2015-16 Pomona College Catalog 
    Jun 19, 2024  
2015-16 Pomona College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG] Use the dropdown above to select the current 2023-24 catalog.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements & Academic Regulations



Degree Requirements

Pomona College awards the Bachelor of Arts degree to students who complete the following requirements.

  1. General Education Requirements
    • The Critical Inquiry seminar for first-year students (ID 001 PO ), taken in the first semester. (The seminar is not required of transfer students and enrollment in it is restricted to students admitted as first-year students.)
    • The Breadth of Study Requirements
      • The Breadth Area that a course fulfills is determined by the department which offers it. Much of the Pomona curriculum is interdisciplinary; it is understood that students may be exposed to more than one curricular area in a single course, but that course can only satisfy the requirement associated with the department offering it as reflected in the department designation of the course number. The Critical Inquiry Seminar, senior exercises, independent studies and lower-division foreign language courses do not satisfy any area requirement. Partial-credit courses are ineligible, except for Area 1 as noted below and in the relevant department chapters for Music, Dance and Theatre.
    • The Foreign Language Requirement
    • The Physical Education Requirement
  2. Credit Requirements

Thirty-two course credits or the equivalent are required to graduate, 30 of which must be completed with post-college matriculation coursework, and 16 of which must be completed at Pomona College (or through one of its programs), in a minimum of four semesters, with the final semester in residence at Pomona College.

  1. Grade Point Average Requirement

A minimum overall grade point average of 6.00 (C) is necessary to be eligible to graduate.

  1. Major Requirements

Students must complete a major, including any required senior exercises. Students may petition to complete a second major. When a second major is undertaken separate and unique senior exercises must be completed for each major.

Unless otherwise noted, all courses taken to satisfy major requirements must be completed with a letter grade.

1. General Education Requirements

The Critical Inquiry Seminar for First-Year Students

First-year students are required to take the Critical Inquiry seminar (ID 001 PO ) in the first semester. Upwards of thirty sections are offered by permanent faculty from throughout the College. Each section has a unique—and usually interdisciplinary—topic. The goal of the Critical Inquiry seminar is to prepare first-year students to participate fully and successfully in the intellectual community that is Pomona College. To this end, students learn in ID 001 PO  to engage the work and ideas of others; to articulate nuanced, reflective positions of their own; and to present their ideas in a sustained, persuasive manner. During the summer before their first semester at the College, all entering first-year students are provided a description of seminar offerings and are asked to submit their ranked preferences. A list of the Fall 2014 seminars is provided in the

  section among the departmental listings of this catalog.

Students who receive below a C-minus grade in the Critical Inquiry seminar are also automatically put on probation for the second semester of the first year.

Breadth of Study Requirements

The Breadth of Study Requirements provide a window into the vast extent and variety of our accumulated experience and knowledge in the liberal arts. Students are required to complete a minimum of one course in each of five areas, choosing any course offered in the departments/disciplines listed under each area, unless specifically exempted.

Students must complete Breadth of Study Requirements with courses taken at The Claremont Colleges. Breadth of Study credit is not awarded for Study Abroad or other external program coursework. (Students admitted as transfer students are awarded Breadth of Study credit for work completed outside The Claremont Colleges prior to matriculation, but once students matriculate Breadth of Study requirements can only be fulfilled by courses taken in residence at The Claremont Colleges.) 

No two Breadth Areas can be fulfilled with courses from the same discipline; it is not permissible to have only one discipline represented in two different areas. Much of the Pomona curriculum is interdisciplinary; it is understood that students may be exposed to more than one curricular area in a single course, but the Breadth Area that a course fulfills is determined entirely by the department which offers it, with only the explicit exceptions as noted below. Senior exercises, independent studies and lower-division foreign language courses do not satisfy any area requirement. Partial-credit courses are ineligible, except for Area 1 as noted below and in the relevant department chapters.

 Students are encouraged to fulfill all the Breadth of Study Requirements within the first two years.  Except as indicated, only full-credit courses satisfy area requirements.  Breadth of Study requirements may be completed on a Pass/No Credit (P/NC) grading basis.  The minimum grade to satisfy a Breadth of Student requirement is D- or P (Pass).

Area 1: Creative Expression

Art and Art History
Literatures (see below)
Media Studies (courses beginning MS)

Includes English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and classical literatures, including literature in translation. Foreign language and literature courses offered at less than an advanced level do not satisfy an area requirement. For most languages, this will mean that courses numbered 100 and above will satisy Area 1, but in other areas, such as Classics, only 101B and above satisfy Area 1, and students should in all cases check My.Pomona to be sure.

Area 1 can be fulfilled by combinations of cumulative and half-courses in music, theatre and dance as noted in the department chapters.

Area 2: Social Institutions and Human Behavior

Economics (except ECON 057 PO )
Environmental Analysis (courses beginning EA)
International Relations (courses beginning IR)
Linguistics and Cognitive Science
Philosophy, Politics and Economics (courses beginning PPE)
Politics (except POLI 090 PO )
Psychology (except PSYC 158 PO )
Public Policy Analysis (courses beginning PPA)
Science, Technology and Society (courses beginning STS)
Sociology (except SOC 104 PO )

Mathematical reasoning courses offered in the disciplines above satisfy Area 5 rather than Area 2 (ECON 057 PO , PSYC 158 PO , POLI 090 PO , SOC 104 PO ). 

