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Online Master’s Degree Programs in South Carolina

Residents of South Carolina who are interested in furthering their educational and/or professional careers may want to explore options for pursuing a master’s degree through an online degree. Online master’s programs are generally designed to provide a more convenient and flexible alternative to campus-based programs. They allow students to enroll in graduate classes and complete advanced degrees in many fields without having to relocate or commute to a college campus. In South Carolina there are public and private schools that offer online master’s programs in popular fields of study, including business administration, social work, education, healthcare management, school and mental health counseling, and the biological sciences. While admissions policies vary by school and by program, these programs are typically open to applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree, and many online programs are structured to accommodate working professionals and others who may have commitments outside of school.

In addition to programs offered by schools in South Carolina, there are numerous online master’s programs offered by colleges and universities in other states. Most of these out-of-state programs accept students from South Carolina. Using data from the US Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS), the sections below provide an overview of in-state and regional out-of-state colleges and universities that offer online master’s program in many of the fields most commonly pursued by students in South Carolina.

Schools in South Carolina That Offer Online Master’s Programs

South Carolina’s public system of higher education includes 13 state-funded colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s and graduate degree programs. These institutions are administered by the state and listed on the SC.gov website. The largest of South Carolina’s publicly funded institutions is the University of South Carolina, which has its main campus in the state capital of Columbia and seven satellite campuses located throughout the state.

Clemson University, the College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina University, and Winthrop University are among the other prominent academic research institutions overseen by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. The table below lists the ten largest public degree-granting schools in South Carolina based on an analysis of IPEDS enrollment data, along with the location of each school and whether or not the school offers online degree programs.

SchoolLocationOnline Degree Programs
University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbiaYes
Clemson UniversityClemsonYes
College of CharlestonCharlestonYes
Coastal Carolina UniversityConwayYes
Winthrop UniversityRock HillYes
University of South Carolina-UpstateSpartanburgYes
Francis Marion UniversityFlorenceYes
Citadel Military College of South CarolinaCharlestonYes
University of South Carolina-AikenAikenYes
Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)CharlestonYes

South Carolina is also home to a number of non-profit private colleges and universities, many of which offer online degree programs in addition to their campus-based programs. The ten largest accredited, non-profit private degree-granting institutions are listed below, along with their location and whether or not they offer online degree programs.

SchoolLocationOnline Degree Programs
Anderson UniversityAndersonYes
Charleston Southern UniversityCharlestonYes
Furman UniversityGreenvilleNo
Bob Jones UniversityGreenvilleYes
Limestone CollegeGaffneyYes
North Greenville UniversityTigervilleYes
Claflin UniversityOrangeburgYes
Benedict CollegeColumbiaNo
Southern Wesleyan UniversityCentralYes
Wofford CollegeSpartanburgNo

Regional Out-of-State Schools That Offer Online Master’s Programs

One advantage of pursing a master’s degree online is that it expands the number of schools and programs available to students who cannot or would prefer not to relocate or commute in order to earn their degree. Students can explore a wide range of options for earning a master’s degree online from schools outside of South Carolina as well. While some schools may not be able to accept online students from all 50 states, most online programs accept students from most states.

Among the out-of-state schools that offer online master’s programs are several colleges and universities in the South Carolina region and in the neighboring states of North Carolina and Georgia. The multi-campus, publicly funded University of North Carolina (UNC), which has its flagship campus in Chapel Hill, offers online master’s programs in a broad range of fields through many of its schools and campuses. For example, UNC Chapel Hill offers online master’s programs through its Keenan-Flagler Business School, as well as its schools of Government, Media and Journalism, Public Health, and Allied Health Sciences. These include online master’s programs in business, clinical laboratory science, communication, and public administration. Queens University of Charlotte, a smaller private university in North Carolina, offers online master’s programs in business administration, communication, nursing, educational leadership, and health administration.

Located in the other state that borders South Carolina, Georgia State University offers an array of online undergraduate and graduate programs through its Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions, and its Colleges of Arts and Sciences, and Education and Human Development. Georgia State offers Registered Nurses (RNs) the opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree in Nursing Leadership and several Nurse Practitioner (NP) specializations through blended programs that utilize online and campus-based classes, and the College of Education and Human Development offers a number of fully online master’s programs in education and teaching.

