Academic Catalog

Academic Programs


The curricula established for all bachelor's degrees include, usually, a set of courses that fulfill the general education requirements, a set of courses that comprise a departmental major, a set of courses that comprise a cognate or minor, and several elective courses.

General Education

A competency based general education program offers students a common academic experience and stimulates an appetite for lifelong education while serving the overarching purposes of general education—to collect and evaluate information, integrate and draw conclusions from this information, and communicate this new knowledge to others—providing students with the skills and abilities necessary to becoming responsible citizens.  A competency based system is predicated on outcome-based education and the concept of focusing and organizing learning around what is essential for all students to be able to do successfully at the end of their learning experiences.

A set of general education requirements is included in each baccalaureate program.  The purpose of such requirements is to provide a broadly based education foundation upon which an area of specialization may be developed.  For this reason, students are encouraged to select various courses outside their major area of study. To help ensure common educational competencies and skills in all students, the faculty has adopted:

A. a set of general education competencies—the fundamental skills students will possess upon graduation from the University, and

B. a general education course distribution—the courses a student must take to gain these competencies—that apply across all curricula of the University. 

However, the options provided in the general education course distribution have been limited and structured to meet the needs of each major. Students are, therefore, advised to follow the specific requirements listed in the catalog under the individual majors.

A.  General Education Competencies

Category 1: Communication
The USC Upstate graduate should demonstrate an ability to communicate in English, both orally and in writing.
1.1  (Written) Uses organization, content, credible sources, style and clear language to communicate relevant meaning appropriate to the audience.
1.2  (Oral) Delivers an organized, cohesive, compelling, and credible presentation as appropriate to the audience.

Category 2: Technology & Information
The USC Upstate graduate should demonstrate the ability to use information technologies to evaluate sources of information and solve problems.
2.1 (Literacy) (acquisition and evaluation) Chooses and evaluates a variety of sources appropriate to the scope and discipline of the research question.
2.2 (Integration) Adapts and applies technological skills to new situations to solve problems.

Category 3: Quantitative and Qualitative Reasoning
The USC Upstate graduate should demonstrate an ability to apply the scientific method, quantitative and qualitative logical reasoning, and to integrate and critically evaluate information.
3.1 (Scientific Method) Applies concepts, tools, and techniques of scientific inquiry.
3.2 (Numeracy) Explains, analyzes, interprets and/or makes inferences about information presented in numerical or mathematical forms.
3.3 (Critical Thinking) Employs logical techniques to determine the strengths and weaknesses of arguments.
3.4 (Problem Solving) Identifies, organizes, and synthesizes relevant evidence in support of a feasible solution.
3.5 (Interpretation) Organizes and synthesizes evidence to reveal insightful patterns.

Category 4: Perspective Taking
The USC Upstate graduate should demonstrate the ability to take multiple perspectives on complex subjects.
4.1 (Historical) Evaluates and/or applies historical perspectives to complex subjects with attention to diverse interpretations.
4.2 (Political) Evaluates and/or applies political perspectives to complex subjects with attention to diverse interpretations.
4.3 (Artistic) Evaluates and/or applies artistic perspectives to complex subjects with attention to diverse interpretations.
4.4 (Intercultural) Evaluates and/or applies intercultural perspectives to complex subjects with attention to diverse interpretations.

Category 5: Ethical Reasoning
The USC Upstate graduate should demonstrate the ability to apply general ethical principles to a variety of issues.
5.1 (Ethics) Considers significant implications of general ethical principles as applied to specific moral issues.

B. General Education Course Distribution1

The general education requirements listed below are incorporated into all majors at USC Upstate. This distribution represents a minimum level of introduction to various subdivisions in the liberal arts, providing a common educational experience for all USC Upstate graduates. A course may be used to satisfy only one general education requirement.

I. Communication    9
English U101, U102, Speech U201

II. Mathematics, Logic & Natural Science    10-19
Must include at least one math class and one science with associated lab.

III. Information Technology    3

IV. Fine Arts, Humanities & History    6-15
Must include one fine arts and one history class.

V. Foreign Language & Culture    3-9
The minimum acceptable level of competency is completion of the 101 level of a language. Students who place into the 102 or higher level of a language satisfy the language requirement but will have additional hours in electives, if hours are required by their degree program.
Note: courses supporting the competency will be allowed to submit requests to be included in the course distribution for this competency.

VI. Social & Behavioral Sciences    3-9

VII. General Education Electives    0-9

Total General Education Requirement    43 hours


For specific courses that meet the major's distribution requirement, consult the degree worksheets.

Assessment Participation

USC Upstate is committed to offering programs and activities that encourage students to develop both academically and socially. In order to evaluate and continuously improve the effectiveness of our efforts, faculty, administrators, and staff conduct ongoing assessments.  Also, many of the University’s assessment activities are mandated by external agencies.  Consequently, student, faculty, and staff participation in assessment activities is a University priority and responsibility.

