International Students

The University of South Carolina has a rich tradition of welcoming and supporting international applicants. Representing more than 100 countries, international students comprise 14 percent of the graduate student population and 30 percent of doctoral students at the University of South Carolina.


The university is enhanced by international students and provides numerous support services to ease the transition into graduate life in Columbia, South Carolina.

International Student Services (ISS) knows the distinctive advantages and challenges of pursuing a graduate education abroad and are thus equipped with a highly trained and experienced staff to support you through the entire process of getting an advanced degree at USC. Some of the services they offer include immigration advice, special programming, support for international organizations, and cultural adjustment advising.

English Programs for Internationals (EPI) provides superior English as a Second Language instruction supported by experienced faculty and personalized services. EPI is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), and is a member of the Consortium of University and College Intensive English Programs (UCIEP) and the American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP).

International Friendly Zone

The "International Friendly Zone" program provides an inclusive environment on campus and support for international students. The Graduate School has several trained international friendly zone representatives on staff.

Cassandra Nelson
1705 College Street, Suite 552


Along with an application for graduate admission, international students may be required to submit the following:

An applicant whose native language is not English is required to submit a satisfactory score on TOEFL, IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam, or the PTE Academic,. The minimum TOEFL is 80 Internet-based, or 570 paper-based.. The minimum acceptable overall band score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam is 6.5. The minimum acceptable score on PTE Academic is 53. Some programs may require higher scores.

For testing information contact:

Test of English as a Foreign Language - TOEFL
Educational Testing Service
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA

IELTS International
100 East Corson Street, Suite 200
Pasadena, CA 91103, USA

PTE Academic

In addition, admitted applicants whose native language is not English are required to take a diagnostic test in English when they arrive at the University. Students with deficiencies are provided an opportunity for further study in reading, writing, and speaking English.


U.S. government regulations require that applicants for F-1 or J-1 students visas provide evidence of financial resources sufficient to cover the expense of one year of study, including tuition and room and board. Applicants may contact International Student Services to determine how much financial certification must be indicated. Financial certification may be documented on the Financial Certification Form or by providing a recent bank statement along with the Financial Certification Form. Financial certification may also include graduate assistantships, scholarships, or fellowships as well as support from sponsoring agencies. Evidence of financial support must be received in International Student Services before an I-20 or a DS-2019 document can be issued.


Each applicant for an F-1 or J-1 student visa is required to submit an Application for Immigration Document. If you are transferring from another US institution in F-1 or J-1 status, you must complete a Transfer In Form. Financial certification and other immigration forms may be submitted pre- or post-admission. Completed forms may be returned with your application, or mailed, email scanned, or faxed to:

International Student Services
University of South Carolina
Close-Hipp Building, Suite 650
Columbia, SC 29208
Phone: (803)777-7461 or Fax: (803)777-0462


International students benefit from and are required to attend orientations designed to enhance their success as scholars and teachers.

All graduate students who will be newly appointed Instructional or Teaching Assistants (IAs / TAs) during the upcoming academic year are required to participate in TA Training, which consists of two parts: (1) TA/IA Orientation, and (2) a semester-long course on teaching assistant development.

International graduate students must additionally complete the International TA Workshop to be appointed as TAs or IAs. Pre-registration is NOT required. For more information on this workshop, and details on the English Language Proficiency Requirement, please call English Programs for Internationals (EPI) at 803-777-3867 or email

All new international students, regardless of assistantship type, must complete the International Student Services (ISS) Orientation. Register for this Orientation at the ISS Orientation Registration page.

USC graduate students hail from across the state, the country and the world. Among international students, the most represented countries are China, India, Republic of Korea, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Mexico, Iran, Turkey, Germany, France and Saudi Arabia.