College of the Desert
Number of Students
Number of Programs
College of the Desert is an American community college located in Palm Desert, California. If you are looking for a wonderful destination in the USA with affordable tuition in comparison to the common US institutions, COD is the place to study. The community college offers Certificate and Associate degree, but no full Bachelor or Master degrees for its students. However, the semester abroad program for international students is very attractive given the large variety of reputable study programs to choose from. COD offers a high-level of academic flexibility and an opportunity to study and live in one of the U.S. top tourist destinations. The Coachella Music Festival, outdoor sports, mountain adventures, and resort living are just some of advantages of COD's area, which is sunny 350 days of the year. The college also offers free and low-cost regional excursions to places like Hollywood, LA/San Diego beaches, amusement parks, and professional sporting events.
Term system & start dates:
- 1. Term Jan to May
- 2. Term Aug to Dec
Location: Palm Desert
- 1. Term Jan to May
- 2. Term Aug to Dec
|Study Area||Study Course||Bachelor||Gap Year|
|Term 1||Term 2|
|Natural Sciences||Biological Chemistry|
|Digital Media Management|
|Life Sciences||Envrionmental protection|
|Social Sciences||Religious Studies|
|Languages, Cultures, Leisure||Sports & Leisure|
|Languages and Cultures|
|Teaching (Elementary Education)|
|Media and Communication|
|Advertising and Public Relations|
|Medicine & Health science||Sport Sciences|
University DescriptionCollege of the Desert is an American community college located in Palm Desert, California. If you are looking for a wonderful destination in the USA with affordable tuition in comparison to the common US institutions, COD is the place to study. The community college offers Certificate and Associate degree, but no full Bachelor or Master degrees for its students. However, the semester abroad program for international students is very attractive given the large variety of reputable study programs to choose from. COD offers a high-level of academic flexibility and an opportunity to study and live in one of the U.S. top tourist destinations. The Coachella Music Festival, outdoor sports, mountain adventures, and resort living are just some of advantages of COD's area, which is sunny 350 days of the year. The college also offers free and low-cost regional excursions to places like Hollywood, LA/San Diego beaches, amusement parks, and professional sporting events.
Bachelor Terms Start/End:
- 1. Term Jan to May
- 2. Term Aug to Dec
Visa Information:After the application has been accepted, students will need to apply for a F-1 visa before arriving in the US. The duration of the visa depends on the duration of your study program abroad. With the F-1 visa students can profit from the so called "grace period". That means they are able to arrive 30 days prior to their semester start and can also extend their stay up to 60 days after their last exam. Many students use that time to travel around the US and get to know the country better.
Why should you come and study with us?Study in beautiful, sunny California right next to the famous Palm Springs. College of the Desert offers great academic study programs for a more affordable price. Great travel destinations throughout California are close by. The college's welcoming culture makes it easy to quickly get involved in study life activities and organizations and to make local friends.
As well the students’ academic options are very flexible, and you can mix and match classes from different subjects each term. The College of the Desert also has a number of student leadership opportunities available for international students, as well as free and low-cost local and regional fieldtrips each term. Students are also welcome to play sports while they’re students here.
Study opportunities:COD offers a high-level of academic flexibility and an opportunity to study/live in one of the U.S. top tourist destinations. Students’ academic options are very flexible, and they can mix and match classes from different subjects each term. They also have a number of student leadership opportunities available for international students, as well as free and low-cost local and regional fieldtrips each term. Students are also welcome to play sports while they’re students here.
College of the Desert offers Certificate and Associate degrees as well as Gap year options. Full Bachelor or Master degrees are not possible.
Scholarship possibilities for international students:The College of the Desert offers each year a variety of scholarships based on academic merit and campus community engagement. Most scholarships require students to apply in the spring semester and receive their awards in the following fall semester. The amounts range between around $500-$1000.
For further financial support you can check out our World of Students webpage for different scholarship opportunities. You will find the information in the upper section "Tipps & Tricks".
Internships:College of the Desert offers a variety of work experience opportunities to practice what you learn in the classroom. The work experience program counts as a class, so students would need to pay tuition (typically 1-4 units).. Also, students on an F-1 visa must wait two semesters before they are eligible, per U.S. visa regulations.
Application Deadline:College of the Desert works with a rolling admission and has therefore no deadline for international applications.
However, we recommend students to turn in their application:
for Fall - until the 1st of April
for Spring - until the 1st of October
That ensures that you have enough time to apply for your visa.
Application requirements:For the application you need a valid passport, your transcript of records, bank statement and the affidavit of support. You also need a English proficiency test, which can be 4.5 IELTS/ 40 TOEFL/ 70 Duolingo or B2 with the DAAD test.
