Sep 30, 2023  
2015-2016 South University Academic Catalog version II 
2015-2016 South University Academic Catalog version II [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

About South University

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About South University

South University, Austin, South University, Cleveland, South University, Columbia, South University, High Point, South University, Montgomery, South University, Novi, South University, Orlando, South University, Richmond, South University, Savannah, South University, Tampa, South University, Virginia Beach, South University, West Palm Beach, and South University, Online Programs are collectively referred to throughout this catalog as “South University” or the “University”. Where appropriate when only a specific campus location or locations are intended campuses may be referred to by their geographic identifier.

The Art Institute of Charlotte, a campus of South University, The Art Institute of Dallas, a campus of South University, The Art Institute of Fort Worth , a campus of South University, and The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, a campus of South University are collectively referred to throughout this catalog as the “College of Creative Art and Design”. Where appropriate when only a specific campus location or locations are intended campuses may be referred to by their geographic identifier. For information about the College of Creative Art and Design, please see About The Art Institute Campuses  information section of the catalog. 


South University traces its history to 1899 when Dr. John Draughon established Draughon’s Practical Business College in historic Savannah, GA. The school was originally located in the Masonic Lodge that stood on the northeast corner of Liberty Street and Whitaker Street in the west side of downtown Savannah. During its early years the College was moved several times to accommodate growing enrollment, and eventually was settled into the Atlantic Mutual Building.

The school’s name was changed to Draughon’s Junior College when it was acquired in 1974 by the South family, longtime civic and business leaders in Savannah. That year, the school was relocated to its original neighborhood and began a period of expansion into a multi-campus system with the addition of a campus in West Palm Beach, FL. In 1986, the institution’s name was changed to South College.

In 1996, the College became a four-year school with the addition of a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, and in 1997 opened its third campus in what had been the Massey-Draughon Business College in Montgomery, AL. That same year, the College reorganized its administrative structure into the School of Business and the School of Health Professions with the addition of the Physician Assistant program at the baccalaureate level and the Physical Therapist Assistant program at the associate level.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredited the institution to confer master’s degrees in 2001, and the Master of Science in Physician Assistant degree program was added. In October of that year, with the addition of this post-baccalaureate degree program, South College officially became South University.

In January 2002, South University opened its fourth campus, formerly Columbia Junior College, in Columbia, SC. Later that year, the University announced plans to open a School of Pharmacy on the Savannah campus and to offer a Doctor of Pharmacy degree program. In December 2002, South University received accreditation to award doctoral degrees. In a span of seven years, the school was transformed from a two-year college granting associate’s degrees and certificates into a four-year university with four campuses, multiple bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and the ability to offer doctoral degree programs.

South University continued expansion and in 2003 became a part of Education Management Corporation (EDMC), one of the largest education providers in North America. In 2004, the University began web-based instruction with the introduction of online bachelor’s degree programs in Business Administration and Information Technology. Online Bachelor of Science degree programs in Healthcare Management, Nursing, and Criminal Justice were added in 2005.

The next year, South University opened its fifth campus, in Tampa, FL. In addition, the University launched four online master’s degree programs: Master of Business Administration (MBA), MBA in Healthcare Administration, Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Master of Science in Nursing. South University also announced the relocation of its Columbia, SC, campus to the city’s growing east side.

At the Savannah campus in 2007, South University opened a new library, more than tripling the size and resources available to students and faculty. That year, the University also introduced the MBA and MBA in Healthcare Administration degree programs at the Columbia, Montgomery, Savannah, and West Palm Beach campuses, and launched the RN to BSN Degree Program at Columbia, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. Also that year, South University celebrated its first graduating class of fully online students and awarded the largest number of graduate degrees in its history.

In 2008, the South University Board of Trustees approved the creation of the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Health Professions, and College of Nursing, which expanded the pre-licensure Nursing degree program to the Columbia, SC, campus.

The University expanded the Master of Science degree program in Physician Assistant Studies to its Tampa campus in 2009 and announced the opening of a School of Pharmacy satellite location in Columbia, SC. South University also completed the construction and opening of campus locations in Richmond and Virginia Beach, VA.

In 2010 South University’s Board of Trustees approved the creation of the College of Creative Art and Design and the merger of The Art Institute of Dallas and The Art Institute of Fort Worth into South University. That year, the University also announced the opening of its Novi, MI, campus.

In 2011, the University announced the opening of a location in Austin, Texas and the expansion of the Master of Science in Nursing program with specializations in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator. The University also expanded the campuses offering the Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Master of Science in Information Systems and Technology.

In 2012, the university opened locations in Cleveland, Ohio and High Point, North Carolina and officially merged with The Art Institute of Charlotte and The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham.

As part of its commitment to the Health Sciences, South University launched the Associate of Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant and announced the launch of Post-Graduate Certificates for nurses interested in advance practice. The University also launched the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, which is designed as the highest degree for advanced practice nurses who wish to maintain nursing practice as their area of professional emphasis.

South University’s growth is a visible expression of its mission, as well as a response to the demand for a well-educated and highly trained workforce in public and private sectors. During the 2013-2014 academic year the University focused on expansion of its programs in the College of Nursing and Public Health and the College of Health Professions across campus locations.

In 2014, the University’s commitment to excellence in higher education continued, and SACSCOC reaffirmed South University’s accreditation for ten years.

South University’s newly formed College of Theology accepted its first students into the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program and the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree program launched on the West Palm Beach campus.

In 2015, the Austin campus moved from its temporary location to its permanent 42,000 square foot campus, and South University expanded its footprint in Florida with a new teaching location in Orlando.

About the South University Catalog

This catalog, in effect at the opening of fall quarter 2015, includes South University’s policies; a list of the campuses; descriptions of academic programs, course offerings, and services; and a list of faculty members. Students are subject to the policy and curricula requirements of the current catalog regardless of their original quarter of enrollment.

While the provisions of this catalog will ordinarily be applied as stated, the University reserves the right to change any of the contents of this catalog, including but not limited to academic requirements for graduation. Academic programs, course offerings, and scheduling are subject to change at the discretion of the institution without notice to individual students. Every effort will be made to keep students advised of any such changes. Information on changes will be available in the Office of the Registrar. Students are responsible for staying apprised of current graduation requirements for their particular programs.

All academic information in this catalog applies to all South University campuses unless stated otherwise.

Additional information for some programs is included in the handbooks for those programs (e.g., Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, Nursing, and Physician Assistant) which may be obtained from the Program Director or Department Chair for the program.

Alternative formats of this publication are available upon request. For more information contact the University Registrar.


South University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of South University.

Information about accreditations and licensing for specific programs and by state can be found here .