According to the Pew Research Center, 78% of South Carolinians identify as Christians: of those, 35% are evangelicals, 16% are mainline Protestant, 15% are historically black Protestant, and 10% are Roman Catholic.
78% of South Carolinians identify as Christians: of those, 35% are evangelicals, 16% are mainline Protestant, 15% are historically black Protestant, and 10% are Roman Catholic. Pew Research Center
South Carolina is home to several Christian colleges with support from Southern Baptist entities, the Wesleyan Church, and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Some Christian colleges in South Carolina are historically black institutions, and others are entirely self-governing and self-supported. South Carolina Christian universities offer degrees at all levels, from associate to doctoral degrees. These institutions maintain online learning communities and vibrant on-campus programming. A Christian college in South Carolina is an ideal choice for both students seeking careers in Christian service and those who want to study an outside discipline from a Christian perspective.
Online Christian Colleges in South Carolina
Online Christian colleges are ideal for students who have responsibilities associated with families, jobs, and ministry activities. A flexible, affordable online program allows busy students to complete degree requirements at their own pace and from any location. Attending a Christian online college allows students who hold ministry positions to manage their staff responsibilities at church while completing their degree. Also, online students often save money on housing, transportation, and childcare.
At Christian colleges in South Carolina, students enroll in Bible classes, study theological topics, and explore liberal arts subjects from a Christian perspective.
Professors at online Christian colleges follow the same faith-based approach they use when teaching on campus. At Christian colleges in South Carolina, students enroll in Bible classes, study theological topics, and explore liberal arts subjects from a Christian perspective. Online learners have many of the same opportunities as on-campus students, and many South Carolina Christian colleges foster communication among distance learners through online groups and forums. Online Christian colleges often stream events and chapel services live and offer online spiritual formation and Christian counseling.
South Carolina's Best Online Christian Schools
Columbia International University
Columbia International University, a multi-denominational Christian institution, opened its doors in 1923 as a Bible school. Located in Columbia, South Carolina, the university now enrolls 1,000 students.
Students can take classes onsite or choose from a large selection of online programs. All degrees emphasize a biblical worldview. CIU's online degrees include 32 associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate programs, plus five certificates. Standout programs include an associate in human resources, a bachelor's in business, a master's in chaplaincy, and a doctorate in biblical studies. CIU delivers all online coursework asynchronously.
To earn admission, prospective students need to complete an online application, pay a fee, and submit transcripts. Specific admissions requirements vary depending on the program. Some programs require a reference letter from a church leader.
Columbia International University, one of the top Christian colleges in South Carolina, is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
North Greenville University
Affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, North Greenville University offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs to approximately 2,500 students. The diversity of NGU's academic offerings earns the school a spot near the top of the list of Christian colleges in South Carolina.
Founded in 1892, NGU operates two South Carolina campuses and offers several online degrees. Students can also earn blended degrees through weekly onsite classes at NGU's Greer campus. Online degrees include bachelor's programs in business and leadership, Christian ministries, criminal justice, and elementary education. Online classes last eight weeks each, and programs have five start dates throughout the year.
NGU offers scholarships to transfer students who hold 24 credits. The university requires students to complete at least 25% of their required coursework at NGU.
North Greenville University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Southern Wesleyan University
Southern Wesleyan University — a private college affiliated with the titular Wesleyan Church — began operations in 1906. The university, located on a 350-acre campus, offers over 40 degrees to its approximately 1,500 students.
Around 700 students attend online classes at SWU. The university offered its first online program, leadership education for adult professionals, in 1986. Today, the university offers online associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees. Standout degree fields include nursing, human services, business administration, and early childhood and family studies. SWU keeps Christian values, such as service and leadership, at the center of its curriculum. Courses run asynchronously, and online students never need to commute to campus. Online courses at SWU last seven weeks each.
Southern Wesleyan University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Founded in 1848, Anderson University maintains an affiliation with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The university offers a large selection of bachelor's, master's, and doctorate programs through its nine colleges and schools.
