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Joseph F. Rice School of Law

  • USC School of Law Building

Consumer Information (ABA Required Disclosures)

University of South Carolina Joseph F. Rice School of Law is approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654, 312-988-6738. 

The American Bar Association's Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools include Standard 509, requiring website publication of consumer information for the benefit of current and potential law students.

University of South Carolina School of Law Standard 509 form for 2023 [pdf]

Below, we provide additional information and links to the sections of the site where additional Standard 509-compliant information can be found:

The University of South Carolina School of Law, established in 1867, is located in Columbia, South Carolina. With a metropolitan population approaching 700,000, Columbia combines the advantages of a progressive, growing area with the pace of a smaller city. The School of Law is located two blocks from the state capitol building. As the seat of state government, Columbia is home to the Supreme Court of South Carolina, South Carolina Court of Appeals, federal district and bankruptcy courts, South Carolina criminal and civil courts, and courts of special jurisdiction.

As part of a major research university, law students can take advantage of rich interdisciplinary opportunities and a lively social and athletic scene. Columbia residents enjoy easy access to the mountains and the beautiful South Carolina low country and coastal region. The School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association (Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654-7598; telephone number 312-988-6738) and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1924.

Since its founding, the School of Law has provided outstanding preparation for law students. The curriculum combines traditional teaching methods and courses with modern, state-of-the-art instruction.

The School of Law offers a full-time-only day program leading to the Juris Doctor degree. In order to earn the JD, a student must successfully complete 90 semester hours of coursework. In each semester, a student must register for a minimum of 12 credit hours. During the summer, the School of Law offers courses in a May session, as well as, a seven-week summer session each year.

In addition to all first-year courses, students are required to take a course in Professional Responsibility, six credit hours of experiential courses, a perspective course, and an upper-level writing requirement course. The School of Law offers advanced courses that allow detailed study in corporate and commercial law, tax and estate planning, environmental law, family law, international law, and litigation. Under the leadership of a full-time director, the Academic Success and Bar Preparation Program is dedicated to providing academic support to first-year students. Numerous other resources are available to assist students in succeeding academically.

Degree Requirements

Course Offerings

First-year law students take a standardized curriculum. In your second and third year, you're free to select your courses from any areas of interest.

Combination Programs

The School of Law, in cooperation with other graduate programs at USC, currently offers 12 dual JD and master's degrees.


The School of Law recognizes that experiential learning in the area of professional skills is essential to a well-rounded legal education. Under special court rule, third-year law students in South Carolina may represent clients and appear in court when enrolled in a clinical legal education course. The clinical education program offers courses designed to develop critical lawyering skills. The program offers training in trial advocacy, interviewing, counseling, negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, and legal drafting.


Externships offer law students the opportunity to earn academic credit while gaining professional experience. Students may participate in externships in the Columbia region year-round. During the summer, students may also participate in externships anywhere in the United States or even abroad. The externship program director works with students to identify the right placement for them.

Children's Law Concentration

 The goal of the Children's Law Concentration is to offer students enrolled in the JD program the ability to concentrate in an area of law that benefits children and families. These areas include family law, juvenile justice, education law, and child protection and welfare.

Pro Bono Program

South Carolina Law is home to the nation's oldest all-voluntary Pro Bono Program, and maintains an outstanding national and local reputation. Under the leadership of a full-time director and a student board, the program offers students opportunities to work with a wide range of public interest organizations.


The academic calendar shows major events like exams and holidays.

Academic Calendar »

For current admissions and enrollment data, please click on the link for Standard 509 form at the top of this page.

The School of Law seeks to enroll qualified students who will enhance and embrace the school's rigorous educational environment and, as graduates, make positive societal contributions to South Carolina, the region, and the nation. In making decisions, the Faculty Committee on Admissions employs a holistic approach, taking into account all information available about each candidate. No single factor is conclusive. While undergraduate grades and the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or other admission test scores are important, the committee's decision is also influenced by other factors, including the applicant's personal statement, graduate study, military service, leadership and community service, employment or other life experience, residency, letters of recommendation, and potential for contribution to a diverse educational environment.

