Since its founding by The Wesleyan Church in 1906, Southern Wesleyan University has been a Christian community of learners that recognizes God as the source of all truth and wisdom. The university seeks to create an atmosphere in which members of the community work together toward wholeness by seeking to integrate faith, learning, and daily life.
Located in Central, South Carolina, the university is a half-way point between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia. The Town of Central was once an important mid-way stop when the railroad was the primary means of transportation between those historic cities. The University is thirty minutes from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and ten minutes from Clemson University, with whom it shares some cooperative programs.
The university evolved from a small Bible institute first chartered as Wesleyan Methodist College in 1909. It is now a four-year, private, liberal arts college that was first regionally accredited in 1973. Historically, the founders of the college understood linguistic, quantitative, and analytical skills to be the foundation of a liberal arts education. Further, they believed that the cultivation of this curriculum within the context of faith, worship, studies in religion, and service to others created a fertile soil for intellectual and spiritual growth. Thus, the college ensured that every student would be well grounded in these areas by developing a general education curriculum of liberal arts studies. That tradition is alive today. All undergraduate programs, on-campus and online, contain a core curriculum in the liberal arts.
As a ministry of The Wesleyan Church and in service to the global Church, Southern Wesleyan prepares students for leadership in religion, education, music, business, medicine, law, science, and a variety of civic and social service professions. Graduate programs are offered in the fields of education and business. In 2018, the University moved to a level-five institution with the introduction of its first doctoral program in the School of Education.
Although the university serves the Southeast, the student population blends cultural, ethnic, and regional diversity drawn from both the United States and the international community; thus, encouraging a broad cross-cultural sharing of Christian values. Ideal graduates of Southern Wesleyan have a healthy respect for themselves and others as bearers of God’s image and are prepared to confront a rapidly changing world with skills in communication, information processing, analysis, synthesis, and problem-solving.
Mission and Values
University Core Values
Christ Centered: Purpose, Scholarship, Community, Transformation
||A specific calling for a unique role in our world.
||Academic excellence in an innovative faith-centered environment.
||Belonging to a connected and compassionate body of learners.
||Christ’s redemptive work in individual and corporate life.
We believe that every individual has a God-given purpose, brought to fruition by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. Through the challenge of scholarship and participation in a consecrated community of learners we are both individually and corporately continuously transformed into the image of Christ.
Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant leaders who impact the world for Christ.
As a university owned and organized for the purposes of The Wesleyan Church, Southern Wesleyan University shares a common understanding of doctrine and God’s revealed will as described in the Church’s “Articles of Religion,” “Membership Commitments,” and “Elementary Principles.” The following is a summary of the doctrine set forth in the Articles of Religion, but the statement is not intended to replace or in any way supersede the more explicit affirmations found in the most current version of The Discipline of the Wesleyan Church.
We believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son, suffered in our place on the cross, that He died but rose again, that He now sits at the Father’s right hand until He returns to judge all humanity at the last day.
We believe in the Holy Scriptures as the inspired and inerrant Word of God.
We believe that by the grace of God every person has the ability and responsibility to choose between right and wrong, and that those who repent of their sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are justified by faith.
We believe that God not only counts the believer as righteous, but that He makes believers righteous, freeing them of sin’s dominion at conversion, purifying their heart by faith and perfecting them in love at entire sanctification, and providing for their growth in grace in every stage of his spiritual life, enabling them through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to live victorious lives.
Programs and Formats
Southern Wesleyan University seeks to meet the educational needs of diverse student populations through both traditional and innovative approaches. For those students who seek an excellent residential campus experience in the context of a strong Christian environment, the university provides on-campus programs at its facility in Central, South Carolina. There the rich traditions of academia are coupled with residence hall communities, sports, chapel and artistic performances.
SWU’s On-Campus program offers a wide variety of undergraduate majors in areas such as business, recreation, teacher education, music, English, communication, religion & ministry, biology, chemistry, math, computer science, forensics, pre-medicine, medical technology, history, psychology, social science and human services. Southern Wesleyan University offers online programs in an innovative framework that provide opportunities to conveniently complete undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs. SWU Online continues year-round, and students enter the program at several times during the year.
Undergraduate programs offered through SWU Online include an associate degree in general studies. Also offered are bachelor of science programs in business administration, human services and early childhood and family studies.
Southern Wesleyan University also offers online graduate and postgraduate programs including the Master of Business Administration (MBA), the Master of Science in Management (MSM), the Master of Education in Classroom Leadership (MEDCL), the Master of Education in Administration and Supervision (MEDAS), the Master of Education in e-Learning and Instructional Design, the D. Clifton Wood Master of Science in Counseling Psychology, and the Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Assessment (EdD).
Southern Wesleyan University occupies a three-hundred-acre campus near the town of Central (the central point on a railway line running between Charlotte and Atlanta). Instructional facilities on campus include Folger Fine Arts Building (1964), Brower Classroom Building (1966), Gibson Science Building (1966), Ellenburg Lecture Hall (1966), Nicholson-Mitchell Christian Ministry Center (1940, addition 1996), John M. Newby Education Center (2003) and the Newton-Hobson Chapel & Fine Arts Center (2008). Claude R. Rickman Library (1975) is conveniently located at the center of the campus. Offering individual and group study areas, the library provides access to over 300,000 print and electronic volumes, including the Wesleyana Collection. The library subscribes to multiple online databases with nearly 27,000 journals in full text.
Student residence halls include Stuart-Bennett Hall (1963, addition 1967), apartments (2000), Mullinax Hall (2005) and Joiner Hilson Complex (2017). The Lowell E. Jennings Campus Life Center (1991) houses a snack shop, campus store, mailroom and student services; and J. Walden Tysinger Gymnasium (1969) contains locker rooms, shower rooms, official-size hard maple basketball floor, fitness center, recreation areas and offices for athletic personnel. The University Dining Commons (2005) houses conference services and student food services.
Most administrative offices are located in Correll Hall (1947). Online programs academic services offices for students are located in the Claude R. Rickman Library. Admissions is located in the Clayton Welcome Center (renovated 2009). In 1997, the university acquired Eagles Rest, which is used as a retreat and conference center. Bryant Lodge (2001) serves as a gathering place for university and community events.