Jul 24, 2024  
2020 -2021 Pitzer Catalog 
2020 -2021 Pitzer Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Information

Course Credit Hour Policy

A one-unit course at Pitzer College is considered the equivalent of 4 semester hours or 6 quarter hours. Each course typically meets for 150 minutes per week, in addition to other course-related activities which may include, but not be limited to, laboratories, film screenings and discussions. The number of actual hours spent in class or in related activity, such as a laboratory, may vary with the subject matter and the level of the course. Generally, students are expected to spend a minimum of two to three hours in out-of-class learning/studying for every hour spent in class, though this may vary due to the subject matter and preparation for the course. 

Educational Objectives of Pitzer College

As a liberal arts college with a strong interdisciplinary 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, to 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Understanding in Depth
    By studying a particular subject in depth, students master a distinct area of concentrated interest, providing a rich and nuanced focus within academia. 
  3. Critical Thinking, Quantitative Reasoning, and Effective Expression
    By comparing and evaluating the ideas of others and by participating in various styles of learning and 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. By engaging the arts, students develop their skills of expression in a variety of creative ways.
  4. 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 phenomenon as a complex, multi-dimensional whole.
  5. Intercultural Understanding
    By learning about their own culture and placing it in comparative perspective, students can better appreciate their own and other cultures, and recognize how their own thoughts and actions are influenced by their culture and history. This understanding supports a set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that facilitate effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts. See student learning outcomes.https://www.pitzer.edu/academics/educational-objectives/student-learning-outcomes/
  6. Social Justice, Social Responsibility and the Ethical Implications of Knowledge and Action Educational Objective     

Through the Social Justice Theory and Social Responsibility Praxis paired course sequence, students acquire a concern with and commitment to social justice and social responsibility through both theory and practice courses that emphasize these themes. See student learning outcomes.https://www.pitzer.edu/academics/educational-objectives/student-learning-outcomes/

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 general objectives in the following five ways:

1. Intercultural Understanding

In order to meet the student learning outcomes (SLOs) for Intercultural Understanding and provide students with a well-rounded perspective on this educational objective, it is important that students demonstrate these SLOs regarding both global and local contexts. Students, working closely with their advisers, will select a set of courses and/or programs to demonstrate intercultural understanding from a global or international perspective and from a domestic (US) or local perspective.

A. Demonstration of an understanding of the intercultural from a global or international perspective

Students will meet this objective by either: 
1. Completing an approved study abroad program (a semester or, in extenuating circumstances, a summer program)
2. Taking one full-credit* course that discusses or addresses a culture (or cultures) outside of the U.S. (including historical cultures and civilizations).
                  See course criteria. https://www.pitzer.edu/academics/educational-objectives/

B. Demonstration of an understanding of the intercultural from a domestic (US) or local perspective 

Students will meet this objective by either:
1. Completing the CASA Pitzer Program
2.Taking one full-credit* course that addresses historically marginalized cultures in the U.S. including, but not limited to, current offerings in Ethnic Studies departments,  Gender and Feminist Studies, American Studies, and courses on queer theory. See course criteria. https://www.pitzer.edu/admission/explore/intercultural-understanding/ 

2. Ethical Implications of Knowledge and Action

Students satisfy this objective by completing two courses: one full credit course in Social Justice Theory and one full-credit* course in Social Responsibility Praxis.

1. Social Justice Theory (SJT) 

The social justice theory course will emphasize diverse theoretical frameworks, movements and histories of social justice. See course criteria.  https://www.pitzer.edu/academics/educational-objectives/student-learning-outcomes/

2. Social Responsibility Praxis (SRP):

The social responsibility praxis course emphasizes the manifestation of social responsibility through community engagement, theoretical analysis, and critical reflection, or “praxis.” See course criteria. https://www.pitzer.edu/academics/educational-objectives/student-learning-outcomes/

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. A total of 2.0 course credits 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. A total of 2.0 course credits 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. A total of 1.0 course credits 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. A total of 1.0 course credits 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).


*For transferred courses, a minimum of .67 Pitzer course credits may be eligible to satisfy the requirement. For any questions, please consult with the Registrar’s Office.

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. Please refer to the current Academic Calendar for specific deadline dates.

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, beliefs, styles, backgrounds, and life-experiences. 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.

Academic Advising

Advising is 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. Faculty members represents a wide range of expertise and members of the faculty will be glad to talk with students about their fields of interest or anything related to their academic pursuits. In conjunction with the Center for Career and Community Services, one faculty member of each field group is designated as the graduate school adviser.

Combined/Double Majors/Honors

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 no 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 no 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. Not all field groups offer honors, and 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. 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 capstone 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 during the senior grading period. 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 is not an established major. A special major proposal should be developed with and must be approved by a minimum of two faculty advisors in relevant fields. When particular fields are highly represented in the special major, the advisor(s) must come from those fields. Students may, of course, have additional advisors that do not come from these fields. Students must have at least one Pitzer advisor, so if both special major advisors are from off-campus, the student must have a third Pitzer advisor. Students must attend the information meeting on Special Majors before they are allowed to submit a Special Major proposal. 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.

The Curriculum Committee will not accept Special Major proposals during the senior year, unless the special major proposal could be accepted without revision. We thus leave open the possibility that students will return from study abroad (or other) experiences their senior year that have served to synthesize and clarify their academic trajectories. 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.

Student Learning Outcomes: Proposals must clearly state the expected knowledge, skills, attitudes, competencies, and habits of mind that student will acquire through the completion of the Special Major. These should be demonstrated by the capstone experience.

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. There will be no more than four introductory courses, and at least 6 upper level courses in a Special Major.

Mastery: The proposed major must exhibit sufficient depth and rigor, including a substantial number of advanced courses. There must be some theory and/or research methods courses in the Special Major.

Capstone: The proposal must discuss plans for a synthesizing paper, project, seminar or thesis. The course list should include one 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 10 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.

When faculty members sign the Special Major declaration form, they agree to be an advisor for the Special Major. They agree to advise the entire Special Major, not just a part of the Special Major. They confirm that they are in the field(s) represented by the Special Major. When the advisors go on sabbatical or leave, they agree to continue advising their Special Major advisees or to find an appropriate faculty member to do the advising for them. The advisors will also write a supporting letter to accompany the proposal, a letter in which they defend the quality and integrity of the Special Major to the Curriculum Committee.

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. Pitzer students may not declare a CMC sequence.

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. Please consult The Claremont College Course Schedule 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.

Standard Class Times (150 minutes per week)





Single Day







select day

(15 min break)







select day

(15 min break)





FYS Fall



select day

(20 min break)





















Standard Class Times (300 minutes per week)




















*Restricted to upper-level courses in Fall semester