Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
Columbia Campus    
2016-2017 Undergraduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
  Jul 23, 2024
2016-2017 Undergraduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

College of Arts and Sciences

Return to Departments/Program Areas Return to: Departments/Program Areas

Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, Dean
Roger H. Sawyer, Executive Dean and Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education
Anne L. Bezuidenhout, Senior Associate Dean for Liberal Arts
Robert C. Thunell, Senior Associate Dean for Natural Sciences
Alan R. White, Associate Dean for Undergraduate STEM Education
Hans-Conrad zur Loye, Associate Dean for Research
Sonya Brown, Assistant Dean for Academic and Fiscal Planning
Mary Ann Byrnes, Assistant Dean for Administration
Loren W. Knapp, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Advising


Since 1805, the College of Arts and Sciences has been the intellectual core of the University of South Carolina, entrusted to provide superb teaching in the arts and sciences to all students. The college is a richly diverse community dedicated to the discovery, dissemination, and application of knowledge about the natural and human world. The college is committed to enriching the academic experience of every graduate and undergraduate student through a wide and innovative array of courses, programs, and opportunities in the arts, humanities, and sciences, and to excelling in research, scholarship, and creative activity. With its broad coverage of academic disciplines, the college is uniquely situated to promote opportunities for graduate and undergraduate student research and interdisciplinary and international learning. As the heart of a major research university, the college is a catalyst for positive change in the local community, the state, the nation, and the world. The College of Arts and Sciences aspires to transform the lives of our students and improve the world they will inhabit by creating and sharing knowledge at the frontiers of inquiry.

Undergraduate study in the College of Arts and Sciences is rooted in the great tradition of liberal education. A liberal education is necessarily broad, comprising study and experience in the arts, humanities, mathematical sciences, natural sciences, and social and behavioral sciences. Such an education prepares students to reason analytically and to think critically, to communicate effectively, to expand their creative and intellectual capacities, to comprehend the relationship between humans and the natural world, to appreciate the promises and limitations of technology, and to understand the connections among diverse cultures, ways of processing knowledge, and forms of human expression. Curricula in the college, both general education and major programs of study, support these aims.

The College of Arts and Sciences consists of the Departments of Anthropology; Art; Biological Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Earth and Ocean Sciences; English Language and Literature; Geography; History; Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Mathematics; Philosophy; Physics and Astronomy; Political Science; Psychology; Religious Studies; Sociology; Statistics; and Theatre and Dance, as well as the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment. Programs that offer undergraduate degrees include African American Studies, Classical Studies, Comparative Literature, Environment and Sustainability, European Studies, Film and Media Studies, Latin American Studies, Marine Science, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Through departmental and interdepartmental programs in these areas, the college offers the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, and Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. The college also offers an undergraduate degree program in Economics as well as a degree program in Cardiovascular Technology that combines 100 semester hours of academic work with a clinical program at an accredited hospital.

Additional programs that may offer undegraduate courses and opportunities include African Studies, Asian Studies, Islamic World Studies, Linguistics, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Southern Studies, and Speech Communication and Rhetoric. The Departments of Aerospace Studies, Military Science, and Naval Science administer the University’s ROTC programs.

In addition to serving students majoring in any of the established arts and sciences disciplines, the constituent departments and programs of the College of Arts and Sciences offer courses included in the general degree requirements and elective options for all baccalaureate students at the University. Units of the college also participate actively in the South Carolina Honors College.

The School of Visual Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD.) The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has been approved by the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Committee on Professional Training, and the curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry meets ACS requirements. In the Department of Psychology, the graduate degrees in Clinical/Community Psychology are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA); graduate degrees in School Psychology are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) through a partnership with the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE.) The Master of Public Administration degree offered by the Department of Political Science is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA.) The Department of Theatre and Dance is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) and the University/Resident Theatre Association (URTA.) Through selected degree programs, the College of Arts and Sciences participates in the teacher education programs of the University that are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Academic Policies

Entrance Requirements

New freshmen who meet University admissions standards are eligible for admission to degree programs offered by the college. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another college on the Columbia campus must be in good standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another USC campus must fulfill one of the following requirements:

  1. Be in good standing, meet the admission requirements for a baccalaureate degree on the Columbia campus, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher.
  2. Be in good standing and have completed 30 semester hours with a GPA of 2.00 or higher on a USC campus.

