Nov 12, 2019  
2017-2018 Catalog (Archived) 
2017-2018 Catalog (Archived) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General District Information

The History of Merced County

Prior to the discovery of gold in California, the San Joaquin Valley was pristine. Wild clover grew taller than a horse’s head. Streams teemed with salmon, bass, and trout. Grizzly bears and antelope roamed far and wide. The early inhabitants of the valley, the Northern Valley Yokuts, estimated to number around 30,000, roved the entire valley floor. During an 1806 expedition, Ensign Gabriel wrote of finding a welcoming river to quench the expedition’s thirst. He named it El Río de la Nuestra Señora de la Merced, The River of Our Lady of Mercy, known simply today as the Merced River. The valley landscape changed rapidly when gold prospectors overran the area on their way to the gold fields.

When California achieved statehood in 1850, Mariposa County covered much of the valley, extending to a mutual boundary with San Diego and Los Angeles counties. In 1855, lowland farmers decided they did not have much in common with the miners of the foothills and mountains and petitioned to have a section split off to form a new county. When the petition was granted, Governor John Bigelow formed Merced County on April 19, 1855. According to the 1857 tax assessment rolls, the new county hosted a population of 277 with the first county seat located in Snelling. Once the railroad came through the county, much of the business and the county seat moved to the new town of Merced, which was incorporated in 1889.

Since that day, growth and change has continued in Merced County.

District and Organization

The Merced Community College District (District) is composed of most of Merced County, the area including the Chowchilla Union High School District in Madera County, the Dos Palos Joint Elementary School District in Fresno County, and the Los Banos Unified School District. The District is governed by a seven-member elected Board of Trustees. The main campus is located on M Street in Merced. The Los Banos Campus is located on Highway 152 in the City of Los Banos.

The Beginnings of the College District

Merced College is a California public community college operated by the Merced Community College District, which was formed by a vote of the people of the Le Grand and Merced Union high school districts on February 27, 1962. The District became effective for all purposes on July 1, 1963. The District, which included the eastern half of Merced County at that time, consisted of the areas served by these two high school districts. The Board of Trustees consisted of five elected-at-large members.

In later years, the Board of Trustees was expanded with two additional trustees, one to specifically represent the Dos Palos/Los Banos area and one to represent the Chowchilla area. Elections were also changed from at-large elections to District elections. Thus, the Board now numbers seven trustees, each elected within a specific area of the District.


A democratic society functions best when its members are educated and active participants. To encourage this participation, Merced College provides educational opportunities for all who qualify and can benefit. This education involves having a respect for and awareness of all cultures, as well as the dignity and worth of all individuals.

Merced College is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence. The leadership and educational services provided by the College reflect and enhance the cultural, economic, and social life of the community and respond to its changing needs and interests. Recognizing that learning is a life-long process, the College provides preparation for a complex and changing society while maintaining high academic standards. The College also fosters individual learning and critical thinking to enhance awareness of the interrelationship and interdependence of all persons.


Merced College will provide transformative and empowering educational experiences to meet student and community needs.


Merced College serves as a gateway to the future, providing accessible, affordable, and relevant education and workforce training for students in our richly diverse region. The college offers programs of study that lead to transfer, associate degrees, and certificates. Merced College provides basic skills and noncredit courses, as well as community education for personal and professional enrichment.

Core Values

Student Success

We focus on student access and success.

Supportive Environment

We promote an atmosphere of trust where communication and teamwork cultivate a rich environment for teaching and learning.


We utilize agility, innovation, and responsible risk-taking to create our preferred future.


We actively engage with the community and community partners to respond to cultural, educational, economic, and technological needs.


We embrace diversity and equity as community strengths and celebrate these qualities in our institution.


We strive for continuous improvement based on data-driven self-reflection, objective assessment, and dialogue.

Institutional Student Learning Outcomes

(Adopted, April 3, 2007 and reviewed April 2010)

Communication: Use language and non-verbal modes of expression appropriate to the audience and purpose. (GE Breadth Areas A and C)

Examples: Students will be able to:

  1. Compose coherent written communication appropriate to the audience
  2. Read and analyze written communication appropriate to the subject
  3. Construct and deliver oral communication appropriate to the audience
  4. Comprehend, analyze, and utilize aural and visual communication in its various modes.
  5. Design and deliver presentations appropriate to the audience

Computation: Use mathematical skills and various aspects of technology appropriate to the task. (GE Breadth Areas A and B)

Examples: Students will be able to:

  1. Analyze and apply mathematical concepts to an appropriate task
  2. Appraise various aspects of technology and apply them to an appropriate task

Cognition: Use critical thinking skills to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate ideas and information. (GE Breadth Areas A, B and C)

Examples: Students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate information and incorporate it into appropriate tasks
  2. Analyze information, develop an opinion, and support it
  3. Examine, create, and/or evaluate materials and objects by using aesthetic criteria.
  4. Analyze and solve problems using logical and creative methods
  5. Assess the impact of science and technology on the world

Global and Community Consciousness and Responsibility: Demonstrate understanding of different cultures and knowledge of historical eras and importance of community involvement. (GE Breadth Areas D)

