South Carolina’s Best Graduate Schools of 2021

Graduate school may be a critical step in your higher education, whether you are interested in expanding your knowledge, learning a specialization, or earning advanced credentials required by your profession. The best graduate schools in South Carolina offer advanced degrees, such as master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as opportunities for independent research, mentorships, and professional networking.

South Carolina’s Best Graduate Schools of 2021

Colleges and Universities in South Carolina

The 31 public schools range in tuition from $5,000 to $17,000. The largest institution, the University of South Carolina (U of SC), is right in the middle, totaling $11,000 for fees. Located in Columbia, U of SC has over 30,000 students in attendance and offers over 300 degree options. Aside from the technical and community colleges in the state, there are four universities under $10,000. At $17,000, the Medical University of South Carolina is the most expensive public school in the state.

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In addition, over 25 private schools, 17 with religious affiliations, offer academic settings with small student populations, none exceeding 3,500. Though it is the most expensive at $50,000, Furman University boasts an 84% graduation rate. With Methodist connections, Wofford College charges a tuition of $44,000, and it bears noting that the campus is situated on a national arboretum. The University of South Carolina School of Law is one of the nation’s oldest law schools and the state’s only nonprofit law school. Graduates of the school have the opportunity to receive financial assistance from the Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund if they are employed in the field of public interest law.

Along the 60-mile stretch of beaches in South Carolina is iconic Myrtle Beach, home to one of the world’s tallest Ferris wheels. Cypress swamps, military museums, and tea gardens add to the southern charm of this state. And with over 50 higher education institutions, students have plenty of options for where to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.

Check out the top programs available, and earn your degree in The Palmetto State.

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What are South Carolina’s Colleges & Universities?

South Carolina’s Best Overall

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There are 8 doctorate-granting universities in South Carolina, the top 7 satisfy our criteria. The best graduate schools below are composed of both private and public schools that satisfy the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer doctoral degrees and a broad array of graduate degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate greater than 40%.

How do we determine South Carolina's best graduate schools?

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why influence gets at the heart of what is truly best in education. At the undergraduate level, the best colleges and universities are those with the highest concentration of influence. Our Concentrated Influence metric adjusts overall influence by size of undergraduate student body, thus allowing smaller schools to compete with larger schools so long as they have proportionately as strong influential faculty and alums.

But at the graduate level, the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers is the best indicator of academic excellence. Overall influence, and not influence controlled by other variables, thus becomes the best gauge of academic excellence at the graduate level. Where smaller size is an advantage at the undergraduate level (hence Concentrated Influence), graduate studies benefit from a large and vibrant community of graduate students, who promise to become the new generation of academic influencers.

If you are serious about finding the best graduate schools, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our methodology here.

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Best Graduate Schools in South Carolina

  1. #1

    University of South Carolina

    #286 institution's historical influence
    #1388 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    32K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/28

    Columbia, SC

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    What is University of South Carolina known for?

    University of South Carolina’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Law
    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Clemson University

    #437 institution's historical influence
    #513 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    24K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1315/29

    Clemson, SC

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    What is Clemson University known for?

    Clemson University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Bob Jones University

    #813 institution's historical influence
    #209 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Greenville, SC

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    What is Bob Jones University known for?

    Bob Jones University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Law
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • History
    • Medical
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Erskine College

    #1966 institution's historical influence
    #1295 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/19

    Due West, SC

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    What is Erskine College known for?

    Erskine College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Education
    • History
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

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  5. #5

    Coastal Carolina University

    #1760 institution's historical influence
    #613 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/21

    Conway, SC

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    What is Coastal Carolina University known for?

    Coastal Carolina University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Literature
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Columbia International University

    #3686 institution's historical influence
    #95 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    Columbia, SC

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    What is Columbia International University known for?

    Columbia International University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    North Greenville University

    #5498 institution's historical influence
    #194 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/23

    Tigerville, SC

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    What is North Greenville University known for?

    North Greenville University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    South Carolina State University

    #1680 institution's historical influence
    #544 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    915/16

    Orangeburg, SC

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    What is South Carolina State University known for?

    South Carolina State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Biology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

South Carolina’s Best Grad School for Your Interest!

Resources for Prospective Grad Students

Photo By: Dfscgt21 - Own work, CC0