University of South Carolina Upstate - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
University of South Carolina Upstate
Up. is much more than a direction or a place. At USC Upstate, it’s...

University of South Carolina Upstate

Spartanburg, South Carolina

USC Upstate offers more than 40 bachelor’s degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and teacher education, as well as master’s degrees in education, informatics, and nursing. It also offers a growing number of courses through distance-learning education. Many of its academic programs are accredited, nationally ranked, and bursting with unparalleled opportunities for research and internships. The USC Upstate student body is diverse, representing over 45 states and countries and enriching the campus with a world of perspectives.


USC Upstate’s education is unlike any other. Its nationally renowned School of Nursing is equipped with a hands-on simulation center, and its innovative facilities are matched by a cutting-edge curriculum and professionally trained faculty. Its education program is among just 28 percent in the U.S. to be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and its undergraduate business program is among just 15 percent worldwide to be accredited by AACSB International—the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


One of the fastest-growing universities in South Carolina, USC Upstate provides academic quality and a distinctive way of approaching both life and learning. Students are encouraged to make the most of every challenge, to achieve more than they ever dreamed possible.

Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
5,495 undergraduate students
96% of undergrad students are full time
35% male — 65% female
7% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-20187 Academic Year
246 full-time faculty
205 part-time faculty
15 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
52% of first-year students live on campus
16% of all students live on campus

School Location

Substance and beauty. It’s a powerful combination, and it describes perfectly the USC Upstate campus. Located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, USC Upstate offers modern, cutting-edge learning facilities, technology, and student resources on 330 pristine acres of rolling hills, creeks, trees, and green space. Students take advantage of an ideal location along the thriving I-85 corridor—with close proximity to Atlanta and Charlotte. Home to more than one million people, the Spartanburg/Greenville area boasts the highest per capita international investment of any county in the nation. Professional and recreational sports. The Blue Ridge Mountains. Concerts, clubs, and culture. All are there for the taking for students at USC Upstate.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences  
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X


74% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full-time, first-time freshmen)


42% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 3%
Hispanic/Latino 5%
Black or African American 27%
White 55%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 4%


USC Upstate’s beloved Spartan athletic teams are a source of pride for many on campus. Joining the Big South Conference in Summer 2018, the university’s 17 NCAA Division I programs include basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, cross country, and track and field for both women and men; baseball for men; and softball and volleyball for women.

Student-athletes excel in the classroom as well as on the field; approximately 66 percent earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher in a recent semester. And in addition to their fantastic educational resources, they also enjoy the best possible facilities and resources. The G.B. Hodge Center, for example, features world-class training facilities, the 15th-best Division I college basketball arena, and more excellent resources for every athlete. The Louis P. Howell Athletic Complex is regarded as one of the top sports venues in the Southeast, featuring the County University Soccer Stadium, Spartanburg County Youth Soccer Fields, Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park, Cyrill Softball Stadium, and Tennis Complex.

“We don’t view Spartan athletics as separate from the University, rather an integral part of our community. Obviously we’re proud of the many championships our program has won, but equally important to us is the fact that we’re a family with core principles of caring, support, and responsibility. This is why Upstate produces so many alumni who become leaders in the community.” 
– Chris Hawkins, Head Softball Coach, Associate Athletic Director


Founded in 1967, USC Upstate is a public, regional comprehensive university serving the Upstate of South Carolina. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the recognized regional accrediting body in the Southern states.

USC Upstate is recognized nationally among its peer institutions for its excellence in education and commitment to students, involvement in Upstate communities, operational and managerial effectiveness, civility and common purpose, and the clarity and integrity of its mission.

More Distinctions

  • Seven USC Upstate faculty have won Fulbright Scholarships to conduct research in international locations.

  • In 2017, USC Upstate was named as a “Top Fulbright-producing Institution” by the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES).

  • USC Upstate is ranked No. 11 in Ethnic and Racial Diversity.

  • U.S. News & World Report recently recognized USC Upstate as No. 2 in its list of the Top Public Regional Universities in the South and No. 4 for Best University in the South for Veterans.

