2011-12 Pomona College Catalog 
    Jun 25, 2024  
2011-12 Pomona College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG] Use the dropdown above to select the current 2023-24 catalog.

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 Foreign Language Requirement
    • The Physical Education Requirement
  2. Credit Requirements

Thirty-two courses 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. 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. Twenty-eight or more 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 2011 seminars is provided in the Critical Inquiry section among the departmental listings of this catalog; Fall 2012 Critical Inquiry courses will be available in June 2012.

If the Critical Inquiry seminar is not passed with at least a C- grade, the student will be required in the spring semester to undertake a Writing Tutorial – a series of meetings with the Director or Assistant Director of College Writing – to refine the skills of academic written inquiry. Within the subsequent two semesters (that is, by the end of the sophomore year), the student must then complete a writing-intensive seminar. Writing intensive courses generally require 20-25 pages of graded writing from three to six papers spread out over the course of the semester and provide opportunity for revision from instructor or peer review. The choice of seminar will be undertaken in consultation with the student’s academic adviser and must be approved by the Director of College Writing. Students who received 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 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.

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 (i.e. are numbered less than 100) do not satisfy an area requirement.

Area 1 can be fulfilled by combinations of cumulative and half-courses in music, theatre or dance totalling one course credit 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 , GEOL 111B 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. Students can identify DDP courses by using the “Course Area” search on the My.Pomona (http://my.pomona.edu) course schedule. 

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
  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 O-level (or G-CSE) grade of at least B in another 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. 


Africana Studies
American Studies
Art History
Asian American Studies
Asian Studies
Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies
Computer Science
Environmental Analysis
Gender & Women’s Studies
German Studies
International Relations
Latin American Studies
Linguistics and Cognitive Science
Media Studies
Molecular Biology
Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Public Policy Analysis
Religious Studies
Romance Languages and Literatures
Russian and Eastern European Studies
Science, Technology and Society

Special Majors

When possible, students are expected to accomplish their academic goals by completing an existing major and/or minor, along with their electives, since much of academic life at Pomona—such as lectures, social gatherings, prizes—is organized around existing majors. However, the College provides a process for students to propose a unique course of major study that is not formally offered among its 45 approved majors. To be successful, a proposed special major curriculum must possess the qualities of depth, breadth and coherence that characterize existing majors in established disciplines and there must be sufficient faculty expertise and ongoing curricular support to sustain the program of study.

Students wishing to complete a special major must ask three permanent faculty members of The Claremont Colleges (at least two must be from Pomona College) with significant expertise in the area of the proposed special major to be members of a special major committee. One of the Pomona members must agree to act as chair of the committee. The committee then develops the rationale and structure for the proposal during meetings scheduled by the student with all three members of the committee. The special major application form lists a number of specific criteria to be considered.

When the student’s committee has settled on a curriculum (at least 50% of which must be from courswork offered by permanent Pomona faculty; the rest can be taken at the other Claremont Colleges and/or through an approved abroad program), the chair schedules a meeting with the Curriculum Committee to discuss the proposal. The discussion will concern feasibility, cohesion, suitability for an undergraduate liberal arts college; options available for a comparable course of study within existing majors and minors; and faculty expertise and availability.

If the Curriculum Committee believes the proposal is viable and appropriate, the student and special major committee members finalize the proposed curriculum, often with revisions requested by the Curriculum Committee. The fully detailed application must be submitted to the Curriculum Committee no later than March 1 of the student’s sophomore year, unless the student plans to study abroad in the first semester of the junior year, in which case the proposal should be submitted by November 1 of the sophomore year.

A special major curriculum in Middle Eastern Studies has been pre-approved by the Curriculum Committee. Interested students should contact Professor Zayn Kassam or Oona Eisenstadt of the Religious Studies Department.

Senior Exercise

Each student’s major will culminate in a senior exercise designed to deepen understanding and integrate the content and method of his or her field of study. Although the exercise will differ from field to field, each requires the student to demonstrate mastery of the methodology, principles and practices of the chosen field. Descriptions of senior exercises for the College’s majors are available in departmental offices. In some cases, portions of the senior exercise are not given course credit but nevertheless must be enrolled in for transcript notation.

The following regulations apply to students who have completed the final semester at the College but have not completed the senior exercise.

