Jul 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Enrollment and Admission for Undergraduates

Undergraduate Application Deadlines

Applicants should submit their application materials as early as possible but postmark no later than:

  1. November 1: Fall First Year Early Action (non-binding)

  2. January 15: Fall First Year Regular Decision

  3. March 1: Fall Priority Transfer Admission

  4. June 1: Fall Transfer Regular Decision

  5. December 1: Spring First Year and Transfer Admission

Application Procedures

Saint Mary’s College undergraduate applicants apply using the Common Application. You can apply here.

Applicants are required to complete the Saint Mary’s College member section when completing the Common Application. A recommendation is optional from the secondary school principal, counselor, or teacher in a college preparatory subject.

The appropriate official must transmit the official transcript of record directly to the College. A non-refundable application processing fee of $60 must accompany the application form.

From Secondary School

Saint Mary’s College welcomes applications from students qualified by scholastic achievement and personal character to pursue the program of studies leading to the bachelor’s degree. When evaluating candidates for admission, the Dean of Admissions with the Committee on Admissions reviews the following credentials: completed applications; secondary school records; recommendations; and a required essay.  Each candidate for admission receives individual consideration. The primary qualities sought in a candidate are academic preparation, seriousness of purpose, and moral integrity. The secondary school record is considered the primary measure of potential college ability. Minor academic deficiencies in preparation may be overlooked when the overall application is supported by strong academic achievement, writing samples, and recommendations. Extra-curricular accomplishments may enhance an application by reflecting special talents, perseverance, and maturity. 

Saint Mary’s does not require students to submit Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) scores as part of the admission process. Students may choose to submit their SAT or ACT if they feel it reflects their academic ability.

Each candidate is expected to complete at least 16 units of secondary school coursework, including four years of English, three years of mathematics (algebra, advanced algebra or the equivalent, and geometry), two years of the same foreign language, two years of science (at least one laboratory), one year of U.S. history, and two additional years of social studies or history. Students who plan to major in a science or mathematics program are expected to show particular strength in scientific and mathematics preparation.

Transfer Students

Students entering Saint Mary’s College from other colleges or universities with 23 or more transferable academic semester units must present records of college performance of a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in academic transferable courses. Transfer students with fewer than 23 academic semester units (or 34 academic quarter units) must meet the standards set forth for admission from secondary school, and must present records of college performance of a minimum GPA of 2.0 in academic transferable courses. Transfer students who would not qualify for admission to Saint Mary’s College directly from secondary school will normally be required to present records of at least one year’s work at other colleges with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in 23 or more academic semester units, or 34.5 academic quarter units transferable to the University of California system from California community colleges or another accredited college or university. The units should be completed with letter grades rather than Pass, Satisfactory, or Credit.

All transferable grades from other colleges are considered in determining eligibility for admission. When courses are repeated, only the highest grade will be computed into the grade point average in determining the minimum admission standard of 2.0. Saint Mary’s does not accept as transferable for credit any courses in remedial subjects, vocational fields, or non-academic areas such as typing, and secondary school mathematics.

If students transfer from schools that do not compute grades below a C into the overall grade point average, their application will be evaluated on the basis of the number of courses they complete in making normal progress toward graduation.

Upon transfer, only courses with grades of C- and above are acceptable. The maximum number of lower-division course credits that are transferable from any college is 74 semester units (or 95 quarter units). Students must take the majority of their major courses at Saint Mary’s College.

International Students

Saint Mary’s welcomes qualified international students to campus. Since national educational systems differ, all applicants are evaluated individually. We review the specific academic assessments of each student’s educational system to determine an American equivalency. Secondary school records or mark sheets, results on national external examinations, letters of recommendation, and potential for success in American higher education are factors considered for admission.