Some programs in the College of Arts and Sciences have special admission requirements established by the department or committee that supervises the specific degree program, for example, cardiovascular technology, biological sciences, chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology, economics, environmental science, the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. These requirements are listed below in the sections of this bulletin that describe department and special degree programs.

Progression Requirements

To remain in a degree program offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, a student must make satisfactory academic progress toward the degree. A student who fails to make satisfactory progress may be placed on academic probation or removed from the college. In addition, all students in the college are subject to the regulations on probation, suspension, and readmission in the section of this bulletin titled “Academic Regulations.” Additional progression and retention requirements for specific majors are specified in the appropriate section of the bulletin.

The faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences recognizes the importance of clear, precise, and correct writing as part of a liberal education. Therefore, the faculty encourages the assignment of written work and fully supports professors who require written assignments to conform to reasonable standards of organization, development, coherence, and acceptable English usage.

Attendance Requirements

Enrollment in a course obligates the student not only for prompt completion of all work assigned but also for punctual and regular attendance and for participation in whatever class discussion may occur. It is the student’s responsibility to keep informed concerning all assignments made. Absences, whether excused or unexcused, do not absolve the student from this responsibility.

Absence from more than 10 percent of the scheduled class sessions, whether excused or unexcused, is excessive, and the instructor may choose to exact a grade penalty for such absences.


In order to be eligible for graduation, students in the College of Arts and Sciences must meet all course requirements for the degree program, be in good standing, meet any departmental or program requirements, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 on all work attempted at USC.

Department and program requirements appear under the appropriate departmental listing.


Students who wish to pursue a degree program in the College of Arts and Sciences must be admitted to the college and advised within the college. Each of the degree programs of the college has a director of undergraduate studies who supervises the academic advising of the students majoring in that program. Although it is the responsibility of students in the college to ensure that they complete all graduation requirements, the faculty and administration of the college make every effort possible to see that students are provided with accurate and timely academic advising. Students must see their academic advisors at least once each semester for assistance in planning their academic program. No student will be allowed to complete the registration process without an advising form approved by an assigned advisor.

Freshmen planning to major in one of the college’s degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, or arts are advised by the college’s freshman Dean’s advisors. Assignment of students to specific Dean’s advisors is handled by the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Advising in Flinn Hall; upon the completion of the first 30 hours, students are sent to the major department or program, where they are assigned a major advisor who is responsible for planning and approving the program of study. Freshmen planning to major in the sciences, mathematics, statistics, or cardiovascular technology are assigned a major advisor upon entry to the college.

During the next-to-last semester before graduation, students must arrange for the academic advisor to complete a major program card; students must then schedule an appointment for a senior records check in the undergraduate dean’s office. Any deficiencies in general education, major, minor, cognate, or special departmental requirements will be noted. This information should form the basis for the student’s final academic advising.

All advising, senior records checks, graduation, and related processes for students majoring in one of the college’s degree programs are supervised by the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Advising, Flinn Hall.

It is the responsibility of each student to understand and complete all requirements for the degree. Each student should obtain a copy of the Guidelines for Advising.

The student’s major department and major advisor should be consulted for interpreting and applying major, minor, and cognate requirements.  The College of Arts and Sciences Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Advising is the final authority on all degree requirements.  Students should consult this office all concerns on the applicability of curricular requirements. 

Students seeking further information should contact Dr. Loren Knapp, or call 777-2993/2505.

Right of Petition

A student may seek relief from academic standards and regulations by appealing to the Scholastic Standards and Petitions Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences. Information on procedures may be obtained from the Offices of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Advising in Flinn Hall.


Students may drop a course(s) without academic penalty by the deadline for that term and session. The deadline is published in the Master Schedule of Classes each semester on the registrar’s Web site and is referred to as the “Last day to drop a course or withdraw without a grade of “WF” being recorded.” Students who drop a course(s) on or before this deadline are assigned the grade of W. Students who drop a course(s) after the deadline are assigned the grade of WF, which is computed as an F in the GPA and suspension formula.

Exceptions to the assignment of the WF grade are possible in cases of extenuating circumstances. An extenuating circumstance withdrawal from all courses for a particular term can be requested only for an acceptable major cause that is documented and verifiable. Requests for selective withdrawals, i.e., from one or some classes, are normally not granted.

