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updated 12/11/2008

University of South Carolina

Mission Statement

The primary mission of the University of South Carolina, a multi-campus public institution serving the entire state of South Carolina, is the education of the state’s diverse citizens through teaching, research and creative activity, and service.


The University is committed to providing its students with the highest-quality education, including the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for success and responsible citizenship in a complex and changing world. A particular strength of the University of South Carolina is the excellence, breadth, and diversity of its faculty.


Convinced that research and scholarship, including artistic creation, are essential for excellent teaching, the University pursues aggressively an active research and scholarship program. The University is dedicated to using research to improve the quality of life for South Carolinians.


Another important facet of the University's public mission is service--to its community, state, nation, and the world in such areas as public health, education, social issues, economic development, and family support systems.

Founded in 1801 in Columbia, the University of South Carolina began providing programs in communities statewide in the 1950s and 1960s. At that time, a network of campuses was established in response to community initiative and support for accessible, affordable educational programs principally for local citizens. In the 1970s, the Aiken and Spartanburg campuses were granted the authority to award baccalaureate degrees. While the regional campuses, the senior campuses, and the Columbia campus all pursue teaching, research, creative activity, and service, they do so with an emphasis suited to their individual campus missions.

Columbia Campus

As a major teaching and research institution, USC Columbia has long offered a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs through the doctoral level. With a mission of teaching, research, and service, USC Columbia addresses the state's needs for master's level, professional, and doctoral education, for conducting and sharing research, and for responding to statewide and regional demands for educational resources and professional expertise.

USC Columbia aspires to national and international stature as it provides equitable access to its opportunities, resources, and activities.

Senior Campuses

Separately accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Aiken, Beaufort, and Upstate take as their primary mission the delivery of basic undergraduate education to their respective areas. These senior campuses also offer graduate-level course work through the University's Extended Campus program and offer master's degree programs in response to regional demand.

Regional Campuses

Accredited with USC Columbia by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the regional campuses in Lancaster, Allendale (Salkehatchie), Sumter, and Union principally provide the first two years of undergraduate education, as well as selected associate degree programs mainly for their locales. The regional campuses also provide for the completion of a bachelor's degree by offering selected upper-division course work in conjunction with the Aiken, Beaufort, Columbia, and Upstate campuses as well as some graduate education through the University's Extended Graduate Campus program. In addition to providing these programs, the regional campuses bring the resources of the entire University to citizens throughout the state. Additional information about USC's regional campuses can be found at www.rcce.sc.edu/NewWeb/RegCampus/index.html.

USC Lancaster

Statement of Purpose

One of the five regional campuses of the University of South Carolina, the University of South Carolina Lancaster has grown since its inception in 1959 from a community dream into a vital public educational institution of higher learning. USC Lancaster is today a comprehensive center of learning, offering high-quality University programs and services to approximately 1,100 full- and part-time students from a service area of six counties (Lancaster, Chester, Chesterfield, Kershaw, Fairfield, and York). The Lancaster campus grants associate degrees in the arts, sciences, business, criminal justice, and nursing. Limited upper-division course work creditable toward baccalaureate degrees through the University is also offered by the faculty. Graduate courses are available through the Extended Graduate Campus Program Office under the auspices of the USC Columbia Graduate School. Opportunity for area residents to pursue personal enrichment is also provided through regular programs and services and additional public service activities. USC Lancaster admits all students who show promise of academic success. Most of USC Lancaster’s students are first-generation college students from rural areas, small towns, and cities across the central Piedmont area of the Carolinas. Through a broad commitment to equity, an extensive scholarship and financial aid program, and a variety of weekday and evening course offerings, USC Lancaster seeks to make education accessible, affordable, and convenient to the residents of this region.

With the considerable resources of the University, the many advantages of a small college setting, and the efforts of a talented faculty, staff, and administration dedicated to scholarship and teaching excellence, USC Lancaster strives to create a supportive educational climate that respects cultural and intellectual diversification, encourages innovation and adaptation, and responds affirmatively to the needs of its students. Students at USC Lancaster are helped to achieve the fundamental skills, knowledge, and capacity for critical thought necessary to pursue further learning, to succeed in their chosen career fields, and to assume the responsibilities of informed and enlightened citizenship in their communities and in the wider society.

Public service in the broadest sense is another important purpose of USC Lancaster. Through regular course offerings, continuing education programs, summer enrichment programs, and cultural events, USC Lancaster helps area residents obtain personal development, professional growth, and cultural enrichment. Through health fitness and recreation programs, USC Lancaster helps residents develop an appreciation of the interrelationship of physical health and overall personal wellness. Through its Child Development Center, USC Lancaster helps economically disadvantaged preschool children attain the physical, social, and intellectual development necessary for later success in school. For USC Lancaster to meet the growing academic, professional, and personal aspirations of the residents of its area, it will continue to develop and expand its programs and services and provide access to the resources of the wider University of South Carolina.