  1. Seniors who fail to complete a senior exercise course numbered 190–199 (Seminar,190; Thesis, 191; Project, 192; Comprehensive Exam, 193; Activity, 195; Reading and Research, 198/199) in their final semester receive F or NC in the course.
  2. In any semester within the following two years, a student may re -enroll for that exercise for a nominal fee.
  3. After two years, the student will be considered withdrawn from the College and may re -enroll for the senior exercise only with the approval of the student’s major department and the Academic Procedures Committee. In this case, the type of senior exercise required is of the department’s choosing and might not be of the sort failed earlier.

Double Majors

Students may complete two majors as part of their undergraduate studies at Pomona College, subject to the approval of both majors’ department chairs and the Academic Procedures Committee. Students pursuing two majors are required to complete all the requirements of each major, including the senior exercises. Some departments may require students to complete additional courses or may otherwise restrict options for a double major when requirements for the two majors overlap.


The College offers the option of an academic minor. Students may complete one or two minors, in addition to the major. If a double major is pursued, only one minor may be completed. A student may not minor in a department that constitutes a significant component of his or her major. Minors are offered in:

Africana Studies
Art History
Asian Studies
Asian American Studies
Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies
Cognitive Science
Computer Science
Environmental Analysis
Gender & Women’s Studies
German Studies
Media Studies
Religious Studies
Science, Technology and Society

Enrollment & Change of Enrollment

Academic Advising

Students are assigned an academic advisor upon matriculation and may change to a new advisor after the first semester, subject to the new advisor’s eligibility and agreement. Students are required to meet with the advisor at least once per semester and must have the advisor’s clearance to register. Students are strongly encouraged, and sometimes required, to select an advisor in the major department once the major has been declared. Students who feel that they have not been able to find an appropriate advisor should consult with the dean of students.


On appointed days late in each semester, continuing students enroll for their course for the following semester, subject to their advisor’s approval; those who fail to do so are assessed a late registration fee. New students enroll on announced days at the opening of each semester.

Change of Enrollment—Add/Drop, Pass/No Credit Grading

The deadlines to make enrollment changes are announced on the College’s Web page.

The deadline to add a course is the 10th day of instruction each semester.

If a student fails to attend the first two meetings of a course, and the absences were not approved in advance by the instructor, the instructor may drop the student from the class. However, students will not automatically be dropped from a course they do not attend.

The deadline to drop a course is Thursday of the eighth week of classes. Courses dropped by the deadline do not appear on the academic transcript. After the drop deadline, students may only withdraw from a course with the permission of the Academic Procedures Committee; if approved, a W (withdrawn) notation is posted on the transcript.

The deadline to elect the Pass/No Credit (P/NC) grading option is Thursday of the 10th week in the fall semester and Thursday of the 11th week of the spring semester. Many courses are not offered for P/NC grading; students should not assume the option is available without consulting the Schedule of Classes, the course syllabus or the professor for verification. With rare exceptions, courses taken for the major must be taken on a letter-grade basis. All students are presumed to be enrolled in a course on a letter-grade basis unless the grading option change is made by the deadline, or the course is offered only on a P/NC basis.

Course Load

Normal enrollment is four full courses in each of the eight semesters. Sophomores, juniors and seniors who are in good academic standing may enroll in five courses. Second semester first-year students may also enroll in five courses, provided the first-year student earned no grade lower than a B in at least four full courses in the first semester.

All students who are in good academic standing may enroll in courses that are in addition to maximum full-time load per the options below.

  1. Cumulative (quarter-credit) and/or half-credit dance, music, physical education and/or theatre courses totaling no more than one course credit
  2. Two half-credit dance, music, physical education and/or theatre courses and one cumulative course

The minimum full-time load is three courses. Students who fall below this minimum are classified as part-time students.

Cumulative courses are not calculated into course load for purposes of determining full-time academic load. That is, course load is calculated by adding all the non-cumulative courses in which the student enrolls in a semester. Up to eight cumulative (i.e. quartercredit) courses may apply toward the 32 courses needed to graduate; however, after the eighth cumulative course has been taken, subsequent cumulative courses will appear on the transcript, but without credit awarded.


Students who have failed to make necessary arrangements for the various financial or academic requirements of the College are subject to having a hold placed on their records that may prevent enrollment and release of transcripts. Unresolved holds at the time of graduation will prevent the student from participating in commencement exercises. The most common academic reasons for a hold are probationary academic status, failure to declare a major by the spring enrollment period during the sophomore year and failure to meet with the academic advisor. Financial holds involve unpaid balances, unsigned student loan promissory notes or loans in default.

