Saint Mary's College of California

Saint Mary's College of California

What makes Saint Mary’s distinctive is more than any one thing—it’s the quality of our students, our Lasallian mission, our innovative undergraduate and graduate programs, our focus on the Great Books, excellent athletics, and more. Saint Mary’s distinctive Collegiate Seminar and January Term programs, combined with an average class size of 19 and a 13:1 student-faculty ratio, immerse—and challenge—students in the broad world of ideas. In addition to the 40 majors, we offer thoughtful programs in every field to immerse you in a deeper state of learning.

Collegiate Seminar and January Term

Saint Mary’s students achieve incredible success precisely because they embrace difficult problems in the classroom and out. Anchoring the liberal arts program is Collegiate Seminar, an uncommon immersion in the great works that is the heart of Saint Mary's core curriculum. A series of required courses that give every student a firm foundation in the liberal arts, Seminar is comprised of four courses that examine major works of Western civilization—works of literature and philosophy, history and political theory, art and science. 

Another signature Saint Mary’s experience is January Term (or Jan Term), a month-long session held each January when every undergraduate explores a single topic in great depth and at an accelerated pace, featuring a unique blend of opportunities on and off campus. Meant to transport you out of your major courses and into one immersive class, the adventure you choose is up to you. Course topics includeglobal climate change, wine connoisseurship, urban food justice, web design, and intensive Japanese. Some of the most exciting Jan Term offerings are travel courses—every January several groups of SMC students fan out across the country and the world, gathering knowledge and providing service. Jan Term students have also contributed to the rebuilding of New Orleans and Haiti, critiqued movies at the Sundance Film Festival, and explored the ecology of Tonga.

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