USC retains top rankings in first-year experience and international business, advances in learning communities

September 18, 2023

The University of South Carolina has retained its top ranking for first-year student experience among public colleges and its No. 1 ranking for international business, according to the latest U.S. News undergraduate rankings released Sept. 18. USC also advanced in its ranking for living and learning communities.

This marks the fifth straight year that South Carolina has ranked No. 1 among public institutions for first-year experience and the 25th straight year that USC has ranked No. 1 for its undergraduate international business program at the Darla Moore School of Business. The university moved up in the overall first-year experience rankings (which includes private institutions); it is now tied for No. 1 overall, up from No. 3 last year.

Demonstrating USC’s commitment to student experience, the university’s living and learning communities also advanced in this year’s rankings, to No. 5 among public institutions and to No. 13 overall. The university’s living and learning communities offer students the chance to engage with peers studying similar subjects and learn from faculty principals.

In addition, USC’s undergraduate nursing program jumped 20 spots in the rankings, to No. 31 overall.

“Retaining our top rankings while continuing to rise in other categories reflects the unflagging dedication of our faculty, staff and administration to the success of our students in all aspects of their Carolina experience,” says Provost Donna Arnett. “From our top first-year student experience and international business program to our elevated rankings for nursing and living-learning communities, we take pride in both our high-quality educational offerings and our innovative approach to supporting students as they pursue their academic goals.”

The first-year student experience ranking is a testament to USC’s University 101 program, which was founded in 1972 and serves as an international model of first-year programs. U101 helps students transition into college life and has been proven to increase graduation and retention rates among those who take it. It is the largest single course offering at USC.

“It is an honor to be recognized once again for our outstanding work in the first-year experience. University 101 and the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition have long been an innovative and driving force for improving the experience of our entering students,” says Dan Friedman, executive director of University 101 Programs. “This ranking speaks to all the great things happening across the University of South Carolina to help ensure our first-year students are successful. We look forward to applying the same principles that brought us great success in the first year to supporting students throughout all four years of their Carolina experience.”

Other ranking highlights:

  • The Columbia campus is ranked No. 64 among public universities and No. 124 overall.
  • USC is ranked No. 17 in the new category of supply chain management and logistics.
  • The university was included in the Best Value Schools, Best Colleges for Veterans and Top Performers on Social Mobility categories.
  • System institutions were also recognized in the rankings. USC Upstate ranks No. 4  among public regional colleges in the South and USC Beaufort ranks No. 14 in the same category.
  • USC Aiken is ranked in a separate category, coming in at No. 27 among public regional universities in the South.