University of South Carolina Review

The University of South Carolina is one of the highest ranked online graduate programs, offering degrees in both classroom instruction and educational technology.

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The Good

Top 15 national ranking

The University of South Carolina (USC) online education program rates as the 15th best in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report. The university performs well in virtually every measured category, receiving especially strong results in student engagement and technological services. USC’s education instructors teach courses both online and on campus, so you can trust that you’ll get the same quality training that students receive in classrooms in Columbia, South Carolina. The instructors average more than six years of experience teaching online courses and receive regular training in the best distance education practices.

Exceptional retention and graduation rates

As you would expect from a top five graduate program, the University of South Carolina has reported excellent student success rates in recent years. According to U.S. News and World Report, USC has achieved first-year student retention rates of over 95% in each of the last four academic years. The school also reports that their graduation rates are above 75%, which is a good sign that students are making it all the way through the program.

Selective admissions policy

The University of South Carolina online education program is one of the most selective in the country. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, but in terms of reputation for the school (and you, if you are accepted), it’s a plus. Measures of selectivity depend on a variety of factors, including admissions standards, application requirements, and average GPA and GRE figures for admitted students. If you’re looking to be a part of a high-quality student body with a reputation for excellence and high professional standards, you can’t do much better than the University of South Carolina. Only Eastern Kentucky University and Auburn University compare with USC in when it comes to being this selective.

Strong focus on student engagement

The University of South Carolina also stands out for its efforts to create an engaging online educational environment for students. If you’re someone who appreciates feedback and advice from your instructors and that enjoys the challenge of collaborative coursework, USC has a lot to offer you. The university is ranked among the top 10 national programs by U.S. News and World Report when it comes to student engagement. These efforts are a big part of why USC has been so successful in retaining and graduating students because highly engaged students tend to be highly motivated as well.

The Bad

Comparatively high tuition rates

University of South Carolina online graduate education degrees are quite expensive on a per-credit basis. Most students pay $1,040 per credit, plus general student fees. In comparison, a half dozen of the top programs in the country charge no more than $500 per credit, which is significantly less expensive than USC. Although USC has a lot to offer education students, the high costs are sure to weigh heavily on some decisions. If you live in South Carolina, you only pay $485 per credit for in-state tuition, which makes it one of the best values around.

Limited education concentrations

The University of South Carolina only offers a classroom instruction program and an educational technology program that are available entirely online. While these programs rank as two of the most popular graduate degrees in the education field, the limited variety pales in comparison to other top programs that offer six, nine, or even as many as 19 different specialty degree options. Given the high cost of tuition at USC, you may find the school isn’t your best choice unless you know you want to enroll in one of these two programs. There is also a language and literacy graduate program that is available in a blended distance education model. This online program is only suited to local students since it requires participation in a number of traditional classroom courses at one of several campus locations in South Carolina.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 2005 - 2006
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Location: SC
  • Number of Graduate Education Programs: 4
  • Region: Southeast
  • School Type: Public
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Tuition Rates (per credit)

  • In-State: $485
  • Out-of-State: $1,040


  • Degrees: Educational Administration (M.Ed), Teaching (M.Ed)


  • Certificates: N/A

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Average Student Age: 32
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.22
  • Avg. GRE Analytical Writing: 3.7
  • Avg. GRE Quantitative: 150
  • Avg. GRE Verbal: 151
  • Gender Ratio: 70.3% female, 29.7% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 50
  • Total Enrollment: 327


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 6 Years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 25
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 10

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009-2010): 95%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010-2011): 95%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011-2012): 95%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2012-2013): 95%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2009-2010): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2010-2011): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): 88%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 76%

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 13
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 65/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 47
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 79/100
  • Student Engagement Rank: 10
  • Student Engagement Score: 90/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 104
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 47/100

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