Student FAQs

If you don’t find the answer to your question, please contact the Registrar’s Office.

Transfer Credit/Filing Petitions
Independent Study
Changing from Full-Time Status
Graduation Procedure
General Questions

Transfer Credit/Filing Petitions

How can I transfer a course I took at another institution to Oxy? Can the course fulfill a major, minor, or core requirement?

Students can transfer coursework from an accredited institution to Oxy for credit. However, students currently registered at Oxy must obtain prior approval to take courses at another institution. Courses offered at Oxy cannot be taken at another institution for transfer during the fall and spring semesters. In order to transfer credit, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Fill out the Current Student Transfer/Course Substitution Form (available online or in the Registrar’s Office).
  1. Acquire the required signatures: adviser, corresponding department chair, and Core Department if using the course to fulfill a Core requirement. Double check that all necessary information has been included on the form.

Please note: If the course will be used to fulfill a specific requirement for your major, be sure to refer to your Degree Evaluation or the catalog in order to precisely identify the requirement. If the requirement to which the course will be applied is not accurately identified, the execution of your petition will be delayed and possibly voided. Additionally, it is the student’s responsibility to collect the necessary signatures for any petitions that are submitted to our office. We will not hold or print any electronic signatures from faculty members on the student’s behalf. Incomplete petitions will not be processed.

  1. Once complete, submit the petition to the Registrar’s Office.

**The petition will be reviewed by the Student Progress Committee. Students will be notified of the decision to approve or deny the transfer credit petition by email. This process can take two weeks or more depending on various factors.

  1. Upon completion of the course, you must request an official transcript be sent directly to the Registrar’s Office from the institution where the course was taken. We will accept hard copies and/or electronic copies of official transcripts. We will not accept personally delivered transcripts from the student. A minimum grade of “C-" or better is required to transfer credit to your academic record.

** Keep in mind that quarter units are not equal to semester units. Courses taken at an institution that is on the quarter system are worth less units than those taken at an institution on the semester system. A quarter converts to .667 of an Oxy semester unit.

I, or my professor/adviser, is not on campus, but I need to submit a petition. Is it possible to submit the paperwork electronically?

Yes, our office accepts electronic signatures from our faculty members for all our forms. Students are responsible for collecting the necessary signatures for any petitions they are submitting. Our office will not process petitions without the necessary approval(s). We will not print signatures separately or hold incomplete petitions. Please note the following:

  1. If opting to submit a hard copy of the petition with electronic signatures, students must print the entire email chain and attach it to the petition. This will allow us to confirm that the approval has been granted for a specific request. Be sure to write your Student ID Number on each page of the printed email. Emails must be submitted at the same time as the petition.
  2. If opting to submit an electronic/scanned copy of the petition along with electronic signatures, students must print & scan email chains and send all documentation to as ONE email. Any documents attached to your email should be in PDF format. You also have the option to fax the necessary paperwork to (323) 341-4886.

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Independent Study

How long does it usually take to have an independent study contract approved?

Provided the an IS conforms to the IS criteria in the catalog here, almost all IS contracts are eventually approved. The time between when the student submits the completed form to the Registrar and the time approval is received by the student and faculty advisor may be as long as a month, depending on the particular proposal and the steps required for its review. Four-unit independent studies are generally prioritized for review.

What should a student do while waiting for approval?

We encourage students and faculty to begin the proposed work while they await for an official response from the Sub-Committee on the Curriculum of the Academic Planning Committee.

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Changing from Full-Time Status

How can I become a part-time student?

Currently enrolled students looking to change their status from full-time to part-time must submit a Petition For Special Consideration with the appropriate signatures. This option is primarily reserved for seniors that have completed all requirements, have a sufficient number of units, and are otherwise on track to graduate by their expected graduation date. It is imperative that students considering part-time status speak with Financial Aid/Student Accounts prior to submitting their petition. In order to be classified as a part-time student, you must be enrolled in 11 units or less.

I am experiencing unexpected/personal hardship, is there any way to take a break from Oxy?

Currently enrolled students have the option to withdraw from the college or take a Leave of Absence to accommodate any health or personal issues that may arise during the course of a semester. See the Leave/Withdrawal Form, available on the Registrar’s website for complete information and instructions. If you need help navigating the Leave/Withdrawal process or are having difficulty obtaining the necessary signatures please contact the Dean of Student’s Office for assistance. Students that decide to Withdraw from the College or take a Leave of Absence, will always have the option to return to Oxy.

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General Questions

For more information regarding important deadlines please visit the Academic Calendar.

What is my catalog year?

The phrase “catalog year" refers to the Academic Catalog by which a student’s major, minor and core requirements are assessed to determine eligibility for graduation. For students entering Oxy before Fall 2013, requirements are assessed according to the published catalog for the year in which they entered Occidental College. For students entering Oxy Fall 2013 or after, requirements will be assessed according to the catalog year in which they declare their first major. Please note that regardless of which policy is applicable to any given student, graduating seniors should not be following the current catalog year requirements to complete their major or minor requirements.

