This online catalog includes changes made from the current official catalog. These changes become official and enforceable starting in the next fall semester. The catalog is subject to change during the course of the academic year.
Prospective students are advised not to request a catalog, but rather to request appropriate literature from the Admission Office (for undergraduates) and from the Graduate Office (for graduate students). For official policies and requirements in the current year, refer to the official catalog in PDF format.
Fees, tuition, programs, courses, course content, instructors and regulations are subject to change without notice.
Combined Plans in Liberal Arts and Engineering
Exchange Program with the California Institute of Technology
Exchange Program with the Art Center College of Design
Cooperative Arrangement: Columbia University School of Law
Cooperative Arrangement with the Keck Graduate Institute
National Awards - Fellowships & Scholarships
Reserve Officers Training Corps
Art History and the Visual Arts
Athletics and Physical Activities
Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture
(Formerly titled “German, Russian and Classical Studies")
Critical Theory and Social Justice
Diplomacy and World Affairs
East Asian Languages and Cultures
Interdisciplinary Writing minor
Latino/a and Latin American Studies
Public Health Minor
Spanish and French Studies (includes Arabic, Linguistics and Italian Courses)
Urban and Environmental Policy
Writing & Rhetoric
Occidental College is an independent, coeducational college of liberal arts and sciences. Although founded in 1887 by a group of Presbyterian ministers and laymen, Occidental has had no formal religious association since 1910. It is governed by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees, is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges*, and holds membership in a number of regional and national organizations related to higher education. The Delta of California Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established at Occidental in 1926.
The first baccalaureate degree was conferred in 1893, and graduate instruction leading to the master of arts degree in selected fields was inaugurated in 1922.
Occidental seeks to provide an education of high quality in the best tradition of the liberal arts, emphasizing thorough competence in a chosen field of study together with a broad understanding of our historical and cultural heritage, and the relationships among fields of knowledge.
Students and faculty at Occidental are engaged in an intellectual partnership in which student initiative and responsibility are encouraged. To an unusual degree, students may participate in the construction of their own educational programs. Independent study and interdepartmental programs are encouraged.
Occidental students represent varied intellectual interests, socioeconomic backgrounds, racial and ethnic groups, religious beliefs, nationalities and social and political convictions. This diversity finds its expression not only in the variety of academic programs and options open to the student, but also through the entire range of student organizations and enterprises, college cultural events, visiting lecturers and forums, all of which taken together comprise the many facets of life in an invigorating academic community.
The College is committed to a philosophy of total education. Intellectual capability is a dominant component, but is conceived of as one dimension in a process that includes and stresses personal, ethical, social and political growth toward maturation as well. The high percentage of students in residence at the College works toward the achievement of this objective.
Successful Occidental students are self-motivated, independent-minded and intellectually talented people. They base their judgments upon respect for evidence, ideas and a deep concern for values, both private and public. They are alert to the possibilities of betterment in themselves, their college and their society. Above all, they realize that no education is finished, that they are in college to learn how to learn, so that they may carry on their own education for the rest of their lives.
Occidental College is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer, and does not discriminate against employees or applicants because of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, gender, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation or disability. This nondiscrimination policy also covers student access to College programs, including but not limited to academic admissions, financial aid, educational services and employment.
Occidental College is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100
Alameda, California 94501
*Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges: 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501
The mission of Occidental College is to provide a gifted and diverse group of students with a total educational experience of the highest quality—one that prepares them for leadership in an increasingly complex, interdependent and pluralistic world.
The distinctive interdisciplinary and multicultural focus of the College’s academic program seeks to foster both the fulfillment of individual aspirations and a deeply rooted commitment to the public good.
This mission is anchored by four cornerstones: excellence, equity, community and service. These building blocks, in one form or another, have long been the basis for the College’s commitment to providing responsible leaders and citizens for our democratic society. Choosing them to support the future helps to ensure that the College remains true to its mission while adapting to a changing world.
CIVIL RIGHTS REGULATIONS STATEMENT
The College does not permit discrimination or harassment in its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identification, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, physical and/or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status or any other characteristic protected by institutional policy, state, local or federal law. The College values fairness and equity for all members of the College community. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:
Sex Discrimination (Title IX)
Associate Dean/Title IX Coordinator
email at email@example.com
All other Protected Categories:
Ella Turenne, Assistant Dean for Community Engagement. Email: Turenne@oxy.edu; phone: (323) 341-4683
|New Student Move-in||Friday||August 21|
|Orientation for New Students Starting Fall 2015||Fri-Wed||August 21-26|
|Returning Student Move-in||Monday||August 24|
|Transfer & Exchange Student Registration||Monday||August 24|
|New 1st Year Student Registration||Tuesday||August 25|
|1st Day of Classes (starts at 11:45am)||Wednesday||August 26|
|Convocation (no morning classes)||Wednesday||August 26|
|Final day to withdraw for a 90% tuition refund||Tuesday||September 1|
|Last day to add 4 unit classes||Friday||September 4|
|Labor Day||Monday||September 7|
|Final day to withdraw for a 80% tuition refund||Wednesday||September 9|
|Applied Music ADD deadline||Friday||September 11|
|Final day to withdraw with a 70% tuition refund||Wednesday||September 16|
|Applied Music DROP deadline||Friday||September 18|
|Census Date||Monday||September 21|
|CR/NC Forms due||Thursday||September 22|
|Final day to withdraw with a 60% tuition refund||Wednesday||September 23|
|Final day to withdraw for a 50% tuition refund||Wednesday||September 30|
|Final day to change to part-time status with a tuition adjustment||Wednesday||September 30|
|Last day to drop classes without a "W"||Tuesday||October 6|
|Last day to audit a class||Tuesday||October 6|
|Withdrawal period begins||Wednesday||October 7|
|Graduation applications due for graduating seniors||Friday||October 9|
|Fall Break||Mon-Tue||October 12-13|
|Last day to add 1 & 2 unit classes||Wednesday||October 14|
|Advising Week||Mon-Fri||November 2-6|
|Registration Week for Spring 2016||Mon-Fri||November 9-13|
|Last day to withdraw from classes||Wednesday||December 2|
|Incomplete petitions due||Wednesday||December 2|
|Last day of classes||Wednesday||December 2|
|Reading Days||Thu-Sun||December 3-6|
|Final Exams (view the schedule)||Mon-Sat||December 7-12|
|Residence halls close at 10am or 24 hours after the last final (whichever happens first)||Sunday||December 13|
|Grades due||Monday||December 14|
|Orientation for New Students starting in the Spring 2016||Friday||January 15|
|Returning students move-in at 10am||Sunday||January 17|
|MLK Day||Monday||January 18|
|1st Day of Classes||Tuesday||January 19|
|Final day to withdraw for a 90% tuition refund||Monday||January 25|
|Last day to add 4 unit classes and Independent Studies||Friday||January 29|
|Final day to withdraw for a 80% tuition refund||Monday||February 1|
|Applied Music ADD deadline||Friday||February 5|
|Final day to withdraw for a 70% tuition refund||Monday||February 8|
|Applied Music DROP deadline||Friday||February 12|
|President's Day||Monday||February 15|
|Census Date||Tuesday||February 16|
|Final day to withdraw for a 60% tuition refund||Tuesday||February 16|
|Final day to withdraw for a 50% tuition refund||Tuesday||February 23|
|Final day to change to part-time status with tuition adjustment||Tuesday||February 23|
|Last day to drop classes without a "W"||Friday||February 26|
|Last day to audit a class||Friday||February 26|
|Withdrawal period begins||Saturday||February 27|
|Spring Break||Mon-Fri||March 7-11|
|Last day to add 1 & 2 unit classes||Monday||March 14|
|Advising Week||Mon-Fri||March 21-25|
|Registration Week for Fall 2016||Mon-Fri||March 28- April 1|
|Senior Comps grades due to Registrar||Monday||April 18|
|Last day to Withdraw from classes||Thursday||April 28|
|Incomplete petitions due||Thursday||April 28|
|Last Day of Classes||Thursday||April 28|
|Reading Days||Fri-Sun||April 29-May 1|
|Final Exams||Mon-Sat||May 2-7|
|Residence halls close for non-graduating students at 10am or 24 hours after the last final exam (whichever happens first)||Sunday||May 8|
|Senior grades due||Tuesday||May 10|
|Residence halls close for graduating seniors at 10am||Monday||May 16|
|Non-senior grades due||Monday||May 16|
The established class periods are listed below. Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. are kept free from classes and held open for Convocations and meetings of the faculty, departments and committees.
Monday through Friday
Monday through Friday
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Tuesday and Thursday
Tuesday and Thursday
Tuesday and Thursday
Tuesday and Thursday
Tuesday and Thursday
Monday and Wednesday
Monday and Wednesday
Monday and Wednesday
Monday and Wednesday
Monday and Wednesday
Monday and Friday
Monday and Friday
Wednesday and Friday
Wednesday and Friday
Tuesday or Thursday
Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday
|LABORATORY PERIODS||START TIME||END TIME|
|Tuesday or Thursday||8:30||11:25||am|
|Tuesday or Thursday||1:30||4:25||pm|
|Wednesday, or Friday||1:55||4:50||pm|
|Monday or Wednesday||3:00||5:55||pm|
|Monday or Wednesday or Thursday||7:15||10:10||pm|
Occidental is highly selective in the admission of students. The Admission Committee seeks students with strong academic preparation and personal characteristics who demonstrate motivation, accomplishment, involvement, energy and commitment. Rigor of coursework, grades, writing, recommendations, extracurricular activities and test scores are all taken into consideration in selecting the members of the first-year class.
While there is no specific requirement for the high school course of study, it is recommended that applicants take five academic subjects each year, including advanced or honors courses when available. The emphasis in each academic area will vary with individual interests and goals, but a solid preparation in high school should include four years of English composition and literature, three to four years of foreign language, three to four years of mathematics (four years for students interested in science or engineering), three to four years of social studies and three to four years of science—including one year each of biological and physical science. (Students interested in science or engineering should be sure to include both chemistry and physics.) Regular Decision applications for admission into to the first-year class are due by January 15.
Students for whom Occidental is their first-choice college may apply under one of two binding Early Decision programs. ED I applications are due November 15, with decisions mailed within a month, and ED II applications are due January 1, with decisions also mailed within a month.
Transfer applications for fall semester should be submitted by April 1, and for the spring semester, transfer applications should be submitted by November 1. International transfer applications are accepted for fall semester only, and should be submitted by April 1.
Detailed information on the College, its curriculum and programs, and admission and financial assistance is included in published materials available from the Office of Admission and online at www.oxy.edu/admission-aid.
First-year and transfer candidates may apply to the College using the Common Application. Prospective students are encouraged to experience Occidental firsthand by visiting the College. It is possible to attend an information session, tour the campus and visit classes. Although interviews are not required, they are strongly recommended. For more information, call 1-800-825-5262, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact: Office of Admission, Occidental College, 1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles, CA 90041.
Bachelor of Arts Degree
Unless modified in individual cases by administrative action, the following requirements must be fulfilled by all students to qualify for formal recommendation by the faculty for the degree of Bachelor of Arts:
Completion of a minimum of 128 units.
Attainment of a 2.0 grade point average or better for all courses undertaken at Occidental College and for the student’s entire course of study.
Attainment of a 2.0 grade point average or better for all courses undertaken within a departmental major or minor.
Satisfaction of the writing proficiency requirement.
Completion of the Core Program by the end of the junior year.
Language 102-level proficiency in a language other than English by the end of the third year. See below for Languages Policy.
Completion of a major or an Independent Pattern of Study. It is possible to have a double major.
Passing of a final comprehensive requirement in the senior year in the major subject or area of concentration, or in the case of those studying under an Independent Pattern of Study, as designed by the student’s advisory committee.
Fulfillment of all degree requirements, other than the comprehensive examination and work in progress in the final semester, at least six weeks prior to graduation.
No Incomplete grades, NR grades, or CIP grades on the student’s transcript at the time of graduation.
A minimum of 64 units (exclusive of Occidental-sponsored study-abroad programs) of the required number of units for graduation must be taken by the student at Occidental College to receive the Bachelor of Arts degree. Sixteen units of the last 32 must be Occidental College courses (study-abroad classes are considered Occidental College courses).
Full-time student status is defined by enrollment in 12 or more units; part-time status is defined by enrollment in 11 or fewer units.
The degree of bachelor of arts is conferred at the May Commencement upon all candidates who have satisfied degree requirements at any time since the last Commencement.
Proficiency in writing
Students meet this requirement in two stages, the first of which is passing the first-stage Writing Proficiency evaluation in the Cultural Studies Program. Completion of the Cultural Studies courses does not by itself satisfy the writing requirement. There are three measures of proficiency: 1) fall semester professor evaluates the writing of each student using a rubric (1-6 scale with 4 or above considered proficient); 2) spring semester professor evaluates the writing of each student, using a rubric (1-6 scale with 4 or above considered proficient); 3) one additional measure of writing proficiency is required; most recently this measure has been participation in a shared intellectual experience with required reading that culminates in a timed writing exercise; professors evaluate each student's writing using the 1-6 score rubric. Frosh are expected to successfully score 4 or better on two of the three measures.