Anderson offers a total of 36 majors, 29 minors, and 50 concentrations. In addition to its onsite classes, the university offers online and continuing education programs that emphasize a Christ-centered approach. Students can earn online bachelor's degrees in fields like criminal justice, business, Christian studies, and allied health. Online graduate programs include Christian studies, business, education, and music. The university also offers hybrid and evening programs at its campus in Greenville, South Carolina.
Out of all the top Christian colleges in South Carolina, Andreson offers some of the strongest resources. To help online students succeed, the university provides career development, including a database to find internships and jobs. Online students can also access counseling and tutoring services.
Anderson University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Charleston Southern University
One of the top Christian colleges in South Carolina, CSU sits on a 300-acre campus in Charleston. Established in 1964 and affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, CSU prides itself on integrating faith into its curriculum.
CSU offers more than 50 undergraduate programs, 15 graduate programs, and a doctorate degree. The 15 online bachelor's and graduate degrees at CSU include programs in analytics, business, criminal justice, and finance. Distance learners can also opt for hybrid programs, including an MBA program. Online students gain access to support services such as tutoring, writing assistance, and academic advising.
Incoming freshmen must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students must have 24 transferable credits and a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. Exact admission requirements vary for each graduate program. All incoming graduate students need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school.
Charleston Southern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Spartanburg Methodist College
Located on a 110-acre campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Spartanburg Methodist College traces its roots back to 1911. The college, associated with the United Methodist Church, primarily offers two-year degrees.
SMC boasts six associate degrees and one bachelor's degree, with the 63-credit associate degree in criminal justice online. The program prepares students for careers in criminal justice or law enforcement. Program graduates can also enter a four-year college. SMC, distinguishing itself from other Christian colleges in South Carolina, designs its associate degrees as a pathway toward four-year degrees. To help students transfer, the college maintains articulation agreements with four-year colleges in South Carolina.
Online courses at SMC last for either seven or eight weeks. Transfer students who enroll full-time can finish the criminal justice degree in one year. Otherwise, the degree takes two years to complete. Students can transfer in up to 30 credits earned through other universities, criminal justice work experience, or military training.
Spartanburg Methodist College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Founded in 1845, the non-denominational, Christian-affiliated Limestone College began as a women's college. Today, the Piedmont-based college educates more than 3,000 students of all genders and earns a place among the stronger Christian colleges in South Carolina.
Students at Limestone can opt for online classes or evening courses. Limestone's online campus welcomed its first distance learners in 1996. The college also offers hybrid degrees, which include evening classes at six sites in South Carolina. The online campus offers four associate degrees and 12 bachelor's degrees.
Students interested in enrolling in online programs at Limestone can apply throughout the year. Working professionals can receive school grants through their company. Prospective students must complete an online application and submit a high school diploma or GED, transcripts, and SAT or ACT scores.
Limestone College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The private, Evangelical Lutheran-affiliated Newberry College traces its roots back to 1828. Today, the college educates more than 1,200 students and offers 33 majors, 39 minors, and 42 concentrations.
About 75% of Newberry's students hail from South Carolina. The college also welcomes students from 28 states and 23 countries. Newberry offers four online bachelor's degrees in criminal justice, psychology, respiratory therapy, and nursing.
Unlike some other Christian colleges in South Carolina, Newberry offers rolling admissions, so applicants can apply throughout the year. Candidates receive admission decisions within two weeks. Freshmen applicants must hold a GED or high school diploma. Individuals 25 years or older do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students need a minimum of 25 credits. Newberry College offers merit-based scholarships for transfer students. Students can also receive college credit for life experience.
Newberry College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
What Christian Colleges are in South Carolina?
Finding the Right Christian College
Prospective students should consider several factors when researching South Carolina Christian colleges, such as available programs, affiliated denomination, and cost. Students should also consider student population size, aspects of campus life, and service-learning opportunities.
Many Christian online colleges offer digital learning opportunities, which allow students to integrate faith and learning.
