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College of Charleston

College of Charleston Rating: 4.3/5 (12 votes)

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The College of Charleston, set in the picturesque Southern city from which it takes its name, is one of South Carolina’s leading centers of higher education. As a public college, it is a smaller institution than the state’s other universities, including Clemson and the University of South Carolina (USC).

Charleston is the 13th oldest higher education institution in the United States (and the oldest south of Virginia). Founded in 1770, nearly 250 years of history come together to provide students with a unique learning experience amidst a gorgeous, historic campus.


The college holds an accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and offers degree programs in nearly 50 majors, along with 82 minors. Graduate students have access to 18 master’s programs, as well as 10 certificate programs.

The college is divided into 8 distinct academic divisions, including the School of the Arts, School of Business and Economics, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Graduate School.

The newest addition to campus is the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs. Established in January of 2006, this academic division is responsible for language learning, as well as Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

A limited selection of online distance learning courses is also available during the summer to provide students with additional flexibility in meeting academic requirements.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Unique Programs

One program held in high esteem is Historic Preservation and Community Planning. With so many sites of historical importance surrounding the campus, it’s not surprising that many students with interests in architecture, history, and art flock to this program. A joint master’s degree in Historic Preservation is offered in conjunction with Clemson University.

The campus is also home to the United States First Discovery Informatics program. This major teaches students to use computer technology to reap new findings from existing data. Many graduates of this unique and rigorous program have gone on to careers on the cutting edge of law enforcement, security, and national intelligence.


The deadline for early notification for the fall semester is the middle of October. Students with applications submitted by that date are notified of their admission decision by late December.

The requirement for entry are relatively straightforward:

  • A GPA of between an A and a B
  • Approximately an 1160 on the SAT
  • 22-26 on the ACT
  • A class rank in the top 15 percent

Financial Aid

A number of scholarship opportunities are available for qualified students. These include state scholarships, institutional scholarships (designated by the college itself), and departmental scholarships. Additionally, private organizations and donors from the community deliver a substantial offering to students each year.

The college also helps students apply for federal and state grants and loans. As a public state institution of higher learning, tuition for residents is considerably lower than it is for non-residents.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 3427th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in South Carolina.


The majority of students live on campus in one of nine residence halls or twenty-two historic homes. Other students live nearby off-campus, with plenty of affordable student housing available within the city itself. With a little more than 10,000 undergraduates from every state in the Union (as well as nearly 70 countries), a broad geographic diversity is found in the student body. However, some might wish for more ethnic diversity, as the majority of students here are Caucasian.

Most students are traditional in the sense that they attend the College of Charleston right out of high school, though there is a sizable community of returning students and adults enrolled.

Many students list the campus itself as a major reason for their decision to attend. This is truly one of the most beautiful college campuses in America, featuring historic antebellum buildings mixed in with more modern research facilities and dormitories. The result is a well-developed, seamless campus that is a point of pride for students, faculty, and alumni.

Student Activities

With more than 150 student clubs and organizations, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, no matter how eclectic their taste. A broad range of campus recreational sports keep students active, including Aikido, rugby, tennis, and ultimate Frisbee. There are also numerous organizations dedicated to professional advancement, including the Nursing Club, the Club of Hospitality and Tourism, and the Future Educators Association.

There is also a vibrant campus communications scene, which includes both Cougar Television (entirely student-run) and a radio station. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the George Street Observer, available throughout campus.

Greek Life

Fraternities and sororities are an important part of life for many students. 25 active Greek organizations count nearly 1500 students (or 15% of the undergraduate population) as members. Examples of fraternities and sororities on campus include Alpha Epsilon Pi, Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Alpha, Chi Omega, Kappa Delta, and Sigma Delta Tau.

Popular Student Destinations

Students over the age of 21 have no shortage of bars to choose from when the mood strikes. King Street is popular among students, along with St. Phillip and Rutledge streets.

There are also a number of well-attended festivals held each year in the city, including the Piccolo Spoleto arts festival and the Festival of Houses and Gardens, showcasing some of the city’s finest antebellum homes.

Finally, don’t forget that Hilton Head and fantastic beaches are under an hour away. With the temperate climate providing pleasant temperatures nearly year round, the beach is always an option, even if it’s too cold to swim.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Cougars participate in the NCAA Division 1 Southern Conference, along with schools such as Appalachian State, Davidson, and Georgia Southern University.