Those who do not pass the Cultural Studies Writing evaluations will be asked to pass with a C or better a course in the department of English writing (201) or another writing course designated by the director of writing programs in conjunction with the director of the Core program. The second stage of the requirement will be met in the student’s major department. Each department at the College has specified its own writing requirement in the major; students should consult their department chair. For more information, see “Writing Program” in the “Special Programs” section of this Catalog.
All students must achieve Language 102-level proficiency in a language other than English by the end of their third year as part of Occidental’s Core requirements. Some majors or minors may have additional language requirements.
Students who plan to begin an entirely new language at Occidental are not required to take the placement exam.
First-year students may take the Occidental College Placement Examination either online for French, German and Spanish, or during Orientation for other languages taught at Occidental if:
they have studied a language for a semester in college or for more than one year of high school (ninth grade does not count);
they have participated in afterschool or weekend language programs; or
they have extensive background in but no formal training in a language.
Students can fulfill Occidental’s language requirement in one of five ways:
Completing a language course numbered 102 at Occidental, or the equivalent course in any foreign language at another accredited institution.
Receiving an exemption-level score on Occidental’s placement and/or exemption exam given during Orientation. (See the Language Studio site for language specific details).
Earning an appropriate Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) II score (560 or above in French, Spanish or Latin; 550 or above in German or Chinese; 540 or above in Japanese; or 560 in any other language).
Earning an Advanced Placement test score of 4 or above.
For some languages not taught at Occidental, students may opt to take the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and the Writing Proficiency test (WPT) in the languages currently available. Please see the Keck Language and Culture Studio about demonstrating proficiency via ACTFL interviews and tests.
Foreign Language Exemption Policy
International students whose language of education has been in a language other than English and who have completed six years of elementary education or more in a foreign language are exempt from the foreign language requirement. Such students should contact the chair of one of the foreign language departments to confirm their fulfillment of the foreign language requirement.
The Honors Program
The Honors Program at Occidental is designed to allow the superior student’s attention to be focused on an independent investigation for a sustained period of time. It is expected that students admitted to the College Honors Program will have established themselves as outstanding prospects for individualized work in the department of their major and also will have established themselves by submitting work of very high quality in all that they have undertaken at Occidental. Student admission to the College Honors Program will be by formal action of the faculty in the student’s major department. Ordinarily no student will be admitted to the College Honors Program who does not have an overall grade point average of 3.25. No student will, under any circumstances, receive Honors who has not maintained this grade point average by the end of spring semester of the senior year. Individual departments may set a higher minimum grade point average, both overall and within the major.
Students accepted for the College Honors Program are exempt from the 8-unit limit in Independent Study and may take Advanced Research (499) courses on an independent study basis. The purpose of such research is to prepare a special project to be submitted to the major department for evaluation no later than the 10th week of the spring semester of the student’s senior year. Evaluation of the completed project will be made by a committee of department faculty and may include readers from outside the department or College. Students wishing to be considered for participation in the Honors Program should contact the chair of the appropriate department during the spring semester of their sophomore year and, in any event, will be admitted to the program no later than the second week of the fall semester of their senior year.
Completion of an Honors project does not in itself guarantee the conferring of College Honors.
See also Honors in an Independent Pattern of Study.
Honors at Graduation
Summa cum Laude: Grade point average of 3.90 or above. Magna cum Laude: Grade point average of 3.75 or above. Cum Laude: Grade point average of 3.50 or above. Grade point averages for Honors are based on work completed at Occidental College. Study-abroad courses taken in the fall and spring and approved by the International Programs Office are considered Occidental college courses and are calculated in the GPA for honors. No transfer courses are calculated in the Occidental college GPA (study-abroad courses taken in the summer are considered transfer courses).
The requirements for graduation are determined at the time students declare their major. The catalog and policies in place at the time (the current official catalog) determine the students’ requirements for the major declared. The student has the option to use any catalog thereafter as long as the student does not take a leave of absence or withdrawal from the college.
A student is encouraged to declare a major at any point during the freshman year, and is required to do so not later than registration at the end of the sophomore year. Only under exceptional circumstances may a major be changed after the end of the junior year and only by special petition to the appropriate committee. Students are expected to complete those major requirements in effect in the year they declare the major.
Unless different regulations are specified under the departmental requirements for graduation, a student who fails to attain a 2.0 grade point average in introductory and intermediate courses within the major will not be accepted by that department as a major.
The minimum number of units for a major is prescribed by individual departments. The maximum units that may be required by a department is 48, but a student who wishes to do so may take more than the required number of units in the major subject. At least 64 units of coursework counting toward the A.B. degree, however, must be taken outside the major department. In any single semester, students are strongly discouraged from taking more than 12 units in a single department.
Each department requires senior students in the major to complete a comprehensive examination, the evaluation of which becomes a part of each student’s permanent record and transcript.
To double major, a student completes all requirements for the major in each of two separate departments. Students must complete separate comprehensive examinations.
A student is allowed to declare an academic minor, consisting of at least 20 units chosen from a list determined by each department. Students should consult the appropriate department for a list of courses acceptable for the minor. Students who wish to declare minors must do so no later than the fall semester of the senior year.
Departmental Majors and Minors
Art History and the Visual Arts
Classical Studies (minor only)
Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (minor only)
Computer Science (minor only)
Critical Theory and Social Justice
East Asian Languages and Cultures
East Asian Studies
Education (minor only)
Group Language (major only)
Interdisciplinary Writing (minor only)
Latino/a and Latin American Studies
Linguistics (minor only)
Neuroscience (minor only)
Public Health (minor only)
Russian (minor only)
Interdepartmental Majors and Minors
Biochemistry (major only)
Chevalier Program in Diplomacy and World Affairs (major only)
Urban and Environmental Policy
3/2 and 4/2 Combined Plan Programs in Liberal Arts and Engineering with California Institute of Technology and Columbia University
Cooperative arrangement with Columbia University School of Law
Cooperative arrangement with the Keck Graduate Institute
Exchanges with Art Center College of Design and California Institute of Technology
Independent Pattern of Study
Occidental offers students, with the consultation of faculty members, the opportunity to design an Independent Pattern of Study (IPS) in lieu of a major program. An Independent Pattern of Study is appropriate when a student has a strong and well-developed motivation to pursue interdisciplinary study in areas where the College does not have a defined program. Such a program is particularly appropriate in newly emerging areas of study. It must, however, be one which is feasible for both the College and the student. The student must demonstrate to the faculty involved a record of success in completing previous work in courses, independent study and other programs.
A proposal for an IPS should include (1) a statement of academic purpose; (2) a program of at least 48 units, including 32 numbered 300 or greater; (3) a proposal for the Comprehensive Project; (4) plans for faculty involvement, including regular meetings with the entire committee and (5) an overall GPA of 3.25 or better at the time the IPS proposal is submitted for approval. The program of study must be endorsed by an IPS committee, composed of three members of the faculty, with no more than two faculty from the same department.
The procedure for proposing an IPS begins with the submission of a proposal to the Student Progress Committee no later than six weeks before the end of the sophomore year. (Appropriate forms are available in the Registrar’s Office.) The proposal, after any necessary revisions, will be presented by the student to the assembled IPS committee in preparation for final submission. Final proposals for IPS must be approved no later than the end of the sophomore year.
The student’s transcript will have “Independent Pattern of Study” listed under the heading of “Major.” The title chosen for the IPS will be identified on the transcript as an emphasis in the major.
Honors in an Independent Pattern of Study
College Honors may be awarded to graduating seniors who demonstrate excellence in Independent Pattern of Study coursework and in an honors thesis/project. To be eligible, students must have a 3.5 or better grade point average in courses taken for their IPS and an overall 3.25 grade point average.
Qualified students who wish to pursue Honors must consult with their IPS committee during their junior year and submit a proposal for their honors thesis/project no later than mid-term of the second semester of their junior year.
The plan of undergraduate study at Occidental emphasizes a liberal education of the type that is generally recognized as desirable preparation for professional or vocational fields. Opportunity is afforded, however, for flexibility in developing programs suited to students’ individual needs and in providing for the subjects that are specified by many professional schools as a basis for graduate study. Suggestions concerning adaptation of majors to preparation for various vocational and professional fields are included in departmental announcements in this catalog. Students are encouraged, beginning in the freshman year, to utilize the services of the Career Development Center, where detailed information concerning vocational opportunities and preparation may be obtained. The Career Development Center offers counseling to help students become aware of their potential and how that potential may be used productively during and after the college experience.
Occidental College offers graduate study in academic areas for which the College is able to provide distinctive offerings at the graduate level. Admission to graduate study is competitive, and the number of students admitted is sufficiently small to ensure flexibility in arranging individual programs of study within a general framework of policies that assure high academic standards.
The master of arts (M.A.) degree is offered in the biology department.
Graduates of accredited colleges and universities are eligible to apply for graduate study at Occidental. Preference is given to applicants with superior preparation and achievement. Graduate students are admitted subject to the general regulations of the College.
Applications for the master of arts in biology are available in the Graduate Office.
Applications and all admission credentials for graduate study must be received by March 1 for students applying to begin study during the summer session or the fall Ssemester, and by October 1 for students applying to begin study during the spring semester.
Students seeking admission to the M.A. program must have significant successful experience in the discipline to be ready for graduate study. Evidence of readiness includes undergraduate grades, completion of an undergraduate major or minor in the discipline, successful completion of a significant amount of coursework at or above the advanced undergraduate level and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general and subject test scores. Consultation with the department chair is recommended before completing the application, particularly for students who have not completed an undergraduate major in the discipline.
Completed applications must include the following:
- A completed application form, including a statement of objectives for graduate work.
- Application fee of $60. (This fee is waived for current and former Occidental students.)
- Official transcripts of all academic work at the college or university level, including previous graduate work.
- Letters of recommendation from three persons. These should include, if possible, one letter from a professor in the applicant’s major field of undergraduate study.
- An official report of test scores from the Graduate Record Examination General Test.
- An official report of test scores for the Graduate Record Examination Subject Test in Biology.
- For applicants whose native language is not English, an official report of test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language. (This requirement is waived for current and former Occidental students.)
Applications for the M.A. in biology must be submitted directly to the Graduate Office.
Financial aid for graduate study is available from the College on the basis of financial need and academic promise. In order to be eligible for available funds, applicants must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online and a separate Financial Aid Application for Graduate Students to the Financial Aid Office by April 19, prior to the academic school year of intended matriculation. All other required supplemental documents (tax returns, W-2s and verification documents) must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office by April 19. Application forms and a list of required supplemental forms may be obtained from the Graduate Office or the Financial Aid Office.
Candidacy for Advanced Degrees
Candidacy for an advanced degree is granted to a student whose undergraduate preparation provides a thoroughly satisfactory background for the graduate work proposed. In some instances, a student who does not meet all the departmental course requirements for admission may be admitted to graduate standing but not to candidacy for the degree until specified prerequisite courses are completed. When the background courses have been completed at a level of achievement satisfactory to the student’s major department, the department will recommend to the Graduate Office that the student be advanced to candidacy for the master’s degree.
Plan of Study for Candidates for the M.A. Degree
At the time of acceptance for graduate study, each degree candidate is assigned a major advisor. The student and the advisor share the joint responsibility to formulate a consistent plan of study that is within the policies of the College and the major department. The plan of study should include a schedule for meeting all degree requirements.
Credit for a graduate degree may be given for Occidental courses (including summer offerings) numbered 500 and above, but not for any course taken in fulfillment of requirements for a Bachelor’s degree. As a general policy, the College does not accept transfer graduate credit from other institutions; however, students receiving Veterans Benefits should submit documentation of their prior graduate work to the Graduate Office for evaluation of potential credit toward their degree. Courses numbered 500 and above are ordinarily limited to graduate students. However, advanced and specially qualified undergraduates may be permitted to enroll in such courses by special petition to the instructor, the department chair and the director of Graduate Studies. In special circumstances, by additional petition to the director of Graduate Studies, credit toward the master of arts degree also may be granted provided the course is not required to fulfill a bachelor’s degree.
Graduate full-time status is nine or more units.
Degree Requirements - Master of Arts
- Completion of a minimum of 30 units (six courses) of graduate work at Occidental, achieving a grade of B (3.0) or higher in every course.
- Not less than one-half of the work shall be completed in the student’s major department. The remainder shall be chosen, with the approval of the advisor and the major department chair, from related upper-division courses in other departments to form a consistent plan of study.
- M.A. students in biology must register once for thesis credit by enrolling in Biology 590, Thesis for Master of Arts Degree (5 units). This course may count toward the 30-unit requirement.
- Satisfactory completion of a thesis. The relevant material shall be presented to the Graduate Office in approved form as specified in the general instructions issued to degree candidates. The Special Collections librarian will issue an acknowledgment of receipt to the student. This receipt shall be submitted to the Graduate Office as proof that the thesis has been submitted.
- Passing of a final examination demonstrating a thorough grasp of the candidate’s field of emphasis. The supervising committee for this examination shall consist of three faculty members, with the student’s advisor as the chair. The committee shall include at least one faculty member of a department other than the student’s major department.
