Like other nationally recognized liberal arts and sciences colleges, Pitzer offers an outstanding education; a substantial curriculum; small classes; faculty who are both dedicated teachers and accomplished researchers; a supportive campus environment; and a network of accomplished and enthusiastic alumni.
But Pitzer offers something more — the intimacy and flexibility of a small college combined with the resources of a major university — through membership in The Claremont Colleges, a unique consortium of five undergraduate colleges and two graduate schools. The curriculum and campus life at Pitzer encourage a union of intellect with action, providing opportunities to test theory, practice techniques, and explore career options through campus governance, community internships, classroom discussion, and study abroad.
Pitzer students are encouraged to tailor their education to meet their specific educational needs and interests, to view issues from many perspectives, and to ask how the knowledge gained here can be used to make the world a better place. Pitzer strives to enhance individual growth while at the same time building community. Students create their own academic programs in close collaboration with their faculty advisors through a unique set of educational objectives.
By bringing together the perspectives of several disciplines, you gain an understanding of each discipline and of the kind of contribution each can make to an exploration of the significant issues. Interdisciplinary fields, such as American Studies, include courses in anthropology, art, economics, English, environmental studies, history, political studies, and sociology.
By learning about your own culture and placing it in comparative perspective, you come to appreciate other cultures and recognize the ways your own thoughts and actions are influenced by the culture in which you live.
A Harvard Business Review article states that: “more and more corporate leaders are preoccupied with bridging the differences in corporate and national cultures.” Today’s graduates must be prepared to collaborate across cultures and across disciplines, as physicists work side-by-side with virtual reality experts, and biologists call on philosophers to tackle ethical issues.
Concern with Social Responsibility and the Ethical Implications of Knowledge and Action
In the process of engaging with Pitzer’s Social Responsibility Objective, you will learn to critically examine the ethical implications of social, political, historical and scientific knowledge; and you will learn to evaluate the impact of individual and collective actions as they are manifested in social and political policy.
“Pitzer students and faculty go beyond traditional borders of disciplines to create something new,” says sociology Professor Peter Nardi. “We do this through action instead of just classroom learning. Working in the community is often one of the components of our classes.”
Breadth of Knowledge
By exploring the humanities and fine arts, natural sciences and mathematics, and social and behavioral sciences, you develop an understanding of the nature of human experience — its complexity, its diversity of expression, its continuities and discontinuities over space and time, and those conditions which limit and liberate it.
We encourage independent study, experiential learning, and creative scholarship. Grounded within the structure of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer’s flexible approach to education shows you how to examine academic and community issues in new and creative ways.
Understanding in Depth
By studying a particular subject matter in depth, you experience the kind of mastery which makes informed, independent judgment possible. To obtain understanding in depth, you’ll declare your major prior to your junior year. A substantial part of your junior and senior years will then be devoted to studies in your major, which must demonstrate sufficient coherence, depth, and rigor to meet the goal of mastery of the topic. Strong intra- and extramural funding has created opportunities for students to engage in intensive collaborative research projects with faculty members in their concentration areas. In recent years, many students have presented the results of these projects at national and regional research conferences.
Critical Thinking, Formal Analysis, and Effective Expression
By evaluating the ideas of others and participating in various styles of research, you develop your capacity for critical judgment. By exploring mathematical and other formal systems, you acquire the ability to think in abstract, symbolic ways. By writing and communicating orally, you acquire the ability to express your ideas effectively.
The First-Year Seminar is your first introduction to critical thinking and writing, analysis, group discussion, Pitzer faculty, and your fellow students. Through such courses as Environmental Toxicology, Deeper Foundations of Social Justice, and Social and Ethical Issues Arising from Emerging Technologies, you’ll begin to develop your potential for becoming a more literate person who thinks, reads, writes, and speaks effectively.