Academic Catalog

The University

The University of South Carolina Upstate—a separately-accredited, public comprehensive university within the USC System—is a major regional partner committed to the unique possibilities that accompany regionalism. True to its mission, USC Upstate is developing the next generation of globally competitive workers in Upstate South Carolina by providing an accessible, rigorous, career-relevant education that meets the needs of both students and industry. The university is a major engine of social, economic, and talent development, with an annual economic impact of more than half a billion dollars.

USC Upstate is located in Spartanburg, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, between Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC. Among the fastest growing, baccalaureate-granting institutions in the nation, USC Upstate is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as #1 among Southern Regional Public Colleges. As a member of the Big South Conference, USC Upstate Spartans compete in 15 NCAA Division I sports.

Home to more than 5,000 students, USC Upstate offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs within five distinctive colleges. The Mary Black College of Nursing features a state-of-the-art simulation lab that represents the largest solely dedicated to nursing in the state. The George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics is among just 15 percent of business schools worldwide to be accredited by AACSB International, and the College of Education, Human Performance, and Health employs an interdisciplinary approach that underscores the importance of developing educators who understand the intersections of education and community health. The College is accredited by CAEP, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

In 2018, USC Upstate created two new colleges from the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Science and Technology aims to meet the talent needs of enterprises focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), including in-demand careers in life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and advanced materials. The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, centers on creativity and innovation, builds upon a strong foundation and dedicates itself to promoting the significance of the liberal and fine arts as well as the social and behavioral sciences, disciplines that have never been more vital than in today’s complex world.

USC Upstate is uniquely positioned to create transformative opportunities through higher education to better serve the needs of the region, fulfilling critical workforce needs while contributing to the social, cultural and economic development of the Upstate of South Carolina. More than 32,000 students have earned their degrees from USC Upstate, and nearly 85 percent of those alumni choose to remain in the Upstate to build their lives and careers.

Mission Statement

The University of South Carolina Upstate is a leading regional public university that transforms the lives of our diverse students, their families, and communities – advancing social and economic mobility throughout the Upstate region. Consistent with the international character of the Upstate, the University promotes global perspectives and serves as a driver of economic growth. We offer innovative courses and programs in a variety of accessible educational formats and locations to meet undergraduate and graduate student needs. We are a community of exceptional, diverse faculty, staff, and students who engage in high-impact experiential learning, cutting-edge research, and deeply-connected community engagement.  A University of South Carolina Upstate education empowers students to become lifelong leaders in their professions and communities.


The history of the University of South Carolina Upstate is a chronicle of remarkable development. In 1967, the university was founded in response to efforts undertaken by G.B. Hodge, M.D., together with fellow members of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education, and a remarkably strong founding faculty primarily to avert a serious health care labor shortage crisis when Spartanburg General Hospital closed its diploma program for registered nurses. A citizen’s committee investigated the situation and ultimately requested that Spartanburg be included in the University of South Carolina system.

The Spartanburg Regional Campus, as it was first known, opened its doors in the fall of 1967 to 177 students on the first floor of the Spartanburg General Hospital nursing residence. Enrollment continued to increase, which resulted in the school becoming a four-year university in 1975 and being renamed the University of South Carolina Spartanburg.

Since its founding, USC Upstate has grown from a small, two-year campus into one of the leading metropolitan universities in the Southeast. This growth has been a direct response to the needs of the Upstate — a tradition that began with the University’s creation. The University has expanded well beyond nursing to include over 40 bachelor’s programs in the liberal arts, sciences, business administration, nursing, informatics, and teacher education, as well as master's degrees. The University moved to the graduate level, with master’s degree programs in elementary education and early childhood education in 1994, informatics in 2013 and nursing in 2014. The University’s numerous partnerships with public and private corporations and other educational institutions, coupled with the mission to offer baccalaureate education to the citizens of the Upstate of South Carolina, led to a name change. On June 30, 2004, with USC Board of Trustees approval, USCS changed its name to the University of South Carolina Upstate.


The University of South Carolina (USC) Upstate is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, master’s, and doctorate degrees. USC Upstate also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of USC Upstate may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website ( 

Business programs are accredited by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (600 Emerson Road, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63141-6762; Telephone 314-872-8481).

Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) (655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001; Telephone 202-463-6930).

Undergraduate education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) (1140 19th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20036; Telephone 202-223-0077).

The Art and Graphic Design program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) (11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21, Reston, VA 20190-5248; Telephone 703-437-0700).

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET,

The Engineering Management Technology program is accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET,

The Health Information Management program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) (233 N. Michigan Ave., 21st Floor, Chicago, IL 60601-5800; Telephone 312-233-1100).

Public Service

In addition to academic excellence, USC Upstate is dedicated to public service activities. Among the University’s initiatives in this area:

The Scholars Academy is a joint venture between USC Upstate and the seven Spartanburg County school districts to provide advanced learners with a quality education in a supportive learning environment. Established in 2007, its mission is to attract and graduate students with a life-long passion for learning and compassion for others, and enable them to translate academic study and personal concern into effective leadership and action in their communities and the world.  

Ninth and tenth grade students are taught and supervised primarily by a cadre of selected Spartanburg county school teachers.  In addition, students take some college coursework. Eleventh and twelfth graders enroll in a combination of mostly Advanced Placement and college courses. Students graduate with a high school diploma and as much as two years of college course credits.

