About the College

Students walking on campus in near the Academic Resource Center

Allan Hancock College, founded in 1920 as Santa Maria Junior College, is one of the 114 California public community colleges. As the only college in the Allan Hancock Joint Community College District, it serves all of northern Santa Barbara County, a portion of eastern San Luis Obispo County, and part of Ventura County, spanning an area of more than 3,000 square miles. The district's service area has approximately 300,000 residents who enjoy California living at its best. The area has a mild climate, with temperatures ranging from 55 to 85 degrees year-round, and boasts nearby sunny beaches, mountains, forests, farmlands and crisp, clean air. A wide variety of cultural and recreational activities are available, and there are also many award-winning wineries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The area's economy is based on retail, agriculture and light manufacturing. The college district includes Santa Maria, Orcutt, Lompoc, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Guadalupe, New Cuyama, Cuyama, Solvang, Santa Ynez, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Casmalia and parts of San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties.

The college's main campus is located on the California Central Coast in Santa Maria, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Santa Maria is adjacent to the coastal cities of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach. Satellite centers include the Lompoc Valley Center, opened in 1999;  the Santa Ynez Valley Center, opened in 2000 to better serve the residents of the Santa Ynez Valley; and the Vandenberg Air Force Base Center, which serves active duty military personnel stationed at the base, in addition to other residents of the Lompoc Valley. The college also provides classes at other locations in the region. 

In every sense, Allan Hancock College is a college for the community. More than 98 percent of its students come from the local area. It offers opportunities for those who want to complete the first two years of a bachelor's degree, earn an associate degree, prepare for a career, upgrade their skills, or simply learn for the love of it. Because it offers so much to so many, its course offerings are wide and varied.

Enrollment in the college's credit curriculum is about 12,000 students per semester, while Community Education serves more than 5,500 students each semester. Credit students enroll in more than 1,300 courses offered in nearly 150 fields of study via 12 academic departments.

Approximately 1,300 faculty, staff, and students are employed by the district, making the college one of the 12 largest employers in Santa Barbara County, and the fifth largest in northern Santa Barbara County. Its economic impact on the community is more than $200 million annually.

The California Community College system serves more than 2.9 million students and represents the largest system of higher education in the world. Visit their website for more information.

Outstanding Educational Opportunities

Allan Hancock College offers a wealth of science, math, engineering, architecture, English, computer science, art, music and dance programs. Additional programs include:

Viticulture/Enology --- one of only three community college-based wine grape growing and winemaking programs in California with an on-campus vineyard

Distance Learning --- the fastest growing group of classes at the college, currently offering nearly 300 courses that can be taken online

Basic Law Enforcement Academy --- inaugurated in 1968 and drawing recruits statewide

Firefighter Academy --- trains individuals for city, county, state, national and volunteer fire suppression agencies

Emergency Medical Services Academy --- the first, and one of only two, community-college based academies of its type in California

Nursing programs --- in a ladder approach, students can become certified nursing assistants, then licensed vocational nurses, and then registered nurses

Computer and traditional animation program --- second to none on the Central Coast, the program uses state of the art facilities to provide students with training in cutting-edge industry techniques

Film and video production program --- highly respected, the program continues a three-decades-long tradition of teaching the latest film-making techniques

Welding, blacksmithing and ornamental iron programs --- the college has the only accredited ornamental iron program in the country

Bachelor Degree Opportunities

The purpose of Allan Hancock College's University Programs is to promote bachelor's degrees that residents can access locally. Working closely with the four-year universities, Allan Hancock College provides all the required lower-division courses. Bachelor degree programs are available at the college's Santa Maria campus and at other university satellite locations in Santa Maria. Available bachelor degree options include:

University of La Verne --- offers bachelor's degrees in psychology; business administration; public administration; child development; health administration; organizational management; and liberal studies

Antioch University --- offers liberal studies degrees in applied psychology; entrepreneurship and multimedia communications; and child, family and society

Park University --- offers degrees in criminal justice administration; management/computer information systems; and management/human resources

Brandman University/Chapman University System --- offers degrees in applied studies; criminal justice; early childhood development; legal studies; liberal studies (multiple subject teaching emphasis); organizational leadership; psychology; behavioral science; and sociology

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University --- offers degrees in professional aeronautics; and technical management

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo --- also offers a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies in conjunction with Allan Hancock College

Distinguished Alumni

As part of the college's 75th anniversary in 1995, the college selected, from among thousands of past students, 75 they considered distinguished alumni.  In 2000, the college selected 80 more such alumni as part of its 80th anniversary. The list of distinguished alumni includes actors, athletes, coaches, artists, scientists and more.  View more info here.

Student Satisfaction

The result of the college's emphasis on students is evident in their satisfaction with Allan Hancock College. When asked, 90 percent of students surveyed in 2008 said were pleased with their overall experience at Allan Hancock College. More than 87 percent of those surveyed rated the quality of instruction at the college as excellent or good, and 83 percent said they felt safe on campus.

