Best Nursing Schools in South Carolina

Updated on January 12, 2024

At a Glance

  • South Carolina offers a wide range of top-rated nursing schools
  • University of South Carolina, Clemson University, and Medical University of South Carolina are among the top choices
  • Factors like admissions data, affordability, and student outcomes were considered in the rankings
  • Programs vary in terms of tuition, acceptance rates, and average salaries of graduates

South Carolina is home to over 35 nursing schools that offer a mix of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. With so many options to choose from, it can be tough deciding which nursing program is the right fit. This article examines 10 of the top-rated nursing schools in South Carolina based on factors like admissions data, affordability, and student outcomes.

University of South Carolina

Location: Columbia, SC

Rating: 8.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 75%

Tuition: $12,588 per year (in-state), $32,356 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $59,000


The College of Nursing at the University of South Carolina offers BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD programs. Its accelerated BSN option allows students with a prior bachelor’s degree to earn a BSN in just 12 months. Graduates praise the engaging faculty and wealth of clinical experience offered.

Clemson University

Location: Clemson, SC

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 71%

Avg SAT Score: 1310

Tuition: $15,658 per year (in-state), $36,068 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $60,200


Clemson University’s nursing school provides excellent clinical training opportunities at its associated medical center. Small class sizes allow for close engagement with exceptional faculty. Graduates consistently rate their educational experience very highly.

Medical University of South Carolina

Location: Charleston, SC

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 3%

Tuition: $11,573 per year (in-state), $27,390 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $70,500


As South Carolina’s only academic medical center, MUSC offers unparalleled access to advanced medical facilities and training. Its nursing graduates have exceptionally high job placement rates thanks to this intensive clinical focus. However, admissions are very selective.

Francis Marion University

Location: Florence, SC

Rating: 7.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 58%

Tuition: $10,878 per year (in-state), $20,290 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $52,400


Francis Marion University’s Department of Nursing offers an accelerated BSN program that allows students to complete nursing prerequisites and clinical nursing coursework in just 16 months. Graduates cite small class sizes and caring professors as major assets.

Anderson University

Location: Anderson, SC

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 66%

Tuition: $29,220 per year

Avg Salary: $58,300


Anderson University’s well-regarded nursing program emphasizes building compassionate patient relationships backed by evidence-based knowledge. Students get early clinical skills practice in cutting-edge simulation labs prior to experiences in local healthcare facilities.

Winthrop University

Location: Rock Hill, SC

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 60%

Tuition: $16,032 per year (in-state), $30,150 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $54,100


Winthrop University’s nursing graduates consistently rate their curricula as effectively preparing them for real-world practice. Renowned faculty help students thrive through quality classroom, lab, clinical, and community health experiences across the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.

South University

Location: Columbia, SC

Rating: 6.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Tuition: $48,000 total for BSN

Avg Salary: $58,500


South University takes an accelerated approach to BSN and MSN nursing degrees, allowing students to progress quickly towards advanced roles in patient care. As a private institution, class sizes remain small even with its high acceptance rates. However, tuition costs are also much higher than comparable public schools.

Charleston Southern University

Location: Charleston, SC

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 59%

Tuition: $28,950 per year

Avg Salary: $56,800


With a faith-based nursing curriculum emphasizing ethics and compassion, Charleston Southern University appeals to those seeking to intertwine religious values with medical knowledge. Extensive local hospital partnerships give students invaluable real-world preparation.

Coker University

Location: Hartsville, SC

Rating: 6/10

Acceptance Rate: 43%

Tuition: $33,994 per year

Avg Salary: $50,200


Coker University offers one of South Carolina’s only fully online RN-BSN programs, making it accessible for working nurses statewide seeking to advance their education. Undergraduate pre-licensure options are also available, though somewhat cost-prohibitive.

Bob Jones University

Location: Greenville, SC

Rating: 5.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 92%

Tuition: $16,750 per year

Avg Salary: $46,900


Bob Jones University provides faith-based nursing education focused on patient-centered care and Christ-like compassion. As a private Christian college, admissions are open to all aligned with its religious mission. Affordable tuition makes it accessible, though average salaries trend lower post-graduation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best nursing programs in South Carolina?

Based on factors like graduation rates, reputation, affordability, and graduate outcomes, the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, and the Medical University of South Carolina are considered the top nursing programs in the state.

Which nursing school in South Carolina is easiest to get into?

South University has the highest acceptance rate at 100%, making it generally the easiest nursing program to get into in South Carolina. Other less competitive options include Bob Jones University, Winthrop University, and Francis Marion University.

Is University of South Carolina a good nursing school?

Yes, University of South Carolina is an excellent option. It’s highly rated and offers strong clinical experience. As a public university, it’s also more affordable than comparable private college programs while still providing a quality education.

What GPA do you need to get into nursing school in South Carolina?

Specific GPA requirements vary by program, but most aim for at least a 3.0 minimum GPA to qualify for nursing major admissions. More competitive schools like Clemson or MUSC expect a higher GPA around 3.5 or better to be a strong candidate.

What is the cheapest nursing school in South Carolina?

Bob Jones University has the lowest published yearly tuition rates for nursing degrees at around $16,750 per year. However, many public South Carolina universities offer cheaper rates for in-state students specifically.

Can you get into nursing school with a low GPA?

It’s tough, but possible. Some schools offer GPA repair programs to help strengthen your academic record over time and demonstrate capability. Letters of recommendation and a compelling application essay also help offset a lower GPA for admission.

How long does it take to become an RN in South Carolina?

A traditional BSN program takes 4 years to complete. However, accelerated options for those who already hold bachelor’s degrees can lead to RN licensure in South Carolina in as little as 12-16 months. Other associates programs may take just 2-3 years.

What score do you need to pass the NCLEX in South Carolina?

To become licensed as an RN in South Carolina, the passing minimum score for the NCLEX national licensing exam is the standard score established by NCSBN of 95 on a scale between 0-200.

Do I need a BSN to become a nurse in South Carolina?

No, South Carolina still allows candidates to sit for the RN licensing exam with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) from approved community college programs. However, many hospitals now prefer or require candidates to hold at least a BSN for maximum career advancement.

Which pays better – BSN or ADN?

BSN nurses tend to earn higher salaries on average than ADN nurses nationally and specifically within South Carolina. The advanced coursework also opens up greater long-term opportunities to pursue high-paying advanced nursing positions and leadership roles over time.

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