Undergraduate Research

Providing students with opportunities to conduct meaningful research alongside expert faculty is a significant part of the USC Upstate mission. The university provides dedicated resources like the Center for Research and Scholarship Support, as well as outlets like the SC Upstate Research Symposium and Student Research Journal, that make it possible for students to present and publish their findings. In 2018, the Research Symposium drew more than 300 participants from 19 colleges and universities across the region.

Study Abroad

There are many international experiences available to all majors at USC Upstate. For example, Nursing students have the option to provide critical healthcare services to children and families in Costa Rica or South Africa, while Criminal Justice students can travel to Germany to study cross-cultural approaches to crime. Graphic Design students travel to Iceland, and Honors Program students to Italy.

Internationally respected organizations like BMW, Michelin, Milliken, Lockheed Martin, IBM, and many others consistently seek out USC Upstate students for life-changing internship programs. Undergraduate business students even have an opportunity to compete for an international internship with BMW at its headquarters for operations in Munich, Germany.

USC Upstate also offers a truly distinctive internship program in collaboration with the Rose Theatre Kingston in London. Through this program, students take part in technical and production internships and even help run the Theatre’s International Youth Arts Festival, which hosts more than 300 companies from around the world. What’s more, USC Upstate students have the opportunity to perform at the festival and have been invited to perform there for the past four years.

Health Education Complex

The 150,000 square-foot Health Education Complex serves as a central hub for student activities, featuring everything from the university bookstore, a coffee bar, and a deli to advanced laboratories, computer labs, and smart classrooms. The Complex also houses the Mary Black School of Nursing; the School of Education Human Performance, and Health; Enrollment Services; and the Spartan Rec Center.  

TV Production Studio

Students in the communication program have a unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs of TV production in a real production studio right on campus. Operated by South Carolina Educational Television, the studio production facility serves as a living laboratory where students gain hands-on training with the same modern equipment and technology they’ll find in the real world.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band  
Dance X
Drama/theatre X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN X
Music ensembles X
Musical theatre  
Pep band  
Radio station  
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra  
Television station  

The Honors Program

The Honors Program provides an exceptional experience for motivated students who are committed to academic excellence. Serving the needs of the best and brightest, the program challenges students with a creative honors curriculum and connects them with top professors, exciting seminars, extracurricular activities, smaller classes with one-on-one interaction, and exclusive study abroad opportunities. Including a tightly knit residence hall, the program encourages students to grow intellectually, think independently, and critically engage with the world around them.


USC Upstate’s first-year reading program, called Preface, combines the guided reading of a selected text with co-curricular events in which students discuss its themes with each other, national experts, and the community at large. This program not only helps students make connections to one another, but it also develops their college-level skills as they settle into their first year of college.

Business Incubator

The George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics (affectionately known as “The George”) houses a startup incubator that helps students launch their own businesses, standing as a launchpad for new companies that have earned more than $85 million in collective revenue. Opened in 2010, this 60,000 square-foot building houses smart classrooms with the latest technology, three art galleries, and a state-of-the-art stock trading lab at which students make real-time transactions based on current stock market activity.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy X
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 182 389 277 86 17 12 1 964

Student Organizations

With more than 90 student organizations, including 12 fraternities and sororities, USC Upstate students make lasting friendships, sharpen their leadership skills, and explore a virtually endless range of interests through their engagement on campus. Fishing. Volleyball. Music. Art. Politics. Rock climbing. Academic clubs and honor societies, religious groups, Student Government, and multicultural clubs—the variety speaks for itself! Students also have the opportunity to make a difference by participating in groups like IMPACT, a community service organization that provides meals to underserved children.

Lecture Series

The Dr. John B. Edmunds, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series brings a world of knowledge and theory directly to USC Upstate students and the surrounding community. Inviting scholars across a range of fields in the humanities to campus, the university’s Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy, and American Studies sponsors this annual series to inspire students each spring. Recent guests have included Pulitzer Prize winners and contributors to such major companies at The Washington Post.

Additionally, The George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics hosts its Wells Fargo Speakers Series several times during the year, providing students, faculty, and the great Upstate community with an opportunity to engage with local and regional corporate and community leaders.

Freshman Experience

New students at USC Upstate get a lively introduction to college through such freshman orientation activities and move-in events as the ever-popular “Rock the Block” live concert and BBQ. Other events include a campus carnival, Rocktoberfest, in October as well as a Stadium Party at the beginning of the year, which includes a campus-wide picnic, live entertainment, and introductions of the student-athletes for the fall teams.