Extenuating circumstance withdrawals must be initiated in the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Advising, and require the approval of the assistant dean for academic affairs and advising.

Career Development

The career development program in the College of Arts and Sciences aims to complement academic advising by assisting students in clarifying career directions. Students are encouraged to begin the process of career planning as early as possible, normally in the freshman year. Career counselors are available in the University Career Center to assist students in gaining an understanding of the student’s own interests, values, abilities, and personality; the nature of a liberal education and the related marketable skills; and the numerous career opportunities available for arts and sciences students. The University Career Center provides individual career counseling, testing, workshops, networking and job shadowing opportunities, job search seminars, and a career planning library. In addition, students are encouraged to complement their academic studies with career-related work experience such as internships, cooperative education, part-time work experience, or volunteer work. The University Career Center provides advisors with career resource listings to assist them in referring students to the center.

The staff of the College’s Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Advising includes an Internship Director who can assist students with identifying internship experiences appropriate for their academic and career interests.

Special Opportunities

The college endorses the use of departmental independent study courses to further students’ intellectual pursuits in alternative ways. Before students may register for an independent study course, they must present a completed independent study contract that has been approved by the instructor selected for the independent study project, the major advisor, and the assistant dean for academic affairs and advising. No student may apply more than 15 hours of independent study credits toward the degree. Unless approved as a part of the major, minor, or cognate, independent study courses will be graded only on a Pass-Fail basis. A grade point average of 2.50 or greater is required to enroll in independent study courses.

Center for Science Education

The Center for Science Education, in conjunction with selected departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, is responsible for developing and coordinating interdisciplinary teacher education courses and programs in science and mathematics. These courses are listed and described below under “Science and Mathematics for Educators” and carry the interdisciplinary SMED designator. Click here to view SMED Courses. 

The Center for Science Education also assists individual departments in offering content-specific courses in their disciplines designed for in-service teachers.

Teacher Preparation Programs

The College of Arts and Sciences participates in teacher preparation programs for undergraduate students who wish to pursue teacher certification. The University of South Carolina (Columbia campus)’s innovative five-year program is closely coupled with a student’s undergraduate major. This special program leads to a bachelor’s degree and is followed by a master’s degree leading to teacher certification. Because the University of South Carolina is committed to preparing professionals who will serve as leaders in education, admission to the master’s degree program with certification is highly competitive.

Students seeking certification as secondary teachers may pursue bachelor’s degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences as preparation for the Master of Teaching (MT) degree in the College of Education. In addition to all requirements for the specific undergraduate degree program, students must complete all prerequisites for the MT program as specified by the College of Education. Students planning to pursue certification in secondary English should pursue the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English. Those seeking certification in secondary social studies may pursue the appropriate bachelor’s degree in history, economics, geography, political science, international studies, psychology, or sociology. Students seeking certification in secondary biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics should pursue the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in the appropriate discipline. In addition, students may apply for the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies degree program to achieve certification in two disciplines with the following combinations: chemistry/physics, biology/chemistry, or earth science/life science.

It should be noted that the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree is also available at the University of South Carolina in selected disciplines, including art, English, foreign languages, mathematics, sciences, social studies, and theatre. The College of Arts and Sciences also offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in art education that prepares students for K-12 certification in art. Students majoring in classics, French, German, or Spanish may seek K-12 teacher certification in Latin, French, German, or Spanish through a teacher preparation option at the undergraduate level.  Students majoring in dance with a concentration in dance education K-12 are prepared for certification in K-12 dance.


Degree requirements vary among the undergraduate degree programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

The curricula established for all baccalaureate degrees awarded by the college include a set of courses that fulfill general education requirements, a set of courses that comprise a departmental major, a set of courses that comprise a cognate or minor, and several hours of free elective courses. A course may be used to fulfill only one requirement.

Students who choose to complete one of the college’s degree programs are advised to read carefully the statement of the major department or program and to consult frequently with the major advisor. Students are not permitted to change a major field of study during the final 30 hours of academic work.

General Education Requirements

Degree candidates in the College of Arts and Sciences must satisfy the general education requirements prescribed for the specific degree program. These requirements are designed to provide students with a broad experience in the liberal arts and sciences and opportunities to develop intellectual skills in analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, as well as competence in written and oral communication. General education is not defined by subject matter alone, but rather by an attitude toward the world that emphasizes intelligent functioning as a human being.