Cross-Enrollment Within The Claremont Colleges

Cross-enrollment within The Claremont Colleges provides opportunities for curricular enrichment and participation in the wider Claremont collegiate community.

Limitations on Cross-Enrollment: First-year students may cross-enroll for one course each semester. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may cross-enroll for 40% of their overall program. Normally this will mean that the student will not cross-enroll for more than 10 of the 24 courses taken in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years. Exceptions to the rules above are contingent on advisor approval.

Note: While students may cross-enroll in areas that Pomona does not offer courses, they must complete a Pomona major.

Some considerations about cross-enrollment: Because it is generally most advantageous to take introductory courses for the major at Pomona, students should be especially careful taking courses away from Pomona if they are foundational to a potential major. Many departments and programs have specific restrictions about courses for the major that must be taken at Pomona. These are described in the major requirements sections for each major in the Pomona College Catalog.

The following curricular areas are particularly appropriate courses for cross-enrollment:

  • Courses that are not offered at Pomona, such as Italian and Korean.
  • Courses that are part of joint or cooperative departments and programs in which Pomona participates. These include the Intercollegiate Departments of Africana Studies, Asian American Studies, and Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies; Art History at Pitzer and Scripps Colleges; Astronomy at Harvey Mudd College; Classics; Foreign Languages (all lower-division language, and upper-division courses in French, German, and Spanish); Gender & Women’s Studies; Linguistics at Pitzer College; Mathematics; Media Studies; Religious Studies; Science, Technology and Society.

Some courses at Claremont Graduate University (CGU) and the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) are also open to Pomona students who are majoring in the fields in which the courses are offered. Permission to enroll in such courses must be obtained in writing from the course instructor and the student’s advisor. The chair of the student’s major department determines whether the course can apply to major requirements. Information on such courses can be obtained from the CGU and KGI registrar’s offices; a Web link to the CGU course schedule is provided on the Pomona College portal.

Auditing Courses

Enrolled students of The Claremont Colleges may audit courses with the consent of the instructor. Such arrangements will not be recorded by the Registrar’s Office and the auditor will not receive credit of any kind. Persons not regularly registered at the colleges may audit courses, provided they obtain the instructor’s and the registrar’s permission and pay the regular auditor’s fee (there is no fee for senior citizens). Courses which are participation-intensive, such as art, writing, theatre, language and physical education courses, may not allow auditors.

Concurrent Enrollment

Students currently enrolled at Pomona College will not be awarded transfer credit for work completed at another college or university during the regular semesters. Students who take an approved leave from the College may transfer such work, subject to the restrictions described in the Transfer Credit section.

Field Trips

Field trips are regarded by the faculty as an intrinsic part of certain courses. Instructors certify to the dean of the College the names of students participating in field trips, and students are excused from their regular classes while participating in these trips.

Independent Study

Independent Study courses, under the guidance of individual faculty members, are offered by all departments; there is some variation among departments in the amount of prerequisite coursework before such independent reading or research may be undertaken. A Pomona student may enroll in one such course per semester in the first and sophomore years and two per semester in the junior and senior years with the permission of the advisor, the instructor and the department chair of the instructor.

Reading Days

Thursday and Friday of the last week of classes each semester are designated as Reading Days. Classes are suspended, but instructors may hold study sessions to review previous course work. No new material may be introduced at study sessions. The Wednesday prior to finals week is designated the last day of classes. The finals week noise policy also applies during Reading Days and the following weekend.

Final Examinations

Final examinations are required at the option of instructors, who must hold them at the College’s designated time as announced each year. For seniors in their final semester, however, instructors may omit the final examination or designate an alternative assignment.

Aside from special exam administrations for graduating seniors, instructors may not change the date of a final examination without the consent of the Academic Procedures Committee. Academic Procedures Committee approval is also needed to change the final exam time for an individual student.

Students who (a) have three exams in two days, or (b) have a conflict because of a common final that occurs at the same time as another final may make arrangements with an instructor to re-schedule one of their finals, without APC approval.

Summer Reading or Research Courses

A department may allow qualified students to independently complete reading or research courses during the summer break. Summer reading courses are offered primarily for the benefit of students on the Pomona Study Abroad Program. Other students may also apply for enrollment, especially for a course in reading to supplement the regular course offerings.