Programs and Services

To accomplish its mission, USC Lancaster provides the following programs and services and will develop additional programs to serve the growing need for university education in the region:

  • at least the first two years of most University of South Carolina baccalaureate programs
  • Opportunity Scholars Program for first-generation college students
  • the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees and career-oriented associate’s degree programs in the fields of business, criminal justice, and nursing
  • a substantial portion of the course work required to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies degree, a program offered through the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management at USC Columbia
  • live and televised graduate courses in a number of areas, including business administration, education, and other selected programs of study
  • academic advisement, career and personal counseling, an academic success center, and extracurricular activities
  • a library collection including a government documents division and services to support academic offerings and to serve the community
  • extensive health-fitness programs and recreational offerings at USC Lancaster’s Gregory Health and Wellness Center
  • continuing education and public service through health-related activities, lectures, cultural events, conferences, workshops, short courses, televised instruction, and faculty assistance
  • cross-registration opportunities at member institutions of the Charlotte Area Education Consortium
  • Upward Bound opportunities for area high-school students.

In serving the region, USC Lancaster is also committed to providing a number of special opportunities for students and members of the community.

  • For academically gifted and talented students the campus provides academic scholarships, a college honors program, and college-credit courses at selected area high schools.
  • For underprepared students who wish to pursue university study, special academic courses and services are provided.

The University of South Carolina Lancaster is dedicated to providing a student-centered university education that will contribute to the enlightenment and productivity of citizens in our region.

Physical Facilities

USC Lancaster currently consists of seven modern buildings that house classrooms, faculty offices, laboratories, an auditorium, an academic success center, computer labs, extensive athletic facilities, a campus bookstore, a library featuring computerized searching services and a government documents collection, and various administrative offices.

Hubbard Hall. Opened in 1965, Hubbard Hall originally housed the entire campus operation. It is now the home of several administrative offices, a gallery, the computer labs, nursing labs, an art lab, the public relations office, and faculty offices.

Starr Hall. The second building constructed, Starr Hall, contains a student center; the Office of Admissions, Records, and Financial Aid; the Business Office; the counseling center; various student organization offices; the Human Resource Office; faculty offices; and a bookstore and campus shop.

Medford Library. Medford Library houses the print and audiovisual collections of USC Lancaster and has provided space for classrooms, the Academic Success Center, multimedia lab, TRIO Programs, and academic offices.

Gregory Health and Wellness Center. The Gregory Health and Wellness Center provides students access to a state-of-the-art fitness facility. The center contains a gymnasium that can accommodate basketball and volleyball, an indoor walking/jogging track, a 25-meter pool, racquetball/handball courts, and a free-weight room. Also within the center is the Khoury Health Fitness Area, containing Nautilus equipment for resistance training as well as recumbent and upright bikes, elliptical trainers, step trainers, and treadmills for cardiovascular training. The cardiovascular area is equipped with CARDIOTHEATER audio/video service. Exercise physiologists are available help students establish exercise programs.

Adjacent to the center is the J.P. Richards Recreation Complex, providing tennis courts.

James Bradley Arts and Sciences Building. The James Bradley Arts and Sciences Building, includes a 450-seat auditorium, a banquet/conference area, classrooms, and science and art labs. Several multimedia classrooms are also available in the facility.

Carole Ray Dowling Health Services Center. The newest addition to the campus, the Carole Ray Dowling Health Services Center, is located across the street from the Gregory Health and Wellness Center. Health Services consists of the Cardiac Rehabilitation, Diabetes Education, and Physical Therapy/Speech Therapy Clinics. The Community Room in the Carole Ray Dowling Center seats 100 people at maximum capacity. The Center also houses the office of the director of Health Services and an area used by students for seminars and research.

Institutional Services

Various campus offices and centers provide a full range of academic, personal, and recreational opportunities designed to meet the needs of both current and future students.

Medford Library. The University of South Carolina Lancaster has recently completed the renovation and expansion of the Medford Library, which has served the campus since 1974. The renovation/expansion project has more than doubled the facility's size and maximized the use of technology to enhance library research. Some features of the new library include additional square footage for collections, technology, and seating; a new computer lab that also houses library instruction and academic support services; a quiet reading area; increased points of Internet access; and laptop ports.