Orientation:Fall semester: In the middle of August
Spring semester: In the middle of January
Orientation is not mandatory, but highly recommended. It begins 1.5 weeks before the start of each term. The first three days include about 4-5 hours of activities each day. The week before classes includes meetings with our academic counsellor, one-on-one staff support, and other campus familiarization opportunities.
Examperiod:Throughout the term students will have to turn in several assignments (such as presentations, essays, etc.). Therefore there is no exam that completely determines the grade. But the final exam period takes place in the last week of each semester.
Working while studying:Working off campus is limited for international students, due to F-1 visa restrictions. However, they are allowed to work on campus in the limited student jobs available at College of the Desert (COD). COD's international office helps students identify open positions, with the application process, and preparing for interviews.
Bachelor Semester Abroad:
4,344 USD to 5,430 USD
Gap Year (per Term):
4,344 USD to 5,430 USD
250 USD for books per year
846 USD for health insurance and miscellaneous enrollment fees per term (Students are required to enroll in COD’s health insurance policy for international students)
City & Living
City features:Palm Desert is a city in California's Coachella Valley, near Palm Springs. Palm Desert's first-class educational facilities, safe and clean streets, plentiful parks, and wealth of shopping choices make it unique among Coachella Valley cities. As a resort city, Palm Desert and its neighbors like Palm Springs offer year-round festivals, concerts, and other recreational activities of every variety.
Address in Palm Desert, USA:College of the Desert
43500 Monterey Ave.
Palm Desert, USA
Closest Airport:Palm Springs International Airport
Sightseeing:The area around COD is know for it's stunning natural beauty, including the highest mountains in Southern California and unique desert landscapes. This makes it a popular setting for events like the Coachella Music Festival, professional golf and tennis, as well as the famous Splash House pool parties. Very close to campus, the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens shelters desert-dwelling wildlife, including cheetahs and camels, from around the world. COD's campus contains the McCallum Theatre, which draws A-list entertainers for shows throughout the year.
Shopping:With over 16 million visitors per year, COD's area maintains an extensive variety of shopping, restaurants, recreation, health care, personal services, and tourism services. Very close to COD, students can enjoy the designer boutiques on El Paseo, a large indoor shopping mall, and many discount stores. The neighboring city of Palm Springs offers famous vintage and modern shops, while about 30 minutes away is one of the most popular discount outlet malls in California.
How to get to university:Homestay shuttle, taxi, or ride share. Many students also walk, ride bikes, or buy a car locally for their regular transportation to/from campus.
Housing Off-Campus:Homestay Program: The cost is currently $900/month for two meals each weekday and $725 for a room without prepared meals. College of the Desert works with the ISP Homestay organization and a local coordinator to place students in private rooms with local families. Students can choose to have a meal plan or prepare their own meals. We can also help students to find local apartments for rent near campus.
COD Received $18 Million Gift from the MacKenzie Scott Foundation
College of the Desert has received $18 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the largest one-time grant in the College’s 60+ year history.
In her virtual announcement, MacKenzie Scott stated;
Because community-centered service is such a powerful catalyst and multiplier, we spent the first quarter of 2021 identifying and evaluating equity-oriented non-profit teams working in areas that have been neglected. The result was $2,739,000,000 in gifts to 286 high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked. Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity, so we looked for 2- and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved.
“At College of the Desert we also recognize that higher education is a pathway to opportunity, and we have made a substantial investment in our EDGE/plEDGE program to support that opportunity for our community,” said Interim Superintendent/President Jeff Baker. “This amazing donation will allow us to support what we envision as a never-ending program that will allow future generations to pursue their dreams of a college education.”
EDGE/plEDGE provides local high school graduates with free tuition and fees for up to two years along with wrap around student support services to ensure students have the tools and resources needed to be successful at the College.
In the past, the EDGE/plEDGE program received financial support annually from the College of the Desert Alumni Association and College of the Desert Foundation, specifically the Richard Brooke Foundation. “We’ve always known that to make a lasting difference for our students and our community we must find a way to endow the program. And today we learned that we have received a donation that puts us well on our way to doing just that,” added President Baker.
Since 2017, EDGE/plEDGE has:
- Increased the number of first-time, full-time college students from 40 to 85 percent;
- Decreased the time it takes to complete a degree;
- Increased degree and certificate attainment by 62 percent; and
- Increased student transfer into four-year colleges by as much as 70 percent.
“The Board of Trustees and I are incredibly grateful to MacKenzie Scott and to all those that have supported us in our mission to make education accessible to everyone in our communities regardless of their background or economic status,” said Board Chair Aurora Wilson. “This historic gift will serve to increase access to education and training impacting the success of our students, and our communities for years to come.”
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