Area 3: History, Values, Ethics and Cultural Studies

Africana Studies (courses beginning AFRI)
American Studies (courses beginning AMST)
Asian Studies (courses beginning ASIA)
Asian American Studies (courses beginning ASAM)
Chicano/a Latino/a Studies (courses beginning CHST)
Latin American Studies (courses beginning LAST)
Philosophy (except PHIL 060 PO )
Religious Studies
Gender & Women’s Studies (courses beginning GWS or GFS)

Area 4: Physical and Biological Sciences

Geology (except GEOL 111A PO  and GEOL 112 PO )
Molecular Biology

GEOL 111A, 111B, and 112 do not satisfy any area requirement, and each have as prerequisite completion of an Area 4 course. 

Area 5: Mathematical Reasoning

Mathematics (except pre-calculus, e.g. MATH 20 at Pitzer or Scripps)
Computer Science
Formal Logic (PHIL 060 PO )
Statistics (includes statistics courses offered by any department)

Dynamics of Difference and Power (DDP)

In 2006, the faculty of the College endorsed an optional component to its General Education Program dealing with the study of the Dynamics of Difference and Power (DDP). Completion of a DDP course is not a requirement, but rather an aspiration that all students are urged to fulfill. A DDP course is one that uses class, ethnicity, gender, race, religion and/or sexuality as categories of analysis and that examines power at the interpersonal, local, national and/or international levels. For a complete list of all DDP courses and their descriptions, see the Dynamics of Difference & Power Courses  section of this catalog. For a list of DDP courses offered in a particular semester, please use the online course schedule on My.Pomona and search for the course area “PO DDP Courses”.

The Foreign Language Requirement

The requirement for foreign language is satisfied in one of the following seven ways:

  1. By passing the third semester or higher of a foreign language or literature course at Pomona College (or an approved equivalent course at another eligible institution). If a literature course is selected, it may not be in translation.  Courses taken to satisfy the foreign language requirement may be completed on a Pass/No Credit (P/NC) grading basis.  The minimum grade to satisfy the requirement is D- or P (Pass).
  2. By earning a score of 4 or 5 on an Advanced Placement examination in a foreign language.
  3. By earning a score of 6 or 7 on a Higher Level International Baccalaureate (IB) foreign language exam.
  4. By earning a score of 650 or higher on the College Board SAT-II Subject test in a foreign language (Listening Tests are not eligible). Exams which significantly test in Romanized writing (in addition to native orthography) do not satisfy the foreign language requirement (Chinese, Japanese and Korean exams).
  5. An A- or O-level (G-CE or GCSE or equivalent) grade of at least B in a non-English language.
  6. By Academic Procedures Committee approval of a foreign school diploma verifying a non-English language as the principle language of instruction, through the eighth grade, or equivalent, to be sent to the Registrar’s Office.
  7. In the case of Chinese and Japanese, by passing a proficiency examination administered by the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures.

The Physical Education Requirement

Students are expected to pass one physical education activity course during their first year at the College from the offerings at Pomona College or through the joint Physical Education Program of Claremont McKenna College. Participation on an intercollegiate athletic team is counted as participation in a physical education activity course. In keeping with the high value the College places on health and wellness, students are encouraged to enroll in physical activities throughout their four years. Students may apply up to eight physical activity and/or other cumulative courses totaling no more than two courses total from all cumulative courses taken to the 32 courses required for graduation.

2. Credit Requirements

Students must complete the equivalent of at least 32 courses to graduate. A minimum of 30 credits must be earned following admission and matriculation as a regular student at a regionally accredited college or university, subject to the following regulations:

  1. The Residency Requirement. At least 16 credits must be earned, and at least four semesters spent in residence, at Pomona College or through a Pomona-approved external study program. The final semester of the senior year must be taken in residence on the Pomona campus. Courses taken at any of The Claremont Colleges apply to the residency requirement, subject to advisor approval.
  2. Transfer Credit Limitations. A maximum of 16 courses will be awarded for eligible and approved college work completed outside The Claremont Colleges, inclusive of advanced-standing credits that may have been awarded.
  3. Cumulative Credit limitation. A maximum of eight cumulative courses (the equivalent of two courses) will count toward graduation.
  4. Eight Semester Limit. Students are expected to graduate at the completion of eight academic semesters at the college. (Transfer students are expected to graduate on a corresponding schedule based on the number of credits transferred in upon matriculation, with the assumption that on average four courses will be taken in each semester at the college.) Students who are not making normal progress toward completion of graduation requirements on schedule are subject to review and possible action by the Academic Standards Committee. Students who believe that they will need more than eight semesters to complete graduation requirements are required to submit a petition explaining their rationale along with a graduation plan to the Academic Procedures Committee no later than the last week of their 7th semester of enrollment.

3. Grade Point Average Requirement

In order to graduate, a student must attain an overall Pomona College grade point average of at least 6.00 (C). All courses taken at any of The Claremont Colleges are included in the grade point average, as are courses taken in Pomona College Study Abroad Programs, the Domestic Exchange Programs and the CMC Washington Internship Program.

4. Major Requirements

Students should consider their choice of major during the first year and must declare the major by the registration period in the spring of the sophomore year before pre-enrollment. Because some majors require as many as 16 courses, students should become familiar with the requirements of the majors that interest them, so that they can take prerequisite or other core courses before the junior year.

In the junior and senior years, all students must undertake a major program of study leading to a senior-year thesis, paper, project, comprehensive examination or equivalent required exercise.

Some departments have unique rules as to whether, or to what extent, courses taken away from Pomona (via cross-enrollment within The Claremont Colleges or via external studies) may contribute to major requirements, as well as restrictions on such matters as taking courses on a Pass/No Credit basis (which is generally not permitted) or the minimum grade necessary for a course to satisfy a major requirement. Students are directed to the department and program sections of this catalog for more information about specific major requirements.