Athletic teams include basketball, baseball, soccer, and sailing.

The most prominent team on campus is the men’s basketball squad. The team made it to the NCAA Tournament four times in the 1990s under head coach John Kresse. The baseball team also deserves an honorable mention after winning the 2004, 2005, and 2007 Southern Conference Baseball Tournament.

The brand new Carolina First Arena is now the home court for both the men and women’s basketball teams.


The college has a number of proud traditions, some of which date back almost 250 years. Take graduation, for example: while students across the United States don cumbersome black gowns and funny looking hats, the female graduates wear white dresses, while the men sport white dinner jackets.

Students also engage in the Rites of Passage. The first day of freshman year, every student passes through the arch at Porter’s Lodge to sign “the book”. Upon graduating, students files through this same arch, symbolically heading out to start their life in the world.


Notable alumni include:

  • John Charles Fremont: Anti-slave crusader and governor of Arizona
  • Anthony Johnson: Professional basketball player
  • Brett Gardner: Professional baseball player

Information Summary

Ranks 6th in South Carolina and 347th overall
See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list

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Contributed Photos

Addlestone Library :: College of Charleston Beatty Center :: College of Charleston College Building :: College of Charleston Campus Building :: College of Charleston

Campus Crime Statistics

Ranks 0th in South Carolina and 216th overall on StateUniversity.com‘s Safe School Index
  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault 2 0.02
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape 8 0.07
Robbery 5 0.04
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 7 0.06
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft 1 0.01
Arrest 4 0.03

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 195 0.16
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter 11 0.01
Forcible Rape 30 0.02
Robbery 162 0.13
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 527 0.43
Larceny 2,957 2.43
Vehicle theft 270 0.22

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Master's Colleges and Universities (medium programs)
UndergraduateArts & sciences plus professions, some graduate coexistence
GraduatePostbaccalaureate, arts & sciences dominant
Undergraduate PopulationFull-time four-year, more selective, higher transfer-in
EnrollmentVery high undergraduate
Size & SettingLarge four-year, primarily residential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringPost-master's certificate
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District4501

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 500th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $70 $70 $70
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $10,556 $10,556 $27,020
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $426 $426 $1,112
FT Graduate Tuition $70 $70 $70
FT Graduate Required Fees $11,624 $11,624 $29,734
PT Graduate per Credit Hour $469 $469 $1,224
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $26,656 $26,656 $43,120
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $24,720 $24,720 $41,184
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $15,830 $15,830 $32,294

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $9,616 $10,152 $9,616 $10,152 $24,330 $25,538
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,224 $1,167
On-Campus – Room & Board $10,179 $10,461
On-Campus – Other Expenses $2,977 $3,686
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $10,085 $8,959
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $4,115 $3,686
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $3,592 $3,900

Admission Details

Effective as of 2014-09-19
Application Fee RequiredN/A
Undergraduate Application Fee$50
Graduate Application Fee$45
First Professional Application FeeN/A
Applicants 11,509 (3,847 male / 7,662 female)
Admitted 8,092 (2,638 male / 5,454 female)
Admission rate 70%
First-time Enrollment 2,138 (718 male / 1,420 female)
FT Enrollment 2,134 (715 male / 1,419 female)
PT Enrollment 4 (3 male / 1 female)
Total Enrollment11,619

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record  /   / 
College Prep. Completion
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scores
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Basketball Conference Colonial Athletic Association
NCAA Baseball Conference Colonial Athletic Association
NCAA Track & Field Conference Colonial Athletic Association

ACT Test Admission

292nd for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting ACT results 40%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 23 / 29
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 22 / 26
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 23 / 28

SAT Test Admission

288th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting SAT results 62%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 530 / 630
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 540 / 630
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 1070 / 1260

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity3,284
Meals per Week21
Room Fee$7,253
Board Fee$3,790

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 1367th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $69,718 ($73,101 male / $60,898 female)
Number of FT Faculty 535 (307 male / 228 female)
Number of PT Faculty 873
FT Faculty Ratio 0.6 : 1
Total Benefits $14,557,561

Elisabeth Bailey+

Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

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66 George St
Charleston, SC 29424-0001
p. 843-953-5500
w. www.cofc.edu

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