What learning opportunities are available for students?

Labs & Activities

College Library

The College Library welcomes students and other library users. The primary goal of the Library is to provide quality, easily accessible information in a variety of formats to COD students, faculty, and the community. The Library also strives to provide a comfortable learning environment where students can relax, work on research projects or homework assignments, or to get help from professional library staff.

The Library provides access to:

  • An open access computer lab with 35 workstations
  • An additional 19 computers in the Library’s main study areas
  • Course textbooks on reserve for all COD courses
  • Over 35,000 books to check out
  • Hundreds of thousands of articles from magazines and research journals - accessible online on or off campus
  • Instruction on how to find and use information
  • Professional, experienced librarians whenever the library is open
  • Access to more than 2 million items through shared resources held by the Palm Desert Public Library, the Riverside Country Library System and all Inland Library Network libraries.

Library and Research Instruction

The Library is very active in providing students with the tools they need to succeed in their college courses. The library offers library and research instruction to students in several ways:

Individually – Students are encouraged to ask for instructional assistance at the Library Services Desk. Professional librarians are on duty at all times to provide a full range of assistance in using the Library for assignments and interests.

In Groups – Every semester, the professional librarians provide many course-related instruction sessions to students in a variety of courses, from Art to Zoology. Each of these sessions last from one to two hours and are geared toward the specific areas of study as requested by the course instructors.

The College Library invites all students, faculty, and others in the community to drop by the library to check out all the services, equipment and other resources available. Many Library services are available online. For more information, please call (760) 776-2563.

Library Fines

Contact the Circulation Desk at (760) 346-6552.

Overdue Course Reserve Textbooks will be assessed with fines.  Inquire at the Library Reference/Information Desk for more information or call (760) 773-2563.

Unpaid Library fines will result in a hold on student records and transcripts. Overdue circulating items will be fined $0.25 per day per item. The fee for a lost or severely damaged book is the current market value for the book as determined by the Technical Services Department, plus a $25.00 processing fee.

To avoid late fees, most items can be renewed by phone, or online. Call the Circulation Desk or the Reference/Information Desk if you have questions.

Intensive English Academy

Students who are in need of additional English training prior to their studies, or just want to improve their language skills, can study at the Intensive English Academy (IEA). The IEA consists of 30 hours per week of instruction and lab work. This fee-based program includes classes in reading, writing, grammar, listening, and conversation. Classes are offered from beginning to advanced levels. The IEA course offers both 8-week and 16-week sessions. 

For more information and to obtain an application, please visit the International Students webpage, or contact the IEA Office at:  

    International Student Office
    43500 Monterey Avenue
    Palm Desert, CA, 92260    
    by email
    by telephone:  001-760-776-7205
    or by fax:  001-760-862-1361.

Math/Science Study Center

This Study Center is located in the Math Building and provides math and science students with a place to study. There are areas available for students who like to work in small groups. Math and science adjunct faculty are available to assist students in this facility during their office hours. Tutoring is also occasionally available. Software and videos, as well as Internet access, are available in support of college-level mathematics and science classes. For more information please call (760) 674-3769.  

Online Classes

College of the Desert offers nearly 100 sections of online classes covering a wide variety of academic disciplines. These include Accounting, Business, Computer Information Systems, Digital Design & Production, Economics, English, Health Sciences, History, Mathematics, Music, Natural Resources, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Spanish. See the class schedule for a complete listing.

Online courses have the same transfer status and prerequisites as traditional on-campus classes, and are subject to the same standards of academic quality.  The difference is that the student completes his or her coursework  via email, electronic bulletin boards and chatrooms. This can be a tremendous advantage for those students who have trouble getting to the campus or who have schedules that do not allow them to take classes scheduled at specific times. Online students must have their own computers and Internet access, and must be proficient in using the Internet, a word processing program and email. For further information, please go to the College website. Click on Student Services then click on Online Classes, which is listed under Education Centers.