Therefore, all students wishing to receive a degree from USC Upstate are required to participate in assessments of general education competencies, their major and/or area of concentration, and other programs and activities sponsored by the University. If a student fails to participate in a required assessment activity, a hold may be placed on the student's records. The results of any University assessment activity will be reported in aggregate and may not be used for the evaluation of a student's progress in a course or progress toward a degree.

For more information contact the Office of Institutional Effectiveness at 864-503-5854.

Foreign Language Placement Policy

I.  Admission to the 102 level is reserved exclusively for those who have successfully completed the 101 course or been placed into 102 by the foreign language placement exam.

II. The following table summarizes credit awarded under the Advanced Placement (AP) Program. If a student has taken AP exams but has not yet received his/her results, he/she should register for courses based on assuming AP credit.

Language Score Credit Awarded for USC Upstate Course(s) Credit Hours
French Lang 3,4 FREN U101, FREN U102 6
French Lang 5 FREN U101, FREN U102, FREN U201 9
German Lang 3,4 GERM U101, GERM U102 6
German Lang 5 GERM U101, GERM U102, GERM U201 9
Spanish Lang 3,4 SPAN U101, SPAN U102 6
Spanish Lang 5 SPAN U101, SPAN U102, SPAN U201 9
Spanish Lit 3 SPAN U101, SPAN U102 6
Spanish Lit 4,5 SPAN U102, SPAN U201, SPAN U202, SPAN U301 12

IV. Students who are multilingual, who have learned English as a foreign language, or who through family and/or cultural background have strong skills in a foreign language should see the chair of Languages, Literature, and Composition or the coordinator of foreign languages to determine if they will be exempt without credit from the foreign language requirement of their majors. An exemption form will be placed in each student's file and copy sent to records. Such students will, at the discretion of the chair or coordinator of foreign languages, be allowed to take upper division courses in their native language and receive credit.

V. While colleges and universities are not obligated to waive foreign language requirements for students with learning disabilities (according to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973), USC Upstate has made the following provision:  students who are certified by the USC Upstate Office of Disability Services as having learning disabilities that may interfere with learning a foreign language, may fulfill their general education requirement in foreign languages by taking a course in English on the history, culture, civilization or literature of a non-English speaking country or countries.

Major Requirements

Each baccalaureate program includes courses to enable students to specialize in a particular area of interest. A minimum grade of C is required for any course submitted for fulfillment of a major requirement. Exceptions to this requirement are noted in the description of each academic program.

Second Major

In some degree programs, a student may elect a second major. If students pursue two majors from within the same bachelor degree program (BA, BS, BSBA, BAS), they must satisfy the requirements for both majors. The coursework includes the upper division courses unique to each major, supporting coursework, and any pre-requisites. It does not include coursework completed as a cognate, minor, and or elective option. The cognate and/or minor requirement is replaced by the requirements of the second major.

  1. The student must meet admission and progression requirements for the second major.
  2. All general education and special departmental requirements normally associated with the second major must be fulfilled.
  3. In cases where the first major and the second major require the same class(es), students apply them to satisfy the requirements of both majors.

Students must seek approval from both deans for a second major. Students interested in other combinations of programs with different degrees may pursue dual degrees.

Senior Seminar

All baccalaureate programs will include a senior seminar course that will serve as a capstone experience for the program. This experience will allow students to integrate knowledge from their discipline and their General Education Program. Senior seminars must also critically evaluate related ethical issues and have students articulate relevant topics in written and oral presentations. Senior seminars must provide an opportunity for the assessment of program and general education goals. These courses are the culminating experience of students in a particular program and may follow a variety of formats such as student teaching or specific courses.

Cognates and Minors

Students seeking degrees in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences are required to complete either a cognate or a minor.  Neither a cognate nor a minor is required for professional degrees, (i.e., nursing, education, and business). Both cognates and minors are concentrated study in an area that complements work in the major. Courses may not be counted toward both a cognate and a minor; however, students may apply up to 8 hours of minor credit toward general education requirements. See each degree program for cognate or minor regulations specific to a degree program.

Students not pursuing a Business degree may earn a maximum of 29 semester hours in Business courses, excluding ECON U221 Principles of Macroeconomics, ECON U222 Principles of Microeconomics, ECON U291 Probability and Statistics, and ECON U292 Statistical Inference providing they meet the course prerequisites and have earned 54 credit hours before enrolling in 300-level and above courses.


Cognate course requirements are selected by a student and the major academic advisor to meet the unique needs and interests of the individual student. The cognate consists of 12 semester hours of a coherent selection of courses, typically 300-level or higher, approved in advance by the student's major advisor and supporting the course work in the major.  A cognate may be from one or more disciplines outside the major field.