Small colleges often provide a sense of community, with individual faculty attention and close student relationships. On the other hand, large Christian universities in South Carolina typically offer more programs, study abroad opportunities, and career placement assistance. Many Christian colleges in South Carolina require service; prospective students should ask about opportunities to perform ministry and should research the surrounding area's potential as a service location. Campus life is another important factor for religious students. Each Christian college in South Carolina has different policies about alcohol, co-ed housing, and chapel attendance. Review the school's handbook to learn how the institution addresses these issues.
Many Christian online colleges offer digital learning opportunities, which allow students to integrate faith and learning. However, online programs rarely offer as many community service or spiritual formation components as on-campus programs. Of course, students should ensure any prospective institution offers academic programming in line with their scholastic and professional aspirations.
Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools
Students pursuing careers in Christian service can attend one of three types of educational institutions: Bible colleges, seminaries, or Christian liberal arts colleges. The largest and most-recognized Bible colleges in South Carolina hold accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education. These schools typically require students to major in Bible and in a second, ministry-focused major, such as Christian education or pastoral ministry.
While attending a seminary, South Carolina students with a bachelor's degree can earn a graduate degree in applied theology. Most seminaries hold accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools. Those enrolled in Christian liberal arts colleges choose from a variety academic and vocational majors, which often include Christian ministry options such as youth ministry, biblical studies, and Christian counseling. Students planning to seek ordination as clergy should research their denomination's requirements before choosing a degree. While some denominations accept a bachelor's degree from a Bible college, South Carolina churches often require ordinands to hold South Carolina seminary degrees.
Accreditation for Christian Colleges
Accreditation is a crucial factor when choosing a Christian college in South Carolina. Accreditation is a voluntary process by which institutions demonstrate credibility. Federal financial aid is only available to students who attend accredited institutions. The two main types of accreditation are regional and national, with regional being the most common and the most highly regarded. Most regionally accredited schools only accept transfer credits from other regionally accredited institutions. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on colleges regionally accredits both secular and Christian colleges in South Carolina.
Students should look for Christian universities with both regional and field-specific accreditation.
The U.S. Department of Education recognizes two Christian accrediting agencies: the Transnational Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits Christian colleges in South Carolina and across the country, and the Association for Biblical Higher Education, which accredits Bible colleges. Students should look for Christian universities with both regional and field-specific accreditation. Students planning to pursue a career that requires a state-issued license, such as positions in medicine, education, or accounting, should carefully review the field's professional standards regarding accreditation.
Career and Salary Expectations
South Carolina's growing economy attracts students to its colleges and universities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Carolina has only a 4.4% unemployment rate. Economists cite a labor shortage as South Carolina's greatest economic challenge, meaning that there are plenty of jobs available for qualified candidates. The agribusiness, life sciences, automotive, and aerospace industries drive South Carolina's economic growth, and the state is home to several large companies, including BMW, Michelin, and 9Round.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median wage for all occupations in South Carolina is $42,240 per year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median wage for all occupations in South Carolina is $42,240 per year. The median annual salary for clergy in the state is $55,710, and the median wage for directors of religious education and activities is $60,700 per year. Additionally, South Carolina has a low cost of living. The cost of living in Charleston County, the state's most expensive place to live, is only 4% above the national average, according to PayScale. Counselors and other human service professionals find positions in South Carolina's robust nonprofit community, and the state's large and well-funded Christian community development sector includes churches, schools, and religious nonprofit organizations.
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||830||$17.29||$35,970|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||90||$19.95||$41,500|
|Mental Health Counselors||770||$21.18||$44,050|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||3,440||$17.12||$35,610|
|Healthcare Social Workers||2,010||$25.84||53,750|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||4,730||$14.41||$29,960|
|Directors, Religious Activities and Education||90||$29.46||$61,270|
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Scholarships are an ideal source of funding because they do not need to be repaid. Students can use scholarships to offset tuition and living costs without accruing debt. Most scholarships are competitive and require applications. Some scholarships are reserved for South Carolina residents, Christian students, or students at a Christian college in South Carolina.
