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South Carolina Honors College

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Create Your Own Major

Many of our students know where their interests lie before they enter the South Carolina Honors College. Our goal is to support you and that often means letting you tailor a major to your own needs. We do that through the Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae (“Bachelor of Arts and Sciences” or “BARSC”) degree program. This is where academic freedom begins.

Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae

The Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae (“Bachelor of Arts and Sciences,” or “BARSC”) is the most selective undergraduate degree program at the University of South Carolina also one of the most selective in the country. In order to be admitted to this program, an applicant must be a fourth semester Honors College student with a minimum GPA of 3.6.

Once admitted, you'll create and submit a program of study approved by a panel that consists of an Associate Dean, the Dean of the Honors College and two faculty advisors. Your program must satisfy the Carolina Core requirements, the BARSC general education requirements, and all requirements for graduation with honors from the South Carolina Honors College (these requirements have some overlap). The BARSC also requires that you complete three years of study in one foreign language. You'll take at least 69 credits of honors course work, including a more extensive nine-hour senior thesis. Finally, you must have a 3.5 grade point average to graduate.

The BARSC degree requires focus and hard work, but many students have found that the program is a great way to start studying what they love in depth without waiting for graduate school.

The BARSC Process

The following steps are taken by any student considering the BARSC degree:

Speak with advisor. You'll discuss the degree program with your Honors Advisor and with the Dean of the Honors College, at some point during your first three semesters in the college.

Draft Statement of Purpose. If the Dean approves your request to apply to the BARSC program, you'll prepare a “Statement of Purpose” and submit it to the Dean and an Associate Dean for review. The Statement of Purpose should contain the following information:

  • Your academic strengths and weaknesses;
  • Your personal and professional goals, both long- and short-term;
  • The reasons why your academic and professional goals cannot be met through a standard degree program (for example, a double major).

Establish BARSC Committee. The next step is to establish your BARSC Committee, which consists of (i) the Dean; (ii) one Associate Dean; and (iii) two faculty members you invite. The two faculty members represent two of the disciplines to be pursued through your BARSC Program. Your BARSC Committee receives your Statement of Purpose in preparation for meeting to establish your program of study.

Determine program of study. Your BARSC Committee meets with you to work out your specific program of study.

Once the program of study has been worked out, you'll transfer to the BARSC degree program officially, with the Honors College Dean or Associate Dean serving as your Honors College and Major advisor.

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