Santa Monica College Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica College is a two-year community college, founded in 1929. The college is supported by the state of California and is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Santa Monica College offers courses in seventy-six academic disciplines of study. Students who complete their first two years of undergraduate requirements may receive an Associate in Arts degree before transferring to a four-year college or university to complete their Bachelor’s degree. Certificates are also granted in certain occupational and vocational programs. International students from more than 105 countries represent nearly ten percent of the 31,000 undergraduate student body.

As a starting point for higher education, Santa Monica College has been recognized as the leading community college in California. The quality of education provided by SMC is comparable to that of the first two years in a small, scholastically rigorous liberal arts college. As a result, SMC’s reputation as a transfer institution attracts many American and international students. Santa Monica College transfers the most students to the University of California system for the past 15 years. The first two years at SMC prepare you to transfer to UCLA, USC, and other prestigious California and American public and private institutions.

Santa Monica College offers students the opportunity to take the same general education courses they would take at a four-year college or university at a lower cost. In addition, SMC offers an accessible and supportive learning environment. Classes are smaller and professors are devoted entirely to teaching.

Why Santa Monica College?
Santa Monica College (SMC) offers several distinct advantages to international students beginning their university education in the U.S. First, as the leading community college in California, SMC transfers the most students to the University of California system. The first two years at SMC prepare you to transfer to UCLA, USC and other prestigious California and American public and private institutions. Another distinct advantage is the lower tuition cost at SMC than four-year colleges and universities. Unlike the higher education systems of many countries where students take only courses in their major field of study, all undergraduate students in the U.S. must take introductory courses in several areas including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics. SMC offers student the opportunity to take the same general courses they would take at a four-year college or university at a lower cost. Finally, SMC offers an accessible and supportive learning environment. Classes are smaller and professors are devoted entirely to teaching.

Santa Monica College offers courses in seventy-six academic major fields of study, including accounting, administration of justice, anatomy, anthropology, architecture, art, astronomy, automotive technology, bilingual education, biological sciences, botany, broadcasting, business administration, chemistry, child development, Chinese, cinema, communication, computer information systems, economics, engineering, English, fashion design/merchandising, fire science, French, geography, geology, German, graphic design, history, interior design, Italian, Japanese, journalism, management, mathematics, merchandising, philosophy, photography, physical education, physics, physiology, political science, Russian, sociology, Spanish, speech, theater arts, tourism and hospitality, and zoology. Courses for preprofessional study in such fields as chiropractic studies, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, and veterinary science are also offered.

Students who complete their first two years of undergraduate requirements may transfer to a four-year college or university or receive an Associate in Arts degree. Short-term occupational certificates are also granted in accounting, administration of justice, architecture, automotive technology, child development, computer information systems, cosmetology, emergency management, fashion design, fashion merchandising, graphic design, office information systems, photography, recreational leadership, and tourism, hospitality & leisure studies.


City of Santa Monica
Santa Monica is a city with the attitudes and accessibility of a small town but the sophistication and energy of one of the world’s great cities. It is only eight miles from the third-busiest airport in the world (Los Angeles International Airport) and surrounded on three sides by the second-largest city in the U.S. But Santa Monica feels worlds away – an urban village of quiet, walkable streets whose wide beach give way to dramatic cliffs and the Santa Monica National Recreation Area.

The focal point of Santa Monica is its beautiful ocean front area and fun and funky Santa Monica Pier. One of the world’s great stretches of sand, the beach is wider than almost anywhere else on the west coast. High above the beach, you can gaze out to horizon and beyond from the green expanse of Palisades Park, which is also one of the best places to watch the sun set.

Santa Monica is also known for incredible shopping and dining, and there are several distinct districts where you can sample them all. Downtown Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade is reminiscent of European pedestrian shopping streets, and features outdoor cafes, restaurants, coffeehouses, clubs, movies, bookstores, and other stores, located just three blocks from the ocean. Next to Third Street Promenade is Santa Monica Place, a fashionable contemporary three-story retail shopping center open every day of the week.

Santa Monica is a truly unique combination of natural beauty and vibrant urban energy. You’ll find Santa Monica the very definition of “casual chic” – comfortable and relaxed but with a sure sense of style and confidence.

International Student Admission Information

  • Complete our “International Student Application.”
  • Send an official TOEFL score directly from ETS. The minimum score is 450/133 CBT
  • Write a personal essay (usually one or two pages) that describes your reason for applying to Santa Monica College.
  • Submit official transcripts, certificates, and diplomas from secondary schooling and from any college/universities attended. If the original language is not English, a certified English translation must accompany all transcripts, certificates, and diplomas.
  • Complete and submit our “International Student Financial Statement.” In addition, the applicant and/or sponsor(s) must submit a current bank statement (dated within 6 months)showing a minimum of $15,000 to meet SMC’s estimated tuition and living expenses.
  • Complete the “General Requirements for Students Accepted to Santa Monica College.”
  • Submit a nonrefundable application fee of $50.00.


Application Deadlines
Fall Semester – June 30
Spring Semester January 10
Summer Session – May 15
Winter Session – November 15

International Education Center
The International Education Center services the largest international student population of the California Community Colleges. And Santa Monica College has one of the largest international student populations in higher education in the U.S. The International Education Center has a complete staff to meet the admission, advisement, and nonimmigration needs for 3,000 international students. The staff includes admissions officers, academic advisors, and a immigration counselor.

In addition, the International Education Center sponsors an annual graduation dinner, International Education Week, and extracurricular activities for our International Student Club including a visit to universities in Northern and Southern California.

The International Education Center is a resource of information for international students. And as they know, information is going to be one of the keys to their success in higher education. Santa Monica College is the place to be!

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