The College of Arts and Sciences General Education Requirements are derived from the learning outcomes on which the Carolina Core, the University’s general education curriculum for all baccalaureate degrees, is based. The College of Arts and Sciences General Education Requirements include all requirements in the Carolina Core; also, the College’s requirements include specified or additional requirements that must be met for baccalaureate degrees offered by the college.  

Each student must complete the specified number of hours or attain the desired level of achievement in the groups of courses outlined below. Note that the credit hours required in some of these groups vary somewhat between the B.A. and B.S. degrees. In planning the course of study during the first two years, a student should give precedence to courses that satisfy the general education requirements. Students must complete English 101 and 102 within the first 60 semester hours of work in order for these courses to be credited toward graduation.

Majors and Degrees

  • African American Studies (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Anthropology (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Art Education (Bachelor of Fine Arts)
  • Art History (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Art Studio (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts)
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Bachelor of Science)
  • Biological Sciences (Bachelor of Science)
  • Cardiovascular Technology (Bachelor of Science)
  • Chemistry (Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry)
  • Chinese Studies (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Classics (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Comparative Literature (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Dance (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Economics (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science)
  • English (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Environmental Science (Bachelor of Science)
  • Environmental Studies (Bachelor of Arts) 
  • European Studies (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Experimental Psychology (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science)
  • Film and Media Studies (Bachelor of Arts)
  • French (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Geography (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science)
  • Geological Sciences (Bachelor of Science)
  • Geophysics (Bachelor of Science)
  • German (Bachelor of Arts)
  • History (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Interdisciplinary Studies (Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies)
  • Interdisciplinary Studies (Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies)
  • International Studies (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Latin American Studies (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Marine Science (Bachelor of Science)
  • Mathematics (Bachelor of Science)
  • Media Arts (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Philosophy (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Physics (Bachelor of Science),
  • Political Science (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Religious Studies (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Russian (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Sociology (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science)
  • Spanish (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Statistics (Bachelor of Science)
  • Theatre (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Women’s and Gender Studies (Bachelor of Arts)

Basic Degree Requirements for Bachelor of Arts Degrees (120 Hours)  

Basic Degree Requirements for Bachelor of Science Degrees (120 Hours)  

Note: Bachelor of Science degrees with majors in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Economics, Geography, Mathematics, Psychology, Sociology or Statistics, and the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a major in Chemistry require 120 hours. All other Bachelor of Science degrees require a minimum of 128 hours.

Majors. Every degree candidate in the college must successfully complete a major program of study, approved by a major advisor, that meets the major requirements of the department or program. A general major consists of at least 24 hours of approved advanced study in the student’s field of interest. An intensive major requires 36 to 48 hours of approved advanced study; no special notation will appear on the student’s transcript or diploma. The intensive major is often conceived specifically as preparation for professional or graduate study. A minimum grade of C is required for any course submitted for fulfillment of general or intensive major requirements. At least half of the major courses must be taken in residence in the College of Arts and Sciences in order to apply to the degree.

Interdisciplinary Studies. The College of Arts and Sciences offers the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies for students who want a program of interdisciplinary studies without a major in a single department or in a structured interdepartmental degree program (e.g., African American Studies). For details see the section titled “Interdisciplinary Studies.”

Second Major. In some degree programs of the College of Arts and Sciences, a student may elect a second major. Normally, second majors are possible only in degree programs with similar general requirements and are thus not available from other schools and colleges.  In those cases students may apply for two separate degrees. The second major option is not available in all colleges.

The following specifications for a second major apply:

  1. The student must meet admission and progression requirements for the second major.
  2. In those cases where second majors in two separate colleges are possible, the student must have received approval from both deans for a second major.
  3. All requirements for the second major must be fulfilled.
  4. All general education and special departmental requirements normally associated with the second major must be fulfilled.
  5. In cases where the first major and the second major lead to different degrees, the student must designate one as the official degree of record.

A second major eliminates the cognate requirement; however, special departmental requirements normally completed as part of the cognate are not waived. Fulfillment of the requirements for a second major are indicated on the student’s official transcript upon graduation. No notation for a second major is placed on the official transcript for course work completed after graduation.

