Educational Objectives of Pitzer College
As a liberal arts college with a strong curriculum in the social and behavioral sciences, Pitzer presents a unique opportunity for self-exploration and for exploration of the world. The College expects students to take an active part in planning their course of study, bring a spirit of inquiry and adventure to planning that course of study and to work hard to meet the intellectual goals of a Pitzer education. To guide students and their advisers, the College has six educational objectives.
- Breadth of Knowledge
The human experience is the center of a Pitzer education. By exploring broadly the programs in humanities and fine arts, natural sciences and mathematics and social and behavioral sciences, students develop an understanding of the nature of human experience-its complexity, its diversity of expression, its continuities and discontinuities over space and time, and the conditions which limit and liberate it.
- Understanding in Depth
By studying a particular subject in depth, students develop the ability to make informed, independent judgments.
- Critical Thinking, Quantitative Reasoning, and Effective Expression
By comparing and evaluating the ideas of others and by participating in various styles of research, students develop their capacities for critical judgment. By exploring mathematics, statistics, quantitative/survey research methods, and formal logic, students acquire the ability to reason quantitatively. By writing and communicating orally, students acquire the ability to express their ideas effectively and to persuade others.
- Interdisciplinary Perspective
By integrating the perspectives of several disciplines, students gain an understanding of the powers and limits of each field and of the kind of contribution each can make; students learn how to understand phenomena as a complex whole.
- Intercultural Understanding
By learning about their own culture and placing it in comparative perspective, students appreciate their own and other cultures and recognize how their own thoughts and actions are influenced by their culture and history.
- Concern with Social Responsibility and the Ethical Implications of Knowledge and Action
By undertaking social responsibility and by examining the ethical implications of knowledge, students learn to evaluate the effects of actions and social policies and to take responsibility for making the world we live in a better place .Pitzer College encourages students to pursue these educational objectives during their undergraduate years and throughout their lives.
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 (see here ). 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
- 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).
- 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, at Career Services and on p. 308) for instructions on how to design the independent study.
- Participation in apposite Study Abroad programs (those involving a community-based internship or community service).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 (see here ).
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.
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/Educational Objectives 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/Educational Objectives 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 these Educational Objectives in their first year at Pitzer as they plan their course schedules.
Copies of the completed Major/Educational Objectives 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/Educational Objectives 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.
Advising is considered an integral function of the teaching role of faculty members. Each student entering Pitzer College is assigned a faculty adviser. Students are encouraged to consult frequently with their advisers concerning the formulation and development of their academic programs.
Beyond officially designated academic advisers, students are encouraged to consult with other faculty members as well. The faculty represents a wide range of expertise and members of the faculty will be glad to talk with students about their fields of interest. In conjunction with the Center for Career and Community Services, one faculty member of each field group is designated as the graduate school adviser.
Fields of Major
At Pitzer College, field groups (similar to a discipline or department) organize major requirements and courses. Students may choose existing majors at the other Claremont Colleges provided that the fields are not offered as majors at Pitzer.
Additional majors are available by arrangement with the other Claremont Colleges. Students with off-campus majors and advisers must also have a Pitzer faculty member as an adviser to oversee completion of the Pitzer Educational Objectives.
Asian American Studies
Biochemistry (Keck Sci*)
Biology (Keck Sci*)
Biophysics (Keck Sci*)
Chemistry (Keck Sci*)
Dance (Pomona, Scripps)
English and World Literature
Gender & Feminist Studies
Human Biology (Keck Sci*)
International and Intercultural Studies
International Political Economy
Management Engineering (Keck Sci*)
Modern Language, Literature and
Molecular Biology (Keck Sci*)
Music (Pomona, Scripps)
Neuroscience (Keck Sci*)
Organismal Biology (Keck Sci*)
Physics (Keck Sci*)
Science and Management (Keck Sci*)
Science, Technology & Society
*Keck Sci-Keck Science Department, shared by Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College, and Scripps College.
