South Carolina Semester


The South Carolina Semester offers students an exciting opportunity combining special academic study with a custom-designed internship in the Columbia, SC area.

Each spring, students selected for The South Carolina Semester take part in courses (six credit hours) that explore the history, politics and culture of the Palmetto State.  Service opportunities, field trips and writing assignments emphasize issues surrounding women, civic leadership, and the formation of public policy.  Highlighting the experience is a twelve-week internship (3 to 6 credit hours) arranged according to each participant’s area of interest.

South Carolina Semester Flyer

Intern in the Palmetto State’s Capital

In recent years, Columbia College students have interned in a variety of exciting settings:

  • Nikki Haley for Governor Campaign
  • Richland County Sherriff’s Department
  • First Citizens Bank
  • City of Columbia – Mayor’s Office
  • Fort Jackson – Public Relations Office
  • Voices for SC’s Children
  • United Way of the Midlands
  • SC Victims Assistance Network
  • Sexual Trauma Services
  • Columbia Chamber of Commerce
  • SC Attorney's General Office
  • Senator Lindsey Graham
  • SC Christian Action Council
  • SC Petroleum Marketers Association
  • Girl Scouts
  • Historic Columbia Foundation
  • Lutheran Family Services
  • SC Interfaith Community Services
  • SC State Legislature
  • SC State Museum
  • SC Lottery Commission
  • SC Department of Education
  • Richland County Solicitor’s Office
  • SC Democratic Party
  • Lexington County Public Defender’s Office
  • Richland County Public Defender’s Office
  • National Kidney Foundation of South Carolina
  • U.S. District Court (District of SC)
  • WIS-TV
  • SC Republican Party
  • Judiciary Committee, SC State Legislature
  • Rep. Jim Clyburn
  • Conservation Voters of SC
  • Harvest Hope Food Bank
  • SC Department of Probation and Parole
  • Columbia Chamber of Commerce 

The Director of the South Carolina Semester program, in consultation with the student’s academic advisor and the Center for Engaged Learning, works with each participant to secure an appropriate internship placement.

Who Can Apply?

The South Carolina Semester is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors from all academic majors, with preference given to juniors and seniors. Final selection is determined by:

  • Strong academic achievement
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Initiative in working independently
  • Desire to explore new intellectual, social and personal challenges
  • Endorsement by student’s academic advisor and department chair
  • Successful completion of the South Carolina Semester application form

Up to ten students are selected to participate in the program.


The cost of the South Carolina Semester is the same as the comprehensive fee for tuition for the spring semester. We strongly encourage participants to reside on campus.

How to Apply

Each applicant must complete a South Carolina Semester application form (above). The application requires:

  • An essay describing your reasons for considering the South Carolina Semester;
  • One letter of recommendation from a Columbia College faculty member; and
  • An unofficial copy of your Columbia College transcript.



Dr. Ed Sharkey
Political Science Program Coordinator

Erin Carlson
Director, Center for Applied Learning