Students may not enroll for more than one such course in a summer. To be eligible for a summer reading course, the student must have a cumulative grade- point average of 7.5 and meet any other requirements the department may set.

A student enrolled in a summer reading or research course may withdraw until August 1, by written notice to the instructor and the Registrar. All papers are due on the first day of classes in the fall, and examinations must be completed no later than one week after the first day of classes. Faculty are required to submit grades for summer enrollments by the sixth day of classes in the fall semester. The fee for a summer reading course is $500.


The College has one graduation ceremony each year, which takes place the Sunday after the end of final examinations. It is a degree-granting ceremony in which diplomas are conferred and in which only those students who have fully completed the College’s graduation requirements since the last ceremony are allowed to participate. Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude) are announced at Commencement and are awarded to the top 25 percent of the spring semester graduates. Students who complete their studies in the summer or fall term after the spring graduation date are awarded graduation honors based on the grade-point averages established for the spring class.

Leaves of Absence or Withdrawal from the College

Withdrawal or leaves of absence may have financial implications, depending on the date the action is taken. For information on all College fee refund policies, see the section on charges under Financial Information .

Work in progress for students who take leave or withdraw in a semester will be treated as follows:

  1. The transcript of a student taking leave or withdrawing from the College before the final date for dropping classes will not list courses for that semester. The transcript will record, however, a notation of the withdrawal.
  2. A student taking leave or withdrawing from the College after the drop deadline may, when circumstances warrant, receive a W (withdrawal) notation for all courses for that semester; otherwise, F or NC grades will be recorded. 

Leaves of Absence: Any student who wishes to interrupt the formal academic program at Pomona College for a period of time may apply to the Office of Student Affairs for a leave of absence.

Requests for a leave of absence for a given term should normally be made before the end of the preceding term. Except in special circumstances, leaves will not be granted after July 15 for the fall term and December 15 for the spring term (or the first business day after those dates).

In granting a leave of absence, the College recognizes the need of the student to interrupt formal academic work for a period of time. The particular reasons that make such an interruption desirable and the length of a leave vary. College policy is designed to meet these varying needs and provide an opportunity for a student to discuss his or her plans for the leave and, later, the extent to which goals and needs have been met by the leave.

Return from a leave of absence: If no restrictions have been placed on the leave of absence, a student may return to the College after the period of leave as long as he or she has given written notice by June 1 for fall semester and December 15 for spring. Students who wish to be readmitted in time for priority room draw and enrollment, should contact the Office of Student Affairs before March 15 and October 15, respectively.

For study in the United States while on leave, students are strongly advised to apply in advance for approval of the program of study. If the program of study is approved in advance, credit normally will be granted for courses graded C-minus or higher. Without prior approval, there is no guarantee that credit will be granted. Academic credit will not be granted for study abroad while on leave.

A maximum of eight course credits will be awarded for work other than summer sessions while a student is on leave.

Full information about regulations governing leaves of absence is available from the Office of Student Affairs.

Withdrawal from the College: A student may withdraw voluntarily from the College by filing a Notice of Withdrawal in the Office of Student Affairs. After review of this form, a copy of the notice will be returned to the student with a statement of the conditions under which readmission might be granted at a later date.

Readmission to the College: Students who withdraw from Pomona College before earning a degree may apply for readmission. If the student’s withdrawal from Pomona College was involuntary, the application for readmission, or for reactivation of candidacy within a five -year limit, should be directed to the committee or Pomona official who required the withdrawal. Otherwise, application for readmission to regular standing is considered by the Admissions Office. An application in absentia or other irregular enrollment is considered by the registrar and the Academic Procedures Committee.

Five-Year Limit: If an application for readmission is made within five years of the last semester of enrollment, students may satisfy the rules, regulations and requirements in existence when they first enrolled in the College. A student who applies later than five years after the last semester of enrollment must follow the rules, regulations and requirements in effect at the time of reapplication. Previous credits earned at Pomona College will be evaluated by the registrar and academic departments.

Grades, Credit, and The Academic Record

Academic Record

All course work for which a student enrolls for credit toward the Pomona degree constitutes a part of the academic record, unless enrollment is withdrawn by the drop deadline. Entering students must provide the Registrar’s Office with official transcripts of all coursework completed at other colleges or universities; when such work is creditable to the Pomona degree it is posted on the Pomona College transcript as transfer credit.

