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 the statement to the completed Major Declaration form. The completed Major Declaration form with Rationale Statement is due in the Office of the Registrar prior to mid-term of the first semester of the junior year.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 to be submitted to their adviser.

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 an experiential component; see the Guidelines for Internship and Community Service Independent Study (available at the Registrar's Office, at Career Services, or in the Course Catalogue) for instructions on how to design the independent study.
  • 3. Participation in apposite Study Abroad programs (those involving an internship or community service).

Non-Credit Options

Involvement in a single semester (or equivalent) of 45 hours (e.g., 15 weeks x 3 hours per week) of volunteer or community service while enrolled at Pitzer. Normally, an involvement that includes pay is not acceptable.

  • 1. One semester (or equivalent) of service to the Pitzer community (for example, as a participant in College governance, the Ecology Center, The Other Side, or as a Resident Assistant).
  • 2. 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 full-credit 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 full-credit 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.
  • 3. One full-credit 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, Psychology 101 (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 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.

Near the end of a First-Year Seminar course, the instructor will provide an assessment of the students' competence in writing. The evaluation, which will be sent to the students' advisers, will state whether they have met the writing objective. If they do not meet the writing objective through a First-Year Seminar, they will be required to successfully complete an appropriate writing-intensive course (i.e., an academic writing course or some other course designated as writing-intensive) before they graduate. 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.

Click here for a list of Pitzer majors