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Best PhD and Doctoral Programs in South Carolina: Online & Campus

PhD programs in South Carolina can increase your access to top-level jobs and salaries. Find out which schools offer these high-level degrees.

Search hundreds of top schools for the doctorate YOU want.

Written By

Kenya McCullum

Last updated

Jan 31, 2024

Are you thinking about ways to move up in your career? Is there a specific position you want that requires a doctoral-level degree? Do you want to gain expertise to earn a higher salary? PhD programs in South Carolina are an avenue on your career path to consider. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are dozens of schools offering these advanced degrees. Continue reading to find out about doctoral programs in South Carolina, including the best schools offering them, what you can expect when you apply and enroll, and some professions graduates pursue around the state. You’ll also get a look at the salaries you can make in different professions after earning a doctoral degree.

Top-Rated PhD and Doctoral Programs in South Carolina for 2024

Have you thought about the qualities of a school offering PhD programs in South Carolina that are important to you? In addition to the type of degree a school offers, maybe you’re looking for specific student resources or a certain price point. Everyone has a different idea of what the best school is, and this guide details some of the most common criteria students look for. As you review the schools below, you’ll get an idea of what top-notch institutions offer. Even if these selections aren’t the right fit for you, you have a barometer to use when judging other doctoral programs in South Carolina.

University of South Carolina-Columbia

From mathematics to social work to computer science, the University of South Carolina-Columbia has a variety of doctoral programs to choose from. In-state graduate students pay just under $7,000 a year in tuition, while out-of-state residents pay just under $15,000. The school offers several financial aid opportunities, including fellowships and awards. The Outstanding Community Engagement Award, for example, is available for graduate students involved in volunteerism, social advocacy, civic engagement, or community service. Some students may also be eligible for an assistantship where they work 20 hours per week for a stipend and tuition reduction. There are instructional, research, and administrative assistantships available.

Clemson University

Clemson University has several online and hybrid doctoral programs, such as its PhDs in teaching and learning, executive leadership, policy studies, and wildlife and fisheries biology. Residents pay from about $4,400 to about $6,600 a semester for tuition while non-residents pay $6,500 to $14,300. Students may be eligible to receive administrative, research, resident director assistantships or perhaps fellowships to help them pay for these costs. Those who are interested in teaching can qualify for an assistantship where they may help professors grade undergraduate students’ classwork, provide assistance during laboratories, or teach undergraduate classes or laboratories.

Anderson University

Anderson University offers doctoral degrees in healthcare, education, and ministry. The school’s PhD in preaching helps those in ministry sharpen their skills to help them become effective preachers and mentors in their churches. The advanced practice Doctor of Nursing program (DNP) prepares nurses to take leadership roles in a healthcare facility, so they can design, test, implement, and assess the policies and practices in organizations. If you’re interested in teaching in traditional and nontraditional settings, Anderson University’s EdD program prepares you to work in schools, nonprofit organizations, churches, and educational businesses.

Types of PhD and Doctoral Programs Available in South Carolina

There are several types of PhD programs in South Carolina, so you’ll likely find the type that best suits your career, education, and lifestyle. This next section looks at the different kinds of programs you can choose from.

Full-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in South Carolina

If you’re not working a full-time job or your schedule is flexible enough, consider enrolling in a full-time PhD program in South Carolina. Keep in mind that these programs are a huge commitment, and you can probably expect to spend about as much time with your coursework as you do in a full-time job. However, this is a good option to help you complete your studies in a reasonable amount of time.

Quality Examples of Programs

Part-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in South Carolina

Since schools offering PhD programs in South Carolina understand that time is scarce for busy professionals, they often offer part-time doctoral programs. This is extremely beneficial because part-time programs incorporate into students’ lives much easier, but this option may add a considerable amount of time to your studies and delay your graduation date.

Quality Examples of Programs

Fully-Funded PhD/Doctoral Programs in South Carolina

Some schools offering PhD programs in South Carolina provide full funding for students, so they don’t have to worry about how to pay for their education. In many cases, fully-funded PhD programs provide assistantships that benefit students financially and through experiential learning. In these cases, students work a certain number of hours in exchange for a tuition waiver. Some fully-funded doctoral programs in South Carolina provide funding through scholarships and grants. 

Quality Examples of Programs

No-GRE PhD/Doctoral Programs in South Carolina

Preparing so you earn a high score on the GRE can be extremely time-consuming. Luckily, more programs are waiving this requirement, so you may be admitted without the added stress. The following are some examples of no-GRE PhD programs in South Carolina.

Quality Examples of Programs

Accelerated PhD/Doctoral Programs in South Carolina

Some people want to complete their PhD programs in South Carolina in the fastest way possible, and an accelerated degree can help accomplish this. Depending on the school, accelerated degree programs may be completed in as little as one year, which can make a world of difference in ensuring your education doesn’t disrupt your schedule for long.