Advanced Standing: Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and British A-Level Examinations

Advanced Standing credit includes Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and British Advanced-(A-) level exam credit, and/or college credits completed prior to admittance and matriculation to Pomona College or other college or university as a regular, degree-seeking undergraduate. Credit is awarded for scores of 4 or 5 on Advanced Placement (AP) exams; for scores of 6 or 7 on Higher-Level International Baccalaureate (IB) exams; and for comparable scores (usually ‘A’ and ‘B’) on British A-Level exams. Exams based on year-long courses receive one credit; exams based on semester-long courses receive one-half course credit. Credit is not granted for exams that duplicate each other, such as AP and IB English Literature.

A maximum of two Advanced Standing credits will be applied to the 32 credits needed for graduation. (Transfer credit from college course work completed as an admitted, degree-seeking undergraduate is not limited to the two credit Advanced Standing limit; see the section on Transfer Credit).

Grading System

Letter Grades

Grades at Pomona College recognize and evaluate student achievement and standing. Grades may be based on one or more of the following: mastery of course materials, performance compared to peers, and individual growth and improvement during the course. Passing letter grades range from A through D; F signifies a failing grade. Grades A through D may be modified with + or – to reflect finer distinctions.  The grade of A+ indicates superlative achievement and is rarely given.

 The College defines grades as follows: 

  A  Exemplary   
  B  Accomplished   
  C  Adequate   
  D  Deficient   
  F  Unacceptable 

Grade points are assigned on the following scale. 

12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 0
A A– B+ B B– C+ C C– D+ D D– F

The grade point average is calculated by averaging grade points received in all Pomona courses, in courses taken in Pomona College off -campus programs, abroad or in the United States, and in courses taken through cross -enrollment in The Claremont Colleges except courses taken on a Pass/No Credit grading basis. To convert a Pomona GPA to a 4-point scale, divide by 3. For example, a 12.0 average at Pomona is equivalent to a 4.0 GPA on a 4-point scale.

Pass/No Credit (P/NC) Option

Grades assigned are:

P: Pass, work equivalent to C – or higher

NC: No credit, work equivalent to D+ or lower

Courses graded on the P/NC system are not entered into the grade point average calculation. Grades in courses in which the student opted for the P/NC option (as opposed to courses in which the P/NC option is automatic) are identified with a ^ symbol on the official transcript; i.e., P^ and NC^ indicate that the student elected the P/NC grading option.

Regulations regarding P/NC grading:

  1. First-year students and sophomores are limited to three P/NC courses per year.
  2. Juniors and seniors have unlimited P/NC options outside their majors. In some cases, students may petition their departments to take specific major courses on a P/NC basis.
  3. With permission of the Curriculum Committee, a department may designate a course to be taken only for a letter grade or only on a P/NC basis. Such courses are identified in the course descriptions in this catalog.
  4. Work in no more than two junior or senior Independent Study courses within the student’s major may be graded on a P/NC basis at the discretion of the instructor. The instructor reports this decision to the registrar within the first 10 class days of the semester.
  5. Courses taken on a P/NC basis are not included in the computation of a student’s grade-point average.
  6. To qualify for Commencement honors and certain other prizes and awards, a student must have taken at least three quarters of their courses for letter grades.

Other Grades & Transcript Notations

I: Incomplete (see Incomplete Grades section)

W: Withdrawal with permission of the Academic Procedures Committee after the official drop period has elapsed

N: Designates completion of the first semester of a 2-semester sequence course; converted to a regular grade after the second semester is completed

IP: Designates a course that is in progress or that has not yet been graded

NR or NGS: Indicate a missing grade that has not been submitted by the instructor

Incomplete Grades

Incomplete (I) grades are not routinely or automatically allowed at Pomona College. In situations where illness or other unforeseeable circumstance has prevented a student from completing a portion of a course’s requirements, students may present an Incomplete Petition to the College’s Academic Procedures Committee (APC), along with documentation of the circumstances and with the instructor’s consent, a description of the missed work and deadlines for the submission of all outstanding work for the course. The petition must be filed one week before the last day of classes if the circumstances upon which the petition is based existed by that time; otherwise, the petition must be filed by the Reading Day Friday before the beginning of the final exam period. The deadline for completing outstanding coursework in a course in which an Incomplete has been approved is the fifth day of instruction in the following semester. When an incomplete is requested because of illness at the time of final examination, medical documentation is required within 48 hours of the date of the final exam. 

