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The College of Charleston (informally known as CofC or The College) is a public, sea-grant and space-grant university located in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina
The College of Charleston was founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785, making it the oldest college or university in South Carolina, the 13th oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the oldest municipal college in the country. The founders of the College include three future signers of the Declaration of Independence (Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton and Thomas Heyward) and three future signers of the United States Constitution (John Rutledge, Charles Pinckney and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney). It is said that the college was founded to “encourage and institute youth in the several branches of liberal education.” The college is in company with the Colonial Colleges as one of the oldest schools in the United States. It is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
Although existing as a small, private liberal arts college for much of its early history, the College of Charleston is today a public university with a combined graduate/undergraduate enrollment of over 11,000. The college retains its liberal arts heritage through its core curriculum, which includes a heavy emphasis on languages, literature, history, sciences and the arts.
The College of Charleston consists of six academic schools, as well as the Honors College and the Graduate School.