Tutoring And Academic Skills Centers (TASC)

Tutoring and Academic Skills Centers (TASC) promote student success by providing academic support services of measurably high quality for all individuals attending College of the Desert. TASC Labs are located on all three campuses: the ASC Building at Palm Desert, and designed labs at both Indio/East Valley and Mecca/Thermal. The services offered include, but not limited to the following:

  • ​Student Peer Tutors and a few key faculty serve a wide range of courses in the TASC Tutoring Center, with an emphasis on writing, reading, mathematics, English as a Second Language (ESL), and other modern/foreign languages
  • Peer tutors also serve Computer Information Systems (CIS), business and social sciences, and most physical and biological sciences
  • Dedicated TASC Language Lab equipped with a dynamic assortment of language tools and software
  • Dedicated Computer Lab for research and essay composition with printing capacity
  • Online Tutoring Services offered by Smarthinking, featuring a number of challenging subjects like Accounting and Calculus. Math support is offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

For more information, please call (760) 773-2557, or visit TASC online.

Learning Opportunities

What are Basic Skills?

Basic skills classes are offered in English, English as a Second Language (ESL), reading, writing, math, learning and study skills, and critical thinking for our students who need to  increase their performance to the level required for completion of college-level classes. Basic skills classes assist our students to successfully meet their academic and career goals.  In support of our basic skills experiences, the Academic Skills Center (ASC) provides additional learning opportunities through the language lab, writing lab and tutoring center.  For more information please call (760) 773-2557.  

How do I make a connection between school and career?

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs prepare students for high skill, high demand technical careers to be competitive in the job market. Rigorous programs of study emphasize math, science and technology. Programs are intended to lead to an associate’s degree or a certificate in a specific career field, and ultimately, to high wage, high skill employment or advanced education. The essentials to connect school and career are:

  • Postsecondary Training
  • Concurrent Enrollment
  • Career Pathways
  • High School Articulation


A career pathway is an effective way to help students see the application of academic knowledge and makes meaningful connections between education and a variety of career options. Career pathways include career preparation recommendations for coursework that prepares students to:

  • enter directly into the workforce;
  • continue education focused on the associate degree; and/or
  • pursue baccalaureate degrees and beyond.

High School/Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Articulation

Articulation is the process of developing formal, written agreements that identify High School and CTE ROP courses (or sequence of courses) that align with and are recognized by postsecondary institutions. Ideally, it includes a seamless transition of course work where academic standards are designed, reviewed, and implemented to eliminate the duplication of skills and student learning outcomes. The primary goal is to avoid duplication of coursework required of students as they move through our educational system and to speed the completion of a certificate or degree from a postsecondary institution. This increases secondary retention, eliminates duplication, reduces the cost of education and increases the likelihood of attendance at the postsecondary level. Articulation is student-focused and effective if college-discipline instructors and secondary CTE teachers collaborate and develop curriculum to best prepare students for success in their career.

At College of the Desert, the agreements provide an opportunity whereby students earn college units or placement credit for approved coursework. The assessment component of articulation ensures that outcomes for students are similar to those that would have been attained had the course been taken at the community college. This enables the student to progress to the next level of instruction.  

Business and Industry 

California Education Code requires advisory committees for specific CTE programs receiving funding from the federal Carl D. Perkins Act. Business and industry partners representing automotive, business, construction, agriculture, public safety, health education and more, are active leaders in providing input on programs and curriculum and serve as a liaison between educators and the broader employment community. Advisory members conduct a variety of activities, such as providing speakers for CTE classes, hosting workplace field trips, serving as mentors and providing internships and/or employment.

Moreover, members strategize on what areas of improvement are needed in career technical education to maintain California’s competitive edge in the global marketplace. For more information on advisory committee membership, please call the CTE Transitions Office at (760) 674-7627.

Noncredit Courses And Certificates

Adult Basic Education (ABE)

Recognizing the role of the community college in the area of adult education, College of the Desert makes available noncredit courses for development of necessary skills and knowledge in Adult  Basic Education (reading, writing and math), Adult High School Diploma, and preparation for the General Education Development (GED) Test.  No enrollment fees are charged to students taking adult education courses.