George Mason University (GMU), a public research university located in Fairfax County, VA, is a school in a nearby state that is active in offering online programs, including many online master’s programs. Among the master’s programs offered by GMU are online programs in accounting, bioinformatics, cybersecurity, data analytics, health systems management, industrial and organizational psychology, and systems engineering. GMU also offers online MSW and Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs and several online master’s program for teachers and educators.

And Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University, a private research university in Nashville, offers several online master’s programs that accept applicants from South Carolina, including programs offered through its Peabody College of Education and Human Development and Owen Graduate School of Management.

The 15 Most Common Fields for Master’s Degree Studies in South Carolina

Through analysis of data on the number of students graduating from master’s programs in South Carolina, OnlineEducation.com has identified the 15 most common areas of study at the master’s degree level in the state. While IPEDS subject area classifications do not align precisely with actual online master’s programs, the data offers a representative overview of the types of master’s program that are most commonly pursued by students in South Carolina.

The 15 most common areas of study at the master’s level in South Carolina are as follows:

  1. Business Administration and Management
  2. Social Work
  3. Educational Leadership and Administration
  4. Accounting
  5. Education
  6. Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration
  7. Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services
  8. Secondary Education and Teaching
  9. Biology/Biological Sciences
  10. Library and Information Science
  11. Teacher Education and Professional Development
  12. Health/Health Care Administration/Management
  13. International Business/Trade/Commerce
  14. Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions
  15. Sport and Fitness Administration/Management

The sections below provide details on public and private colleges and universities in South Carolina that offer online master’s programs in many of the areas of the study listed above. Each section also includes information about online master’s programs offered by regional schools as well.

Online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and Management Programs in South Carolina

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is one of the most commonly pursued master’s-level degrees in South Carolina and many others states. Many of the public and private colleges and universities in South Carolina offer online MBA programs with various formats, structures, and specializations. Among the state schools offering online MBA programs are Coastal Carolina University, Winthrop University, The Citadel, and the University of South Carolina-Aiken. In addition, the University of South Carolina offers a Professional MBA program that utilizes a mix of online and campus-based courses that are held in the evenings and on weekends.

Coastal Carolina’s online MBA program can be completed in one year through online coursework, on-campus classes, or a combination of the two. Students in the program have the options of completing a general business administration curriculum or a healthcare administration concentration. Winthrop’s online MBA program is designed to be completed in two years and has three optional specializations: Marketing, Sports Marketing & Revenue Generation; and Strategic Leadership. The Tommy & Victoria Baker School of Business at The Citadel also offers an online MBA program with three specializations: Finance; Supply Chain; and Entrepreneurship. And the University of South Carolina-Aiken has an online MBA program that can be completed in 12 months of full-time enrollment and that offers specializations in Accounting and Finance.

Anderson University, Charlestown Southern University, Claflin University, and Southern Wesleyan University are among the non-profit private schools in South Carolina that offer online MBA programs. The Anderson University program features four specializations: Human Resources; Healthcare Leadership; Supply Chain Management; and Marketing. It can be completed in 20 months and is offered in a fully online format, as well as in a hybrid format that includes weekly classes on-campus in Greenville.

Charlestown Southern University offers an online MBA program with a general business curriculum and specializations in Finance, Leadership, and Management Information Systems. In addition, Charlestown Southern has a variety of online master’s in management degree programs, including an online Master of Science (MS) in Management program, an online MS in Project Management program, and an online MS in Supply Chain Management program.

Claflin University’s online MBA program has a general business management curriculum. And the online MBA program offered by Southern Wesleyan University has specializations in Healthcare Administration, Human Resources, Leadership, and Project and Quality Management. Southern Wesleyan also offers an online MS in Management and Leadership with concentrations in Healthcare Administration, Human Resources, Leadership, and Project and Quality Management.

South Carolina residents who are interested in exploring online MBA programs offered by out-of-state schools located in nearby states have numerous options. North Carolina State University (NC State) in Raleigh, NC, has an online MBA program with flexible enrollment options. Students can graduate from the program in as few as 21 months or take up to six years to complete their degree. While all of the courses in the NC State program are offered online, students are required to attend two campus residencies during the program, each of which is three days long. And Clayton State University in Morrow, GA has an online MBA program with five optional specializations: Accounting; Digital Marketing; Human Resource Leadership; International Business; and Supply Chain Management. The program is self-paced and can be completed in as few as 12 months by students who carry a full-time course load.