Additional majors are available by arrangement with the other Claremont Colleges. Students with off-campus majors and advisers must also have a Pitzer faculty member as an adviser to oversee completion of the Pitzer Educational Objectives. The unique consortium offers an education that focuses on broad-based knowledge, development of critical and analytical thinking and effective communication at the undergraduate and graduate level in the liberal arts and sciences. The curriculum includes natural and applied sciences, social and behavioral sciences, the humanities, business, mathematics, engineering, and the arts.
Combined majors meld two or more existing fields, with some modification of the normal requirements in each. Combined majors must be approved by a faculty member representing each field involved, following the principles established by each field group. Such approval normally must be obtained not later than midterm of the first semester of the junior year.
Double majors require completion of all requirements for two fields. If the requirements for the two fields overlap, some field groups may place restrictions on the number of courses that can be counted in both fields. Students must have the approval of faculty advisers in both fields and should submit two separate Major/Educational Objectives forms not later than midterm of the first semester of the junior year. Majoring in three fields is possible but unadvisable, will be subject to the same requirements as those listed above for double majors and will require approval of the Curriculum Committee.
Honors in a field of major may be awarded to an outstanding student in recognition of academic excellence. Each field group for regular or combined majors (or both academic advisers in the case of special majors) may decide whether to award honors and establish specific criteria for honors. Honors in combined majors may be awarded for the combined major itself, but not for any one of the majors that the combined major comprises. Normally, all students who are awarded honors must have attained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.50 while registered at Pitzer College. GPA may not be rounded. In addition, students must have completed a thesis, seminar, independent study, or some other special program, which has been designated in advance as a possible basis for honors. During the fall semester of each academic year, field groups (or both academic advisers in the case of special majors) will send to their senior majors and to the Academic Standards Committee a formal statement of their requisites for honors. Final honors recommendations will be submitted to the Academic Standards Committee at least one week prior to graduation. The approved list of honors candidates will be submitted to the full faculty for final approval.
Pitzer does not rank students or award Latin honors.
Guidelines for Special Majors
Students may wish to pursue a major that does not fit an established major. A special major proposal should be developed with and must be approved by a minimum of two faculty advisers in appropriate fields. Students must have at least one Pitzer adviser, so if both special major advisers are from off-campus, the student must have a third Pitzer adviser. Proposals should be submitted to the Registrar’s Office to be forwarded to the Curriculum Committee for their review, comment and approval. The criteria detailed below will be used by the Curriculum Committee in evaluating proposals.
Students should choose special major advisers and begin discussing the proposal in the sophomore year. Proposals must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office no later than midterm of the first semester of the junior year (the same date that standard major declarations are due). If the Curriculum Committee has not approved the proposed major by the end of the first semester of the student’s junior year, the student must choose and complete an existing major. The Curriculum Committee will consider a late proposal only if it is strong enough to meet the criteria listed below without need for revision. A late proposal must be accompanied by a petition addressed to the Curriculum Committee that provides a clear rationale for why it is late. Students will be notified of curriculum committee decisions via Pitzer e-mail.
Special Major forms are available in the Registrar’s Office and contain two components:
1. An explanation for the Special Major including:
Title: The title must correspond with the course list and rationale for the major.
Purpose: Proposals must state the goals to be achieved through the implementation of the desired major and explain why these goals cannot be met with existing majors.
Coherence: The proposed courses must demonstrate a cohesive, feasible and organized program of study and explain how the courses work together to achieve the desired goals.
Mastery: The proposed major must exhibit sufficient depth and rigor, including a substantial number of advanced courses. For interdisciplinary special majors, the course list should include advanced work in each discipline.
Capstone: The proposal must discuss plans for a synthesizing paper, project, seminar or thesis. The course list should include a full-credit independent study devoted to completion of this thesis or project, or explain how an existing advanced seminar would serve this purpose. The capstone experience should integrate the knowledge gained through the special major.
2. Course List:
A completed Major Declaration form must be included, listing both educational objectives and a course list, including a minimum of ten courses for the proposed special major. The course list should match the explanation for the Special Major and should be consistent with curricular capabilities of The Claremont Colleges.