Quality Examples of Programs

No Dissertation PhD/Doctoral Programs in South Carolina

If you’re interested in conducting research, a dissertation is a great opportunity to take what you learned in your program and sharpen your abilities. However, some people don’t want to do research. For them, there are programs that do not require a dissertation and instead involve a capstone course where they complete a project. 

Quality Examples of Programs


For current nurses interested in contributing more to their communities, a doctoral-level degree can help. If you want to give back to the field by becoming a nursing instructor or researcher, a PhD in nursing is the degree to pursue. On the other hand, if you want to provide more advanced care to patients and work on more complicated cases, then enroll in the practice-based DNP program.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs


According to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the aerospace, automotive, and manufacturing industries are among the top in the state. If you’re an engineer looking to find a way to advance, pursuing a PhD may be a good path for you. With an engineering doctorate, you can acquire advanced skills to contribute to cutting-edge technologies in the computer, environmental, mechanical, or chemical engineering sectors.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs


For business leaders who want to increase their skills to continue to elevate their careers or even start their own business, a Business Doctorate (DBA) is best. However, a PhD in business is a good fit if you’re interested in conducting original business research or working as a college professor to help mold the next generation of leaders.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs


Are you a current educator who wants to become an administrator? Are you just beginning your career and thinking about pursuing a research position to develop new strategies that help teachers in their classrooms? Are you thinking about becoming an education consultant? For all of these scenarios, a doctorate in education can advance your knowledge and sharpen your skills. 

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs


Whether you want to start your own practice, teach at the college level, or concentrate on a specific area of psychology, consider earning a psychology doctorate (PsyD) or a PhD. A PsyD program is for clinicians who want to elevate their patient care skills to provide more advanced services as well as focus on more diverse patient populations. A PhD in psychology is earned by clinicians looking to gain expertise in a specialization as well as by those who want to become educators, consultants, and administrators.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Earning Your PhD or Professional Doctorate Online in South Carolina

Are you interested in participating in some face-to-face activities as you work on your doctorate? Or, would you prefer to complete all of your classwork online because you work best independently? Either way, you’ll find an online PhD program in South Carolina that fits your needs. In some cases, programs are delivered entirely online, so you never have to worry about the time and expense of traveling to campus. If you don’t mind in-person meetings, hybrid programs give you the best of both worlds. In these programs, you may be required to go to campus every week, which is a good choice if face-to-face communication with your instructors and peers would enhance your learning.

Where to Get Help Paying for Your PhD or Doctoral Degree in South Carolina

As you’re exploring PhD programs in South Carolina, don’t forget to look at financial aid opportunities. Just as with undergraduate students, there are several sources of scholarships and grants. You just need to look for them from multiple sources, including government agencies, professional associations, and the school you attend. For example, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants offers scholarships to students studying accounting for the first time as well as to seasoned professionals earning PhDs. The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education also provides several funding opportunities, including tuition reimbursement for nurse educators and free tuition for senior citizens. Female students who attend the Medical University of South Carolina can receive scholarships from the school’s Medical University Women’s Club. Graduate students can also seek funding through fellowships.

Earnings for Doctorate Holders in South Carolina

As you rise higher in your education level, you can generally expect to see increases in your earnings. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the boost in salary can be quite dramatic after graduating from a doctoral program in South Carolina. The BLS reports that those with doctoral and professional degrees earn an average of $2,083 and $2,080 each week respectively. This is a huge jump in salary compared to those with master’s ($1,661), bachelor’s ($1,432), and associate degrees ($1,005).

Want to know how you’ll fare if you complete a specific degree? The information in the table below details how much certain positions command for someone with a PhD or doctorate in South Carolina.

Job TitleRelated Doctoral Degree(s)Median Earnings90th Percentile Earnings
Chief ExecutivesDoctor of Business Administration (DBA) / Online PhD in Business$193,480$239,200
Civil EngineersDoctorate in Engineering (DEng/PhD)$80,440$132,170
Computer and Information Research ScientistsPhD in Computer Science$113,440$138,740
EconomistsPhD in Economics$69,890$119,450
Education Administrators, PostsecondaryDoctor of Education (EdD)$81,460$168,910
Education Teachers, PostsecondaryPhD in Education / PhD in Special Education$77,680$129,570
EpidemiologistsDoctor of Public Health (DrPH)$76,100$88,830
Financial ManagersFinance Doctorate (PhD/DBA)$116,990$214,340
Nurse PractitionersDoctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)$103,950$137,740
PharmacistsDoctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)$128,690$158,790
Physical TherapistsDoctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)$86,620$113,980

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022