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My Arts and Sciences

What Makes up my Program of Study?

In the College of Arts and Sciences, your program of study consists of the following requirements:  Carolina Core, College Requirements, Electives, Program courses, Major courses, and either a Minor or Cognate.  CAS programs require between 120 to 128 credit hours to graduate, depending upon your major. Learn more about the requirements below.

Carolina Core

The Carolina Core is a set of requirements that students across the University of South Carolina have to complete as part of their program of study. The Carolina Core is made up of 10 core components, each with a learning outcome and credit hour requirements. Click below on each requirement to learn more. You can find the entire list of Carolina Core applicable courses, as well as the requirements that they fulfill in the most recent academic bulletin

College Requirements 

The College Requirements are different from the Carolina Core, in that they are only required for the specific college in which you are studying. While looking at the separate components of the Carolina Core above, you may have noticed that there is some overlap between Carolina Core and College Requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences. Click on each College Requirement below to learn more. For more information on the College Requirements, follow the link to the College of Arts and Sciences College Requirements on the academic bulletin.

Every student within the College of Arts and Sciences is required to take at least one additional Humanities class. Students who are pursuing a BS are only required to take 3 hours of additional Humanities, while students who are pursuing a BA are required to take 9 hours of Additional Humanities (3 classes). Please see your advisor for a list of applicable courses.  

The Founding Documents requirement is required for students who entered USC in Fall 2021 or later. There are seven courses that can apply go towards this requirement, and they focus on America’s Founding Documents and works about African American’s struggles for freedom. Learn more about the Founding Documents requirement.

Have you taken HIST 111 to satisfy one of your GHS requirements? If so, HIST 111 will also count towards the Founding Documents requirement! The Founding Documents requirement is the only other place in your program of study besides the overlay, where one course can fulfill two requirements. Talk to your advisor about how to make the most out of the classes you take! 

As stated in the GFL section of the Carolina Core, as a CAS student, you will need to reach the 122 level of foreign language of your choice. How many hours of foreign language you will have to take is dependent on your Foreign Language Placement Test score. You must register in advance to take this Placement test. Once you have your score, your advisor will help you register for the appropriate foreign language class.  

As part of the CAS College Requirements, you will need one GSS Carolina Core and an additional Social Sciences class. While any of the GSS courses can apply towards this requirement, you can always ask your advisor for a list of applicable courses.  

The College of Arts and Sciences requires you to take both a US History class, as well as a Non-U.S. History class. One will count towards your Carolina Core GHS requirement and the second will apply towards your GHS College Requirement. (It doesn’t matter which goes where, just that both are completed.)


Degrees within the College of Arts and Sciences require 120-128 credit hours to graduate, depending upon your major.  To reach the required number of hours for your degree, you will most likely have to take some elective classes. Electives can be almost any class – with a few exceptions. Students cannot use PEDU coursework (first aid, or CPR coursework) as elective credit. In addition, you cannot repeat a course that you have successfully completed for elective credit. 

Program Requirements 

Program Requirements are specific classes that are required for your program of study but are separate from major requirements. These can take the form of major prerequisites or supporting courses. Program requirements are seen most often in our more STEM heavy majors. To find out if there are any program requirements for your major, just take a look at the Bulletin for your major. 

Major Requirements 

Major Requirements are all of the courses you must take for your major.  The Undergraduate Academic Bulletin is an excellent resource for all of your major’s requirements. Depending on your major of choice, you may have a strict set of courses that are already laid out for you, or you may have a little more room to pick and choose what classes you take within your major. Either way, to look at your major requirements you can go to the Bulletin that matches your Bulletin year and look at your major there. Major requirements are usually broken down into two parts: major courses and major electives.    

Minor/Cognate requirements 

Many of the majors within the College of Arts and Sciences require either a minor or a cognate. The difference between the two of these is that a minor requires 18 hours of coursework, while a cognate requires 12 hours of coursework. A minor also has a set curriculum that you follow, while with a cognate you get to choose classes that have been approved as cognate classes. In the Academic Program, “Programs A-Z” section you’ll be able to find all of the minors available to you, as well as all of the majors at USC. If you’re interested in pursuing a cognate, check out all the applicable cognate classes.

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