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College of Charleston
At the College of Charleston, learning is not confined to the classroom. Students are...

College of Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina

The College of Charleston is a public liberal arts and sciences university located in the heart of historic Charleston, South Carolina. Founded in 1770, its mission remains to provide a superior quality undergraduate education at an affordable price.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
10,468 undergraduate students
92% of undergrad students are full time
37% male — 63% female
43% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
624 full-time faculty
367 part-time faculty
15 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Moderately residential: 29% of students live on campus

School Location

Charleston, South Carolina – on the coast, 116 miles from Columbia, South Carolina, 322 miles from Atlanta, Georgia, 238 miles from Jacksonville, Florida

Retention Fall 2015

79% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

68% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 5%
Black or African American 8%
White 79%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 4%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%


NCAA Division I, Southern Conference, 19 varsity sports, 8 men’s and 11 women’s teams, 20 club sports, and 21 intramurals

Other Information

College of Charleston is a four-year public liberal arts and sciences university founded in 1770

Academic Programs

Accounting; Anthropology; Art History; Arts Management; Athletic Training; Biochemistry; Biology, BS with Dentistry Emphasis; BS with Medicine Emphasis; Business Administration; Chemistry; Classical Studies; Communication, Computer Information Systems; Computer Science; Discovery Informatics; Early Childhood Education; Economics; Elementary Education; English; French; Geology; German; Historic Preservation & Community Planning; History; Hospitality & Tourism Management; International Business; Latin American & Caribbean Studies; Marine Biology; Mathematics; Middle Level Education; Music; Philosophy; Physical Education; Physics; Political Science; Psychology; Religious Studies; Sociology; Spanish; Special Education; Studio Art; Theatre; Urban Studies

More Distinctions

  • The Fiske Guide to Colleges includes CofC as one of the nation’s best and most interesting colleges

  • Newsweek named the college as one of the country’s most interesting schools

At the College of Charleston, learning is not confined to the classroom. Students are encouraged to study abroad, participate in independent research projects, and engage in experiential learning opportunities typically only available at the graduate level. Opportunities provided by the city of Charleston and its environs are essential components of a College of Charleston education. Students can take advantage of a beautifully preserved historic city surrounded by a diverse natural environment, a vibrant arts community, an innovative business climate, and a consortium of area schools.

Service Learning

Service-learning courses allow students to learn through meaningful work with the community. Students hands-on experiences help others and make classroom theory real and applicable to daily life. Service-learning opportunities change each year, but some examples of service-learning courses offered at the College include Exploration in Community Involvement and Global Awareness, Clinical Education Experience in Athletic Training, and Social Gerontology. A variety of volunteer opportunities also are available to College of Charleston students.

Study Abroad

The College offers several study-abroad options, including semester and summer programs, bilateral exchanges, and independent-study programs. Each year, the College’s Center for International Education (CIE) offers six semester-long, faculty-led study-abroad programs in places ranging from Santiago, Chile, to La Rochelle, France, to Havana, Cuba. The College also offers a consortium program at Annot, France.

The College of Charleston is first and foremost a teaching institution. Its low student to faculty ratio of fifteen to one allows students to work closely with nationally recognized faculty and to be valued as an integral part of the College’s close-knit community of scholars. As a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), the College of Charleston is committed to its focus on teaching. 

A Liberal Arts Education

The College of Charleston offers more than forty majors; the school’s most popular majors are business and economics, education, and arts. The College also boasts a strong program in biochemistry and a well-regarded Honors College that draws 6.5 percent of College of Charleston’s students. Building on its founding principles, the College has rigorous general education requirements, supporting its liberal arts context. All students must take at least the equivalent of four semesters of a foreign language and numerous cultural studies programs, reflecting the College of Charleston’s global focus and international orientation. In addition to modern languages, the College offers two majors in Classics, an AB degree for students whose primary interest is the study of Greek and Latin, and a BA degree, which focuses on Greek and Roman culture and civilization.


Undergraduate research and creative projects are encouraged at the College. Faculty members serve as mentors to students, and funding is available through competitive grants. Science, theater, sociology, and Spanish majors alike take advantage of these grants. Many projects utilize Charleston – a modern, urban, and historically significant city – as a living and learning laboratory


The College of Charleston is the oldest institution of higher learning in South Carolina and the thirteenth-oldest in the country. Founded in 1770 – three of its founder were signers of the Declaration of Independence. The College became a state college in 1970. Its fifty-two-acre campus, outlined by herringbone-patterned brick sidewalks, is located in historic Charleston, also known as the Holy City. In addition to its historic significance and beauty, Charleston is an important seaport and has a population of about one hundred thousand. Spoleto Festival USA, the world-renowned cultural festival, is held in Charleston every spring, highlighting a wide range of performing arts. The College hosts dozens of performances each year, as well.

Campus Activities

  • About 15 percent of students are from an area within one hundred miles of Charleston, and no more than 38 percent are from outside South Carolina.
  • There are approximately 150 student groups and clubs on campus, as well as fraternities and sororities.
  • The College’s athletes compete at the Division I level, and the sailing, crew, basketball, soccer, golf, and equestrian teams are especially strong.

Campus Living

College of Charleston students can choose from a variety of residential options, including a living and learning community for honors students in an historic house with a seminar room and study area. In keeping with the College’s strong sense of tradition, many buildings on campus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Another traditional touch is the graduation dress code: men wear summer tuxedos and women wear white dresses and carry bouquets of red roses.

Commitment to Service

College of Charleston students explore the world beyond Charleston, participating in alternative spring-break service projects such as helping the homeless in Chicago, doing environmental work in Seattle, and working with schools in the Dominican Republic. Closer to home, CofC students and faculty work together in the Charleston community on service projects such as the annual MLK Challenge.

Career Planning

Many College of Charleston alumni are willing to offer career assistance and advice to students through the College’s Career Center. The Career Mentor Network allows students to connect with alumni to gather information about a particular position or field, including required skills and information on the employment market in a variety of geographical areas. Students can supplement their academic transcript with a co-curricular record of campus involvement and activities to showcase their skills and expertise when applying for jobs and graduate programs.


The Higdon Student Leadership Center provides programs that create opportunities for student involvement and learning through individual and group leadership activities. One such program, Leadership College of Charleston, gives thirty junior and senior student leaders, selected through a competitive application and interview process, the opportunity to meet monthly with one another and to meet local and state leaders to discuss issues facing them as future leaders of society, communities, and corporations. The opportunity to network with off-campus leaders creates opportunities to explore internship and employment possibilities.


Admissions Fall 2015

11,722 Total Applicants 
9,043 Total Admissions 
2,237 Total Freshman Enrollment

77.15% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 520 610
SAT Math 510 600
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 23 28
ACT Math 21 26
ACT English 23 29
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator


Tuition $11,252
Fees $70
Total $11,322
Room and Board (on campus) $11,629
Room Only $7,839
Board Only $3,790
Estimated Total On Campus $22,951


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

76% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
43% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$8,834 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$6,707 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates