Guidelines for Graduation

In order to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree, students are expected to fulfill the educational objectives of Pitzer College by designing, in cooperation with their advisers, an individualized program of study which responds to the students’ own intellectual needs and interests, while at the same time meeting these objectives in the following five ways:

1. Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Exploration

Students, working closely with their advisers, will select a set of three full-credit courses which address a topic of special interest to them. Selected courses will represent at least two disciplines and more than one cultural perspective. Students may wish to satisfy this guideline through appropriate courses in a Pitzer College Study Abroad program.

Students, in consultation with their faculty advisers, will write a brief statement explaining the rationale for their selection of courses to meet this guideline and attach this statement to the completed major declaration form. The completed major declaration form/rationale statement is due in the registrar’s office prior to mid-term of the first semester of the junior year.

The following examples illustrate how such a program might be constructed:

  •  A student interested in healthcare could have a program that includes courses on (a) biology, (b) the sociology of health and medicine and (c) the politics of healthcare in the U.S. and Japan.
  • A student interested in gender and racial stereotypes in literature and art could have a program including courses on (a) women and literature, (b) African American literature and (c) contemporary Chicano art.
  • A student interested in education could have a program that includes courses on (a) the psychology of child development, (b) the history, sociology, or anthropology of U.S. education and (c) an internship-based course involving work in a multicultural school or school district.
  • A student interested in shifting concepts of freedom could have a program including courses in (a) sociology which analyze the modern manifestations of dispossession, (b) ancient social history or philosophy and (c) the literary/ dramatic portrayals of the issue.

The three courses chosen provide only a minimum strategy for meeting this guideline. Students are strongly encouraged to deepen their understanding through additional course work and non-classroom experiences and to conclude their programs with a synthesizing essay or research paper.

Courses used to meet other guidelines may count toward satisfaction of the Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Exploration guideline.

2. Social Responsibility and the Ethical Implications of Knowledge and Action

Working closely with their advisers to plan their programs, students will meet this objective in one of the following ways:

Options with Academic Credit

  1. One full-credit course that involves either community service, community- based fieldwork, or a community-based internship (for courses that fulfill this requirement, see your adviser or the Registrar’s office).
  2. A directed independent study with a community-based experiential component. See the Guidelines for Internship and Community Service Independent Study (available at the Registrar’s Office, or at Career Services) for instructions on how to design the independent study.
  3. Participation in apposite Study Abroad programs (those involving a community- based internship or community service).

Non-Credit Options

  1. Involvement in a single semester (or equivalent) of 45 hours (e.g., 15 weeks × 3 hours per week) of volunteer or community service during your course of study at Pitzer. Normally, an involvement that includes pay is not acceptable.
  2. One semester (or equivalent) of service to the Pitzer community (for example, as a participant in College governance, the Ecology Center, or as a Resident Assistant).

Students must discuss either of these non-credit options with their faculty advisers to determine if the placement is appropriate for the Social Responsibility Objective. Students must complete a “Social Responsibility (Non-Credit Option) Verification Form” (available at the Registrar’s Office) and write a 3-5 page report summarizing their activities and evaluating their experiences. This report is due to the major adviser and the verification form to the office of the Registrar prior to graduation.

3. Breadth of Knowledge

Students may not count the same course toward meeting more than one breadth of knowledge area. Half-credit courses may not be used to fulfill any of the breadth of knowledge areas.

