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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

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 manufacturing design to marketing or education. Not only that, it's consistently rated as one of the best jobs by numerous publications due to the high demand for statisticians, good 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.

 

Interdisciplinary Programs

In the African American Studies Program, 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.

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.

The Global Studies Program offers a flexible, interdisciplinary degree that explores our interconnected world. You will become familiar with the complex historical and contemporary relationships and processes that link people and places together.

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. 

Linguistics is the scientific study of language in all its aspects. These issues are investigated from diverse perspectives, including biological, cognitive, developmental, educational, historical and sociocultural ones.

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 program looks at gender and its intersections with race, class and other important categories of identity to understand the lives of women and men.

 

Additional CAS Units

Museum Managemen 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.  

Air Force ROTC: The motto of Air Force ROTC Detachment 775 is Higher, Faster, Farther. We live this pursuit of excellence each day across academic, physical and military training. Our detachment has been named Best Detachment in AFROTC twice since 2015. 

Army ROTC:  We support an academically diverse program, allowing students to reach their personal educational goals while developing leadership and military skills in Army ROTC. 

Navy ROTC:  Join the motivated men and women who seek to serve their country in Navy ROTC as officers in the United States Navy or Marine Corps, with a rich history of dedicated service to country and community.

 

Centers and Institutes

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.

A joint initiative of the College of Arts and Sciences and University Libraries, the center seeks to bring out civil rights history to life and inspire an informed dialogue about today's social justice issues.

Established in 2008, the nonprofit Confucius Institute is a joint program of the Beijing Language and Culture University and the University of South Carolina promoting Chinese language education, and educational, cultural and business exchanges between South Carolina and China.

The center supports various types of innovations in the use of digital technology for research, teaching and public outreach in the humanities and related disciplines.

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.

Established in 2007  to encourage the scholarly study and public understanding of  race and black 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.

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.

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.

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

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 is home to six minor degree programs that engage students in the interdisciplinary study of world affairs and cross-cultural understanding. 


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