Courses usually eligible for consideration as cognate credit include all courses numbered 300 and above, as well as the following:

BIOL U243Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
BIOL U244Human Anatomy and Physiology II4
BIOL U250Principles of Microbiology4
CSCI U210Computer Organization3
Foreign Language U202 and above
GEOG U201Introduction to Physical Geography (and above)3
MATH U241Calculus III (and above)4
PHIL U211Contemporary Moral Issues (and above)3
PHYS U201General Physics I (and above)4

Below is a list of coherent multidisciplinary cognate suggestions; other multidisciplinary cognates may be planned with the advisor.

Possible Multidisciplinary Cognates
Appropriate internship, topics, or independent studies courses may be used in any multidisciplinary cognate.

African/African-American Studies: Courses primarily about Africa, African-Americans, or race relations in art, history, literature, or sociology, including SOCY U333 Race and Ethnic Relations.

Fine Arts: U200-level or higher art studio (ARTS), or art history (ARTH); MUSC U111* (no more than 6 credits on the same instrument), MUSC U116 Commercial Music Theory and Aural Skills II, MUSC U215 Commercial Music Theory and Aural Skills III, MUSC U216 Commercial Music Theory and Aural Skills IV, MUSC U100-level ensembles (no more than 6 credits in the same ensemble), and MUSC U300-level or higher.

German Studies: GERM U202 Intermediate German II and higher; HIST U340 Germany since 1871.

Business: MKTG U350 Principles of Marketing; MGMT U371 Principles of Organizational Management; MKTG U351 Consumer Behavior; MGMT U374 Management of Human Resources; MGMT U390 Strategic Management of Information Systems.

Quantitative Research: Statistics courses in mathematics; PSYC U402 Experimental Topics in Psychology; SOCY U302 Sociological Research Methods.

Physical Sciences: physics, U200-level; chemistry and geology, U300-level or higher.

Political Philosophy: political science course in political theory or thought, U300-level or higher political science courses, plus ethics or history of philosophy, U200-level or higher.

Women's & Gender Studies: 300-level or higher courses listed within women's and gender studies (WGST) and courses primarily focused on women in areas such as art, English, history, literature, government and international studies, psychology, sociology, or criminal justice.


Minor course requirements are predetermined by academic disciplines or by multidisciplinary committees. The minor should develop a coherent basic preparation in a second field of study or introduce students to the interdisciplinary examination of an important area of learning.  It is a minimum of 18 semester hours of prescribed courses with at least 12 semester hours at the 300 level or higher.  No more than two courses (up to eight semester hours) may be earned in general education courses. A grade of C or better must be earned in each course used to satisfy the requirements of a minor.

While many degree programs include the option of a minor as part of the degree program, not all degree programs include the option of a minor.  Even in these latter programs, however, any student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree may also pursue a university-approved minor.  Note that particular degree programs may have restrictions on choice of minors.  Completing the degree with a minor may require more than the minimum 120 credit hours to graduate.


Undergraduate certificates are an organized series of courses with fewer requirements than majors or minors. Undergraduate certificates guide students to a set of academic offerings designed to build world- and career-readiness skills.

Undergraduate certificates are available only to students who are concurrently enrolled in baccalaureate degree programs. The certificate and baccalaureate degree are earned simultaneously; the certificate will be awarded along with the baccalaureate degree upon graduation. Courses used to satisfy requirements for the certificate may apply toward a student's general education or program requirements (such as cognate, minor, supporting courses, etc.), but cannot be applied toward the major. Students interested in satisfying the requirements of a certificate simultaneously with a cognate should work closely with their academic advisors to ensure all requirements are met.

Students must complete an Application for Certificate form prior to graduation. Certificates are issued by the chair or dean of the academic program and are recorded on the academic transcript.

Current Certificates:

  • Critical Disability Studies Certificate
  • Digital Media Strategy Certificate
  • German Studies Certificate
  • Global Competence Certificate
  • Leadership Certificate
  • Women's and Gender Studies Certificate
  • Written Communications Certificate


Most degree programs allow students the opportunity to take a limited number of courses that do not fulfill any specific academic requirements. Normally, any course can be counted as an elective, but some restrictions may be imposed by particular degree programs. Elective credits for participation in group performance music activity courses (MUSC U126 Vocal Jazz Ensemble, MUSC U127 Jazz Combo, MUSC U128 Gospel Music Workshop, MUSC U129 Upstate Vocal Ensemble, MUSC U131 Guitar Ensemble, and MUSC U327 Jazz Combo) may be counted up to a maximum of eight credits.  Elective credits for special university courses (UNIV) may be counted up to a maximum of six credits.