Admissions »


While many students depend on federal and private student loans to help finance their legal education, the School of Law does offer scholarship assistance based both on merit and on financial need. Merit-based scholarships may range from $500 to full tuition. Awards are made on a rolling basis, typically beginning in March of each year. Candidates who want priority consideration for merit-based scholarships should make sure that the completed application and all supporting materials are received in the Office of Admissions no later than February 1. There is no separate application for merit-based scholarships. Applicants who wish to be considered for need-based scholarships should submit the FAFSA.

Scholarship Retention

 The University of South Carolina School of Law does not award scholarships that are conditional on law school academic performance; therefore, we do not post an ABA conditional scholarship retention worksheet.

Financial Aid

Applicants who wish to be considered for student loans should submit the FAFSA.

Tuition and Fees

Get information about the cost of attendance budget and tuition rates for residents and non-residents.

Refund Policy

The refund policy is set by the University of South Carolina.


With prior permission of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, second and third year students may take for law school credit, up to two (2) courses or six (6) hours of credit in another department of the University. Only graduate (500 level and up) courses are acceptable.

Grades in all such courses shall be recorded on a Pass/Fail basis, with a grade of below C being recorded as a Failure.

Combination Programs

A student in a dual-degree program may apply 9 graduate credit hours from the other program towards the student's JD degree. Similarly, students may apply 6 to 12 hours (depending upon the program) of law school credit toward the other graduate degree. The hours transfer as pass/fail credits. Even if admitted to more than one dual degree program, a student may not apply more than a total of 9 graduate credit hours toward the JD degree. The courses which are transferred into law school must have been begun subsequent to being admitted to law school. In other words, courses completed prior to being admitted to law school will not count toward a dual degree.

2L Transfer Students

 Students may transfer from another ABA accredited law school to the University of South Carolina School of Law. Most first year courses will transfer if a grade of "C" or better is earned. An official determination is made after the law school transcript is reviewed by the law registrar. No more than 30 credit hours will be accepted for credit toward the 90 hours required for graduation. The cumulative GPA is converted, if necessary, to USC's 4.0 scale. Numerical grades are converted to letter grades. Grades earned at a transfer student's former school in courses accepted for transfer credit will be included in computing the transfer student's cumulative grade point average. During the first year a transfer student is enrolled at the law school, the student will not be awarded a class rank. Upon the completion of two full semesters at the law school a transfer student will be awarded a class rank computed on the basis of all law school grades earned at both the law school and the student's former school.

Summer School/Visiting Other Law Schools

With approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, students may complete course work at another ABA/AALS approved law school and transfer the credit for such work towards the granting of a JD degree from the USC School of Law. Students must take courses at another law school on a graded basis if the course is offered on that basis. Grades in these courses will be recorded on a student's USC transcript on a Pass/Fail basis. Only grades of "C" or better will be recorded as a Pass. Grades of "C" or better will be recorded on the student's transcript as an "S" and any grade below a "C" will be recorded as an "F." "Incomplete" or its equivalent will be recorded as an "F" if the work is not completed within three months of the end of classes for the session involved. Courses taken at another law school affect the number of credit hours a student may earn on a Pass/Fail basis at the law school.


South Carolina Law outlines four primary goals for student learning, which can be explored on our Learning Outcomes page. 

The School of Law moved into its brand new facility in Summer 2017, and is located at 1525 Senate Street, Columbia, SC 29208.

Visit the Law School »

South Carolina Law houses a major research law library with a collection of more than 500,000 volumes and extensive research resources, including LexisNexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline, Bloomberg Law, SSRN, and the online catalog. The library also includes the South Carolina Legal History Collection. Law students and faculty also have access to the collection of the main campus library, Thomas Cooper Library. A highly skilled staff of librarians provides reference assistance and teaches in the 1L Legal Research, Analysis & Writing course.

The library is open approximately 100 hours per week and for extended hours during the examination period. Study rooms, open seating, and the Coleman Karesh Reading Room provides ample space for students to study in the library. The Student Commons, adjacent to the library, provides study space, a computer lab, and copier/printers for students.

Law Library »

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