About SMC

Global Citizenship

Santa Monica College—a diverse and dynamic community of individuals from around the world—is committed to promoting global citizenship among its students, faculty, staff, and community.

To be a global citizen requires:

   •   Knowing about peoples, customs, and cultures in regions of the world beyond one’s own;

   •   Understanding the interdependence that holds both promise and peril for the future of the global community; and

   •   Combining one’s learning with a dedication to foster a livable, sustainable world.

To support its commitment to the development of global citizenship, SMC provides its community with a variety of courses, lectures, special events, and other educational opportunities to explore international and global issues, environmental challenges, and intercultural relationships.

Educational Opportunities


Santa Monica College offers four types of curricula for students to choose from, depending on their goals.

The general education curriculum offers a prescribed core of general education courses that provide opportunities for lifelong learning in various fields, including fine and applied arts, literature, foreign languages, science, and many other instructional areas.

Students desiring to transfer to a four-year college or university may take a transfer curriculum consisting of academic courses that meet college and university lower division major requirements in liberal arts, the sciences, and a variety of pre-professional fields. After completing the transfer curriculum at Santa Monica College, students may apply to transfer to a four-year educational institution to complete their upper division course work.

The career preparation curriculum prepares students for immediate employment or occupational upgrading. This can be done in two years or less of full-time training at Santa Monica College. Persons who are already employed may take courses that lead to promotion or salary enhancement.

Santa Monica College provides the community with many educational, cultural, social, and recreational programs to meet individual needs and personal interests. The programs include seminars, lectures, not-for-credit classes, art and photo gallery exhibits, concerts, theatrical productions, and planetarium shows.

Evening Classes

Santa Monica College offers a comprehensive selection of classes scheduled during evening hours to provide educational opportunities to students who are unable or do not wish to attend day classes. Evening classes are considered an integral part of SMC’s educational program, and admission and enrollment procedures are the same for day or evening classes. All College policies—including those on admission, probation, and disqualification—apply equally to day or evening students.

Online Classes

Through its Office of Distance Education, Santa Monica College offers a selection of classes online over the Internet, which may be accessed from home, office, or other locations by using a computer with a browser and Internet access. Classes offered online are especially convenient for students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable or prefer not to travel to the SMC campus to attend classes. Online classes, like evening classes, are considered an integral part of SMC’s educational program. All SMC policies—including those on admission, probation, and disqualification—apply equally to online students as they do to day or evening students. Online classes cover the same content, award the same credit, and are listed on student transcripts in the same way that on-campus classes are; they differ from on-campus classes only in their delivery method. For details on SMC’s online classes, enrollment procedures, and technical requirements, point your browser to www.smconline.org or see the Schedule of Classes.

Hybrid classes are a combination of online-delivered coursework and mandatory meetings on the SMC campus. Please see the Schedule of Classes for details about specific on-campus meeting dates, times, and locations for hybrid classes.

College History

Four-year colleges and universities have their roots in medieval Europe, but community colleges are a uniquely American contribution to higher education.

Santa Monica College—located in the Santa Monica Community College District and operated under the principles first defined in School Law of California, 1917—is proud to be a part of that rich tradition of community service and public education.

A seven-member Board of Trustees, elected to a four-year term by the residents of Santa Monica and Malibu, governs the Santa Monica Community College District. A student-elected representative with an advisory vote serves on the Board as Student Trustee.

The College opened its doors as “Santa Monica Junior College” in 1929 to 153 students.

Although born on the eve of the Depression and familiar with financial constraints, SMC has thrived. Today, enrollment is about 34,000 students. The College, which began by holding classes in Santa Monica High School, is now located on a 40-acre campus at 1900 Pico Boulevard, and has five satellite campuses.

Santa Monica College has been headquartered at three locations since it opened. Classes were moved from the high school to an old elementary school building across the street. When a 1933 earthquake rendered that building unsafe, classes were held in a village of wood-framed tents affectionately nicknamed “Splinterville.” The Technical School was founded in 1937 at 2200 Virginia Avenue, which is now the site of Virginia Park.

Corsair Stadium, the first permanent structure built on the present campus, was erected in 1948. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the first classroom building were held September 11, 1950. With the completion of the Administration, Art, Music, Library, Little Theatre, and Student Activities buildings in January 1952, all classes except the vocational ones and the science labs were located on the new campus.

SMC’s original Science Building was completed in February 1953. Three vocational buildings were added in 1957 for the cosmetology, sewing, and home economics programs, which were moved from the Technical School. The remaining classes at the Technical School were moved to the main campus in 1969.

