The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, was founded in 1842. The South Carolina Military Academy, as it was then called, had two locations in arsenals built in the 1820s – the Citadel Academy in Charleston, and the Arsenal Academy in Columbia. After South Carolina seceded, the Citadel and Arsenal were instrumental in the Civil War, and while the Arsenal was completely destroyed by the army of William Tecumseh Sherman, the Citadel survived and was reestablished as a college in 1882. Today, the Citadel is one of the six official Senior Military Colleges in the US (along with Norwich University, Virginia Tech, and others), and is renowned nationwide for its commitment to academic excellence; it is currently ranked the #4 best regional college in the South by U.S. News & World Report, as well as earning distinction as a best value.
Academic ProgramsAs a senior military college, the Citadel is known for discipline, rigor, and challenge, holding the highest academic and personal standards for students. As such, the Citadel attracts some of the most motivated and accomplished students in South Carolina and nationally to its top-ranked programs. The Citadel School of Engineering, one of the oldest in the US, is a national leader consistently ranked one of the top 25 undergraduate and graduate engineering programs. Two of the Citadel’s other most-respected divisions, the Baker School of Business and the Zucker Family School of Education, have earned regional and national recognition for excellence, value, and especially post-graduation success, including ranking in the top 100 for graduate earnings, according to the Economist.
While undergraduate programs are only open to the Corps of Cadets, the Citadel’s graduate and online programs are open to anyone, from the Baker School’s award-winning MBA to online degrees in Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Securities Studies, and other fields. The Citadel has made outreach to South Carolina’s Low Country a priority, providing high-quality online and extension programs at a reasonable cost; South Carolina residents receive a significant discount as they would from any public university. Students from SC community colleges can also complete their bachelor’s degrees at the Citadel’s evening adult degree classes.
Student LifeThe Citadel is a military college, and all undergraduates are part of the Corps of Cadets and required to join the ROTC. Undergraduate students are subject to military discipline and live as military personnel; Cadets are uniformed, live in barracks, and take part in the same kind of physical fitness standards as active-duty military. Daily silent study time is also mandatory. In addition, cadets must remain on campus during the week, though they may leave on weekends and enjoy greater freedoms as they move up in class. The Citadel student body is almost entirely male; though women have been admitted since 1996, only 8% of students are female. Around a quarter of students come from a minority background.
While life at the Citadel is highly structured and dedicated to academic and personal excellence, Cadets have access to many of the same activities as traditional college students, with numerous student-led clubs and organizations like sports and recreation, culture, religion, and professional groups. The Citadel also organizes many leadership-building exercises and events, and is deeply engaged in service learning, outreach to the Low Country, and community action. The Regimental Band and the Citadel Pipe Band are internationally known, appearing in parades and events across the world, and the Citadel Bulldogs are a nationally-feared NCAA Division I powerhouse, especially in football. As a testament to the Citadel’s academic rigor, the college’s athletes also have one of the highest graduation rates in the NCAA.