Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae

The Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae (“Bachelor of Arts and Sciences,” or “BARSC”) is the most selective undergraduate degree program at the University of South Carolina and one of the most selective in the country. In order to be admitted to this program, applicants must be fourth semester Honors College students with a minimum GPA of 3.6. They must develop a program of study approved by a panel consisting of an Associate Dean and Dean of the Honors College and two faculty advisors. They must satisfy the general education requirements for both the BS and BA degrees. They must complete the study of a foreign language into the third year. They must take at least 69 credits of honors course work, including an extensive nine-hour senior honors thesis. Finally, they must have a 3.5 grade point average to graduate.

BARSC Process

The following steps are taken by any student considering the BARSC degree:

  1. Speak with advisor.  The student discusses the degree program with his or her Honors Advisor, and with the Dean of the Honors College. This is done during the student’s first three semesters in the college.
  2. Draft Statement of Purpose. If the Dean approves the student to apply to the BARSC program, then the student prepares a “Statement of Purpose” and submits it to the Dean and an Associate Dean for review. The Statement of Purpose should contain the following information:
    • The student’s academic strengths and weaknesses;
    • The student’s personal and professional goals, both long- and short-term;
    • The reasons why the student’s academic and professional goals cannot be met through a standard degree program (for example, a double major).
  3. Establish BARSC Committee.  The student establishes his or her BARSC Committee, which consists of (i) the Dean; (ii) one Associate Dean; and (iii) two faculty members invited by the student. The two faculty members represent two of the disciplines to be pursued through the student’s BARSC Program. The student’s BARSC Committee receives the student’s Statement of Purpose in preparation for meeting to establish the student’s program of study.
  4. Determine program of study.  The student’s BARSC Committee meets with the student to work out the specific program of study for that student.

Once the program of study has been worked out, the student transfers to the BARSC degree program officially, with the Honors College Dean or Associate Dean serving as his or her Honors College and Major advisor.

Degree Requirements

The following are the BARSC degree requirements:

Aside from these requirements, the student, working with his or her committee, designs an individualized curriculum that has no major, minor, or cognate, but reflects the student’s interests, strengths and weaknesses. The Senior Thesis/Project (9-15 credits) represents the student's effort to pull the strands of this unique educational opportunity together in an extended research/scholarly experience.

Requirements Outline

Required Courses Course Options (may be non-honors)
English 2/6 ENGL 101, ENGL 102.
History 3/9  One European, one American, and one non-western history.
Fine Arts and Lituature 2/6

One Fine Arts and one Literature Course (beyond ENGL 101 and 102).

Language 6/19 Foreign language through one 300-level course
Social Science/ Behavioral Science 3/9 Political Science, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, Geology, etc.
Science 2/8-10

Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Marine Science, etc. Must include 2 hours of laboratories.

Mathematics 2/8 MATH 141, MATH 142.
Cultural Overlay 3/9-12

Two of three overlays may overlap with BARSC general education or degree specific requirements. At least one overlay must be met by a stand-alone course.

1. Persuasive Communications

2. Information Literacy

3. Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility

BARSC-Specific TBD Other courses required as determined by student's BARSC committee, in consultation with student
Thesis Requirements Number of Credits Title & Notes
SCHC 399 3 Independent Study
SCHC 390z 1 Senior Thesis Preparation; usually in sixth semester
SCHC 490  9-15 Senior Thesis/Project; register in seventh semester, complete in eighth semester

Of the above, a total of 69 Honors credits is required and the Senior Thesis/Project must be a minimum of 9 credits.

Download a printable version of the BARSC description for use with applications. [PDF]