Examples: Students will be able to:

  1. Distinguish and understand diverse cultures
  2. Evaluate historical knowledge and relate it to current issues
  3. Recognize the impact of local, national, and global involvement

Personal Development and Life-Long Learning: Demonstrate selfmanagement, maturity, and growth through practices that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. (GE Breadth Area E)

Examples: Students will be able to:

  1. Analyze and apply interpersonal skills
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of life long learning
  3. Relate a healthy lifestyle and wellness to personal choices
  4. Evaluate and adhere to professional and academic ethical standards


Merced College is fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), under the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Merced College is also approved by the State Department of Education to train veterans under provisions of the G.I. Bill of Rights, and by the United States Immigration Service. The College offers a lower division program consisting of courses parallel to those of four-year colleges and universities, the credits of which are transferable to all other accredited colleges and universities.

Accrediting Agencies

Merced College and its various academic programs are accredited by the following agencies.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS)

Diagnostic Radiologic Technology Program

Joint Review Committee on Education Radiologic Technology (JRCERT)
California Department of Public Health - Radiologic Branch (CDPH)

Nurse Assistant

California Department of Public Health (CDPH)

Registered Nursing

Board of Registered Nursing (BRN)

Vocational Nursing

Board of Vocational Nursing & Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT)

Merced College Foundation

The Merced College Foundation is a non-profit organization formed in November 1973. The mission of the Foundation is to provide support to Merced College by administering and awarding scholarships to students, accepting and acquiring gifts, bequests, endowments, and real and personal property as sources of income for the Foundation, and to serve as the organization through which special projects desired by the College can be developed and administered. For more information, call the Foundation office at (209) 381-6470.

The Merced Campus

The Merced Campus is located one mile north of Olive Avenue in Merced, on the east side of M Street. Originally consisting of 110 acres presented as a gift to the College by the C-H-M and the Yosemite Land & Cattle Companies through the efforts of Merced city officials, the campus expanded to 269 acres with additional purchases of adjacent land.

Classes began on September 10, 1963 at a temporary site located at the Merced County Fairgrounds. Classes at the permanent campus began in the summer of 1966. The new campus was completed in spring 1967 and dedication ceremonies were held on April 23, 1967.

The Administration Building, the Science Building, and a temporary library facility were the first main buildings constructed. The Student Union was completed in November 1967. Since that time, facilities were added, including a gymnasium, an automotive shop, agriculture facilities, and technical labs for drafting, engineering, and vocational nursing. The Lesher Library and the Theater were completed for use in fall 1972.

Over the next 30 years, many facilities were completed or modified to meet current needs. The Child Development Center was completed in spring 2002, expanding the outer perimeter of the College’s educational facilities northward.

In 2002, voters passed a $53.5 million bond measure for the Merced Campus (Measure H). The following projects have been completed: the North Loop Road, a campus wide energy retrofit, the Learning Resources Center, the Science Building renovation, the Business Resource Center, the Lesher Building renovation, Administration Building renovation, Student Union Building renovation, and the Allied Health Complex Project. In 2012, the Theater was renovated to provide ADA access to the Theater Basement. Future planned projects include the Agriculture Science/Industrial Technology Complex Project and Vocational Renovation/Expansion Project.

The Los Banos Campus of Merced College

The Los Banos Campus, an educational center 40 miles west of the Merced campus, serves the people of Los Banos, Dos Palos, and the surrounding areas. It began as a full-service campus in September 1971 in rented facilities. In 1973, the Los Banos Unified School District’s voters approved joining the District and the Dos Palos Joint Elementary School District’s voters approved moving from the West Hills Community College District to the District in 1978. The Los Banos Campus was formally approved by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office as an educational center in 1979.

In 1982, thanks to a donation of 10 acres by Richard Menezes, the campus moved to a site on Mercey Springs Road with modular buildings providing educational opportunities and serving as a cultural and intellectual center for the residents of the Westside of Merced County.

Thanks to a donation of 125 acres by Larry and Georgeann Anderson and to the passage of a local bond measure, construction of a new campus began in 2005. The new campus, located on Highway 152 on the western boundary of Los Banos, opened in 2007.

The campus offers a variety of programs for day and evening classes and provides a wide range of academic and vocational classes, enabling a student to stay in Los Banos and take all the courses necessary for an associate degree and fulfill all the breadth requirements of four-year state colleges. Los Banos Campus students may also complete several certificate programs.

Admission and registration procedures are the same as those for the Merced campus. For further information, contact the Los Banos Campus at 22240 Highway 152, Los Banos, CA 93635, or by calling (209) 826-3495

Off-Campus Programs

In addition to extensive day and evening programs at the Merced and Los Banos campuses, Merced College schedules classes at other sites throughout the District, including Delhi, Dos Palos, Livingston, and Mariposa. Consult the current Schedule of Classes for class offerings and locations. For more information, contact Dean Shelly Conner at (209) 384-6067.


Merced College is one of the member institutions of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC). Members represent accredited, non-profit and private colleges and universities in the Central Valley from Bakersfield to Stockton. The goal of the consortium is to increase the number of students prepared for, enrolling in, and graduating from college.