Minors are currently offered in the following fields:
Asian American Studies
Biology (Keck Sci*)
Chemistry (Kec Sci*)
English/World Literature Theatre
Gender & Feminist Studies
Science, Technology & Society
Academic Minors will be available only in existing majors and only when the relevant field group chooses to offer one. In addition, students may choose existing minors at the other Claremont Colleges provided that the fields are not offered as majors at Pitzer. The availability of this alternative is contingent on the willingness of a professor at the other college in the relevant field to serve as a minor adviser. (For example, a student could minor in geology because it is formally available at Pomona and is not a major at Pitzer. On the other hand, if economics at Pitzer chooses not to offer a minor, a student cannot minor in economics just because Pomona has a minor in economics available.)
The specific requirements for a minor are designed by the relevant field group, approved by Curriculum Committee and approved by College Council. The requirements for a minor should include at least six letter-graded courses. Students cannot design “special” minors. Students cannot select more than one minor. There should be no overlap between courses comprising a student’s major and his/her minor. An exception could be made in the case where a specific course is required for both the major and the minor, if the field group offering the minor approves.
Students will have a minor adviser (a professor in the relevant field group offering the minor). The minor adviser’s signature is needed on two forms: one declaring the minor and listing proposed courses and one certifying the minor prior to graduation. As with majors, minors should be declared by the middle of the junior year. The minor adviser will not need to sign off on courses each semester; the adviser’s role is to give advice on the minor itself such as choice of courses.
Courses and Major Requirements in Each Field
Courses are numbered according to the level of preparation expected of the student. Courses numbered 1 to 199 are undergraduate courses. Generally speaking, those numbered below 100 are introductory courses designed for first-years and sophomores or students with little or no preparation in the field. Certain field groups may choose to differentiate further their offerings by designating certain series as general education courses for students who are not necessarily majoring in the field. Courses numbered 100 or above are more advanced courses, generally designed for juniors and seniors or for those with sufficient preparation in the field. Please note that some field groups may make no distinction among courses by level of preparation necessary and, thus, may designate courses by a simple consecutive numbering system. Students should consult the introductions which precede each field group’s course offerings.
A semester course, or one semester of a year sequence, is credited as a full course unless it is designated as a half-course. A semester course is indicated by a single number. Two-semester courses may be indicated either by consecutive hyphenated numbers (for example, 37-38) when credit for the course is granted only upon completion of both semesters or by the letters “a, b” when credit for the course is granted for either semester. Pitzer College does not give academic credit or accept transfer credit for courses in physical education or in military science.
The letter “G” after a course number indicates an undergraduate course that is taught by a member of Claremont Graduate University faculty and is open to all students in The Claremont Colleges. Students should check the course listings each semester for additional “G” courses. Students should also consult the relevant field group to determine the level of preparation necessary for any individual course.
The letters “AA” after a course number indicate an intercollegiate course taught by the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies; “CH” indicates a course taught by the Intercollegiate Department of Chicano/a Studies; or “AF” by the Intercollegiate Department of Africana Studies. These courses are open to all students of The Claremont Colleges. Any restrictions on enrollment other than the level of preparation required are stated in the course description.
Some courses may be designated parenthetically with an additional course number, for example, “(Formerly 22).” This refers to a former course numbering system and is provided for informational purposes only.
Pitzer students may register for courses offered at the other Claremont Colleges with the approval of their advisers and subject to intercollegiate regulations. (see here ). Please consult “The Claremont Colleges Undergraduate Schedule of Courses” online for a complete listing of courses offered during the academic year. The courses described in this catalog are not always taught every semester.
Standard Class Times at Pitzer
Unless otherwise indicated, classes meet at the times listed below. Some courses including art classes, music classes, some language courses and laboratory sessions deviate from these times.
|Evenings: 7-9:50 p.m. [one day per week, with break]
|Single day seminars:
|M, W or F