- Other degree requirements specified by the major department in the College catalog.
- All degree requirements must be completed no later than five calendar years after the date of initial enrollment as a graduate student.
Thesis Candidate Status for M.A. Students
M.A. students who have completed all coursework and are continuing thesis work may enroll in Thesis Candidate Status. This status grants student privileges and allows the College to certify enrollment. A student may enroll in this status for a maximum of two semesters and must be either normally enrolled or in Thesis Candidate Status in the semester in which he or she graduates.
Final Approval of Candidacy for the M.A. Degree
The master of arts degree is conferred upon candidates formally recommended by the faculty on the basis of approval by (a) the candidate’s supervising committee, and (b) the director of Graduate Studies. Such approval is contingent upon completing all degree requirements.
In addition, candidates must present to the Graduate Office an application for final approval of candidacy for the degree, including signed recommendations from the members of the supervising committee. Graduate degrees will be dated as of the end of the semester in which the registrar certifies that all College and departmental degree requirements have been met. For those candidates who wish to participate in May Commencement ceremonies, all evidence of degree completion must be received in the Graduate Office by April 1.
Probation Policy for Graduate Students
Students who do not maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in all coursework after admission to the graduate program will be placed on academic probation.
The academic year at Occidental College consists of two 16-week semesters, each including one week of final examinations. A student may register each semester for a maximum of 18 units. Students electing to enroll for fewer than 16 units in any semester during their course of study at Occidental must be aware they may not be making normal academic progress and must accept the consequences of a possible delayed graduation date. Only by special petition to the dean of students and under the most unusual circumstances may students reduce their academic load to fewer than 12 units. Students may petition to be part time through the last day to drop classes. After that date students may only withdraw from a class and the enrollment status will not change.
Each unit of course credit at Occidental College requires a minimum of three hours of student work per week for every week over the duration of a semester. As such, each 4-unit course represents a minimum of 12 hours of involvement per week, and each 2-unit course represents a minimum of six hours of involvement per week. Students will typically spend a third of this time in direct interaction with faculty, and the remainder of the time will be spent preparing for class. Faculty may choose to set expectations
for student involvement differently while maintaining a reasonable approximation of the minimum requirement. Faculty might also require, or students might choose, to spend more hours than the minimum requirement. This definition holds for all types of courses (e.g., lecture, seminar, independent study, lab, practicum, etc.), regardless of the amount of credit offered.
Courses numbered 1–80 are those in the first-year Cultural Studies component of the Core program. 100-level courses are introductory, open to first-year students. 200-level courses are designed primarily for second-year students. 300-level courses are intended primarily for juniors and seniors and 400-level courses are advanced courses, usually open only to seniors. 500-level courses are intended for graduate students.
Courses numbered 500 and above are ordinarily limited to graduate students. However, advanced and specially qualified undergraduates may be permitted to enroll in such courses by special petition to the instructor, the department chair and the director of Graduate Studies. In special circumstances, by additional petition to the director of Graduate Studies, credit toward the master of arts degree may also be granted provided the course is not required to fulfill a bachelor’s degree.
Occasionally students seek to repeat a course in which they earned a passing grade. Credit is not awarded for the repeated course; both grades are averaged into the grade average, and both courses and grade appear on the transcript.
Changes in course offerings after publication of the catalog for 2011-2012 will be reflected in the online catalog.
Any undergraduate course in which fewer than 10 students are enrolled at the beginning of a semester may be cancelled.
Registration procedures are outlined in materials supplied by the registrar. The Business Office and the registrar must approve each student’s enrollment. Students who clear their registration late will incur a Business Office fee. Registration must be completed within the first week of the semester, or the student may be denied credit for the semester’s work. Spring semester registration for freshmen is considered final only upon verification in the Office of the Registrar that these students have met their requirements in the Cultural Studies Program for the preceding semester.
Regularly scheduled courses offered for 1 or 2 units may be available for registration through the seventh week of the semester (mid-term) with faculty approval. There is a 2-unit limit for courses added at this time. The registrar will announce the exact dates for the deadline.
Adding, Dropping, and Withdrawing from Classes
1) Adding Classes: Students may add classes during the first week of each semester, with the permission of the instructor. Exact deadline dates are published by the Registrar in the online academic calendar. Students wishing to add a class during this period may do so by asking the instructor to submit an online override allowing them to register for the class online. (Alternatively, students may file a Schedule Adjustment form with the Registrar’s Office, available from that office and online at the Registrar’s web page, which must be signed by the instructor and the student’s adviser.) Some 1 and 2 unit fractional courses have later deadlines for adding, as noted in the online academic calendar. Students wishing to add a class after its deadline must petition the Registrar and, if approved, pay a late add fee. Students are responsible for verifying in their online records that they have in fact enrolled in and/or added all classes for which they expect to receive credit.
2) Dropping Classes: Students may drop a course without a recorded grade through the sixth week of the semester. The exact Drop deadline is published by the Registrar in the online academic calendar. To drop a class, students must submit a properly completed Schedule Adjustment form (available in the Registrar’s Office and online) to the Registrar in advance of the deadline. Students may not drop first-year CSP courses unless they are withdrawing from the College (see below). Students are responsible for making sure that they have dropped or withdrawn from classes that they are not attending. They will receive a grade of F in any such class not dropped or withdrawn from.
3) Withdrawing from Classes: After the sixth week (starting at the seventh week), students may withdraw from a course by submitting a completed Course Withdrawal form (available online and in the Registrar’s Office) to the Registrar through the last day of classes. A notation of “W” will appear on the transcript. See the academic calendar for specific drop and withdraw dates. “W” grades are not calculated in the GPA. Students may not drop any freshman courses in the Cultural Studies Program except by special petition to the Core Office. Course Withdrawal forms must be submitted to the Registrar by the end of the final day of classes.
Unless a course is officially dropped or withdrawn from, a grade of F may be incurred.
Students should be aware that dropping or withdrawing from classes may put them behind normal progress toward the A.B. degree, and may have significant consequences for financial aid, major completion, and graduation. Such decisions should be discussed with the academic adviser and, where appropriate, with the Financial Aid office.
Course Load (full-time, part-time, and overloads)
Normally, students are limited to 18 units of enrollment per semester. However, students with at least 32 units and whose overall GPA is at least 3.0 may enroll in up to 20 units on a space-available basis (on or after the first day of classes); the deadline for adding classes applies. Other students may seek approval of a petition to enroll in an overload submitted to the Registrar; in general, overload petitions from students in their first year at Occidental or with an overall GPA of less than 2.7 will not be approved. Petitions must be submitted prior to the deadline for adding classes. Undergraduate full-time status is twelve or more units. Part-time status is eleven or fewer units. Graduate full-time status is nine or more units.
Each student is assigned an academic advisor, and together with the advisor, plans a program of study. All courses for which the student wishes to register for credit must be entered on the computer-assisted registration system. A student is responsible for every course entered. Students will not be allowed to attend classes or participate in College activities until registration has been completed.
After registration, official changes of courses may be made only through official drop/add forms approved by the instructors who teach the courses and by the Registrar. One week is allowed for adding classes; six weeks are allowed for course drops without transcript notation. Unless a course is officially dropped or withdrawn, a grade of F will be incurred.
Independent Studies are courses designed for self-reliant and motivated students to pursue intellectual inquiry outside of regularly scheduled course offerings. These are to be supervised by faculty members, generally involving substantial, close student-faculty interactions. Each course shall be initiated on an individual basis between a student and a faculty member. Enrollment shall be through courses numbered 197, 297 (lower division), 397 (upper division), or 597 (graduate) in the respective department, and must be accompanied by a completed independent study contract.
- Advanced planning is essential. There should be some evidence that the student’s background is adequate for the proposed study.
- The independent study contract must be completed, signed and submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the deadline to add deadline of the appropriate semester.
- Sophomore, junior and senior students may enroll in one independent study per semester. Freshmen interested in enrolling in an independent study must complete a petition for special consideration and have it approved.
- Students are required to have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better.
- An independent study course cannot be used to satisfy Core requirements.
- All independent study courses are two units except those classified under 7 below. Requirements for a two-unit independent study:
- The contract must include a reading list or equivalent, along with the requirements to be met before a grade can be assigned.
- The contract requires the signature of the instructor, and the approval of the Student Progress Committee.
- The course will be graded CR/NC. If used for a major/minor and justified on the Independent Study form, a letter grade may be issued.
- If a major/minor has been declared and the department has accepted the independent study as meeting a requirement within that major/minor, the course will be assigned a letter grade.
- A course already graded CR/NC may not be used to satisfy major/minor requirements. Petitions for retroactively changing CR/NC grades will not be approved.
- Four-unit independent study courses are to be taken only for fulfillment of approved major/minor requirements. Requirements for a four-unit independent study:
- Application for the course must be submitted prior to the end of the previous semester to allow time for approval.
- The student must have a declared major/minor recorded in the Office of the Registrar prior to enrolling in the independent study.
- The course must be used within the major/minor to meet a requirement approved by the department.
- The contract must include a reading list or equivalent, along with the requirements to be met before a grade can be assigned.
- The contract requires the signature of the instructor and the chair of the department, and the approval of the Student Progress Committee.
- A four-unit independent study will be assigned a letter grade. No CR/NC grades will be allowed.
- A maximum of eight units of independent study courses may be applied toward graduation.
It is expected that students will satisfy Core, foreign language, and academic major/minor course requirements through regularly scheduled courses.
Occidental College offers a variety of internship opportunities. These include internships with community groups, public agencies, businesses, and social justice advocacy organizations, among others. The opportunities include course-related internships that provide connections to community organizations; career-oriented internships offered through the Career Development Center in all occupational areas of interest; summer research internships connected to various programs, such as through the International Programs Office, the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI), the Undergraduate Research Center, the Center for Community-Based Learning, and other College entities; study abroad internships offered through various study abroad programs; and community engagement internships based on long term partnerships that are linked to courses and programs supported by the Center for Community-Based Learning, the student Office of Community Engagement, and UEPI. Internships are offered in Los Angeles, throughout the U.S., and in countries abroad such as China. Internships represent a crucial component of Occidental College’s mission and vision associated with community engagement, collaborative relationships, critical thinking and reflection, participant observation, skill development, and career discernment and training. Each of those opportunities are described below.
Academic (practicums, etc.) Opportunities
Several courses and practicums provide valuable internship experiences or fieldwork experience. Academic Practicums offer four units of credit provide faculty mentorship and allow students to thoroughly integrate applied learning in organizations of interest within the context of a given course. For example, the Urban and Environmental Policy Department offers a course on “Community Organizing” that includes an internship requirement with a community-based organization working on a key community objective. The Politics Department offers a course providing internships and linkages with Public Interest Law firms; Psychology offers fieldwork for psychology and social services-bound students, and several Departments have come together to create a Public Health cluster and create courses that include internships with places like health clinics and with such partners as promotoras (community health workers). These academic/course based opportunities, in turn, can lead to summer internships as well as continuing ties (and even future employment) with the partner community groups and organizations.
Career Exploration Opportunities
The Career Development Center (CDC) supports internships that integrate knowledge and theory learned in the classroom and applied in a professional setting. Internship opportunities are available in all occupational sectors and may or may not directly correlate with a student’s major. Internships are an opportunity to create learning experiences for the student by providing exposure in a career field or job function of interest. Through diverse occupational exposure, students can explore various careers, thereby greatly enhancing their progression towards career discernment while building transferable skills toward graduate and employment opportunities. Students can secure nonprofit, governmental and for-profit opportunities. Additionally, the CDC sponsors a broad-based, funded internship program in Los Angeles and Portland, that places students in full-time professional internships for ten weeks during the summer. Through the CDC, Occidental College offers both a two unit (INT 200) and a zero unit (INT 100) option for students. The CDC coordinates both courses and supports students during their INT 200 and INT 100 internship (see Career Center INT Program below).
Community-Based Learning (CBL) Opportunities
Internships supported by the Center for Community Based Learning (CCBL) allow students to continue work initiated as part of a community based learning and/or research course. Internships are defined in partnership with community partners, faculty, and the CCBL. A CCBL internship allows students to continue to develop skills in community engagement, community based research, and other professional skills, while providing ongoing support for projects that cannot be completed within a single semester. Depending on the focus and structure of the internship, a student can earn 2 units through the CDC internship program and receive a stipend from the CCBL. CCBL also supports community engaged courses through its Education in Action (EIA) program where students receive a stipend to support faculty in facilitating the community aspect of the course.
Over half of Occidental’s four-dozen semester and summer study abroad programs include opportunities for internships or community-engaged projects. Participants test theories, concepts, and competencies encountered on campus in dynamic intercultural settings and set a course for global citizenship. Most earn academic credit and some tackle significant research projects. From Amsterdam to Rabat, from Cape Town to Lima, from Tokyo to Beijing, participants expect to grow in their capacity to lead in a complex world, contribute to solving transnational problems, compete in the global workforce, and thrive in intercultural situations. Students consider community engagement abroad among their most power learning experiences.
Career Development Center INT Internship Program
Internships for credit must be educational experiential opportunities that meet the criteria established by Occidental and approved by the Career Development Center (CDC). Students must be able to complete a minimum of 80 hours per semester of experiential learning in order to enroll in either internship course and receive credit (INT 100 or INT 200). To meet this requirement, students are advised to register within the first two weeks of the semester; however, internships may be approved until mid-semester. Students must register in the appropriate internship course (see below) by listed deadlines. For either course option, it is required that students have sophomore, junior, and senior and at least part-time, registered in at least six units, status. Additionally, students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better at the time of application for internship credit. Only CR/NC grades will be given for internships. Students are only allowed to enroll in one internship course per semester. All students enrolled in an internship, whether for two units or zero units, must complete a reflective essay and internship evaluation, as instructed by the CDC. The CDC will also request two performance evaluations (mid and final) from the listed on-site internship supervisor. Students are obliged to notify CDC, faculty supervisor, and on-site supervisor before dropping or withdrawing from an internship as well as submit the appropriate paperwork to the Office of the Registrar. Retroactive enrollment will not be approved and credit not be issued even in cases where an internship has been completed. Students enrolling in an internship course for the summer will be charged reduced fees for units. See the summer website or consult the CDC, the Office of the Registrar, or the Student Accounts Office for fee information.
On-Campus Internship Policy
In an interest to provide increased opportunities for students studying in Los Angeles, the institution is authorizing on-campus internship opportunities that would allow students to intern on campus and receive credit through the Career Development Center‚ Internship Program (INT100 and INT200). On-campus internships are distinct from the institution‚ Work Study Program and various on-campus leadership programs by providing project based exposure in professional occupational areas, whereby the primary goal is that the student intern is the beneficiary of professional learning. On-campus departments wishing to create internship positions or willing to host a student intern by student request, must work with the CDC to assure that they are developing an internship opportunity that ascribes to the department’s criteria. To assure student learning of the highest caliber, the department’s philosophy is to set on-campus internships to the same rigorous standard ascribed to internships available in for-profit and public service organizations. For a complete outline of requirements and policy surrounding on-campus opportunities, please contact the Career Development Center.
The College recognizes two categories of internships:
1. Two-unit internship (INT 200) - The maximum credits awarded for an internship will be two units. The total units earned through internships may not exceed four units (students may take additional internships for zero units, which will appear on the transcript). In addition to the criteria listed above, the student must secure an on-campus faculty supervisor to assign, supervise, and approve the academic component of the internship. The faculty supervisor must be a full-time faculty member on-campus. The reflective component and performance evaluations, coordinated by the CDC, are shared with the faculty supervisor and may be used at the discretion of the faculty supervisor when grading the internship.
2. Zero-unit internship (INT 100) – This course is offered for no credits, but the internship will be listed on the student’s transcript. Course is coordinated and monitored by the CDC. Student and internship must meet the criteria listed above. Students failing to participate in the reflective component coordinated by the CDC will not receive credit for their internship.
Withdrawal from the College, Leave of Absence, and Readmission to the College
1) Withdrawal from the College: A student experiencing severe academic or personal disruptions during a semester may petition to withdraw from all course work and receive grades of “W” in their classes. Students considering Withdrawal from the College should discuss their situations with academic advisers, the Dean of Students Office, and/or the Associate Dean of the College for Student Issues. A petition for Withdrawal must be filed with the Registrar’s Office before the final day of classes in the semester of withdrawal. The withdrawing student must complete a “leave/withdrawal” form (available in the Registrar’s Office and online) indicating that they have made appropriate arrangements with the offices of Student Accounts, Financial Aid, and Residential Education and Housing Services. Any time a student withdrawals from the college a grade of "W" will appear on each course the student is registered in for that semester. Students on Academic Probation who petition for Withdrawal from the College may be required by the Student Progress Committee to spend an additional semester’s Leave of Absence away from Occidental, take college courses elsewhere, and apply for readmission to the College (see below).
2) Leave of Absence: Students may apply to take an approved Leave of Absence from Occidental College for academic or personal reasons. The Leave may be approved for one or more semesters, and it must be taken beginning in the semester immediately following its approval. Students considering a Leave of Absence should consult with their academic advisers, the Dean of Students Office, and/or the Associate Dean of the College for Student Issues. Application for a Leave of Absence should be made directly to the Registrar’s Office, which may consult with the Student Progress Committee before approval. If a Leave is approved, the student must complete a “Leave/Withdrawal” form (available in the Registrar’s Office and online) indicating that they have made appropriate arrangements with the offices of Student Accounts, Financial Aid, and Residential Education and Housing Services.
3) Readmission to the College Following Withdrawal or Leave of Absence: Students who have petitioned successfully to take a Leave of Absence, or who have been required to take a Leave of Absence following Withdrawal from the College while on Academic Probation, or who have been subjected to Academic Suspension (see “Academic Probation, Suspension, and Dismissal”), must submit a “Returning Student Application” at least thirty days prior to their intended return to Occidental, outlining (among other things) what they have done during their absence from the College and a detailed plan for academic success upon return. This form is available in the Registrar’s Office and online, and will be evaluated for approval by the Student Progress Committee. Students planning such a return are urged to consult in advance with the Advising Center or your academic advisor. Students returning after a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal are subject to the new Policies at the time they return to Occidental.
Scholastic standing of both undergraduate and graduate students is indicated by the following grades: A, excellent; B, good; C, satisfactory; D, barely passing; F, failure. A grade of Incomplete (INC) may be used for an undergraduate and Deferred (DEF) for a graduate under conditions outlined below. A grade of Course in Progress (CIP) is given to indicate that a course is still in progress at the end of the semester. A W grade indicates the student withdrew from a course after the eighth week of the semester or has withdrawn from the College at any time during the semester. CR/NC grades, used in certain courses, are described below. When a charge of academic misconduct is pending, a grade of NR is given; it will be changed to a letter grade when the pending judicial or other matter is resolved.
An Incomplete (INC) indicates that although the work completed is of passing grade, some portion of the course remains unfinished because of illness or for some other reason over which the student had no control. A student must petition prior to the last day of classes to receive an INC grade. Except under extraordinary circumstances, any student who has two Incompletes on the record from previous semesters cannot petition for an additional one. This grade, which must be approved by a dean or an associate dean, will be removed and replaced by a letter grade upon completion of the course requirements with a notation on the official transcript. The maximum time allowed for completion of course requirements, whether the student is enrolled or not, is one year from the date the Incomplete was incurred. At that time the grade will revert to the default grade submitted by the professor.
Students retaking a failed course will have both grades appear on the transcript and both grades averaged into the grade point average.
A graduate student’s grade may be Deferred (DEF) by the instructor who specifies the time within which the coursework is to be completed, the limit not to exceed one year except in the case of M.A. theses. If not removed within the specified time, a Deferred grade generally becomes an F.
Instructors file written statements of reasons for assigning Incompletes and Failures with their grade reports at the end of each semester. In the case of an Incomplete, the statement indicates the work necessary to attain a final grade. A copy of this statement is given to the student.
Students are responsible for meeting a high ethical standard in their academic work. Academic misconduct occurs when a student misrepresents others work as her/his own or otherwise behaves so as to advantage unfairly her/himself or another student academically. Any member of the Occidental community who believes that a student has engaged in misconduct of academic work should promptly report the possible misconduct to the Judicial Examiner. The Judicial Examiner is a disinterested third party who will ensure that procedures designed to respect the rights and responsibilities of all involved are followed. Key concepts, definitions, roles, procedures, and sanctions that constitute the policy by which charges of academic misconduct are handled can be found in the Student Handbook.
Grade Appeal Policy
This policy refers to procedures related to the dispute of a final grade in a class. Individual grades within a class may not be appealed and grade changes for additional work done after the semester has ended will not be approved. For grade disputes involving a claim of harassment or discrimination on the basis of disability, instead follow the Disability Services grievance policy described here.
The presumption at Occidental is that the instructor alone is qualified to evaluate the academic work of students in his or her courses and to assign grades to that work. Consequently, grades are not normally subject to appeal. However, when a student believes that a particular grade was assigned unfairly or in error, the student may appeal the assigned grade as follows:
- A final grade in a class must be appealed by the end of the fourth week of the semester following the semester in which the grade was issued. No grade may be appealed after this period. Students are responsible for reviewing their grades at the conclusion of a semester.
- The first step in the appeal is for the student to discuss any concerns with the instructor.
- If discussion between the faculty member and the student does not resolve the matter, the student should meet with the department/program chair and provide the chair with a written explanation of the student’s concern. The chair will attempt to solve the problem. If the instructor is also the chair, the student should meet with the Associate Dean responsible for the department within which the course was given.
- If the department/program chair is unable to resolve the situation, the student may present the appeal to the Associate Dean responsible for the department within which the course was given. The Associate Dean will bring the matter to the Student Progress Committee, which will review the appeal and make a recommendation
to the Associate Dean. The Associate Dean, who will confer with both the student and the instructor, shall review the appeal and the recommendation by the Student Progress Committee. The Associate Dean shall determine the final resolution. No further appeals are possible after the Associate Dean has issued a decision.
The Credit/No Credit policy is intended to encourage students to explore classes in unfamiliar fields without the risk of incurring a low grade because of that unfamiliarity. It is not intended to allow students a partial exit from classes in which they are doing badly, and for that reason Credit/No Credit contracts must be completed early in the semester and are irreversible.
With the exception of required courses, including foreign language, Core, and major and minor requirements, a student may take a course on a Credit/No Credit basis with the consent of the instructor. To do so, a contract for completion of work to be graded CR/NC must be filed with the Registrar as soon as possible and not later than the fourth week of the semester, and the decision may not be changed after the CR/NC form is submitted to the Registrar’s office. No forms will be accepted after the deadline.
If the major or minor is changed to one that requires a course that has already been taken on a Credit/No Credit basis, the student may be required to take an examination in that course for a grade. The CR/NC grade will not change on the students transcript.
A grade of Credit (CR) is to be regarded as the equivalent of a C or better only. Grades of CR or NC are excluded from grade averaging.
Physical Activities Credit
Students are awarded one unit of credit for each physical activities course taken, up to a maximum of four units toward graduation. Only one physical activities unit per semester will be allowed. Students may enroll in additional physical activities courses for zero units.
Any regularly registered full-time student may audit one four-unit course each semester, without fee, subject to permission of the instructor. All petitions to audit must be filed by the add deadline for the appropriate semester. Courses that require extensive student participation (such as studio art) may not be audited. Students not registered for credit may attend courses as auditors, subject to formal permission through forms available in the Office of the Registrar and upon payment of Auditors’ fees. An auditor may not participate actively in course work or take final examinations and therefore does not receive credit. A grade of Audit is entered on the permanent record if requested by the student and if requirements specified by the instructor are met.
Full-time students who complete at least sixteen units for a letter grade in a fall or spring semester and have a semester GPA of 3.5 or better are eligible for the Dean’s List. This honor will appear on the student’s transcript for each qualifying semester.
Regular class attendance is expected of all students. Although the recording of attendance is at the discretion of the instructor, students may not enroll for two courses that have any overlap in time. Faculty have the option of administratively dropping from courses any students who fail to attend the first two hours of any class in a given semester. Students are responsible for arranging with the instructor the manner in which work, missed through absence, will be made up.
A grade point average of 2.0 in all work taken at Occidental and in the major and minor, if any, is required for graduation.
The College uses two criteria to establish the scholastic status of a student: (1) that based on the 2.0 average and (2) that based on the number of courses successfully completed with respect to the total number of courses taken (normal academic progress).
Grade point average (GPA) is computed on a four-point scale: A equals 4.0, A- equals 3.7, B+ equals 3.3, B equals 3.0, B- equals 2.7, C+ equals 2.3, C equals 2.0, C- equals 1.7, D+ equals 1.3, D equals 1.0, and F equals 0.0. Courses graded CR/NC are not computed in the grade point average.
Academic Probation, Suspension, and Dismissal
Occidental College requires 128 units of coursework completed with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better for graduation with the A.B. degree. At the close of each semester, the Student Progress Committee reviews the records of all students whose semester or cumulative GPA is below 2.0 or who have received at least one grade of F for the semester.
Students whose semester or cumulative GPA is below 2.0 will normally be placed on academic probation for the following semester. (First-year students finishing their first semester—not transfers—will be placed on probation if the GPA is below 1.85.) In addition, some students with GPAs at or slightly above 2.0 may be placed on probation if they appear to be making unsatisfactory progress toward meeting graduation requirements (through withdrawals, Incompletes, dropped courses, etc.). The purpose of academic probation is not punitive; its intention is to alert students to developing problems that may jeopardize their eventual graduation from Occidental, and to urge them to take immediate action to address these problems. Students placed on academic probation will receive a letter announcing this status, with requirements that they consult with the Dean of Students Office and their academic advisers to devise a plan for academic success and a return to good academic standing.
Students who achieve a GPA below 2.0 for two consecutive semesters are subject to suspension. In making this determination the Student Progress Committee will consider not only the GPA but also progress toward the degree, patterns of academic improvement or deterioration, and special circumstances. Suspension is intended to provide students with serious difficulties with time to rethink their academic strategies and relation to Occidental College, with the purpose of having them either return for a successful academic career at Occidental or develop a more successful educational plan elsewhere. It may be assigned for one semester or two immediately following the Committee’s decision. Suspended students are generally required to do coursework at another institution and complete it satisfactorily before readmission to Occidental, which must occur following the guidelines for readmission after a Withdrawal from the College or Leave of Absence (see “Withdrawal from the College, Leave of Absence, and Readmission to the College”). Specific requirements for suspended students are set forth in letters sent to them notifying them of the Committee’s decision.
Students who achieve a GPA of 0.75 or below in any semester will normally be automatically suspended for the following semester.
Students earning GPAs below 2.0 for three consecutive semesters will normally be automatically suspended for one year.
When the Student Progress Committee determines that a student’s chances of success at Occidental are minimal or none, it may impose Dismissal. Dismissed students are not given the option of applying for readmission.
The decision is left to the instructor whether a final examination is held in a course at the close of the semester. Final examinations may not be administered before the scheduled examination period; take-home examinations may not be issued to students before the final day of classes as published in the College Catalog. With the exception of laboratory practica, no test or examination may be administered in the final week of classes. The time of an examination can be changed within the examination period if there is unanimous agreement from students in the class and if an appropriate room can be found by the Registrar. Examination times are posted on the Final Examination Schedule with the exception of courses offered at an irregular time.
Comprehensive examinations, required of all seniors for graduation, have two central and related objectives:
- To provide an opportunity for senior students to synthesize the essential concepts, content, and methods of their academic field, and, during the course of their review, to establish central relationships among the materials covered in separate courses.
- To provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate competence in their field by applying their knowledge to central relational problems, questions, or topics.
Since no single type of examination experience will serve all academic fields with equal effectiveness, departments have freedom to set either a single examination or a related group of synthesizing experiences as constituting the Comprehensive. Related experiences may include, but are not limited to, seminars, theses, creative projects, field research projects, and oral examinations. Any collective experience that is evaluated by the department rather than an individual instructor, and that in the opinion of the department works toward the objectives and embodies the characteristics described above, may be construed as meeting the intent of the Comprehensive requirement.
All departments, regardless of the nature and form of the comprehensive examination, are required to provide opportunities for students who fail their comprehensives to retake them before the end of the academic year in order that they might be given another chance to satisfy departmental expectations before graduation. Departments are granted the autonomy to determine the date and time of the initial examination as well as the re- taking of the examination.
Departments have the right to waive course final examinations during a semester in which the central portion of the comprehensive is administered.
In place of a letter grade for evaluating comprehensive examinations, a three-category system is used: Pass with Distinction, Pass, and Fail.
Graduation Ceremony Participation Requirements
Normally students are required to meet all requirements for the degree to participate in the commencement ceremony. The college will accept petitions to participate in the ceremony if a student has met all core requirements, all major requirements, successfully completed senior comprehensives and has completed a minimum of 124 units.
Students receiving a failing grade required for Core, major or comps at the end of the second semester of the senior year will not be eligible to participate in that year ceremony.
Course Credit by Examination
In order to stimulate a maximum amount of effort and progress in students of high scholastic achievement and capacity for self-directed study, the faculty provides an opportunity to pass by examination many of the courses within the curriculum. It is recognized that not all courses (e.g., independent study) nor all subject matter fields lend themselves equally to such an approach. Students seeking to take specified courses through examination are required to consult with departments and instructors for information as to content and coverage.
Credit by Examination may only be undertaken by consent of the instructor in the course. In courses where multiple sections are scheduled during a semester or in different semesters, the approval of the departmental chair is also required. Students seeking Credit by Examination should secure the necessary petition forms from the Registrar.
A student may take one course by examination in any semester either as a substitute for a course or in addition to a normal load, which if passed would count toward the total number of units required for graduation, provided the following standards are met.
- The student must have received no grade lower than a B in the two previous semesters at Occidental.
- Preparation for the examination must be undertaken by the student independently and individually, as directed by the instructor involved, and the student will not be allowed to prepare for the examination by class attendance as an auditor in the regular course.
- A student may not apply for Credit by Examination in a course in which previously enrolled for all or part of a semester, or in a course audited in a previous semester.
- After a date is set for the examination, the student cannot be excused from taking the examination at that time except for reasons of health or grave emergency. Failure to take the examination will result in a recorded grade of F. With the consent of the instructor, Credit by Examination may be taken on a Credit/No Credit basis.
- A grade must be submitted to the Registrar for recording as Credit by Examination, which becomes part of the student’s permanent record.
- A fee for Credit by Examination must be paid at the time of filing the petition. In a semester when the student is enrolled for fewer than 11 units, the fee may be waived. See here for a schedule of fees.
Course Exemption by Examination
It is possible for a student to be exempted from a course by examination, with consent of the instructor. No course credit is earned; however, notice of the exemption is entered on the permanent record to certify that the student has fulfilled a general college requirement or a course prerequisite. Students who wish to be exempted from a Core course by examination must make arrangements with the Core Office prior to the semester in which the course is offered. The instructor has the privilege of recording a grade of Credit/No Credit rather than a letter grade. A nominal fee is charged. Appropriate forms are available from the Registrar.
Transfer courses require prior approval by the department offering similar courses at Occidental College, and by the student’s advisor. Transfer courses taken during the fall and spring semesters cannot be courses that are currently offered at Occidental and cannot be used to satisfy a Core requirement. Students desiring to take courses at another college while attending Oxy cannot exceed the maximum allowable units per semester (normally 18, or 20 if the student’s GPA is 3.0 or better) combined. Normally, no transfer courses will be allowed in the second semester of the student’s senior year. A ‚“CURRENT STUDENT TRANSFER AND COURSE SUBSTITUTION FORM” is available in the Registrar’s Office. A minimum grade of “C” or higher is required for transfer. The College will not accept transfer credit taken by examination from another institution. Courses taken in the fall and spring on non-approved Study Abroad programs will not be accepted.
Transfer units from a semester system will be equal to the number of units taken at the institution where the courses were taken. Transfer units from a quarter system will be multiplied by .66 to convert to the semester system used at Occidental College.
Students who participate in Off-Campus Study programs independently during a leave of absence from the College are ineligible for College financial aid or scholarships and no credit will be transferred toward the Occidental degree.
Advanced Placement Credit and International Baccalaureate Course Credit
Freshmen may be granted credit at the time of entrance for subjects in which they have completed College Entrance Examination Board Advanced Placement examinations with scores of 4 or 5 or International Baccalaureate scores of 6 or 7 in Higher Level (HL) courses only. This credit and resulting placement is subject to review by the appropriate departments.
A student completing an approved Advanced Placement examination in most subjects with a score of 4 or 5 will receive four units of credit toward the degree. These examinations may not be used to fulfill Core requirements. Not all Graduate and Professional programs accept AP credit of college courses.
An applicant who has completed courses at an accredited college prior to graduation from high school also may request consideration for appropriate recognition of credit or placement.
Credit earned either through Advanced Placement examinations, International Baccalaureate courses, or through college courses may make it possible for a student to enter advanced courses and also gain a wider opportunity for choice of electives in the undergraduate program. In general, each student will be expected to carry a normal load during the period of attendance at Occidental.
Summer Study at Other Institutions
Work taken elsewhere during the summer may be accepted for credit toward a degree from Occidental, subject to advance approval from the chair of the department with which the course would be identified, the student’s advisor, and the Registrar. It is also possible through petition to the Registrar to have summer study elsewhere accepted without credit to fulfill prerequisites or general college requirements. A minimum grade of "C" is required for transfer. Occidental will accept credits from a regionally acceredited college or university only.
Classification of Students
The class in which a student is to be ranked is determined as follows: Freshman: The meeting in full of all entrance requirements; Sophomore: The satisfactory completion of 32 units of credit; Junior: The satisfactory completion of 64 units of credit; Senior: The satisfactory completion of 96 units of credit.
Occidental expects its graduates to demonstrate superior writing ability. The Writing Program prepares students in all disciplines to write effectively: to develop complex concepts clearly and fully, to organize essays and reports logically, and to maintain the conventions of standard written English. This standard of writing performance is upheld in all College courses.
To achieve this goal, the College emphasizes expository writing and research skills in the Core curriculum, in courses emphasizing the methodologies of various disciplines, and in the composition courses in the English Writing Department. The foundation of the College’s Writing Program is the first-year instructional program in Cultural Studies. First-year students take year-long, sequenced seminars that help students develop college-level writing strategies in rich disciplinary content to further their knowledge and communication of the topics they study.
In addition to the Core curriculum in writing, the Writing and Rhetoric Department offers courses to students who want to concentrate on the most effective strategies for writing in and out of the academy. These include English Writing 201, a class that centers on the processes and skills necessary to fine writing, and the College’s advanced writing courses, English Writing 301 and 401. Any student seeking individual instruction in writing or assistance with a particular paper will find support and advice available at the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE), where English Writing professors work as writing specialists, and where student writing advisors collaborate with student writers. The Director of Writing Programs will gladly advise students of all resources available for developing their writing ability.
Proficiency in writing is a requirement for graduation. Students meet this requirement in two stages, the first of which is passing the first-stage Writing Proficiency evaluation in the Cultural Studies Program. Completion of the Cultural Studies courses does not by itself satisfy the writing requirement. An additional measure of writing proficiency is required; most recently this measure has been participation in a shared intellectual experience with required reading. Frosh are expected to pass the writing exercise that culminates the experience. Those who do not pass the Cultural Studies Writing evaluations will be asked to pass with a C or better a course in the Department of English Writing (201) or another writing course designated by the Director of Writing Programs in conjunction with the Director of the Core Program. The second stage of the requirement will be met in the student’s major department. Each department at the College has specified its own writing requirement in the major; students should consult their department chair.
FIRST STAGE WRITING REQUIREMENT FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS
In order to fulfill the First Stage Writing Requirement, transfer students must: 1) have completed two writing courses (minimum six semester units) with specific writing instruction (not simply a course offered in an English department, nor any literature, creative writing, “writing intensive” courses) prior to transferring to the College; any courses not approved by the Registrar upon entrance must be appealed through the Writing Program; or 2) complete English Writing 201 or 401 after entering the College; or 3) submit a petition and portfolio before the senior year. Students must contact Writing Programs at the CAE to receive instructions.
Each student should receive, at the time of declaring the major, a description of the particular Second Stage Writing Requirement for the department. However, an overview of the department options follows:
FIRST STAGE WRITING PORTFOLIO OPTION FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS
Generally compiled over the sophomore and junior years, three papers are drawn from departmental work. Revisions are encouraged or may be required. The requirements for submitting a portfolio are available in the Writing Programs Office. The Writing Programs Department and the Director of the Core Program make every effort to work with an individual student’s portfolio submissions.
SECOND STAGE WRITING
Writing-Intensive Seminars: Most departments require a single junior-year seminar that includes a considerable amount of writing. The final product is read by more than one professor. A grade of B- is usually required, depending on the department. Fulfillment of the requirement is met through additional coursework when the grade in the seminar is not satisfactory.
Writing Across the Major: Some departments have deemed all upper-division courses writing intensive. A few departments require more than one writing-intensive course in order to complete the Second Stage Writing Requirement in the major. An average grade of B- is generally required, depending on the department. See department chair for specifics.
Creative Writing: It is recommended that students interested in creative writing choose a major or minor that will provide them background in literature. Of special interest is the Writing Emphasis in the English and Comparative Literary Studies department. The College believes that it is essential to understand a tradition of literature and authorship in order to become a writer oneself. There are also offerings in various creative arts at the College that would support such an emphasis. Students interested in journalistic writing should consider the importance of intellectual background and training available in the different programs in the humanities, arts, sciences, and social sciences. Students also have the opportunity to take independent studies in creative writing, and in special cases, to elect Senior Year Honors Projects in writing. Specific courses that address creative writing include English 380 (Creative Writing), English Writing 286 (Principles of Journalism II), English Writing 301 (Creative Non-Fiction), English Writing 401 (Writing Across the Curriculum), French 343 (Theory and Practice of Translation), Theater 201 (Alternative Voices in American Theater), and Theater 380 (Playwriting). Writers also are invited regularly to English creative writing classes and to the Intercultural Community Center, events that are open to the campus at large.
Additionally, every other year a Remsen Bird Visiting Artist gives classes and/or workshops on campus. In the last few years the English Department has sponsored several literary Honors Projects in writing. Specific courses that address creative writing include English 380 (Creative Writing), English Writing 286 (Principles of Journalism II), English Writing 301 (Creative Non-Fiction), English Writing 401 (Writing Across the Curriculum), French 343 (Theory and Practice of Translation), Theater 201 (Alternative Voices in American Theater), and Theater 380 (Playwriting). Writers also are invited regularly to English creative writing classes and to the Intercultural Community Center, events that are open to the campus at large.
