers several pathways into careers using data to solve real-world problems, including the only undergraduate data analytics degree offered in the Southeast. 

The BS in Environmental Science curriculum is designed to give students a strong scientific background while allowing them the flexibility to choose courses that address their specific interests.

The BA in Environmental Studies degree incorporates critical social, economic, policy, communications, and/or humanities components. The curriculum prepares students to address complex environmental problems requiring knowledge and understanding from multiple social and science disciplines that are framed in an environmental context.

The Film and Media Studies Program is devoted to the critical study of media culture. In a world where we interact daily with one screen after another—on our cell phones, televisions, mobile devices as well as at the multiplex—our students gain the knowledge and skills for understanding and engaging the work of screen media in society.

Students in any major can take the forensics minor, but a background in physical science is recommended to pursue a career in the field. The minor pairs well with majors in anthropology, biology, chemistry and biochemistry, criminal justice, neuroscience, psychology and others. 

Jewish Studies is an important component of the larger liberal arts curriculum. Fundamentally interdisciplinary in its approach and international in its focus, the Jewish Studies Program seeks to add an important new dimension to the scholarly work being done in Jewish Studies in South Carolina. 

The Linguistics Program at South Carolina is comprehensive in its scope. Its mission is to train students to pursue research and teach in a wide range of linguistic subdisciplines. The program strives to develop students' analytical skills and to encourage creative, critical approaches to data, models, and theories.

The BS in Marine Science offers a holistic approach to the study of the oceans. Interdisciplinary in nature, the degree draws upon subject matter in many different fields of scientific endeavor, including Geology, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Environmental, Physics, Engineering, Environmental Health and Social Sciences combined into an individually-tailored curriculum.

The BS in Neuroscience brings together the multiple scientific disciplines that focus on the nervous system. This program offers students a strong background in basic science alongside specialization within a concentration area and extensive opportunities for hands-on research experience.

Our outstanding faculty and interdisciplinary approach will help you gain a greater understanding of African politics, history and culture

Explore North Africa, East Africa, Southwest Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia in our Islamic Studies minor. These disparate places have been tied together over centuries through vast networks created by trade, imperialism, religion, and human migration. 

The Law and Society minor is designed to excite your interest in the law, get you reading, thinking and writing critically about it, and encourage you to think about the complexities of the role of law in society.

The Medical Humanities and Culture minor offers a range of courses in the humanities and social sciences that explore the ethical, social, representational and historical dimensions of disease, health, disability and health care.

Explore Central Europe, Russia and the Caucasus, and Central and Northern Asia. The Russian and Eurasian Studies program sponsors a series of lectures by visiting speakers, research presentations by USC faculty and graduate students, and an undergraduate minor. 

As the state where the Civil War began, South Carolina has always been at the forefront of the history of the American South. The Institute for Southern Studies (ISS) at the University of South Carolina helps tell this important story.

Centers, Institutes and Programs

The Ann Johnson Institute for Science, Technology and Society builds diverse communities for the study of technology, medicine and science in past and present societies. It fosters collaboration across colleges and programs to bring together scientists, humanists and members of the medical profession.  

Learning to care for our incredible coast requires a hands-on approach. That’s why, in addition to our lab facilities in Columbia, we study in our 17,500-acre living laboratory at the coast.

Lives and property can be saved if we can learn what a disaster, like a hurricane, will do before it occurs. The institute studies planning, responses and works to identify trends in natural disasters.

The History Center nurtures scholarship and engages with the community to promote the historical craft.

The mission of the Humanities Collaborative at the University of South Carolina is to advance interdisciplinary humanistic inquiry by initiating new collaborations and supporting ongoing programs among faculty, students, and members of the public.   

Established in 2007 to encourage the scholarly study and public understanding of race andBblack life, the Institute for African American Research achieved official status from the Board of Directors on April 7, 2009, and on June 17, 2009, from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education.

As the state where the Civil War began, South Carolina has always been at the forefront of the history of the American South. The Institute for Southern Studies (ISS) at the University of South Carolina helps tell this important story.

Unlocking the mysteries of the mind-brain connection is one of the great scientific challenges of the 21st century. The University of South Carolina is poised to become a world leader in cognitive neuroscience research with the establishment of the Institute for Mind and Brain.

At The McCausland Center, researchers and students explore one of the greatest frontiers in science: the brain.

Museum Management Graduate Certificate will give you specialized, hands-on museum training to complement your other academic studies. We'll use McKissick Museum as a teaching tool to train you to work in one of our nation's rapidly growing institutions.

The Parenting and Family Research Center conducts studies aimed at understanding and promoting the well-being of children in the context of family, school and community.

The Center for Science Education is committed to creating better science educators through training, program development and specialized training.

How has human life and culture evolved over the millennia? To study this crucial question, the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology was established in 1963 as a University of South Carolina research institute and a State cultural resource management agency.

The Walker Institute brings the world to the University of South Carolina. Through two interdisciplinary majors, six minors focused on international regions and a host of events on wide-ranging global themes, you’ll learn how to understand and shape our interconnected world.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.