The University of South Carolina Aiken (USCA) was founded in 1961, and its first classes were taught in an historic mansion located in downtown Aiken. The campus was accredited to award associate degrees in 1968 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In the 1970s, USCA moved to a new campus with a new classroom and administrative building; a dedicated library; and a student activities center with a bookstore, food services, and a gymnasium.
In 1977, USCA became a fully accredited senior college and began awarding baccalaureate degrees. Today, the campus is home to over 3,000 students and features comprehensive facilities for students and the community, including the Etherredge Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, the Academy for Lifelong Learning, a Sciences Building, a Children’s Center, and a Business and Education Building.
USCA can claim a number of notable achievements, including being ranked among the Top Three Public Baccalaureate Colleges in the South in the “America’s Best Colleges” guide by U.S. News & World Report.
USCA offers baccalaureate degrees in a variety of subject areas, broken up into five academic divisions: The College of Humanities and Social Sciences, The School of Business Administration, the School of Education, the College of Sciences, and the School of Nursing. Through these, students can choose among 35 academic majors and programs.
USCA also offers three graduate degrees: the M.Ed. in Elementary Education, the M.Ed. in Educational Technology, and the M.S. in Applied Physical Psychology. Additional programs are available through the USC Extended Graduate Campus program. In 2009-10, USC Aiken served 67 graduate students.
USCA has a thriving continuing education and community outreach program that includes initiatives for youth, seniors, and the workplace. Summer camps and youth development programs help students start their educational careers early, while the Academy for Lifelong Learning and the SeniorNet programs help senior citizens stay mentally active and involved. USCA also offers specialized on-the-job training for local businesses as well as professional development programs.
The honors program at USCA was established in 1991 and has been expanding ever since. Honors students have the opportunity to learn as part of a unique, concentrated group of highly-motivated peers. They may participate in special honors courses, which must make up at least 20 percent of their academic program. Honors students also participate in three globally-themed honors seminars and a senior-year capstone project. Any incoming freshman with SAT scores above 2100 or ACT scores above 24 may apply by acquiring two letters of recommendation from high school teachers in addition to a recent writing sample.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The Equestrian Opportunities program at USCA is designed to help students interested in equestrian careers continue pursuing their passion while earning a four-year degree. Nearby farms and riding facilities are home to the many student groups and programs that allow USCA students to continue working with horses while at college. Student opportunities include the Equestrian Club and the Riding Team. Students majoring in Business Administration can also choose to participate in the business school’s equine internship program, a specially-designed opportunity that lets students get hands-on experience in the horse industry.
Students at USCA are privy to a vibrant and diverse campus life with opportunities in the arts, the sciences, community service, and more. USCA hosts scholars from 30 states and 24 countries. Students can participate in the more than 100 clubs and organizations on campus, including academic organizations, social groups, political groups, Greek organizations, performance ensembles, and student government. Journalistically-oriented students can also contribute to Broken Ink or Pacer Times, two on-campus media outlets for student news and writing. If you still can’t find an activity that matches your fancy, it’s easy to start a new student organization.
Beyond general and social organizations, students can also enjoy life on campus by participating in one-time events, volunteering, or simply enjoying student amenities. On-campus facilities and partnerships give students access to the Etherredge event center, which hosts concerts and performances year-round; the Conference Center, which hosts small group meetings and seminars; and the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center and DuPont Planetarium, which gives students the opportunity to study astronomy, attend planetarium showings, and participate in science and mathematics in an engaged, hands-on way.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
USCA is an NCAA Division II school with varsity teams in basketball, golf, soccer, tennis, cross country, volleyball, and more. The Pacers participate in the Peach Belt Athletic Conference, through which USCA competes against schools in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. USCA won its conference basketball and dance team competitions in 2009-2010, and its golf team won the Division II National Championship three years in a row in 2004 through 2006.
For more casual athletes, the campus offers a variety of on-campus athletic and training centers that are open for team use. A tennis complex, soccer and softball stadiums, golf course, and cross country course make it convenient and easy for student groups and intramural teams to book practices. The Convocation Center is home to official games and events, with dedicated space for men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball locker rooms.
The Wellness Center has opportunities for every student to stay active and fit. Open to anyone with a USCA ID card, the Wellness Center offers facilities like a natatorium; an aerobics studio; and a fitness area with cardiovascular equipment, weight equipment, and a walking track. Group fitness classes like yoga, pilates, and zumba are taught on a weekly schedule by student instructors. Students also have the opportunity to participate in wellness programs and off-campus activities sponsored through this center.
The faculty as USC are drawn from across the United States and around the world. Over 98 percent of tenured and tenure-track faculty members have earned a doctorate or terminal degree, making them experts in their respective academic fields. Faculty also participate extensively in research, earning external grants and contracts totaling over $1.1 million in 2008-09. Faculty research is also an excellent opportunity for students, as many professors seek out student help in laboratories or for administrative assistance.
- University of South Carolina Aiken. Department of Intercollegiate Athletics 2009-10 Annual Report. Print.
- University of South Carolina Aiken. PacerSports. USC Aiken Pacers. Web. 5 Sept. 2011.
- University of South Carolina Aiken. USC AIKEN Profile 2009-2010. Print.
- The University of South Carolina Aiken. Web. 05 Sept. 2011.
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