Medford Library serves the students and faculty of USC Lancaster and is also open to the public (high-school age and above). The online USCAN Web library catalog serves as an index to the entire USC libraries’ collections, including books, government publications, and periodical holdings. In addition, the Medford Library provides access to many Web-based databases, including Infotrac (Expanded Academic Index, Custom Newspapers [New York Times, Greenville News, Charleston Post & Courier], General Reference Center, Health Reference Center, Health & Wellness Resource Center, Business and Company Databases, Legaltrack, Onefile), FirstSearch (Worldcat, ArticleFirst, MLA, WilsonSelectPlus, Electronic Collections Online, ERIC, GPO), MEDLINE, PapersFirst, Proceedings, Union Lists, World Almanac, online encyclopedias, Biography Resource Center, SIRS (Social Issues Resources), Global Books in Print, JSTOR, Science Direct, Oxford English Dictionary, Web of Science, and Literature Resource Center and America: History and Life, Historical Abstracts. Some of these databases are provided through DISCUS state library funding (Digital Information for South Carolina Users). Many of these databases can be accessed from home or office using a valid library charge ID (bar code) number or the appropriate user name and password (available at the library). Most library materials circulate for a loan period of three weeks; fines of 25 cents per day per book apply to overdue materials. Reference materials, periodicals, and audiovisual media may be used only in the library. A coin-operated photocopier is available. Any patron needing a book, government publication, or article for scholarly purposes that Medford Library does not own may request it through the library's online Interlibrary Loan service, known as ILL Express! For more information about the Medford Library, visit us online at http://usclancaster.sc.edu/library.

Student Center. Located in Starr Hall, the student lounge provides a comfortable setting for relaxation between classes. Vending machine products are available. Pool tables, cable television, foosball, and table tennis provide diversion and friendly competition.

The Student Government Office. Located in Starr Hall, the Student Government Association’s (SGA) elected and appointed members meet on a regular basis to discuss student issues. SGA members also serve on a number of University committees.

Bookstore and Campus Shop. In addition to offering new and used textbooks, the USCL Campus Shop provides many other services. Gamecock and USC Lancaster shirts, jerseys, jackets, decals, school supplies, and many other items are available. Dissecting kits, laboratory aprons, and other academic items are offered along with a wide array of gift items in all price ranges.

Counseling Center. Located in Starr Hall, this office provides academic, career, and personal counseling. A variety of services are offered:

  • assessment of and response to freshman needs
  • evaluation and selection of academic program(s)
  • evaluation and selection of career(s)
  • evaluation of and response to academic and personal concerns
  • computerized assessment of interests, values, etc.
  • computerized career information
  • confidential and individualized appointments.

Laboratories. Science and engineering majors will find the latest equipment at the Lancaster campus. The campus has well-equipped astronomy, biology, chemistry, and physics labs. Equipment includes a double beam recording U.V.–visible spectrophotometer, dual column gas chromatograph, Columa chromatography apparatus with fraction collector, double-beam infrared spectro photometer, preparative polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, analytical polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, cellulose acetate strip electrophoresis, high-pressure liquid chromatography apparatus, fluorimeter, Warburg respirometer, polarimeter, refrigerated superspeed centrifuge polarimeter, refractometer, freeze drying apparatus, sonic dismembrator, Orion ion meter, Wild M-20 research microscope (equipped for bright field, dark field, phase contrast, immuno fluorescence, and photomicrography), helium-neon gas laser, 10-inch Newtonian reflecting telescope, Millikan oil droplet apparatus, and E/M apparatus. General chemistry labs are taught using the Vernier Lab Pro and TI 83-plus calculators.

Academic Centers. The Academic Success Center offers special tutoring and self-study services in a number of disciplines for all students who wish to improve their academic performance. Computer facilities are available for USC Lancaster students outside of regular class meetings. Writing assistants in the Writing Center are available to help students with their papers.

Special Opportunities

Honors Program. The USC Lancaster honors program was created to provide an enrichment opportunity for students who have potential for superior academic performance and who seek added challenge and scope in their studies. The honors program emerges out of our commitment to academic excellence and a belief that quality education must center on helping students achieve their full potential. The honors program presents an opportunity for outstanding students to obtain challenging and stimulating interdisciplinary course work in a supportive academic environment.

Aside from the obvious privileges of a unique educational experience, certain other advantages are offered. The director of the honors program cooperates with the director of financial aid to assist in obtaining a wide variety of scholarships and financial aid for incoming honors students. Honors students may serve on the Honors Council, the administrative body of the program. Additionally, honors program participants will be recognized by special regalia at commencement.

