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USC again among nation's best in sport science

The University of South Carolina competes at the highest level of college athletics and produces superstar after superstar in professional leagues. And for those pursuing a career in the science side of sports, the Columbia campus offers programs among the best in the world.

The annual Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments ranks USC No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference and No. 3 in the United States overall.

The ranking, compiled by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, recognizes the combined excellence of the Arnold School of Public Health’s exercise science and athletic training programs and the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management’s sport and entertainment management program. 

South Carolina has ranked in the Top 5 in every edition of the U.S. sport science rankings, finishing first six times.

“USC’s and the Arnold School’s long history of supporting the sciences of exercise, athletic training and sports management — and the remarkable quality of our faculty and students — is borne out yet again with this ‘best in class’ ranking from the Shanghai worldwide ranking system,” says Thomas Chandler, dean of the Arnold School.

Offering undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees, South Carolina’s sport science programs share a focus on combining classroom and experiential learning opportunities to give students the best possible preparation to succeed.

USC sport science

USC’s Department of Sport and Entertainment Management is the first and largest program of its kind in the nation. Students learn from a faculty full of world-renowned experts in the academic side of sport and those who have reached the top levels of the industry in practice, including former presidents of NFL and NBA franchises.

“It is great to see our globally ranked curriculum in sport management also contributing to the brilliant sport science research that is produced by our Arnold School,” says Michael Sagas, dean of the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. “That USC is again being recognized as among the elite sport science institutions in the world reflects the dedication and innovation of our researchers across both colleges.”

The Arnold School’s athletic training program has a reputation of excellence in preparing students to work as athletic trainers in a variety of clinical settings, while the interdisciplinary exercise science program prepares students for entry into a wide range of health-related graduate and professional programs.

“The continued high global ranking of USC is a testament to the quality and productivity of our faculty and graduate students,” says Shawn Arent, chair of the exercise science department. “It’s somewhat remarkable given the number of other universities worldwide, including in the U.S., who have made a dedicated effort to enhancing their sport science programs. The changes in the top tier in the rankings over the last several years reflect these efforts. Regardless of the rankings, what I am probably most proud of is the fact that we don’t just research sport science here, we do sport science as well. Leadership in athletics, from Ray Tanner to Judy Van Horne, Chance Miller, Billy Anderson and many of the coaches, have embraced the collaboration with academics to expand the impact we can have at USC and beyond, which has helped keep us globally relevant.”

ShanghaiRanking Consultancy is widely regarded by academics as one of the most influential rankers of international universities and has been cited by numerous publications, including Inside Higher Ed, The Guardian and The Christian Science Monitor

The organization has published academic rankings since 2009, but 2016 was the first year it included sport science schools and departments. The sport science rankings compare more than 300 universities that offer sport-related programs.