Service-learning is a method of teaching and learning that integrates organized service activities into academic courses. And with a campus-wide heart for service, USC Upstate is thriving with opportunities for students to apply their classroom learning to real issues in the world around them. These courses, alongside extracurricular service initiatives, engage students in over 18,000 hours of service annually, altogether developing teamwork and leadership skills, sharpening problem-solving skills, and developing an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.

Student Life and Services

USC Upstate students live comfortable lives with outstanding resources. The Olin B. Sansbury, Jr. Campus Life Center is the hub of student life activity, granting easy access to all students may need to make the most of their everyday lives. Opened in 1995, it houses Dining Services, Student Affairs, Counseling Services, Disability Services, student organization offices, several meeting rooms, computer labs, and a ballroom that is used for receptions and events.

The quality of campus housing matches that of the facilities that students find all throughout USC Upstate. The Villas offer apartment-style living to upperclassmen, while the Palmetto House and Magnolia House offer suite-style housing with modern amenities.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students  
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing  
Wellness housing X
Other housing options  

The Strategic Plan

Up. Together: The Strategic Plan for USC Upstate 2018-2023 ensures that student success is the top priority. The university is dedicated to creating transformative opportunities for students by providing a rigorous, career-relevant education; enhancing the quality of life in Upstate, South Carolina; and being the university of choice for faculty, staff, students, and the community. With a focus on preparing students for successful careers and fulfilling lives, the university works to develop students’ core competencies, expand their experiential learning opportunities, and cultivate a campus environment that advances equity, wellness, and civility.

Empowering Student Success

The Student Success Center. The Career Center. The Academic Support Center—From academic and career advising to tutoring services and pre-college workshops for incoming freshmen, USC Upstate has the support programs and services in place to help students make the most of their potential.

The “R U Ok?” program is designed such that faculty and staff can identify students who may need help, and the Supplemental Instruction Program enables students to act as peer tutors who know how to succeed in USC Upstate classes.

Internships and Practica

As part of its commitment to experiential learning, USC Upstate provides students numerous opportunities to participate in internships and practica. The George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics, for example, offers opportunities for students to work with major corporate partners in the area, while practica in the School of Education, Human Performance, and Health and the Mary Black School of Nursing provide a career pathway for students, many of whom receive job offers prior to graduation.

Corporate, non-profit, and community internships provide opportunities for students to make connections between classroom learning and the world in which they want to work. No matter their field, students who intern are sure to develop problem-solving, leadership, and collaboration skills, all while building a network of professional contacts.



3,633 total applicants
2,024 total admissions
751 total freshman enrollment

55.71% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2018-19 Admission

Rolling admission? No

Closing date: Aug 15
Priority date: Jun 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Standardized test scores

Class rank
Academic GPA

Character/personal qualities
First generation
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshman Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 420 510
SAT Math 420 520
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 18 22
ACT Math 17 22
ACT English 17 22
ACT Writing    


There is no better way to get to know USC Upstate than by visiting the campus. By touring buildings, talking to current students, and meeting faculty members, prospective students and parents can get a feel for what it is like to attend school at USC Upstate. Admissions counselors are available to meet with prospective students and give campus tours at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, throughout most of the year. Interested parties may contact (864) 503-5246, or 1 (800) 277-8727, to schedule an appointment.




Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $11,040 $22,368
Fees $555 $555
Total $11,595 $22,923
Room and Board (on campus) $8,334 $8,334
Room Only $5,110 $5,110
Board Only $3,224 $3,224
Estimated Total On Campus $19,929 $31,257

Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-2017

$10,329 first-year students
$4,969 all undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-2017

50% on average, the percentage of need that was met
5% of financial need students that had need fully met

$4,969 average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,202 average need-based loan


All students who apply for freshman or transfer admission to the University are automatically considered for merit (academic) scholarships. USC Upstate offers academic scholarships to high-achieving freshmen who have minimum SAT scores of 1100, rank in the top 30 percent of their class, and have a minimum GPA of 3.25. Scholarships are limited, so early application is required for consideration. Additionally, departmental, talent, and athletic scholarships are awarded by individual departments.