Saint Mary's College of CA
Moraga, CA 94575-4800
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||Saint Mary's College of California
Saint Mary's College, now in its second century of providing education in the liberal arts, the sciences, business administration, and economics, is one of the oldest colleges in the West. Founded in San Francisco in 1863, it survived the earthquake in 1906 and moved to the current campus in Moraga in 1928. The Christian Brothers, the largest order of Catholic religious devoted exclusively to teaching, assumed direction and ownership of the College in 1868 and have guided its destiny since.
By design, Saint Mary's has always been a small college. Today, the total undergraduate enrollment stands at about 2,500, and enrollment in the freshman class is limited to approximately 620 to maintain the close contact among the students, faculty, staff, and Christian Brothers that is a hallmark of the institution. Along with academic excellence, this personal feeling both inside the classroom and out is what draws students to Saint Mary's.
The red tile roofs and white stucco walls of the Spanish architectural style of the College's buildings blend with the rolling green hills to create a campus of almost indescribable beauty. The 420-acre campus, only 50 acres of which are covered by buildings, provides both the quiet necessary for academic pursuits and the space for athletics or hiking in the hills. More than half of the students live on campus in residence halls or town houses (apartment-type housing). There are also many off-campus housing facilities available in the nearby suburban communities of Orinda, Moraga, and Lafayette.
Location and Community
Nestled in the rolling hills of the Moraga Valley, 20 miles east of San Francisco, the Saint Mary's campus has the dual benefits of a pastoral setting and proximity to a major metropolitan center. San Francisco and its rich cultural and social offerings are a half hour away by car or easily accessible by public transportation.
Saint Mary's College attempts to provide for both the academic and career needs of its students in all programs as far as that is compatible with the spirit of the liberal arts. Its goal is that most difficult liberationliberation of mind. The favorable student-faculty ratio of 13:1 is conducive to the kind of dialogue necessary for intellectual, spiritual, and social growth among all members of the academic community.
The College's 4-1-4 calendar provides a framework for this faculty memberstudent interaction. During the fall and spring terms, students attend required seminars on the great books of the Western world and complete the specific core of study required by each of the major programs. Courses for the January Term vary from year to year and reflect the diversity of the Saint Mary's faculty. Besides providing an opportunity for students to focus all their energy on a single subject during one month, the January Term offers them the possibility of participating in various experimental courses, off-campus field study, travel courses in other countries, and special independent study projects.
To earn the bachelor's degree, students are required to complete at least thirty-six courses. Students must complete successfully both the general College requirements and the requirements of their major program.
The undergraduate faculty at Saint Mary's consists of 185 full-time and 46 part-time members. Ninety-five percent hold Ph.D. degrees; but, regardless of the degree or professional status, the primary emphasis of the faculty is teaching. Department chairpersons and senior faculty members teach at least one freshman seminar or introductory major course each term. The Christian Brothers constitute one fifth of the faculty; the others are lay men and women. The student-faculty ratio is 13:1.
Saint Mary's students are able to participate in study-abroad programs in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, China, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Scotland, South Africa, and Spain. Internships in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., are available for politics majors. Students who wish to spend part or all of their junior year away from campus are able to receive academic credit directly from Saint Mary's College and to retain California State Grants. In addition, the College regularly conducts travel courses during the January Term.
The School of Liberal Arts at Saint Mary's College offers the Bachelor of Arts degree in the following departmental areas: anthropology; art; classical languages; communication; economics; English and drama; environmental studies; French; health, physical education, and recreation; history; integral program (Great Books); international area studies; liberal and civic studies; mathematics; performing arts; philosophy; politics; religious studies; sociology; and Spanish. Interdisciplinary majors are also available, as are alternative-plan majors in American studies, cross-cultural studies, European studies, and Latin American studies. Bachelor of Science degrees are offered in biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, mathematics, nursing, physics, and psychology through the following departmental areas: biology, chemistry, engineering (a 3+2 cooperative program with the University of Southern California and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri), environmental science, health science, mathematics/computer science, nursing (a cooperative program with Samuel Merritt College in Oakland), physics, preprofessional curricula (dentistry, medicine, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and physical therapy), and psychology.
The School of Economics and Business Administration offers the Bachelor of Science in accounting, business administration, and economics. An honors program in financial management is also available.
Facilities and Resources
Saint Albert Hall Library contains more than 200,000 volumes, receives 1,110 current periodical titles, and stocks newspapers, pamphlets, recordings, and audiovisual and microform materials. Saint Mary's has a 60,000-square-foot state-of-the-art science center, the J. C. Gatehouse Hall. The chemistry and physics collection is housed in Galileo Hall. Ferroggiaro Center houses LeFevre Theatre, the home of Saint Mary's drama and musical productions, which have been acclaimed throughout Contra Costa County and the greater Bay Area. The Hearst Art Gallery organizes four art exhibitions during each academic year. The shows cover a broad range of the visual arts, including painting, sculpture, crafts, graphics, and film. The gallery also maintains all of the College's extensive art collection, which is displayed in various places around the campus and occasionally highlighted in the gallery.
Since Saint Mary's is a residential college, there is a very strong on-campus life. The student government, clubs, and dorms sponsor parties, movie and comedy nights, dances, and dinners. There are a variety of clubs on campus, ranging from the Science, English, and Pre-Law clubs to the Black Student Union and Latino American Student Association (LASA) to the Committee of Lectures, Arts, and Music to College Republicans and Young Democrats to Students for Peace and Justice to the Chess Club to the Women's Issues Group. Students may also participate in campus ministry; singing groups; The Collegian, the campus fortnightly newspaper; and KSMC, the campus radio station.
The Associated Students of Saint Mary's College (ASSMC) is the governing body for all undergraduate students. The ASSMC president is an ad hoc member of the board of trustees, and the body as a whole administers significant funds to thirty-two clubs and organizations.
Sports / Varsity Athletics
Saint Mary's College is a member of the West Coast Conference (WCC), a Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) conference. In addition to intercollegiate sports, there are numerous intramural leagues for both men and women in the following sports: basketball, flag football, indoor soccer, softball, Ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, and others as announced during the academic year.
Financial Aid / Scholarships
Seventy-one percent of the undergraduates at Saint Mary's College receive significant financial aid from a variety of sources. To apply for aid, applicants must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is distributed to high schools and colleges by the College Scholarship Service. Applicants who are residents of California and wish to apply for Cal Grants A and/or B must fill out the G.P.A. Verification Form in conjunction with the FAFSA. The financial aid deadline is March 2. Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Stafford Student Loans are often part of an applicant's financial aid package.
Admission Requirements / Application
The chief qualities sought in a candidate for undergraduate admission are intellectual aptitude (as demonstrated by at least 16 units of college-preparatory courses completed with a minimum B average), seriousness of purpose, and moral integrity. The secondary school record is considered the most reliable measure of potential college ability. Scores on the SAT I of the College Board or on American College Testing's ACT and extracurricular accomplishments may strengthen an application insofar as they indicate special talents, maturity, and perseverance.
Applications must include SAT I or ACT scores, an essay, a completed secondary school recommendation form, and all academic transcripts. Applicants whose files are complete by November 30 receive early notification of the admission decision. The deadline for all other freshman applicants is February 1. The deadline for transfer applicants is July 1. Admission decisions for such applicants are made on a rolling admission basis, and students are notified of the admission decision as soon as all of their materials have been received and evaluated. Transfer students may apply for spring-term admission until January 1.
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