CORE DISTRIBUTION REQUIREMENTS (to be completed before the end of the junior year). In addition to the first-year seminars, Occidental requires courses in various departments selected to provide a broad background in cultural and disciplinary studies. These include at least 12 units in culture and fine arts; 12 units in science and/or mathematics; and the equivalent of language 102 in a language other than English, as detailed below. Courses satisfying Core requirements are identified in the Catalog listings and in “Course Counts” on my.oxy.edu. Note that some courses have prerequisites. Courses taken at other institutions must be approved by the Registrar (for transfer students) and/or the Core Director (for Occidental students seeking to fill a requirement elsewhere, as in study abroad or summer study) in order to be counted toward Core distribution requirements.
1) Culture and Fine Arts: A minimum of 12 units (16 or 20 units are recommended) continue and expand on the first-year CSP seminars by situating the study of culture and the arts in specific disciplinary and geographical contexts. Students must enroll in a minimum of four units in each of three different categories. Four units must represent study of historical periods prior to 1800, and four must be devoted to the fine arts. The pre-1800 and fine arts requirements may be met in courses also representing one of the three major categories of culture requirements, although no course may satisfy more than two requirements. Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate examinations may not be used to satisfy any of these requirements.
The three categories of culture requirements are:
Group 1: U.S. Diversity
Group 2: Global Connections
Group 3: Regional Focus
Students who matriculated at Occidental College prior to Fall 2013 have a slightly different set of culture requirement categories, and they should consult their entering catalog for a description of their requirement. Courses will be listed in the Catalog and online Course Counts with both pre- and post-2013 designation.
2) Science/Mathematics Requirement. A minimum of 12 units in science and mathematics. Four units must be in a science course with a laboratory component. The remaining 8 units may be taken from among any of the courses that satisfy the Science/Mathematics requirement. Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate examinations may not be used to satisfy any of these requirements.
3) Foreign Language:
0-8 Units. All students must achieve Language 102-level proficiency in a language other than English. Students may not take Language 101 for credit if they have taken more than one quarter in college or more than one year in high school (grades 10-12)
Placement: Students may begin study of a new language at the 101 level if they have not taken it previously for more than one quarter in college or more than one year in high school (grades 10-12). They are not required to take the College’s placement exam. First-year students may take the Occidental College Placement Exam either on-line for French, German, and Spanish, or during orientation for other languages taught at Occidental if:
a. they have taken more than one quarter in college or more than one year in high school (grades 10-12)
b. they have participated in after-school or weekend language programs; or
c. they have extensive background in but no formal training in a language.
Students can fulfill Occidental's language requirement in one of five ways:
- by completing a language course numbered 102 at Occidental, or the equivalent course in any foreign language at another accredited institution.
- by receiving an exemption-level score on Occidental's placement and/or exemption exam given during orientation. (see language studio website for language specific details).
- by earning an appropriate Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) II score (560 or above on French, Spanish, or Latin; 550 or above on German or Chinese; 540 or above on Japanese; or 560 for other languages):
- by earning an Advanced Placement test score of 4 or above or.
- for some languages not taught at Occidental, students may by taking 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.
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.
CORE PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS:
Transfer students may meet the Core requirements through classes taken before matriculation at Occidental, or through classes taken at Occidental, or (as is the case for most transfer students) through a combination of both. Transfer students must take the equivalent of two Cultural Studies Seminar (8 units or 2 classes), a minimum of 12 additional units or 3 classes in distribution courses in culture (including pre-1800) and the fine arts, as described above, and 12 units or 3 classes in science and/or mathematics, including a designated lab science course. They must also complete the language requirement. Appropriate equivalents are determined in consultation with the Core Program Office and the Registrar.
Cultural Studies Seminar (8 units or 2 full classes). Transfer students are not enrolled in Occidental's Cultural Studies Program Seminars, which are designed for first-year students. Two conventional English composition classes, or a first-year writing seminar similar to Occidental’s from another institution and an additional composition course, will ordinarily satisfy this requirement. Any four-unit course in Occidental's Department of English Writing will count toward the seminar requirement. The first stage of the writing requirement is a different requirement, and is explained under the Writing Program.
Culture and Fine Arts Distribution Courses (Minimum 12 units or 3 full classes, 16 or 20—4 or 5 full classes—recommended). Transfer students must take a minimum of 4 units or one full class from each of three groups listed above (U.S. Diversity, Global Connections, and Regional Focus), and must take 4 units or one full class in courses designated "pre-1800" and 4 units or one full class in courses designated as "fine arts." The pre-1800 and fine arts requirements may be met in courses also representing one of the three major categories of culture requirements, although no course may satisfy more than two requirements.
Mathematics and Science (12 units or 3 full classes). Most transfer students have met at least some of these upon entry. Of these, at least one class must include a laboratory or field component.
All of these Core requirements should be completed by the end of the junior year.