International undergraduate students must submit the following: a completed Common Application with International Student supplements and the application fee; original secondary school records and a certified translation (if the original is issued in a language other than English); demonstration of academic success through secondary education graduation; certified copies of national or other examination results; an optional letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, principal, or school director; and official TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English, or Duolingo English results. Neither the ACT or SAT I exam is required for admission of international applicants, but both can be submitted in lieu of other English language proficiency test results. Test of English proficiency is required of all students whose first language is not English. Saint Mary’s College of California code for ETS is 4675. Students may submit IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or Pearson Test of English results in place of the TOEFL. The minimum TOEFL result must be 79-iBT or 550 paper based; the minimum IELTS result must be a 6.5 band overall; the minimum Pearson Test of English result must be 53; the minimum Duolingo English Test (DET) results must be  105.; the minimum SAT 1 Critical Reading or Writing section result must be a 450; the minimum ACT result must be a 21.

The English proficiency requirement may be waived if the student completes any of the following: four consecutive years of English study (excluding English as a Second Language courses) at a high school in the United States; completion or progress toward completion of high school or equivalent in a country where the official language is English; SAT 1 Critical Reading exam result of 450 OR an ACT English exam result of 21. English language proficiency can also be demonstrated through successful performance on University of Cambridge GCSE O or A level examinations in English.

The College also requires a Certificate of Finances (COF), which indicates that admitted students have sufficient funds available to pay tuition, housing, and other fees for the first year of their academic program. The COF is to be supplied once students are admitted. The College must receive the COF before immigration documents can be issued. Also required are a bank statement or other form of financial verification and a copy of the applicant’s valid passport. 

Transfer students whose first language is not English must meet the English composition requirement (see English Composition Placement). Saint Mary’s does not offer English as a Second Language courses.

All Saint Mary’s students are required to take WRIT 101 /WRIT 100  and a course from the WRIT 200-230 range. International students may be required or encouraged to take an additional 1 cu Writing Lab (WRIT 123  or WRIT 124 ) in conjuction with WRIT 100  or WRIT 101 

International students are expected to finance their educational expenses. While part-time employment may be available on campus, any such earnings would not be sufficient for payment of educational costs. Qualified students who adhere to application deadlines are eligible to be considered for Saint Mary’s College first-time first-year or transfer merit scholarships, which are determined at the time of acceptance. Saint Mary’s College of California is authorized under U.S. federal law to enroll non-immigrant students.

All international students studying at Saint Mary’s on an F-1 student visa or J-1 exchange student visa are required to maintain full-time enrollment for each term in order to maintain their student status in the United States.  For all undergraduate international and exchange students, full-time enrollment is considered 12 units for each fall and spring term, unless the student is in their final term. If a student has fewer than 12 units remaining in their degree, they make take fewer than 12 cu that term without jeopardizing their visa. For all graduate international students, the student must follow the academic plan, course sequence, and/or program of study for their academic program for all terms.


Saint Mary’s College does not require students to submit Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) scores as part of the admission process. Students may choose to submit their SAT or ACT if they feel it reflects their academic ability. We do not give preference to admission applications that include test scores, however, our admission process remains holistic and selective. It is the combination of these factors that determines admission to the College. The number 4675 should be used in requesting SAT scores be sent to Saint Mary’s College. The number 0386 should be used in requesting ACT scores to be sent to Saint Mary’s College. SAT II results are not required, but if submitted may enhance candidates’ applications.

Advanced Placement

College credit and reduction of prerequisites may be granted to entering first-year students who, in the judgment of the appropriate department, have demonstrated advanced scholastic attainment. The principal criteria used are the Advanced Placement examinations of the College Entrance Examination Board, International Baccalaureate examination results, school records and personal interviews. The advantages of advanced placement are admission to courses ordinarily not open to first-year students, and greater freedom to pursue independent study or research in the senior year. Each academic department determines minimum score requirements and the amount of college credit (see Credit by Examination under Academic Requirement  ).

The College also grants advanced credit to students with successful performance on University of Cambridge GSCE A-level examinations.