The growth kinetics of self-assembled monolayers formed by exposing freshly cleaved mica to octanol solution has been studied by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). AFM images of samples immersed in octanol for varying exposure times showed that before forming a complete monolayer the octanol molecules aggregated in the form of small islands on the mica surface. With the proceeding of immersion, these islands gradually grew and merged into larger patches. Finally, a close-packed film with uniform appearance and few defects was formed. The thickness of the final film showed 0.8 nm in height, which corresponded to the 40degrees tilt molecular conformation of the octanol monolayer. The growth mechanisms consisted of nucleation, growth, and coalescence of the submonolayer films. The growth process was also confirmed by FTIR. And the surface coverage of the submonolayer islands estimated from AFM images and FTIR spectra as a function of immersion time was quite consistent.