In the last few years the English Department has sponsored several literary conferences with invited guests; the department also sponsors a literary contest with prizes for fiction, poetry, and short drama, and provides support for The Occidental Review, a literary magazine edited by students. Students also have the opportunity to work on the student newspaper, to join literary clubs, and to elect an internship course under the direction of a faculty member. Internships, arranged with the help of the Career Development Center, have included work at the Mark Taper Forum, the Getty Art Institute, the Huntington Library, the Minority Training Institute, and Dreamworks.
Students at Occidental also have the opportunity to hear distinguished writers on campus; guests in the last several years have included Alice Walker, bell hooks, Walter Mosley,
Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Sandra Cisneros, Amy Tan, Anna Deavere Smith, Maya Angelou, and Gish jen. The Los Angeles area offers opportunities to hear many other writers at Vroman Bookstore, Beyond Baroque, Skylight Books, and Dawson Books, among others.
Occidental students have two sources of general information and counsel about the curriculum: the Advising Center, which works closely with students during their first two years at Oxy, and a faculty advisor, assigned to each new student when they first arrive on campus.
Faculty advisors act as an individual resource until the student declares a major (by the middle of the second semester of their sophomore year) and obtains a departmental advisor. Although its focus is on first- and second-year students, the Advising Center is available to all students on a five-day-per-week, year-round basis.
The Advising Center helps students keep track of their Core requirements, offers general information about registration and concrete information about majors, minors, and College policies and procedures. The Advising Center also helps students connect with faculty members by making appointments and by identifying the appropriate faculty for specific questions.
Faculty advisors help students understand their intended major and may also help them identify the appropriate campus resources for further help. As student interests change, faculty contacts can be changed by the student at any time. Students are encouraged and expected to seek faculty counsel regularly
Other advising opportunities:
National Awards – Fellowships and Scholarships - First year students are encouraged to meet with the Director of National Awards and Fellowships for an individualized advising session to explore opportunities available to them early in their academic career.
The Office of Pre-Health Advising at Occidental College provides information and in-depth advisement to students and alumni who are interested in matriculating to professional graduate programs in health sciences.
International Programs endeavors to advance Occidental’s strategic goal—to prepare “citizens of the world” skilled at negotiating its complexities, eclectic in their interests and tastes.
Occidental recognizes the important role of international experience in a liberal arts and sciences education and as a key component in preparing undergraduates for successful and satisfying participation in today’s interdependent world.
International students bring diversity of perspectives to our campus. Academic experience abroad challenges undergraduate scholars to think beyond the cultural constructs implicit in their disciplines and socialization.
Through ongoing assessment of student learning outcomes, IPO documents how exchanges—both on and off campus—develop cross-cultural communication and analytic skills; a global perspective; and polished language proficiency, sharpened intellect, and broadened imagination.
All study abroad during the academic year or over the summer must be approved by Occidental's International Programs Office, linked here. Generally, eligibility includes good academic and conduct standing and a 3.0 gpa. Programs may have additional eligibility or pre-requisites. Credits earned abroad during fall or spring semester are considered in-residence Occidental credits and therefore count in the GPA and honors calculations. Summer study abroad is transfer credit. College Financial Aid transfers to Fall and Spring semester study abroad, but not summer study abroad.
Combined Plans in Liberal Arts and Engineering
Liaison and Advisor for Physical Sequence
Professor Schramm (Physics)
Advisor for Computer Science Sequence
Professor Lengyel (Mathematics)
Professor Craney (Chemistry)
Occidental College cooperates with the California Institute of Technology and the School of Engineering of Columbia University in several programs of engineering education based on a broad foundation in the liberal arts.
These combined plans provide qualified students with an excellent liberal arts background and advanced-level entrance into either of two outstanding engineering schools. The programs are designed specifically for superior students who have strong preparation in English writing skills, mathematics, and science.
The curriculum offers considerable freedom of choice of an eventual major. Students who, by the end of the first two years, find their interests developing in fields outside of science or technology, may still choose most nonscience majors in the College and graduate after the usual additional two years of course work. Similar options also exist through the junior year for choosing majors in mathematics or most other sciences without loss of time. Thus, in contrast to many engineering programs, students choosing the combined plans do not commit themselves in the first year exclusively to an engineering major. This flexibility is particularly advantageous to capable students whose abilities and interests span many fields.
The 3/2 Combined Plan Program requires completion of three years of work in the liberal arts and sciences at Occidental followed by two years of regular session work at Caltech, or the School of Engineering of Columbia University. This leads to the degree of Bachelor of Arts in the Combined Plan from Occidental and the degree of Bachelor of Science in the selected field of engineering from either Caltech or Columbia.
Students interested in the 3/2 program gain entrance into the engineering school through a strong academic record at Occidental and a recommendation by the Occidental liaison officer on behalf of the faculty. At least a 3.5 grade point average, both in science/mathematics and overall, is required. Those seeking entrance to Caltech must also receive approval from the Caltech Office of Admission.
Students entering the programs at Occidental should have received excellent grades in high school English (including writing experience), mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Four years of high school mathematics are required, including trigonometry and a course often called Introductory Analysis (or Pre-Calculus).
Students wishing to enter these programs should apply directly to Occidental.
Course Requirements for the Combined Plans
The program of studies for the first three years consists of all of the required courses leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts as outlined. Unless otherwise exempted, students must begin Mathematics 110 or 114 and either Physics 110, Chemistry 120, or Chemistry 130 (depending on the sequence chosen) in the freshman year. All Occidental requirements must be met by spring semester of the junior year.
MAJOR: Students must complete one or two years of physics, two years of mathematics, and one year of chemistry. The three sequences will require additional courses. See the sequence advisor for details.
The Occidental comprehensive examination is waived for 3/2 Combined Plan students.
Majors in the Combined Plans: The following is a partial list of the fields currently offered at one or both of the engineering institutions.
Applied Mathematics (3/2 only)
Civil, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering
Communications and Control
Fluids Engineering and Jet Propulsion
Solid State Electronics
Applied Chemistry (4/2 only)
Physical or Chemical Sequence
Solid State Science (4/2 only)
Computer Science Sequence
An exchange program between Occidental and Caltech permits full-time students at either school to receive credit for courses taken at the other institution during the fall or spring semesters but not during the summer. The option does not apply to courses that are equivalent to those offered by the home institution, but is designed to enlarge the range of course offerings a student may take. Thus, Occidental students may enroll in such courses as applied science, astronomy, or engineering.
A student in the exchange program must obtain prior approval from his or her advisor, the instructor of the course, and the Occidental and Caltech registrars. The program is usually not open to freshmen. Students must be full-time at Occidental (a minimum of 12 units). Additional tuition payments are not required, but the student may have to pay special fees in connection with certain laboratory courses.
Occidental College will add the course on the current registration as a placeholder but will remove it upon completion of the course and add it as a transfer course.
The Unit conversion from California Institute of Technology to Occidental College is as follows:
Cal Tech units Occidental College Units
0 to 1 unit 0 unit
1 to 5 units 1 unit
6 to 8 Units 2 units
9 to 11 units 3 units
12 units to 15 units 4 units
16 units to 18 units 5 units
19 units to 21 units 6 units
At the completion of an exchange course, appropriate information is recorded on the student’s Occidental transcript as transfer credit on the Occidental transcript.
Full-time students at Occidental and Art Center may receive credit for courses taken at the other institution during the fall or spring semesters but not during the summer, with the permission of both institutions. The program is designed for art majors and is not open to first-year students.
A student in this exchange program must obtain prior approval from the chair of the Department of Art History and the Visual Arts at Occidental, his or her advisor, the instructor of the course, and the Occidental and Art Center registrars. Students must be full-time at Occidental (a minimum of 12 units). Additional tuition payments are not required, but there may be special laboratory fees.
Occidental College will add the course on the current registration as a placeholder but will remove it upon completion of the course and add it as a transfer course.
At the completion of an exchange course, appropriate information is recorded on the student’s Occidental transcript as transfer credit on the Occidental transcript.
The Columbia School of Law may admit Occidental students upon completion of their junior year to its Accelerated Interdisciplinary Program in Legal Education, leading to the potential completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree from Occidental and Doctor of Jurisprudence from Columbia at the end of six years. The program is highly competitive in terms of both grade point average and LSAT scores. Contact the Career Development Center for details.
In collaboration with the Keck Graduate Institute, students interested in biotechnology may qualify for admission to the Master’s in Bioscience Program.
Students in the program will complete the four-year Bachelor of Arts degree in biochemistry at Occidental including specified courses for one of three tracks – computational biology, bioengineering, or biosystems – in preparation for study at KGI toward the Master’s in Bioscience. Students with at least a 3.2 GPA in their required biochemistry classes will be guaranteed admission to the KGI master’s program immediately following their graduation.
The National Awards and Fellowships Office works with students and alumni interested in pursuing national scholarship and fellowship opportunities. We hold individualized advising appointments, publicize fellowship opportunities, and support Occidental College candidates in their pursuit of highly competitive and prestigious academic opportunities. Fellowships fund enriching and valuable opportunities to: pursue graduate study, develop professional skills, intern, develop leadership skills and experience, study abroad, conduct independent research, work as a research assistant in prestigious labs and research institutions, teach English as a second language, and implement independent projects.
First year students are encouraged to meet with the Director of National Awards and Fellowships to explore opportunities available to them early in their academic career as well as to prepare for future awards.
Each individual fellowship has its own set of criteria, but most seek the following qualifications in candidates:
- strong academic achievement (especially in your selected field)
- outstanding leadership roles
- demonstrated leadership effectiveness
- involvement community activities
- participation in extracurricular activities
- alignment with specific eligibility criteria for individual awards such as:
research experience, internship/work experience, teaching/tutoring/mentoring experience, citizenship requirements, age requirements
The office works collaboratively with faculty and staff to introduce students and alumni to a range of national and international opportunities and support them throughout the application process, including interview practice and preparation. In addition, we offer fellowship writing workshops and information sessions. We work in partnership with the Center for Academic Excellence Writing Specialists, the Career Development Center, the Undergraduate Research Office, the International Programs Office, and the Office of Community Engagement to provide a range of resources to Occidental College candidates so that they may submit compelling and competitive applications.
Visit the office online at http://www.oxy.edu/national-awards or in person in South Trailer B, room 1
The Office of Pre-Health Advising at Occidental College provides information and in-depth advisement to students and alumni who are interested in matriculating to professional graduate programs in health sciences.
Through personal counseling sessions, group workshops and seminars, we assist students with the clarification of their professional and academic goals, and preparation for graduate level programs in health sciences. Throughout the application process, we provide individualized support to applicants to all medical and health sciences programs.
If you are interested in a career in health sciences, please attend workshops offered by this office throughout the year to gather information and network with others who share your interests. For private sessions, meet with the pre-health advisor on a regular basis to check your progress and to develop your short- and long-term strategies.
For more information, please visit: http://www.oxy.edu/pre-health-advising
Although there is no ROTC unit at Occidental, qualified Occidental students may be able to participate in Air Force or Army ROTC through programs at UCLA and USC. Appropriate academic credit, not to exceed eight units, may be awarded upon successful completion of transfer work in these programs. Interested applicants should consult the Office of Admission or the Associate Registrar for details.
There is considerable financial aid available to veterans and their families through the GI Bill, War Orphans Educational Law, and other programs. Widows and children of deceased veterans as well as spouses and children of totally disabled veterans are eligible for educational benefits. Further information can be secured from the local Veterans Administration Office.
Students eligible to receive veterans benefits should contact the Registrar’s Office to certify enrollment to the Veterans Administration. Those expecting government checks are reminded that this aid may not be available for two to three months at the beginning of the fall semester. All students receiving benefits through the VA are required to maintain 12 units per semester to receive the maximum monthly benefit.
Occidental College works to support students who are differently abled so that they have equal access to programs, activities, jobs, services, and courses. Students who need help related to their disability are encouraged to contact Disability Services by calling 323-259-2969 or emailing email@example.com. This office offers services such as approval for accommodations, assistance with advocacy, ensuring adherence to state and federal disability laws, and basic support for academic skill building. By working closely with faculty, staff, and administrators, the Disability Services team works to create a supportive community that promotes awareness, sensitivity and understanding of students with disabilities.
While Occidental does not have a formal summer program, current Oxy students engage in independent study, research programs, and internships during the summer. The College also offers its distinctive Multicultural Summer Institute for select first-year students.
Each student is charged a tuition fee that covers about two-thirds of the cost of services provided by the College. The balance of these costs is met by income from endowment and by gifts from trustees, parents, alumni, other friends, corporations, and foundations interested in the type of education that this institution provides.
The expenses of students at Occidental are shown in the schedules that appear below. The College reserves the right to change fees, modify its services, or change its program should economic conditions or national emergency make it necessary to do so.
The College will charge all full-time students $49,248 per year. If the student resides on campus, an additional charge will be assessed per the room-and-board schedule below. Books and supplies, special fees, and personal expenses will vary with the individual. The College estimates they will total approximately $5,700 per year.
