Santa Monica College has received initial approval to develop a four-year bachelor’s degree in interaction design.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors made the announcement Jan. 20, and SMC is one of 15 community colleges given permission to pursue a four-year program.

“These colleges are embarking on a new mission for the California Community Colleges that will expand opportunities in public higher education,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris in a statement. “Students will have a range of programs from which to choose to earn high quality, affordable and in-demand degrees. California employers win too, as they will have improved access to highly qualified candidates in these fields.”

Under the law, the four-year degree programs must be up and running by at least the 2017-18 academic year; however, districts may start their programs by the fall 2015 semester. Districts must also seek approval from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to start a program.

Lower-division coursework would cost $46 and upper-division coursework would cost $84 under the new program, with an estimated total cost of about $10,000 to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

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