Francis Marion University (FMU) is located in Florence, South Carolina. It was first built on a 100-acre plot of land that was a gift from the Walter G. and J.W. Wallace families. Founded in 1970, it was established as a college and then reached university status in 1992.
Since its inception, its academic offerings have expanded along with its physical campus, adding many new majors and programs as well as new classrooms, labs, and residence halls. Nearly every building on campus today is new or has been reconstructed or renovated since it was built. One of only 13 public, coeducational universities in the state, the school seeks to offer a premier liberal arts education through both undergraduate and graduate programs.
Academics are divided into three areas: the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Business, and the School of Education. Students can earn undergraduate degrees in each of these areas or pursue a Master in Business Administration degree at the graduate level.
The College of Liberal Arts offers a wide variety of academic fields of study. Students can major in sciences like biology, chemistry, sociology, and more, or study subjects like history, nursing, modern languages, and mathematics. The Schools of Business and Education offer even more concentrated academic programs with tightly-integrated courses and concentrations.
Students can expand their education even further by participating in international studies or an exchange program, qualifying for the honors program, or following a pre-law course of study. The Robert E. McNair Center is also an excellent resource for students who want to participate in research, honors, study abroad opportunities, and more. Staff members are always available to help students make the most of their college careers.
Astronomy students and planetary enthusiasts alike will enjoy the on-campus observatory, a two-story structure with a 12-foot rotating dome and a 14-inch reflecting telescope. The observatory was built in 1982, and today it houses the main telescope as well as six others on the second floor.
Students have full access to academic resources in print and online at the James A. Rogers Library. The sixth-largest academic library in South Carolina, the James A. Rogers Library offers a number of programs and resources to students and community members alike. In particular, students can access over 385,000 print volumes and many electronic databases.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Both online and paper applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Once an entire application with supporting documents has been submitted, the admissions office will make an admission status decision within a week. Incoming students can access the application online at the Apply Now webpage under Admissions. The application can be completed online through the digital program, emailed as an attachment, or printed out and sent via regular mail.
In addition to the application form, incoming students will need to provide official transcripts from high school and for each previously-attended higher education institution, as well as official SAT or ACT scores and a non-refundable $30 application fee. Applications must be completed by noon on the Friday before a semester’s classes begin, which gives students plenty of extra time to get their applications in. Any questions can be directed to the Admissions Office staff members, who are available via email or during office hours.
FMU is predominantly an in-state school. At least 95 percent of its students are residents of South Carolina, particularly the Pee Dee area. However, there is still diversity on campus, with more than 35 states and 15 countries represented in the student body. Many students are also first-generation college students, which means they are the first in their families to pursue higher education.
Student activities fall into six categories: university-sponsored, honor, academic, special interest, Panhellenic Council, and Inter-Fraternity Council. University-sponsored groups include the Student Government Association, the University Programming Board, and the student newspaper The Patriot. Students can also participate in Greek life through either of the two councils or join an interest-oriented club like Habitat for Humanity, College Republicans, College Democrats, the Ecology Club, and more.
The Patriot is the student newspaper. It is published six times each semester and features news, campus entertainment, and opinion columns as well as sports and community sections. Students who are interested in journalism may want to pursue a spot as a columnist or article writer, and budding photographers can get shots of campus events published in print and online. Members of the campus and the local community can pick up paper issues for free or visit the website or Twitter account for the most up-to-date information.
Actors, musicians, singers, and artists have the opportunity to get involved in fine arts through the Peter D. Hyman Fine Arts Center. The Fine Arts Center houses the art and music wing, as well as studios for teaching art and music and a year-round art gallery. There is also a recital hall and a university theatre.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Patriots compete in the NCAA Division II with six men’s and women’s varsity teams. The school’s colors are red, white, and blue. Student athletes partipate in intercollegiate games as part of the Peach Belt Conference of southeast schools. Athletic facilities include fields, courts, a stadium, and university centers for men’s and women’s basketball and for volleyball.
Facilities are also provided for students who just want to stay in shape or participate in gym activities. Campus members have access to eight tennis courts, a lighted baseball complex, an eight-lane track, softball and soccer fields, an outdoor recreational pool, and more. Students can also get involved by joining intramural teams or participating in fitness classes and events.
The faculty and staff are selected for their professional expertise and dedication to the college’s mission. Over 80 percent of faculty members hold doctoral degrees or terminal degrees in their fields. The faculty to student ratio is 1 to 15, which means that students have the opportunity to build closer, more meaningful relationships with their professors. Students also enjoy a small average class size of 21.
Ashley P. is a professional writer with extensive experience in proofreading, editing, academic writing, web content and eBooks.