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International Student and Scholar Support

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Incoming Exchange Students

Welcome to the University of South Carolina! As an exchange student at USC, not only will you have the opportunity to partake in nationally ranked academic programs, but you will also enjoy the well-known "Southern hospitality"of the people of South Carolina. 

To study on exchange at USC, you must first be nominated by your home institution. Once the nomination is submitted, students will receive an email from containing a unique link and detailed instructions to access the online application.  On this page, you will find information that will help you plan your USC exchange experience.

Exchange students interested in being nominated must submit application materials through Mobility Online  by the following dates:

Spring semester exchange students should submit application materials by October 15.

Fall semester and Academic Year exchange students should submit application materials by April 15.

Exchange students nominated to USC must submit:

The USC fall semester starts in August and ends in December, while the spring semester starts in January and ends in May. A detailed 2023-2024 Academic Calendar can be found here

All undergraduate exchange students are guaranteed housing on-campus in residence halls that are open during semester breaks and that have kitchen facilities. Information on residence halls, including rates and fees, can be found at the USC Housing website.  

Exchange students are required to take a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 16 credit hours per semester. You are able to enroll in most undergraduate courses available in the USC course catalog, provided you meet any necessary pre-requisites and there is space available in the course. Course registration occurs on campus after incoming exchange student orientation. Course offerings can be found here (students will only enroll in courses at USC Columbia).

Please note that some USC courses carry departmental fees that are not covered by the exchange tuition waiver.  A full list of these courses can be found at the Bursar's Office website.

Exchange students are expected to arrive on campus in mid-August for the Fall semester and early-January for the Spring semester.  Free airport arrival pickup assistance from CAE can be arranged with Columbia Council for Internationals . Students may also choose to fly into CLT international airport, approximately 1.5 hours from Columbia, and request shuttle service to campus.  You will come directly to the International Student and Scholar Support office for check-in and welcoming procedures. The ISSS office provides orientation at the beginning of each semester for new incoming exchange students. The orientation will cover course registration, academics at USC, student safety, campus involvement, cultural differences, and more. 

You are required to purchase the USC health insurance or provide proof of comparable coverage. 

As an exchange student at USC, you are required to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa (student visa) in your home country prior to arrival. You will receive the I-20 or DS-2019 immigration document in your acceptance packet following successful review of your application materials. 


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