2015-2016 Tuition and General Fees (Per Semester)
Please see explanations below regarding certain of these items:
|Full-time (12 or more units)||$24,345.00|
|Part-time per unit rate||2,029.00|
|Single Room Premium; large room||1,373.00|
|Single Room Premium; small room||979.00|
|Board (Plan A — alternate board plans listed below)||3,150.00|
|Student Body Fee||144.00|
|Renewable Energy & Sustainability Fee||10.00|
|Student Health Fee||125.00|
Tuition and Commitment Deposit: Tuition is the charge for instruction and general services of the College, including privileges of the library, gymnasium, swimming pool, and health center; admission to all athletic events sponsored by the College; and graduation.
Upon acceptance for admission to Occidental, a commitment deposit of $500 is required. The deposit will be forfeited should enrollment at Occidental not occur. Commitment deposits are non-interest bearing.
The commitment deposit will be credited toward the student’s account at the end of the last academic semester in attendance. In the event that the student elects not to return to the College, and therefore does not graduate, the deposit will be released at the time of declaration not to return. Deposits will be held for students on official leave of absence from the College, pending their return.
Room and Board: All students who hold a room contract for traditional campus housing must purchase one of the four room-and-board contracts available per semester (board plans are optional for residents of Berkus House, SAE, Theta House and the Food Justice House):
|Plan D (Plan D is not available to first-year students.)||$3,968||$2,455||$6,423|
Meal plan changes are available on-line through the first Friday of classes each semester. On-line changes are free, Changes after this date require a visit to the Card Office, and a fee of $5 (cash or check only) will apply. The deadline for meal plan changes each semester is 5 p.m. on the Friday of the second full week of classes. For complete information on dining and meal plans, please see the Campus Dining website:
Change in Meal Plan $5
Replacement of lost ID card with same photo $20
Replacement of lost ID card with new photo $25
ID card - replacement - 5th - 9th card (ever) - additional fee $45
ID card - replacement - 10th card or higher (ever) - additional fee $55
ID card - rush - additional fee * $40
*ID cards without rush are produced and available at a set time each day
The Card Office manages meal plan changes and ID card replacement:
Board charges will be prorated to the date of change in status, except that adjustments will not be made for an absence of one week or less, nor for the first week of a prolonged absence.
Student Body Fee: The student body fee is required of all students. (Exchange students from Caltech and the Art Center College of Design are exempt.) The fee is established and collected by the College for the support of student body organizations and activities, including publication of a weekly newspaper and production of the yearbook. Student body funds are administered by the Associated Students of Occidental College. In extraordinary circumstances, the president of the College is authorized to take whatever action is deemed necessary with respect to the expenditure of these funds or the use of student body facilities and properties.
Renewable Energy & Sustainability Fee ─ Money for the Renewable Energy and Sustainability Fund will be raised by a ten (10) dollar per student per semester Renewable Energy and Sustainability fee on ASOC members, as part of the student body fee. The student body at a general election may increase this fee by majority vote. Money not spent or invested at the end of each year will accrue in savings and be available to the Fund in future years.
Student Health Fee - Emmons Student Wellness Center is a truly integrated wellness center, with highly coordinated psychological and medical care, professional case management, advocacy, a student driven advisory council, and educational offerings. Many of these services are either not reimbursed by insurance companies, or Emmons has chosen to offer such services at no cost to students. The Health Services Fee will be utilized to support such services.
Payment of Student Accounts
Tuition and fees may be paid according to one of the following payment plans:
|Number of Payments||Payment Due Dates|
|Semester Plan||Two payments||August 1, 2015|
January 2, 2016
|Monthly Payment Plan*||Five payments per semester|
First of each month
beginning August 1, 2015
through May 1, 2016
*Requires a deferred payment fee of $50 per semester.
Prior to registration, students will be requested to provide information on meal plan selection, full- or part-time status, payment plan, etc.
Based upon this information, tuition and fee charges will be calculated and billings mailed prior to the appropriate payment due date for the semester. Credits to the student’s account for financial aid and sponsored assistance will be prorated by semester.
Payments must be received by the due dates indicated to obtain final clearance to register and to avoid a late payment assessment. If an individual writes two checks to the College returned for non-sufficient funds, that individual will lose check writing privileges at the College. The College always accepts cashier’s checks and money orders. Checks written by an Occidental student to a College department that are returned by the bank for any reason will be applied to the tuition account of that student. Actual charges will be calculated from academic registration information. Each semester, all accounts are reviewed by the Business Office and must be current in order to have enrollment confirmed.
The College will not register a student, confer a degree, nor provide a final transcript to any student or former student who has a financial obligation to the College (other than a loan not yet due). All graduating seniors must satisfy all financial obligations to the College with the Business Office by May 13. Failure to do so will cause the diploma and final transcript to be withheld.
Tuition Insurance Plan
This elective insurance plan provided by GradGuard increases the refund adjustments provided by the College’s refund policy. Students can receive up to 100% refund of semester tuition and insured fees in the event of withdrawal for medical or psychological reasons. Enrollment forms and descriptive materials are emailed to students in July. The plan provides coverage for tuition, room, meals, and all mandatory fees.
Lecture Course (per semester unit)
Laboratory and Creative Art Course (per semester unit)
|Change in Meal Plan|
|Course Exemption by Examination||30|
|Credit by Examination (based on individual study) (per semester unit, for students enrolled in 11 or fewer units)||1015|
|Monthly Payment Fee (per semester)||50|
|Duplicate Diploma Fee||50|
|Graduate Study, Other|
|Late Add/Drop (by petition, per week starting with the second week of classes to add a 4-unit class)||30|
|Late Add (by petition, per week starting with the eighth week of classes to add a 1- or 2-unit class)||30|
|Late Payment on Account||25|
|Late Clearance Fee||100|
|Music Group Instruction||195|
|Music Private Instruction Lessons per semester||375 or 750|
|Occidental Semester Abroad Application||65|
|Thesis Candidate Status (Graduate Students)||60|
|Thesis for M.A. Degree, binding, per copy||15|
*Transcripts of credits are ordered through the Office of the Registrar and are released if outstanding obligations to the College have been paid in full, or satisfactory arrangements with the Business Office have been made.
**One week’s time is normally required for processing requests.
Tuition Adjustment Policy
Since faculty engagements and other commitments are made by the College for the entire year in advance, the following tuition adjustment schedule has been established in order that the College and the student may share the cost equitably when it is necessary for a student to drop a course or withdraw from the College.
Status Change From Full-Time To Part-Time: The College refund policy for students dropping from full-time status to part-time status is effective only for the first five weeks of the semester. Students who register at the beginning of the term as full-time and elect to drop to part-time status will be billed on a per-unit basis (eleven or fewer units). After the fifth week of classes, no adjustment will be made and the student will be billed at the regular full-time rate.
Part-time Status: To be considered part-time, a student must petition the Registrar’s Office and be approved. Attending courses with 11 or fewer units without an approved petition from the Registrar does not constitute part-time status and the student will be subject to full-time tuition and fees.
Withdrawal from the College: Students who withdraw during the semester may be eligible for refunds, depending upon the time of the withdrawal. Students must give written notification to the Registrar of their decision to withdraw and complete all withdrawal procedures to be eligible for any refunds (see tuition insurance plan).
Eligibility for tuition refunds is as follows:
|Withdrawal During||Amount of Tuition Refunded|
|First five days of classes*||90%|
|Sixth through 10th day of classes*||80%|
|11th through 15th day of classes*||70%|
|16th through 20th day of classes*||60%|
|21st through 25th day of classes*||50%|
|After 26th day of classes*||0%|
*Days of classes are defined as any business day when any classes are held.
Board charges will be prorated to the date of change in status, except that adjustments will not be made for an absence of one week or less nor for the first week of a prolonged absence.
Adjustments to room charges will be made only in accordance with the terms of the room contract.
No adjustment will be made to student body, and health insurance fees.
No adjustment except for board will be made for a student who is suspended, dismissed, expelled, or asked to leave the College for any reason. Student scholarship aid will be prorated according to published guidelines and government regulations.
Occidental College has a long history of providing educational opportunities to qualified students from various economic backgrounds. More than 70 percent of the Occidental student body receives some form of financial aid.
Varying amounts of financial aid are awarded to qualified students. Financial aid is given in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and on-campus employment. Awards are based upon a family’s calculated need and the resources available from endowment, annual gifts, the general funds of the College, and federal and state sources.
With the exception of a small number of merit programs, financial aid is awarded to students who demonstrate financial need based on federal, state, and institutional policies. The College evaluates family resources in a consistent and equitable manner. The general principle of these policies is that parents and students are the primary source of funds for post-secondary education and both have an obligation to finance educational expenses to the extent that they are able. Financial need is considered to be the difference between the cost of attendance (COA) and a family’s expected family contribution (EFC), as determined by the Financial Aid Office.
Students are expected to contribute toward their educational expenses. All students are expected to contribute at least $2,600 from summer earnings to assist in meeting costs of education. In addition there’s an expected contribution from net student assets of 35%.
Financial assistance for international students is extremely limited. Additional information and special financial aid applications are available from the Office of Admission. International scholarships are renewable for four years as long as the student maintains satisfactory academic progress. International students are only considered for institutional aid at the time of admission.
Need-based Application Process
Students seeking need-based financial aid are required to file all financial aid applications on time. Deadlines also pertain to Occidental students who are returning after having left the College. This application process allows the student to be considered for Occidental scholarships, Federal Grants, Cal Grants, work programs, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Student Loans, and other Occidental loans.
- Deadline for entering students to submit applications: February 1
- Deadline for returning students to submit applications: March 2
- Deadline for all students to submit tax documents: April 19
All students must follow the instructions outlined to apply for need-based scholarships, grants, loans, and work awards. Entering freshmen who apply for admission to the College are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships. The College does not require a student to apply for financial aid to be considered for merit-based scholarships.
All students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and list Occidental College (code #001249). The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA is due by February 1 for all first-year students, by March 2 for all returning students, by March 2 for fall transfer students, and by November 1 for spring transfer students.
All students must submit copies of their and their parent’s federal tax return with all supporting documents including W-2s, 1099s, all schedules (A, B, C, D, E, F, K-1, etc.), and statements. Tax documents are due by April 19 for all students, except for spring transfers whose deadline is November 1.
All students must submit any additional documents requested from the Financial Aid Office in a timely manner.
First-time applicants must also complete the CSS PROFILE and list Occidental College (Code #4581). You must pay the appropriate fee, as explained in the instructions, for your CSS PROFILE to be forwarded to Occidental. First-time applicants who do not complete the CSS PROFILE will not be considered for institutional aid. If you do not complete the CSS PROFILE, but you list Occidental College on your FAFSA application, you will be considered for federal and state aid only. The CSS PROFILE is available online through the College Board at www.collegeboard.org. The deadline for the CSS PROFILE is February 1 for first-year students, March 2 for fall transfer students, and November 1 for spring transfer students.
First-time applicants, whose parents are divorced or separated, must also have their non-custodial parent complete the Non-Custodial Profile. The Non-Custodial Profile is available online through the College Board at www.collegeboard.org.
Returning students must also complete the Parent Supplement and the Student Online Supplement. Returning students who do not submit the two supplemental applications will not be considered for institutional aid. If you do not submit the two supplemental applications but you list Occidental College on your FAFSA application, you will be considered for federal and state aid only. The Parent Supplement is available for download online at www.oxy.edu/financial-aid/forms and is due by March 2. The Student Online Supplement is available online via the Oxy student’s myOxy portal and is due by March 2.
Graduate Students are encouraged to file and sign their tax return and to submit them to our office as early as possible, but not later than April 19. Files completed after this date will be considered late and will not receive priority processing.
Occidental need-based scholarships are awarded each year on an individual basis in proportion to the degree of financial need and the student’s academic and co-curricular record. Less than full-time students will have their need-based scholarship prorated. There is no scholarship assistance for students enrolled in less than six units. Occidental scholarship recipients may be asked to write a thank-you letter to a specific donor during the academic year.
The College also offers a limited number of merit scholarships to entering students at the time of admission. Scholarship awards are based on academic ability, achievement, motivation, and promise. Merit awards are renewable for up to three additional years (8 semesters total) provided that the student continues to maintain the required cumulative grade point average of the scholarship. See the Financial Aid Policy Guide for GPA requirements of specific scholarships. Scholarship amounts are prorated if you do not attend for the entire academic year or are enrolled less than full-time. Students enrolled in less than six units are not eligible for merit scholarships. For prorating calculations please contact the Financial Aid Office.
All students applying for financial aid at Occidental are required to apply for the appropriate state and federal grant programs. California residents apply by completing the FAFSA and the GPA Verification Form. All grant awards are combined with other resources to meet financial need.
The Federal Pell Grant is a federal student aid program for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a federal program that helps undergraduate students with the greatest financial need. Priority is given to Federal Pell Grant recipients.
The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) awards Cal Grants A and B to California residents as determined by eligibility requirements set by the State of California.
Campus Employment Opportunities
Part-time employment is supported by the Occidental Work Award (OWA) program and the Federal Work Study (FWS) program. Occidental Work Award and Federal Work Study are normally offered as part of the financial aid award to students who demonstrate need.