Repeat of Courses

Some courses are identified in the catalog as repeatable for credit; students receive graduation credit and grade points each time such a course is taken, subject to the limitations described in the course description.

When a student retakes a course that is not identified as being repeatable for credit, the original course and grade remain part of the student’s record. The grade for the repeated work is displayed on the transcript, but credit may only be earned if the original grade was F or NC.

Disputed Grades

If a student has substantial grounds for believing that a particular grade was assigned in a manner that was arbitrary or unjust, or that crucial evidence was not taken into account, the student should first discuss the matter with the instructor. If the student continues to feel that the grade given was unjust, he or she should consult with the dean of students no later than the seventh week of the following semester. A hearing procedure exists, and the dean of students will describe this procedure to any student on request.

Transfer Credit

The College awards transfer credit for courses that are equivalent or comparable to liberal arts courses offered at The Claremont Colleges. All credit for transfer work is calculated on the basis of four semester units or six quarter units equaling one Pomona College course. Credit is awarded for courses taken at regionally accredited colleges and universities, so long as the course is taken on- site, among other matriculated students of the college or university. Online courses are not eligible for transfer credit. In order for the credit to be accepted as transfer credit, a grade of C– or better must be earned. No more than 16 transfer courses can be applied to the 32 courses required for graduation, and a maximum of two pre-college-matriculation transfer courses are allowed. See the section on Credit Requirements.

A maximum of two Advanced Standing credits will be applied to the 32 credits needed for graduation.  Advanced Standing credit includes AP, IB, and A-level exam credit, and/or college credits taken prior to acceptance and matriculation to Pomona College or other college or university as a regular, degree-seeking undergraduate.  See the section on Advanced Standing.

Conversion of semester and quarter units to Pomona courses uses the following equivalencies:

Semester Units Pomona Course Quarter Units Pomona Course

Breadth of Study credit is not awarded for transfer work completed after matriculation to the College. Matriculated students who wish to study at other regionally accredited colleges or universities in the United States for the purpose of transferring credit to Pomona should obtain prior approval for the specific courses they plan to undertake. Transfer credit is not allowed for courses taken abroad while on leave status during the fall or spring semester. Transfer credit for work done abroad during the summer may be granted, but only when prior approval is obtained from the appropriate department chair. In all cases, students must submit a transfer credit application form that has been approved by the chair of the department (or other designated faculty member) that offers the most similar course at Pomona, as well as the registrar, in order to be granted transfer credit. 

The maximum credit a student may earn in any one summer is three courses, including credit earned through a summer reading or research course at Pomona College. If the summer program is the final one for the completion of the requirements for the degree, the maximum credit allowed is two courses, or their equivalent in semester or quarter units.

Internship Transcript Credit

Pomona College awards academic credit for classroom-based coursework only, which excludes internships and any other experientially-based learning activities that are not required as part of an approved course. A student who is interested in participating in an internship for which eligibility requires that the student receive credit should contact the Career Development Office (CDO). The CDO has been authorized by the faculty to assess internship options and, when warranted, approve internships to be notated as equivalent to one-half-course credit by those colleges that award credit for such work, on the student’s college academic record. The credit is not calculated into the student’s earned units at Pomona College. 

Academic Standards

Academic Honesty

Pomona College is an academic community in which all members are expected to abide by ethical standards, both in their conduct and in their exercise of responsibilities toward other members of the community. The College expects students to understand and adhere to basic standards of honesty and academic integrity. These standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. In projects and assignments prepared independently, students never represent the ideas or the language of others as their own.
  2. Students do not destroy or alter either the work of other students or the educational resources and materials of the College.
  3. Students neither give nor receive assistance with examinations.
  4. Students do not represent work completed for one course as original work for another or deliberately disregard course rules and regulations.
  5. In laboratory or research projects involving the collection of data, students accurately report data observed and do not alter these data for any reason.

If an instructor concludes that any of the above standards has been disregarded, it is his or her responsibility to make the evidence available to the student and also to report the incident to the Dean of Students. If it is the first reported instance of academic dishonesty for that student, the instructor may handle the case, unless either the instructor or the student requests that the matter be referred to the Academic Discipline Board. If the instructor handles the matter, any academic penalty may be assigned, including failure in the course in which the infraction occurred. If the instructor believes that the infraction is serious enough to warrant withdrawal or reduction in the level of College academic honors, the matter should be referred to the Academic Discipline Board, which can make a recommendation on this issue. A student’s second offense, in whatever class it occurs, is automatically referred to the Academic Discipline Board. Suspensions or withdrawals required by the Academic Discipline Board are posted to the student’s official academic record.