Eligibility: SAT of at least 1000 and high-school GPA of 3.00 or top 10 percent. Students who do not meet these criteria, but believe that they may have the motivation and self-discipline to succeed, are invited to apply, and the honors director will decide on a case-by-case basis. Honors participants must take at least two honors courses each semester, for a total of four semesters, and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 to receive special recognition at commencement.

Academic Support and Student Services Program. This program offers a comprehensive approach designed to meet the needs of traditional and nontraditional students. The USC Lancaster program provides instruction in the Academic Success Center in such areas as English, mathematics, reading, and study skills. This instruction is combined with academic, career, and personal counseling. Students who have completed the program have experienced significant improvement in many aspects of academic and personal growth. Our success in this area compares most favorably with postsecondary institutions throughout the United States.

Evening Program. For the benefit of those whose schedules make morning attendance impossible or impractical, USC Lancaster offers numerous courses in the late afternoon and evening. Some 16-week courses are offered in those academic areas where skill development requires substantial time and practice. All other courses are offered as part of the two eight-week sessions offered every semester. Most eight-week classes run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. or from 8:15 to 10:45 p.m. two evenings a week. Sixteen-week evening classes follow the same format as day sections.

Off-Campus Classes. USC Lancaster offers two dual-credit programs taught on-site in high schools. PACE (Program for Accelerated College Education) is a cooperative effort between USCL professors and high school teachers to offer courses which are customized for each school with rigorous emphasis on quality control. In the High School Dual Enrollment Program, USC Lancaster faculty members travel from the Lancaster campus or may come from the communities where the courses are taught to deliver the course. These programs are based on instructor availability and are conducted in strict compliance with USC guidelines.

Charlotte Area Educational Consortium (CAEC). USC Lancaster participates in the Charlotte Area Educational Consortium, which includes 25 colleges and universities in the Charlotte area. Under this consortium, a full-time undergraduate student at USC Lancaster may be allowed to enroll in an additional course on a space-available basis at a member school at no additional academic fee charge.

Participating institutions are Belmont Abbey College, Cabarrus College of Health Services, Carolinas College of Health Sciences, Catawba College, Catawba Valley Community College, Central Piedmont Community College, Cleveland Community College, Davidson College, Gardner-Webb University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary-Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University, Lenoir-Rhyne College, Livingstone College, Mitchell Community College, Pfieffer University, Queens University of Charlotte, South Piedmont Community College, Stanly Community College, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of South Carolina Lancaster, Wingate University, Winthrop University, and York Technical College. Qualified students may also participate in the following program through CAEC:

Air Force ROTC Program. To prepare themselves to serve as commissioned officers in the Air Force, students may participate in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) offered by UNC Charlotte Department of Aerospace Studies.

Special permission is granted to qualified students to participate in the consortium program with the advance approval of the academic advisor, academic dean, and registrar. Additional information and forms are available in the Office of Admissions, Records, and Financial Aid, Starr Hall.

Television-Assisted Instruction. Through the cooperation of the South Carolina Educational Television Network, the University offers a variety of undergraduate courses and graduate courses designed to assist students interested in completing an undergraduate degree, beginning a graduate program, or meeting continuing-education or professional-development goals (see "Graduate Studies" above).

Courses are delivered live from USC Columbia via Instructional Television Fixed Services (ITFS) to specific viewing sites, including USC Lancaster. ITFS courses allow audio interaction with the instructor and other students statewide. Videotape courses are mailed directly to the student.

These courses are specifically noted in each semester’s course description brochure and in information available from the Office of Distance Education and Instructional Support at USC Columbia, toll free at 800-922-2577.

Correspondence Study. Correspondence study offers students the opportunity to earn credit through disciplined study on an individual basis. Approximately 100 undergraduate courses are available, and students can develop their own schedules for completion of courses within the stated guidelines.

Students may enroll in correspondence courses at any time. A maximum of 12 months from the date of enrollment is allowed for completing a course. Completion of the AS-30 form (available at the Office of Admissions, Records, and Financial Aid) will initiate the approval process for permission to enroll in a correspondence course. Course offerings and application forms are available from the Office of Distance Education and Instructional Support at USC Columbia or through the B.A.I.S. advisor at USC Lancaster.

University 101

University 101 is a three-hour seminar course, open for credit only to freshmen and to other undergraduate students in their first semester at USC Columbia (i.e., transfer students). 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.

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

Organized in small groups 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 elective credit toward almost all baccalaureate degrees offered by the University.

Baccalaureate Degree Course Work

The Lancaster campus of the University of South Carolina offers courses that may be applied toward baccalaureate degrees offered by other institutions. Students may choose from a number of major fields of study. For a complete list of academic programs offered at USC Lancaster, see "Academic Programs."