By 1960, several new projects were built on campus: a spacious gymnasium with men’s and women’s locker rooms, a cafeteria building with classrooms, an enlarged student bookstore, and an addition to the library. The Associated Students financed the construction of SMC’s 1,500-seat Amphitheater in 1967.

Santa Monica College continued to change through the years, with new construction and the relocation of many classes to satellite campuses. Major construction projects included the Concert Hall in 1979; the Library, Learning Resources Center, and Instructional Materials Center in 1980; and the Business and Vocational Education Building in 1981. In 1983, the former library was renovated and renamed the Letters and Science Building. A four-story parking structure was completed in 1981, followed by two more parking structures in 1991, and another in April 2002.

In 1988, SMC opened its first satellite campus in the former Douglas Museum and Library complex at the Santa Monica Airport. Two years later, the second satellite campus opened at the former Madison Elementary School site at 11th Street and Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica. The College opened its third satellite facility in February 1998. Home to the College’s prestigious Academy of Entertainment and Technology, the 3.5-acre site on Stewart Street currently has a new 430-space parking structure under construction.

The College’s completely modernized new three-story Science Complex opened on the main campus in Fall 1999, and a major expansion of the SMC Library opened in Fall 2003. Both award-winning projects were funded by Proposition T—a bond measure approved by local Santa Monica and Malibu residents in 1992—and earthquake restoration and other funds from the Federal and State governments.

In March 2002, Santa Monica and Malibu residents approved Measure U, a $160 million safety and modernization bond issue to upgrade and enhance SMC’s facilities. In November 2004, local voters approved Measure S, a $135 million bond measure, also to upgrade and enhance facilities.

With funding from Measure U, the College acquired two additional properties: a new four-story office and classroom building at 1227 Second Street, which became the permanent home for Emeritus College in Fall 2003, and a 10.4-acre site near the Santa Monica Airport at Bundy Drive and Airport Avenue. The Bundy Campus—SMC’s largest satellite campus—opened in Summer 2005 and is home to SMC’s Health Sciences, Education, Teacher Academy, and Community Education programs.

Two projects using bond funding have been completed, and a third project is currently underway. On SMC’s main campus, a modernized replacement Theater Arts instructional building opened in Fall 2007, along with a 64,000 sq.ft. Humanities and Social Science Building. At the SMC Performing Arts Center, a professional-quality 541-seat performing arts theater (the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage) opened in Fall 2008.

SMC’s main campus underwent a recent facelift, and now has a beautiful Quad with palm trees and environmentally friendly water features. Through its Center for Environmental and Urban Studies (CEUS), which is also headquarters for Sustainable Works, the College has embarked on an ambitious, award-winning program to develop and implement campus sustainability initiatives and research. In addition, the SMC Organic Learning Garden was started in 2011, and now has at least 13 gardening groups—ranging from student clubs to classes—involved in the effort.

Future projects include technology improvements at the main and satellite campuses; a new Student Services Center; a new addition to the Science Complex for environmental sciences, earth sciences, math, and related programs; a new Early Childhood lab school; and physical education field and facility improvements. SMC is also moving forward with work on a new wing for the SMC Performing Arts Center, and a new satellite campus with classrooms, art studio, science lab, community music hall, multipurpose/emergency operations center, interpretive center, and Sheriff’s substation in the Malibu Civic Center area.

Over the years, the College has offered continuing education classes to meet the needs of the community through such programs as Emeritus College, founded in 1975 to offer classes to people age 55 and older, and SMC’s Community Education program, which provides a broad range of classes and workshops to individuals who wish to explore their personal interests or enhance their careers. The College also presents guest speakers, performers, films, and other special events to the community, and brings the best of public radio to Southern California through the College’s radio station KCRW (89.9 FM), which is affiliated with National Public Radio.

Santa Monica College has responded to the needs of its increasingly diverse student body through such special programs as the Scholars program (for honors students planning to transfer to four-year institutions), Latino Center, African American Collegian Center, Center for Students with Disabilities, and International Education Center.

Today, Santa Monica College is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and offers courses in more than 80 fields of study. SMC is the Westside’s leading job trainer and the nation’s undisputed leader in transfers to the University of California system, including UCLA. Additionally, Santa Monica College’s reputation for quality attracts students from more than 100 countries around the world, and currently, more international students choose Santa Monica College to begin their higher education than almost any other community college in America.

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