The college challenges its students to excel in every way. In return, Hancock students consistently enjoy one of the best, if not the best, acceptance rate to University of California and California State University campuses, including Cal Poly,San Luis Obispo and UCSB.Hancock students have earned the highest transfer acceptance rate in the state to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo for the last 16 years.

Athletic Success --- Go Bulldogs!

Each semester, Allan Hancock College scholar-athletes are named to the Western State Conference all-academic team for maintaining top grades while competing on intercollegiate athletic teams. The college has a strong winning tradition and offers 14 intercollegiate sports: men's and women's basketball, men's and women's track and field, men's and women's soccer, men's golf, football, baseball, women's cross country, softball, women's swimming and diving, women's water polo, and women's volleyball.


Allan Hancock College is the home of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, a unique institution which provides professional theatre year-round in three theater venues while training acting and technical artisans for careers in the theatre. The two-year program is the only one of its kind in the nation offered by a community college. PCPA fully integrates its resident artists into the studios, shops and classrooms, providing each student with direct mentorship experiences in their areas of specialization. Students learn from and, most importantly, learn with working professionals. PCPA also maintains a vigorous education and outreach program, bringing performances to more than 30,000 K-12 students from Ventura to Paso Robles each year. The outreach program has been honored by the California State Senate and State Assembly for its many years of dedication to bringing the arts to students in the schools.

Facilities AND TECHNOLOGY Enhancement

In June 2006, the residents of the Allan Hancock Joint Community College District voted to pass Measure I, a $180 million bond measure to fund facility and technology improvements at Allan Hancock College. Bond funds helped complete the new Community Education and Science buildings in 2007. Ground was broken in May 2010 for the new Student Services Center, which will provide "one-stop" shopping for students accessing admissions, counseling, assessment, transfer services, learning assistance and more. Other upcoming projects to be funded from Measure I monies include construction of a new public safety training complex, children's center addition, fine arts building, and upgrades to physical education and industrial technology facilities. Technology projects such as replacement of the college’s antiquated mainframe system and infrastructure and instructional equipment upgrades are also being funded by Measure I.

The passage of Bond Measure I, along with two statewide propositions in 2002 and 2004, allowed the college to embark on the largest campus building campaign since the 1960s.

With funds from the 2004 passage of Proposition 55, Allan Hancock College constructed the new Science building. The 44,302 square-foot, $15.7 million complex replaced inadequate, 40-year-old labs and classrooms with modern and expanded learning spaces. Modernization of two other buildings within the science complex was also achieved. The facility also includes high-tech spaces for the health sciences program, including nursing education, that were located in various off-campus buildings and leased space.

Proposition 47, approved in November 2002, provided funding for a new Community Education building, an 18,482 square-foot facility that replaced two condemned structures. The $5.75 million project began in November 2005 with completion in summer 2007. This project consolidated into one building all of the administrative and instructional space for community education programs such as Adult Basic Education (ABE), short-term vocational, senior classes and ESL.

Funding for a $9.1 million modernization and expansion of the Santa Maria campus Learning Resources Center was also provided through Proposition 47. In January 2005, the project began with renovation of part of the existing space and construction of a new, two-story addition. The original structure was built in 1966, and expanded in 1976 to 23,611 square feet. The new, 20,546 square foot, addition contains the tutorial center, writing center, open computer labs, faculty and staff offices, art gallery, teacher learning center, multimedia services center, meeting rooms and distance learning classrooms. The renovated library space reopened in March 2006; the addition was completed in fall 2006. Measure I funding was also part of this project.

In 2002, the college launched a $4 million capital campaign to enhance facilities on the Santa Maria campus. Part of that campaign included the remodel and expansion of the Student Center.

In 2000, the college opened its new Santa Ynez Valley Center, a move that offers greater access to its district members from the Santa Ynez Valley.

To better serve students in the Lompoc Valley, in 1999 the college opened its $22 million Lompoc Valley Center on 156 prime acres overlooking the valley. This modern facility features state of the art technology to enhance classroom instruction and student effort.

Additional facilities built and/or improved using Measure I funds include the expanded Early Childhood Studies building on the Santa Maria campus.  Opened to students in January 2013, the facility combines both children's centers into one location, and provides modern teaching and learning spaces for children and students enrolled in the ECS program.

The new Student Services and Administration buildings was completed in October 2013. The new building consolidated all student services, previously scattered around campus in various buildings, into one location. 

The state-of-the-art Public Safety Training Complex at the AHC Lompoc Valley Center was completed in late 2013, with spring 2014 classes being offered in January 2014. The complex includes an administration/classroom building, six-story fire training tower, city grids, scenario village, shooting range, high-speed EVOC, confined space/trench rescue facility, running track and gym, and other accompanying outbuildings and equipment.

The latest in campus construction was the new Industrial Technology building on the Santa Maria campus.  Its construction displaced the previous running track and football practice field.  In a domino effect, a new baseball field was constructed across College Drive adjacent to the softball field so that a new track and football practice field could be built on the existing baseball field location. Also installed were new soccer fields. The new baseball field opened in January 2013. The remaining athletic fields were completed in October 2013.  The Industrial Technology building first held classes in spring 2014.  

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Last Modified Oct 23, 2018