Champions for Christ Scholarship Varies
Church Related Vocational Scholarship Varies
Barry B. Edwards Trustee Scholarships Varies
Scholarships for Success $1,000
Episcopal Church Education Scholarships $1,000-10,000
Scholarships for South Carolina Residents
Palmetto Boys State Scholarship and Palmetto Girls State Scholarship $500–10,000
Watson-Brown Foundation Scholarship $3,000–5,000
Sirrine Scholarship $2,000
James F. Byrnes Foundation Scholarship $3,250
Mary G. Webster Scholarship $1,000
Find a Church in Your Community
For many Christian students, spiritual growth, new friendships, missional service, and discipleship happen in the context of a caring church community near them. Students can use Church Finder to locate a house of worship in their city. Another church listing service, USAChurches.org maintains a South Carolina web page through which students can search for churches by size, worship style, city, or keyword.
Professional networking organizations can help students make vital personal connections, learn about job openings, and improve their vocational skills and knowledge. Besides broad-based organizations such as the local Chamber of Commerce, people of faith also join in uniquely Christian networking groups to advance both professional development and mission.
- The Christian Business Network The CBN connects a global community of Christian professionals who can help each other to prosper, connect, and serve the world to the glory of God.
- South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce Located in Spartanburg, SC-C3 connects businesses, churches, and alliances to serve Christ and the community by improving the lives of people throughout South Carolina.
- C12 Group Upstate This group is the South Carolina Upstate chapter of C12, a network of Christian leaders dedicated to helping business owners and CEOs spread the gospel in the marketplace.
Find Christian Ministries
Students who do not attend a Christian school can participate in religious groups at secular universities. Students can become involved in campus ministry to pursue personal spiritual growth or undertake Christian mission work in the community.
- Campus Crusade for Christ Among the world's largest and best-known campus ministries, Cru provides student missions opportunities and educational materials about faith and collegiate life for professors and parents. The organization offers safe spaces for students to discuss personal challenges and global questions.
- Chi Alpha The official campus ministry of the Assemblies of God, Chi Alpha provides opportunities to fellowship, worship, pray, and serve others. Chi Alpha hosts a training conference each summer.
- International Fellowship of Evangelical Students Founded as a nondenominational Christian ministry in 1947, IFES works to positively impact local communities and the world. The organization's programs include leadership development, personal evangelism, and international missions.
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes The FCA is comprised of Christians athletes. The organization's ministries include sports camps, international missions trips, a ministry for coaches, and Bible studies at local chapters.
- Catholic Campus Ministry Association The CCMA engages campus ministers to lead students to Christ. The association's ministry equips campus chaplains and leaders with resources and a network to build vibrant collegiate ministries.
- Lutheran Student Movement USA LSM-USA unites young Christian leaders from across the United States. LSM-USA organizes spring break service trips, a national conference, and a variety of on-campus ministries.
- Reformed University Fellowship The RUF is the official campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America. The RUF hosts Christian programming for international students, provides traditional campus ministries, and sponsors a church initiative for university communities.
- UKirk The Presbyterian Church sponsors ministries on individual campuses, which network as UKirk. UKirk provides students with opportunities to grow through worship, learning, sharing, and service.
- Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life BCMLife is a national coalition of Baptist collegiate ministries, including campus-based outreach, church planting in college communities, an international student ministry, and missions and outreach organizations.
Public Universities in South Carolina with Christian Ministries
- Coastal Carolina University: CCU has a vibrant student community and maintains faith groups including Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Cru, Coastal Carolina Catholics, and Young Life. The university's chaplain council provides interfaith support.
- University of South Carolina: USC maintains more than 400 student organizations, including the Chinese Student's Christian Fellowship, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and UKirk SC.
- Clemson University: Clemson maintains a large, vibrant chapter of Cru and a sizeable FCA community. The local First Baptist Church sponsors CFS, a missions service dedicated to local and global outreach.