My Core table isn't correct, what should I do?

Core tables are updated at the end of each semester and during the summer. For courses that meet more than one Core requirement or that satisfy the second-stage writing requirement, this is not an automatic process. If you find that a course is not displaying on your Core table correctly please contact the Registrar's Office at

How do I declare my major/minor?

In order to declare a major or minor a student must submit a major/minor declaration form. Both forms are availble in our office or online.

Students are required to declare their major by mid-term of their second semester sophomore year. If not submitted prior to registration for the following fall semester, students will be required to declare in order to fulfill the "Clearance" process. When a student declares a major they must select an adviser within the major. If a student chooses to pursue a double major, they must select an adviser from each department. However, only the adviser the student has selected as their primary adviser will receive their PIN letters.

Minors must be declared no later than the last day of classes of a student's penultimate semester. Students may declare multiple minors. However if it becomes apparent that the requirements will not be complete by the student's final semester, the minor may be dropped in order to clear a student for graduation and participation in the commencement ceremony.

Where can I find more information about my major or minor requirements?

It is important that students become aware of their major/minor requirements by familiarizing themselves with the academic catalog that is applicable to him/her. Additionally, inquiries about major/minor requirements or questions about potential transferable courses, must be directed to the student’s adviser or the appropriate department chair. If a student feels he/she is not receiving adequate advising from his/her current adviser, it is always possible to change advisers by submitting the “Adviser Change Request Form" available in our office or on our website.

Can I change my adviser?

Students have the option to change their adviser if they feel they are not receiving adequate advising from current adviser at anytime during his/her stay at Oxy. You can access the “Adviser Change Request Form" on the Registrar’s Office website. If you have already declared a major, students must request a faculty adviser within the major.

I need my transcript, how can I request one?

Current students and alum can request an official transcript through Parchment. Current students can access the site through MyOxy under the Academics Tab.

What are the requirements to make the Dean’s List?

To be placed on the Dean's List students must complete 16 units (for a letter grade) and earn a GPA of 3.5 or better for the semester in question.

Can I receive credit for participating in an internship program?

Students in their sophomore year or above have the option to register their internship with the Career Services in the Hameetman Career Center (HCC) in order for it to appear on their transcript. Students are only allowed to receive credit for one internship each semester. The student can receive a maximum of two units of elective credit for each internship. Students interested in receiving credit for their internship experience must visit Career Services prior to the start of the internship for enrollment and approval purposes. For more information regarding the internship programs available to you, please visit the Career Services online at their website or in person.

What are the Art Center and CalTech Institutional Exchange Programs?

The Art Center and CalTech Institutional Exchange Programs offer students the opportunity to study at either institution while in attendance at Oxy. The exchange program is available to full-time students (a minimum of 12 credits) looking to take courses that may not be offered here at Occidental. Students will receive elective credit for any courses taken at the Art Center or CalTech. The program is available during the fall and spring semesters only, with the permission of both institutions.

Additional tuition payments are not required, but there may be special laboratory or studio fees. In order to participate in this program, please contact the Registrar’s Office for exchange program forms and permission. Courses taken at the Art Center or CalTech are added to the student's transcript as transfer coursework and do not calculate in the students GPA.

Will I receive credit for AP/IB classes that I took in high school?

Students that score a 4 or 5 on an AP Exam will receive 4 units of elective credit. However, exams are not given course equivalency without a petition. Students can petition to use an AP course to fulfill a major/minor requirement by submitting a Current Student Transfer & Course Substitution Form with the appropriate approvals (Department chair & current adviser).

For students that have taken an IB Exam, credit is given for scores of a 6 or 7 on the Higher Level Exam. We do not give credit for Standard Level IB examinations.

I need to get signatures, but I cannot meet with my adviser, the department/program chair, or the staff member required on the form. How can I get their comments/support?

If you cannot meet or locate your adviser, the chair of your adviser's department/program may sign for your adviser.

Our office also accepts email from our faculty and staff members for all our forms as long as they are sent using an Oxy email address and clearly indicate awareness of the student request. The email message(s) must be sent to the student who would attach the message(s) to the form requiring a signature. Students may access their email and print the message(s) from a computer station in the registrar's office. Students are responsible for collecting the necessary signatures for any forms they are submitting. Our office cannot process forms without the necessary approval(s) and/or comments. Please note the following:

  1. If opting to submit a hard copy of the form with email from a signatory, students must print the entire email chain and attach it to the form. This will allow us to confirm that the approval has been granted for a specific request. Be sure to write your Student ID Number on each page of the printed email. Emails must be submitted with the form.
  2. If opting to submit an electronic/scanned copy of a form along with emailed approvals and/or comments, students must print and scan email chains and send all documentation to as ONE email. Any documents attached to your email should be in PDF format. You also have the option to fax the necessary paperwork to (323) 341-4886.

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