Online Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Programs in South Carolina

Winthrop University is currently the only school in South Carolina that offers an online Master of Social Work (MSW) program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The Winthrop program has an Empowerment Practice focus that includes training and coursework in clinical and community social work. The program takes an average of three years to complete. However, Winthrop has an Advanced Standing MSW track for qualified graduates from CSWE-accredited bachelor’s in social work (BSW) programs that can be completed in just two years.

George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax County, VA, and the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando are two schools in nearby states that offer CSWE-accredited online MSW programs. The GMU program has a Social Justice and Empowerment focus with clinical and macro practice coursework. All of the program’s courses are offered online. The UCF program has several tracks, including a three-year, part-time, cohort-model track, and a part-time Advanced Standing track for students who hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program. The Advanced Standing track can be completed in two years.

Note: Online MSW programs require students to complete field education placements in-person at sites approved by the program. Most programs allow students to complete field placements at a location near their place of residence. However, potential applicants to out-of-state program should contact a program administrator to ensure a convenient field education site can be found prior to submitting an application to the program. Applicants to out-of-state online MSW programs should also be aware that requirements for social work licensure vary by state. Therefore, students should research the state licensure requirements carefully to determine whether or not an online MSW program offered by a school in another state meets South Carolina’s licensing requirements.

Online Master’s in Education and Teaching Programs in South Carolina

There are numerous opportunities for teachers and educators to enhance their knowledge and skills and advance in their careers through online master’s in teaching and education programs offered by schools in South Carolina. The University of South Carolina-Columbia, Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, and Winthrop University are among the publicly funded schools in the state that offer online master’s programs in education. The programs offered by the University of South Carolina include online Master of Education (MEd) programs in Educational Administration, Educational Technology, and Teaching. These programs are designed for licensed teachers and educators who have professional teaching experience. The online MEd in Teaching has three specialization options: Literacy and Reading; Project Based Learning; and Multicultural Contexts in Education.

Clemson University, through Clemson Online, offers a Master of Science (MS) in Youth Development Leadership program that includes coursework in childhood development, human resource management, and public data analytics. Applicants who have some professional experience in youth organizations are preferred for this program.

Coastal Carolina University offers an online MEd program in Learning and Teaching with two concentrations: Instructional Technology and Literacy. The Instructional Technology curriculum is 100% online, while the Literacy curriculum requires students to complete an in-person practicum. Coastal Carolina University also offers an online MEd in Special Education that is designed for licensed teachers and that may prepare students for licensure in special education. And Winthrop University offers an online MEd in Special Education Intervention program that is designed for licensed teachers.

Anderson University, Charlestown Southern University, Claflin University, Southern Wesleyan University, and the College of Charleston are among the private, non-profit schools in South Carolina that offer online master’s in education and teaching programs. Anderson University offers an online MEd program with a general curriculum that addresses a broad range of topics in public education, and an online MEd in Administration and Supervision that focuses on leadership and management skills for principals and curriculum specialists. Anderson also offers an online Master of Music in Music Education program that includes optional on-campus workshops, and an online MS in Instructional Design and Learning Technology program.

Charlestown Southern University has an online MEd in Elementary and Secondary School Administration and Supervision program that takes 16 months to complete and that can prepare students for South Carolina’s principal/supervisor certification. Claflin University offers an online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction program that is designed for licensed teachers and for unlicensed teachers who have one or more years of experience teaching. Southern Wesleyan University offers three types of MEd programs online: an MEd in Administration and Supervision; an MEd in Classroom Leadership; and an MEd in E-Learning and Instructional Design. And the College of Charleston offers an online MEd in Languages program with an English as a Second Language (ESOL) specialization.

Among the many options for earning a master’s in education or teaching degree online from schools outside of South Carolina, there are several programs in nearby states that South Carolina residents may want to explore. For example, Georgia Southern University, a publicly funded research university with campuses in Hinesville, Savannah, and Statesboro, offers numerous online MEd programs. These include online MEd programs in Curriculum & Instruction; Educational Leadership; Instructional Technology; Reading Education; Elementary Education; Middle Grades Education; Secondary Education; Special Education; and Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) also offers numerous types of online master’s in teaching and education programs. There are four types of Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs that UNC Charlotte offers: MAT in Elementary Education; MAT in Middle and Secondary Education; MAT in Special Education; and MAT in Foreign Language Education. UNC Charlotte also offers six types of MEd programs online: MEd in Curriculum and Instruction; MEd in Elementary Education; MEd in Instructional Systems Technology; MEd in Reading Education; MEd in Special Education; and MEd in Urban Education. Finally, UNC Charlotte has an online Master of School Administration program that requires students to participate in off-campus instructional sessions at schools located in North Carolina.