There is no charge for students to attend the Academy as the project is funded through the Voluntary Public School Choice Grant program. For additional information, interested parents and students may call 864-503-5506.

USC Upstate administers ACHIEVE, a youth GED and employment program, in Cherokee, Spartanburg and Union counties. The program provides employability training and job placement, instruction and career activities for high school dropouts.

Thousands of public school students have participated in programs such as the Piedmont Regional Science Fair, an annual writing and art competition and History Day.

Each year the University offers a wide range of art exhibits, special lectures, music concerts, plays and other special events for students and the community.  Admission to these events is either free or at a nominal charge.

Center for International Studies

The Center for International Studies (CIS) establishes and manages university partnerships worldwide to provide global engagement programs and support services that enrich the academic and professional development of students, faculty, and staff. Global engagement programs include study abroad for academic credits (short-term, semester, year abroad, and dual degree programs), international internships, service learning, research, volunteer, and teach abroad. We guide and support students through every step in the process of identifying a suitable international engagement, application, preparation for going abroad, support while abroad, and re-entry programs. CIS also offers support to faculty and staff with planning and implementing short-term international engagement and study abroad programs. We promote and support students and faculty to apply for grants and fellowships that are designed to provide both partial and full funding for international engagement. CIS manages and supports the exchange program for students and faculty.

The Center for International Studies is also “home away from home” for international students and scholars. Our Office provides advising and support services regarding visa, immigration regulations, and benefits related to F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrant visa categories. We assist new students and scholars with pre-arrival preparations, finding suitable housing, transportation from GSP airport, orientation, and a variety of programs and events throughout the year. Our programs are designed to facilitate transition into the USC Upstate community, cultural immersion and exchange. CIS offers guidance and support to international students and hiring managers regarding on campus employment. In addition, CIS provides guidance to international students who are interested in applying, and are eligible, for off campus employment through the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). We offer assistance to international students and scholars who are interested in applying for a South Carolina driver’s license, social security card, and employment authorization.

Student Success Center

The Student Success Center, a nexus of academic support, advising services, and TRIO Student Support Services, is dedicated to the success of every USC Upstate student.  From the first day of class until graduation, we offer a variety of services that not only clarify students' academic goals but also enhance their ties to USC Upstate.  Our mission is to promote student persistence by providing skilled advisement, tutoring, retention-related instruction, and other activities that are tailored to the needs of our diverse student community.

Tutoring and Academic Support

At the Student Success Center, we understand the challenges of academic life.  That's why we offer a comprehensive range of services to assist students with their daily academic demands.  Our free tutorial services, study skills and time management assistance, study group facilitation and Supplemental Instruction for difficult courses, and one-on-one consultations are designed to help students excel in their studies.  We also provide referrals to other USC Upstate services, ensuring students can access all the support they need.  Another key academic support initiative is University 101, an interactive, first-year seminar designed to help new students successfully navigate the challenges of being an undergraduate student.

Advising Services

The Student Success Center provides professional advisors and academic life coaches who introduce students to the curricula and guide them through their early days on campus.  The staff helps students develop an educational plan and ensure they register for the correct sequence of classes.  The Student Success Center also helps students who are undecided about their major.  Advisors walk students through career placement assessment and help them with the change of major process when needed.  Additionally, advisors and coaches provide outreach and assistance to students on academic probation.

TRIO Student Support Services

TRIO SSS is a student support services program at USC Upstate made possible through a federal U.S. Department of Education grant. Earning an undergraduate degree can be extremely challenging, and TRIO SSS supports students as they transition from high school to college and beyond. The program provides various services, programs, and support to assist college students in striving to achieve their educational goals. Some specific services are academic advising, tutoring and mentoring, study skills workshop and cultural event facilitation, financial aid assistance, and graduate school advising. First-generation college students, those who meet income guidelines, and/or students with a learning or physical disability may qualify for the program. Students who think they may be eligible to participate can find out more information on our website.

Career Management

The Office of Career Management seeks to make sure that every USC Upstate student has the tools, resources, information, and most importantly, a partner to navigate the college-to-career transition. Committed to empowering students at all stages of their education, Career Management provides a variety of services including one-on-one career counseling, resume and cover letter reviews, information workshops and recruitment events, graduate school preparation, mock interviewing, and a Career Closet that provides students with free professional attire. Additionally, this office assists alumni in their development of lifelong career management skills and strives to build mutually beneficial relationships with employers throughout the region. Students, alumni, and employers can take advantage of the university’s on-line recruiting system, Handshake, for job postings, information sessions, and recruitment events.

The Office of Sponsored Awards and Research Support

The Office of Sponsored Awards and Research Support (SARS) provides programs and incentives to enhance the educational and professional development of USC Upstate students by supporting undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activities. The SARS office provides, on a competitive basis, logistic and monetary support for the pursuit of student projects performed under the guidance of USC Upstate faculty, staff and/or community professionals from throughout the Upstate region. The office also publishes a student research journal, hosts an annual research symposium, and assists students in traveling to professional meetings to present their work/findings. Opportunities provided by SARS contribute to students' overall academic experience and better prepare students for their professional careers.

Veterans Affairs

Students eligible to receive veterans’ educational benefits should contact the veterans’ coordinator located in the records office. Students receiving veterans’  benefits are required to report any changes in curriculum, including courses dropped or added, absences and withdrawal. Failure to report such changes results in termination of benefits