  1. Two courses in humanities and fine arts. Normally, courses in the performing arts, fine arts, foreign language, literature, history, and philosophy meet this objective. Such courses are offered by disciplinary and interdisciplinary field groups including Art; Asian Studies; Asian-American Studies; Africana Studies; Chicano Studies; Classics; English and World Literature; Environmental Studies; Media Studies; History; History of Ideas; Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Music; Philosophy; Theatre; Dance; and Gender & Feminist Studies.  In cases of uncertainty about the suitability of courses meeting this objective, the advisers will consult with the instructor of the course. A course which meets both the humanities and fine arts objective and the social and behavioral science objective can be counted toward meeting only one of these objectives.
  2. Two courses in the social and behavioral sciences. Normally, courses in anthropology, economics, linguistics, political studies, psychology, and sociology will meet this objective, as well as courses taught from a social science perspective in interdisciplinary programs such as Asian Studies; Asian-American Studies; Africana Studies; Chicano Studies; Environmental Studies; Organizational Studies; Science, Technology and Society; and Gender & Feminist Studies. In cases of uncertainty, the advisers will consult with the instructor of the course. A course which meets both the humanities and fine arts objective and the social and behavioral science objective can be counted toward meeting only one of these objectives.
    PSYC 101 PZ (Brain and Behavior), as currently taught with a significant emphasis in biology, is considered appropriate to this objective.
  3. One course in the natural sciences, with or without a laboratory component. Course options available to students include all courses offered through the Keck Science Department, including science courses designed especially for non-science majors, as well as most courses in chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, and geology offered at the other Claremont Colleges.
    In addition, PSYC 101 PZ (Brain and Behavior), as currently taught with a significant emphasis in biology, is considered appropriate to this objective.
    Should students seek to fulfill this objective by completing courses not identified above or through a program of independent study, their advisers must get approval from the faculty member directing the independent study or teaching the course and from a faculty member in the Keck Science Department in the apposite discipline. Students may not count the same course toward meeting both this and the mathematics/formal reasoning objective.
  4.  One course in quantitative reasoning. Students will satisfy this objective by taking any mathematics, statistics, quantitative/survey research methods, or formal logic course offered at The Claremont Colleges or accepted for transfer credit, with the exception of mathematics courses whose sole purpose is to prepare students to take calculus.
    Should students seek to fulfill this objective by completing courses not identified above or through a program of independent study, their advisers will get approval from the faculty member teaching the course or directing the independent study and from a faculty member in the Mathematics field group. Students may not count the same course toward meeting both this and the natural sciences objective.

 4. Written Expression

In order to be eligible for graduation, students are expected to demonstrate the ability to write competently by completing one full-credit writing-intensive course. It is assumed that most students meet the objective by successfully completing a First-Year Seminar course. These seminars have been designed as writing-intensive courses and are required of all first-year students.

Transfer students who have not already taken a writing course will meet the writing objective by completing a writing-intensive course.

Writing-Intensive Courses

Instructors may designate a course Writing Intensive if: (1) at least 25 pages of written work are included among class assignments, (2) they comment extensively on the writing quality of at least 10 of those pages and (3) they allow students the opportunity  to re-write those pages in light of instructors’  remarks (the remaining

15 pages may be journal entries, essay exams, or non-graded exercises, such as in-class free-writing).

5. Completion of a Major

Students should engage in an in-depth investigation and thereby sharpen their ability for critical analysis. To aid in meeting these objectives, students will, by the time of graduation, complete the requirements of a major, which are listed by field in the catalog.

Procedures for Satisfying the Major/ Educational Objectives

Prior to midterm of the second semester of the sophomore year, students will choose a major adviser and begin discussions regarding the major. Advisers must be full-time faculty and have an appointment in the field. Students must complete a Major Declaration form and submit it to the Registrar’s Office no later than midterm of the first semester of the junior year.

Prior to midterm of the first semester of the junior year, students will complete, in cooperation with their advisers, the Major Declaration form identifying the courses or other work through which students have met or intend to meet each of the guidelines stated above. Students should begin discussion of the Educational Objectives in their first year at Pitzer as they plan their course schedules.

Copies of the completed Major Declaration form will be kept by the Registrar’s Office, the students and the advisers. The list of courses or work may be revised upon discussion and with the agreement of the advisers at any time. It is hoped that the formulation and later revisions of the statement will provide contexts for mutual, creative interaction between students and advisers in shaping a program that meets the Educational Objectives of the College and of the individual student. Students and advisers will review the Major Declaration form at the beginning of the first semester of the senior year to assure that students have satisfied and/or are making satisfactory progress toward completion of the guidelines stated above.

At the beginning of the students’ final semester, the advisers will verify with the Registrar that the students will have met all the guidelines by the end of the semester (when the academic program is completed as proposed). Students will have to satisfy each of the guidelines in order to graduate. In the case of disputes between students and advisers, appeals can be made to the Academic Standards Committee.

The College acknowledges the wide diversity of student interests, abilities, needs and styles. We expect that each student, together with a faculty adviser, will create a coherent program of study in accordance with the College’s Educational Objectives.

Page last updated on September 27, 2016