Many courses are offered on an open-entry, open-exit basis. In addition to regular class offerings, emphasis is placed on self-paced, independent, student-centered learning.

Students interested in completing Adult Basic Education courses may begin the process by completing the Admission Application available online from the College of the Desert website.

Steps to Enrollment:

  1. Complete the online Admission Application (available with Spanish translation only), or visit the Admissions & Records Office.
  2. Reference the Admissions/Adult Basic Education webpage or call (760) 776-7348 to ascertain next steps in preparation of enrolling.
  3. Register
  4. Pay fees.

Instruction is provided in the following areas:

Basic Skills

Basic Skills is the study of reading, writing, and math.  It is designed for adults to learn these skills. Basic Skills students will be better prepared to pursue further education, including GED and High School Completion, or pursue employment opportunities. Students may earn the following certificates of completion:

  • Certificate in Reading Completion
  • Certificate in Basic Math Completion
  • Certificate in Advanced Math Completion
  • Certificate in Basic English Completion
  • Certificate in Advanced English Completion

General Education Development Test (GED)

General Education Development (GED) is the study of social studies, math, reading, writing, and science. Students completing this course of study will be better prepared to take the GED test. The GED certificate (Certificate of Completion in Secondary Education/GED) is an alternative to a high school diploma and is accepted by many employers, community colleges, vocational training programs, and governmental agencies.For more information please call (760) 776-7348.

High School Completion/Diploma

High School Completion is the study of subjects required to obtain a high school diploma. Students completing their required coursework and passing the proficiency exams will receive an Adult High School Diploma issued by College of the Desert. For more information please call (760) 776-7348.

English As A Second Language (ESL) noncredit program

The Noncredit ESL program is an intensive series of multi-skill courses which meet the needs of students not fluent in English.

Classes are open-entry, thereby allowing students to register at any time during the school year. Classes are held day and evening at Palm Desert and various campus sites.

All persons 18 years of age and older regardless of their educational background are welcome to enroll in this program.

Steps to Enrollment:

  1. Complete the online Admission Application (available with Spanish translation only), or visit the Admissions & Records Office.
  2. Make an appointment to take the English as a Second Language Test.
  3. Register
  4. Pay fees

The Noncredit ESL program offers the following noncredit certificates of completion:

  • English Proficiency Certificate: Life & Work Skills
  • Academic English Certificate

Please refer to the sequence of noncredit ESL courses required for these certificates (English as a Second Language Programs). For more information or assistance, please reference the Admissions/Adult Basic Education webpage, or call (760) 776-7348.

Workforce Partnership Training And Development

Advanced Transportation Technology and Energy Center (ATTE)

The College has one of the nation’s most established and well-respected programs for training technicians to repair and maintain advanced automotive systems, such as those that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG), liquid petroleum gas (LPG or propane), and electric (EV) and hybrid propulsion. These technician training programs are designed to meet the needs of the emerging advanced transportation systems in the region and were developed in partnership with industry stakeholders such as SunLine Transit, California Gas Company, and the CA Air Quality Management District.

A new addition to the College’s clean technology education programs is the Energy Systems Technologies certificate currently in development. This program will provide an important foundation of knowledge and skills to those seeking energy and utility technical and managerial careers. It will also help prepare the workforce needed to support the growing renewable energy industry in our region. For more information, please call (760) 773-2571.

Contract Education (PaCE)

Through College of the Desert's Partnership and Community Education Division (PaCE), we offer custom designed training programs for every level of employee from entry-level communication/basic skills to executive level specialized training. All programs are developed in consultation with the employer and delivered at a time and location suitable to the employer on a fee basis. Our content experts have successfully developed and delivered training programs to many area medium and large businesses, corporations and public agencies.

Fee-based Community and Continuing Education courses are also offered in the pursuit of lifelong learning in a wide range of fields and on many topics. The accelerated, not-for-credit course format is designed for adult learners and is compatible with busy schedules. For more information please call (760) 776-7420 or (760) 862-1367.