Second Baccalaureate Degree. For information on second degrees, see “Graduation” in the academic regulations chapter of this bulletin.


The cognate is intended to support the course work in the major. The cognate must consist of twelve (12) hours of courses at the advanced level, outside of but related to the major. The cognate may be taken in one or more departments or programs, depending on the interests of the student and the judgment of the advisor.

Courses offered by departments and programs in the College of Arts and Sciences that are acceptable for cognate credit Bachelor of Science are outlined in the section titled Courses Acceptable for Cognate Credit in Degree Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences.

For cognate course offerings in other colleges, consult the appropriate sections of this bulletin. Some major programs have specific cognate requirements.

It should be emphasized that the cognate is not a second set of elective courses to be chosen at random by the student. The cognate must be approved by the major advisor as being related to the major field of study. Students are urged to consult their major advisors for specific requirements in their major.

Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the cognate.

For Bachelor of Arts degrees, all cognate courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher.

For Bachelor of Science degrees, grades of D are acceptable for completion of the cognate requirement, except where restricted by the major program.

Courses Acceptable for Cognate Credit in Degree Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences  


In place of the cognate a student in the College of Arts and Sciences may choose a minor consisting of at least 18 credit hours of prescribed courses. (Some minors in the sciences require a minimum of 16 hours.) The subject area of the minor may be related to the major.

Students pursuing interdisciplinary minors who wish to use courses in their major department for minor credit must petition the College Committee on Scholastic Standards and Petitions for permission to do so.

The minor is intended to develop a coherent basic preparation in a second area of study. It differs from the cognate inasmuch as the courses must be concentrated in one area and must follow a structured sequence. Interdisciplinary minors can be designed with the approval of the assistant dean for academic affairs and advising.   

Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the minor. No course may satisfy both major and minor requirements. All minor courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher. At least half of the courses in the minor must be completed in residence at the University.

Minors are available in participating departments of the College of Arts and Sciences and in other colleges. For descriptions of specific minors, students should see the appropriate sections of the bulletin.

A list of minor programs of study can be found at Programs A-Z  

Electives. Each degree in the College of Arts and Science requires a minimum number of credit hours in academic subjects.

No courses of a remedial, developmental, skill-acquiring, or vocational nature may be applied as credit toward a degree in the College of Arts and Sciences. To encourage the student to select electives that will broaden the educational background, the College of Arts and Sciences allows the use of the Pass-Fail option on elective courses.

Other Regulations

In addition to the University academic regulations, students pursuing baccalaureate degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences are subject to the following:

  1. A student shall not be permitted to enroll for more than 18 credit hours without the approval of the assistant dean of the college.
  2. The assistant dean of the college, with the recommendation of the appropriate faculty, may authorize a student to repeat a course.

Departments and Program Areas

Click the links below to view programs and courses administered by each unit.

Aerospace Studies  (Air Force ROTC)

African American Studies  

African Studies


School of Visual Art and Design  

Asian Studies

Biological Sciences  

Cardiovascular Technology

Chemistry and Biochemistry  

Comparative Literature

Confucius Institute

Criminology and Criminal Justice  

Dance (see Theatre and Dance)

Earth and Ocean Sciences  

Economics (College of Arts and Sciences)  

English Language and Literature  

Environment and Sustainability Program  

Environmental Science (see Environment and Sustainabilty Program)

Environmental Studies (see Environment and Sustainabilty Program)

European Studies  

Film and Media Studies  


Geological Sciences (see Earth and Ocean Sciences)

Geophysics (see Earth and Ocean Sciences)


Interdisciplinary Studies (College of Arts and Sciences)  

Islamic World Studies

Jewish Studies  

Languages, Literatures, and Cultures  

Latin American Studies  


Marine Science  


Media Arts (see School of Visual Art and Design)

Military Science  (Army ROTC)

Naval Science  (Navy ROTC)


Physics and Astronomy  

Political Science  


Religious Studies  

Russian and Eurasian Studies


Southern Studies  

Speech Communication and Rhetoric


Theatre and Dance  

Women’s and Gender Studies  

SMED, STEM, and COLA Course Descriptions 


    Science and Mathematics for EducatorsScience, Technology, Engineering, and MathematicsSocial Advocacy and Ethical LifeSpecial Liberal Arts

    Return to Departments/Program Areas Return to: Departments/Program Areas