Note: Online master’s programs in teaching and education may require applicants to hold a state teaching license or certificate. Requirements for teaching licensure and certification vary by state. As a result, some online program may not accept applicants from certain states. Applicants to online master’s in education or teaching programs who intend to apply for licensure in South Carolina upon completion of the program should examine South Carolina’s licensing requirements prior to applying to a program. Applicants to online programs offered by schools in other states should also be aware that some programs require in-person internships and/or student teaching at sites approved by the program.

Online Master’s in Accounting Programs in South Carolina

South University, a formerly for-profit school that now has non-profit status and that has campuses in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and several other states, offers a fully online accounting master’s program. The school’s online MS in Accounting can prepare students who hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting with the necessary coursework to qualify for Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensure in South Carolina.

South Carolina residents may also want to explore the online Master of Accounting (MAC) program offered by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill) through its Keenan-Flagler School of Business. Students in the program are eligible to participate in a Global Immersion experience, which involves traveling to a major international business center to learn about accounting from a global perspective. George Mason University (GMU), a public research university in Virginia’s Fairfax County, also offers an accounting master’s program online. GMU’s online MS in Accounting program takes an average of two years to complete and can help students prepare for eventual CPA licensure.

Note: Although a master’s in accounting degree is not required for CPA licensure, it is one way to fulfill CPA licensing requirements. Students who intend to pursue licensure upon completion of an online master’s in accounting program, particularly a program offered by an out-of-state school, should research the eligibility requirements in South Carolina, as these requirements vary by state. Online master’s in accounting programs offered by schools in other states may or may not meet South Carolina’s standards for CPA licensure.

Online Master’s in Human Resource Management (HRM) Programs in South Carolina

There are several schools in South Carolina that offer MBA programs with a Human Resources specialization, including Anderson University and Southern Wesleyan University (see the MBA section above). Southern Wesleyan University also offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Management and Leadership that has a Human Resources concentration, and Clemson University offers an online Master of Human Resource Development (MHRD) program. The MHRD program offered by Clemson Online is designed for in-career professionals who have at least five years of work experience in business, industry, government, and/or the non-profit sector. The Southern Wesleyan MS program does not require prior professional experience in human resources or human resource management.

Among the regional out-of-state schools that offer a master’s in human resources degree online are Troy University in Alabama and Western Carolina University in North Carolina. Troy University, which is located in the Central Alabama city of Troy, has an online MS in Human Resource Management (MSHRM) program that is designed for working professionals and that aligns with the educational training guidelines developed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Western Carolina University, which is located in the Western North Carolina town of Cullowhee, has an online MS in Human Resources (MSHR) program that does not require prior work experience and that aligns with the SHRM guidelines as well as with curricular goals established by the Academy for Human Resource Development.

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs in South Carolina

Clemson University and Winthrop University are two schools in South Carolina that offer master’s in counseling programs. However, the Master of Education (MEd) in School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs offered by Clemson and Winthrop are campus-based programs. Currently, there are no schools in South Carolina that offer a master’s in counseling program online. Residents of South Carolina who would like to explore out-of-state options for online master’s in counseling programs may want to consider the programs offered by Antioch University and Vanderbilt University.

Antioch University, a private, non-profit university system with regional campuses in New England, Los Angeles, the Midwest, Santa Barbara, and Seattle, offers an online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) that takes three years to complete. Students in the program complete all of their coursework online but must attend a two-week residential colloquium at Antioch’s New England campus in Keene, NH. In addition, students must find a clinical site in their area in order to complete 900 in-person clinical internship hours.

Another out-of-state option for earning a counseling master’s degree online is Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, which offers an online Master of Education (MEd) in School Counseling program The program is designed to prepare students to become K-12 school counselors. It requires students to attend two on-campus immersion sessions during the two to three years it takes to complete the program.

Note: Master’s in counseling programs require students to complete in-person internships at clinical sites approved by the program. South Carolina residents who are considering an out-of-state counseling program should contact a program administrator about potential internship sites prior to submitting an application. In addition, applicants to out-of-state programs should be aware that there are state licensing requirements for school and for mental health counselors and these requirements vary by state. Residents of South Carolina who intend to practice in the state should research licensing requirements carefully to determine whether a master’s in counseling program offered online by an out-of-state school meets South Carolina’s requirements.