Loans are an invaluable resource to college students and their parents in financing a college education. Loans are generally repaid within 10 years after graduating or withdrawing from school (consolidation programs can extend the number of years a student has to repay their loans). Loan obligations and interest rates are outlined in the promissory notes students are required to sign.
The Occidental Low Interest Loan is administered by the College using institutional funds. Occidental Low Interest Loans (5%) are awarded up to $5,500 per year for undergraduates.
The Occidental No Interest Loan is a student loan originally funded by the Weingart Foundation that awards up to $10,000 per year for undergraduate students. This generous, interest‑free program was established to benefit U.S. Citizens who are graduates of California high schools.
The Federal Perkins Loan is administered by the College utilizing federal and institutional funds. It is typically awarded to students with high-demonstrated need. Federal Perkins Loans (5%) are awarded up to $4,000 per year for undergraduates.
The Federal Subsidized Direct Loan is a low-interest loan offered by the U.S. Department of Education. The interest on this loan is subsidized by the federal government while the student is enrolled. Occidental College students may borrow Federal Direct Loans based on their need, year in school, and satisfactory academic progress.
The Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan is available for students who do not demonstrate financial need or students who need assistance with their expected family contribution. The interest rate is fixed and interest accrual is immediate. Students may choose to pay interest while in school or have it capitalized onto the principal balance.
The Federal Direct PLUS Loan is designed to provide long‑term competitive rate financing for parents of dependent students to assist in meeting the expected family contribution. Federal PLUS loans may not exceed the student’s cost of attendance less any financial aid a student is eligible to receive for the year.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
To remain eligible for financial aid, a student must be in good academic standing as defined in the Academic Policies section of the Occidental College Course Catalog. No institutional funds are available to a student on a leave of absence or studying at another institution (excluding Oxy approved study abroad programs). Students may, however, in some cases, receive federal or state aid to study at another institution by completing a Consortium Agreement. For more information, please contact the FAO.
The academic year consists of two 15-week semesters. Full-time students may register each semester for a maximum of 18 units. Students enrolled in less than 12 units each semester are considered to be part-time, and financial aid is pro-rated.
Qualitative and Quantitative Requirements
For students to maintain financial aid eligibility, they are required to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward their degree. SAP requires students to complete a certain number of units and maintain a certain grade point average after each semester of college attendance. Federal regulations require Occidental College to monitor the academic progress of students receiving financial aid. When we disburse aid to your student account, we are certifying that you are making SAP toward your degree.
Students must make quantitative (time-based) and qualitative (grade-based) progress towards their degree. The time-based requirement is the pace at which you must progress toward your degree. The grade-based requirement is measured by your GPA.
Maximum Time Frame (Pace):
At Occidental, if you are a full-time, first-year student you are eligible to receive institutional and state financial aid for eight semesters of full-time study. Transfer student eligibility is pro-rated based on the number of units transferred at the time of admission. Students who require additional semesters to complete their degree are only eligible for federal assistance for no more than four additional semesters as long as they meet other progress standards and remain federally eligible.
As a full-time student at Occidental you are considered to be making adequate progress toward your degree if you complete a minimum of 12 units each semester and earn a total of 128 units by the end of your 8th semester. However, since institutional financial aid eligibility extends for only four years and graduation requirements are based on satisfactory completion of 32 units each year, students should complete 16 units per semester to graduate on-time. For federal eligibility, you must complete a minimum of 12 units per semester and 128 units by the end of your 12th semester. Students who are eligible to graduate prior to exhausting financial aid eligibility are not eligible to continue to receive financial aid.
Repeated courses do not count as courses completed and do not contribute to maintaining SAP.
Attempted courses are those for which you are officially enrolled after the last date to drop courses. Withdrawals showing as a W on your academic transcript are counted as attempted courses. All courses count in calculating a student’s academic progress, including any for which the student did not receive financial aid.
- Grades of W are counted as courses attempted and count toward the maximum time frame.
- Audited courses do not count in the calculation of attempted courses as no units are earned.
- Academic policy at Occidental states that if a student does not receive a passing grade for a course, the course may be repeated for credit. Repeating a course does not remove the original course from the academic transcript. Both the grade for the original course and the repeated course will be posted and will calculate into the student’s GPA. Both the original course and the repeated course will be considered as attempted in the calculation of “attempted courses” for purposes of determining SAP.
- Courses taken on a pass/fail basis count toward the total of attempted and completed courses.
- Transfer credits from another institution accepted by Occidental College are counted when measuring the maximum time frame to complete the degree. Occidental does not accept for credit any transfer grades lower than 2.0. Consult the Occidental College Course Catalog for information on how transfer credits are evaluated.
- Students who pursue double majors or minors are expected to complete all degree requirements within their 128 units.
Your academic records will be reviewed at the end of each semester to determine that you are making SAP. Making SAP means you must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA by the end of each semester and you must have made progress toward you degree as outlined below:
|End of first semester||16 Units|
|End of second semester||32 Units|
|End of third semester||48 Units|
|End of fourth semester||64 Units|
|End of fifth semester||80 Units|
|End of sixth semester||96 Units|
|End of seventh semester||112 Units|
|End of eight semester||128 Units|
Failure to meet SAP
If you do not earn at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA and/or fail to earn the required minimum units, you will receive a warning notification from the FAO that you are at risk of losing eligibility for aid. If you do not earn at least a cumulative 2.0 and/or earn the minimum required units by the end of your “warning” semester you are no longer eligible for institutional, state, or federal financial aid.
Right to Appeal
If you lose your financial aid eligibility at the end of your “warning” semester (and the Academic Standards Committee permits you to enroll) you have the right to appeal for an additional semester of aid.
The appeal must be made in writing to the Executive Director of Financial Aid, Maureen McRae Goldberg. The appeal may not be based on your need for financial assistance or your lack of knowledge on the SAP policy. It should be based on some extenuating situation or condition which prevented you from making progress. Your appeal must include a written academic plan which outlines how you plan to restore your GPA to a 2.0 or better and/or meet the minimum unit requirements.
If your appeal is denied you may still be able to regain eligibility for future semesters by enrolling at Occidental (at your own expense), earning a 2.0 or better GPA, and bringing all cumulative units up to required standards. It is also possible to take a Leave of Absence from Occidental and pursue transferable coursework at another institution. This will allow you to bring your required units up to date and show academic improvement by attaining a minimum GPA of 2.0 or better (a GPA earned at another institution will not affect your Oxy GPA). You are required to speak with the Registrar’s Office to ensure units completed elsewhere are transferable to Occidental.
If your appeal is granted, you will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. During probation, you must follow your academic plan and resolve all incomplete grades before the FAO can make a final determination that you have met the SAP guidelines.
To receive aid from the programs discussed in this catalog you must:
- be a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or an eligible non-citizen
- have a valid Social Security number
- have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate
- be enrolled at least half‑time (at least 6 units)
- maintain satisfactory academic progress
- be admitted as a degree seeking student
- demonstrate financial need
- register with Selective Service, if required
- meet other eligibility requirements as required by state and federal law
To be eligible for financial aid, a student must be admitted as a regular student. Students admitted as a limited graduate or as an advanced or limited special undergraduate are not eligible for financial aid.
Payment and Financing Options
In addition to the traditional need-based financial aid programs, Occidental offers short- and long-term payment alternatives. These programs are available to all families regardless of financial need. This application process is separate from the need-based application process. Contact Student Business Services for information regarding these programs.
The Financial Aid Office is dedicated to helping students successfully finance an Occidental education. If at any time you have a question or concern, please contact us at:
Financial Aid Office
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Telephone: (323) 259-2548
FAX: (323) 341-4961
Additional information may be obtained from the Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid Office also publishes a policy handbook each academic year. It is the student’s responsibility to know and understand these policies if the student is a recipient of financial aid.
The programs, policies, and procedures as published in this catalog are correct at the time of printing and are subject to change without notice.
Students of Occidental College strive for high standards of excellence, equity, community and service. This endeavor requires an environment in which each individual is able to flourish. Since the Occidental student body is diverse and passionate, maintaining this community is a process that is as constant and challenging as it is rewarding.
The Occidental Community is a community of difference. Divergent opinions and beliefs are not simply necessary to the community — they constitute it. Oxy students confront the possibility of disagreement, opposition and conflict in each day’s activities. This can be a trying and difficult endeavor. Oxy students are united in their agreement that they are enriched by these engagements. They assert that the constructive and critical examination of their beliefs leads to intellectual, personal, and social fulfillment. Therefore, protecting the integrity of their discourse is a matter of collective concern.
This principle of honor stems from a common agreement to adhere to standards of engagement that preserve the graciousness of our exchange. This requires that students engage one another honestly, but also responsibly and respectfully. The students of Occidental College define community standards and agree to advance this principle. These standards are neither static nor imposed on them; rather, they are determined by students. It follows that they continuously defend, implement, and revise this principle themselves. They mutually recognize that their principle of honor serves to preserve the passion and difference that is the Occidental Community.
Alcohol and Other Drugs
Each new student will be assigned a faculty advisor and be assigned to the Advising Center.
Students are permitted to have vehicles and must register them with the Campus Safety Department to obtain a parking permit. All vehicles parked on campus must display a valid parking permit. Temporary parking permits are available for guests and visitors. Parking on campus is limited and most desirable spaces are taken quickly. Plan to arrive on campus early enough for the best options. All persons operating a vehicle on the campus are required to comply with the Occidental College Parking and Traffic Regulations (available at Campus Safety and in the Student Handbook) and the California Vehicle Code. Violators will be cited.
Emmons Student Wellness Center
Occidental College takes seriously its responsibility to safeguard the health, physical and emotional wellbeing, and safety of students. Students are required to complete personal health forms and turn them into Emmons Student Wellness Center prior to enrollment. The Center follows California state law with respect to privacy and confidentiality of mental health information and adheres to HIPAA guidelines with respect to all medical information. All medical health information is confidential and may only be accessed by the student (age 18 and above).
Emmons Student Wellness Center provides students with high quality medical care, preventive health and wellness education, supportive psychological counseling services, outreach programs - including sexual assault education and advocacy - and links to important community resources.
Emmons also provides a 24/7 Confidential Hotline to assist students with immediate or important mental or emotional health and sexual assault related concerns. Students can access the hotline by calling (323) 341-4141.
For more information and current health information, call the Center at (323) 259-2657 or email.
Oxy Student Health Insurance and Waiver Process
Under the Affordable Care Act, all Americans are required by law to have health insurance. As of January 1, 2014, many new insurance requirements were added and which are now reflected in the 2014-15 Oxy Student Health Insurance Plan. For the 2014-2015 academic year, students and families may attempt to waive the Oxy plan by verifying adequate coverage in Southern California. Please note that international students are required to purchase the Oxy student health insurance plan, and may not waive.
Students are required to complete the waiver process by September 1, 2014 for the 2014-15 academic year. Those who cannot waive are automatically enrolled into the plan. For more information or to start the waiver process, hosted by Gallagher Student Insurance, please go to: www.gallagherstudent.com/oxy.
The College is not responsible for any loss of or damage to students’ personal property.
Students or their parents are encouraged to carry appropriate insurance coverage on personal belongings brought to campus. Parents may wish to review their current homeowner’s policy for possible coverage.
For information about health insurance (accident and sickness), please refer to the Health Services section.
Residential Education and Housing Services
Occidental is a residential college that supports an integrated living and learning environment. The intellectual vitality of the institution extends to every residence hall on campus.
Accommodations in the residence halls include single, double, and triple rooms. All students in residence (except Berkus House, SAE, Theta House and Food Justice) must select one of the meal plans available.
Students entering Occidental will be required to live on campus for their first three years. New students are assigned housing based on the information they provide on the Residence Information Form. In recognition of the specific needs of first-year students, first-year students will be housed together in a community that offers a comprehensive program of support and education for life outside the classroom.
Housing agreements are for the entire academic year (two consecutive semesters). Students who withdraw from the semester will be prorated based upon the tuition withdrawal schedule. Students previously matriculated apply for residence during room draw through the Office of Residential Education and Housing Services.
The Housing and Meal Plan License Agreement is a nine-month agreement and students may be released from the License Agreement without charges only under the following conditions:
1. Withdrawal from the College, completion of degree program, leave of absence, or participation in an approved Oxy study-abroad program.
2. Marriage (the College reserves the right to request proof of marriage prior to granting a cancellation).
3. Birth of a child.
Senior standing students, with written notification to Residential Education and Housing Services are able to cancel their housing for the following year. Please check the Residential Education and Housing Services page for cancelation dates.
The halls and dining room are closed during winter break. The services of Emmons Student Wellness Center, the health staff and Counseling Center staff are not available when the residence halls are closed.
The College reserves the right to entertain delegates to association meetings, conventions, and other related groups in the residence halls during vacation periods. Residence students will be notified in advance of such contemplated occasions and assurance given to them that the College will use every reasonable precaution to safeguard personal property during such occupancy.
The College reserves the right to enter the rooms of students living in the residence halls, and has the right to dispose of articles left by residents.
The College assumes no responsibility for loss or damage to student possessions.
Barbara J. Avery
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid
Dean of the College and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Planning and Finance
Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics
Vice President for Institutional Advancement