Online Master’s in Biology Programs in South Carolina

While there are a number of colleges and universities in South Carolina that offer master’s programs in biology and biological science, most do not offer these programs online. However, Clemson University has a Master of Science (MS) in Biological Sciences that is offered online. The Clemson Online program is designed for science educators, specifically for K-12 teachers, although the program does not prepare students for licensure. Applicants to the program must have a bachelor’s degree but their undergraduate degree does not have to be in biology. Clemson Online also offers an online MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology that includes coursework in restoration ecology, conservation biology, and scientific writing.

South Carolina residents who are interested in out-of-state schools that offer online master’s in biology programs may want to explore the online MS in Biology program offered by Western Kentucky University (WKU), which has a 100% online non-thesis track. Mississippi State University offers an online MS in General Biology program that is designed for secondary school teachers. The Mississippi State program requires online students to attend a ten-day, on-campus capstone course at the end of the program. And the University of Western Alabama offers an online MS in Conservation Biology that does not require a campus residency and that can be completed in one to two years.

Online Master’s in Library and Information Science Programs in South Carolina

The College of Information and Communications at the University of South Carolina-Columbia offers a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree that can be completed through a combination of online and campus-based classes, or almost entirely online with the exception of a required internship. The program allows students to pursue elective coursework in a number of areas, including storytelling, children’s literature, music libraries, digital archives, government documents, and planning library facilities.

Outside of South Carolina, there are several schools in nearby states that offer online master’s programs in library and information science. East Carolina University, in Greenville, NC, offers an online Master of Library Science (MLS) program with a curriculum designed to prepare students for employment as librarians and information professionals in K-12 schools, as well as at universities, community colleges, and public libraries. The program has three designated concentrations: School Library Media; Public Library; and Academic Library.

The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa offers an online Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) program through its Bama By Distance initiative. The program utilizes a cohort model, which means that students begin and progress through the program as a group, typically taking two courses per semester. And the University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss) in Hattiesburg offers an online Master in Library and Information Science program that provides students with the option of earning dual master’s degrees in library and information science and instructional technology.

Online Master’s in Health Administration (MHA) Programs in South Carolina

In addition to the online MBA programs with healthcare specializations offered by Anderson University, Coastal Carolina University, and Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina, there are several schools in the state that offer Master of Health Administration (MHA) programs, including one school that offers an online MHA program. Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has an online MHA program that requires students to be on campus once per semester for a long weekend of collaborative study. The program is designed to accommodate working healthcare professionals and can be completed in two to three years of coursework. MUSC also offers an online MS in Health Informatics that is similar in structure to MUSC’s online MHA program. Students complete most of their coursework online but are required to attend one on-campus session per semester for the two to three years it typically takes to complete the program.

Students in South Carolina are also eligible to apply to online MHA programs offered by out-of-state schools. Two schools in nearby states that offer master’s in health administration programs online are George Mason University (GMU) in Virginia and Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. GMU offers an MHA in Health Systems Management program online. Most of the program’s coursework is online but students are required to attend a weeklong session at GMU’s Fairfax campus that includes a trip to the Health Policy Institute in Washington DC. The GMU program includes a practicum that requires students to spend several months working at an approved healthcare organization. The Queens University of Charlotte online MHA program does not require any campus visits and can be completed in roughly two years.

Online Master’s in Sport and Fitness Administration Programs in South Carolina

There are currently two schools in South Carolina that offer online master’s in sports and fitness administration and management programs: Clemson University and Bob Jones University. Clemson Online has an online Master of Science (MS) in Athletic Leadership program that can be completed entirely online in two years. Bob Jones University offers an online Master of Arts (MA) in Sports Administration and Coaching program that provides core coursework in sports leadership and administration as well as elective courses in areas like legal issues in sports, sports program finance, the psychology of coaching, and basketball coaching.

There are also several schools in nearby states that offer online sports management master’s programs. Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, VA offers an online MS in Sport Management program comprised of six required core courses, four electives, and a capstone project that can be completed through an internship or a thesis. Troy University in Troy, AL has an online MS in Sport & Fitness Management program that gives students the option of completing an internship for credit.