Academic Procedures Committee

The Academic Procedures Committee is a standing committee of the faculty charged with ruling on student petitions for exceptions to the academic rules and regulations of the faculty. It consists of three faculty members (one from each division of the College), the registrar, the dean of students and two students chosen by the Associated Students of Pomona College.

Petitions. Examples of the kinds of requests handled by the Academic Procedures Committee include, but are not limited to, the following: course overloads; variances in general education requirements; exceptions to registration deadlines; incomplete grades; changes to final exam times; second major declarations; exceptions to residency requirements; and requests for enrollment beyond the eighth semester.

Dismissal from Courses. A student who proves unable or unwilling to carry a course satisfactorily may be dropped from it by the Academic Procedures Committee upon the recommendation of the instructor.

Academic Standards Committee

The Academic Standards Committee meets at regular intervals to review the academic progress of students at Pomona. In order to continue in good academic standing and make normal progress toward a degree, students must: a) achieve a C average in courses taken under the auspices of Pomona College; b) maintain normal progress with an average of four courses passed for each semester of enrollment; and c) make suitable progress toward completion of all academic requirements, including completion of a major.

Depending on the seriousness and the duration of the academic difficulty, the following actions may be taken by the committee:

  1. Warning or probation
  2. Suspension
  3. Required withdrawal from the College

Students placed on probation are required to meet the terms of a specific contract for future performance, which is typically completion of four courses with an overall grade point average of 7.0 or above. When a student is suspended, a notation is made of this fact on the official transcript; the notation is removed at the end of the suspension period. When a student is required to withdraw, a permanent notation is made on the official transcript, unless the student is subsequently readmitted by the Academic Standards Committee.

Class Attendance

Students are expected to maintain regular attendance in their classes. While there is no general College requirement, each instructor has the right to establish specific regulations regarding attendance as is best suited for the course. If a student fails to attend the first two meetings of a course, and the absences were not approved in advance by the instructor, the instructor may drop the student from the class. However, students will not automatically be dropped from a course they do not attend.

Completion of Work

To be counted as work completed in the course, all papers, reports, computer programs or projects, drawings and other assigned exercises must be turned in to the instructor by the course’s regularly scheduled final exam time each semester, unless an earlier date has been specified by the instructor.

Duplication of Coursework

Student work that receives credit in one course may not receive credit in another course. If learning in another course would benefit substantially by focusing on the same material or techniques, then the student may receive credit in each course only if his/her work demonstrates the qualities (by additional length, depth, complexity, originality, analysis, etc.) of two pieces of work.

Quality of Work

Students are required to earn and maintain at least a C average.

The College may require the withdrawal of a student at any time if the quality and amount of work seem to warrant such action. A decision in every such case is reached by the Academic Standards Committee. A liaison between the committee and the student is provided by the dean and associate deans of students. Decisions of the Academic Standards Committee are final.

Low-Grade Notices

Instructors may issue low-grade notices for students doing unsatisfactory work in a course. Low-grade notices are advisory to the student and are distributed to the student’s advisor and to the dean and associate deans of students. 

Academic Distinctions

Pomona College Scholars

Each semester, the distinction of Pomona College Scholar is awarded to the top 25 percent of students in each class as determined by semester grade point average, who in the past semester: 1) completed at least three full graded courses; 2) have no incomplete (I) grades; and 3) received no NC grade in a course that is normally included in grade-point average calculation.

Phi Beta Kappa

The Pomona College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, established in 1914, is the Gamma chapter of California. Seniors and juniors “who are of good moral character, and who are distinguished for breadth of culture and excellence of scholarship” may be elected to membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Sigma Xi

The Claremont Colleges Chapter of Sigma Xi elects juniors and seniors to associate membership on the basis of outstanding aptitude in science as demonstrated by participation in research.

Graduation Honors

Graduation honors are awarded to the top 25 percent of graduates by cumulative grade point average. Students who complete graduation requirements in the summer or fall of the year prior to their commencement year are awarded honors based on the grade point average cut-offs corresponding to the calendar year of the semester they completed.

Distinction in the Senior Exercise

Exceptional work on the senior exercise is recognized by the departments and programs offering majors. The criteria for “Distinction in the Senior Exercise” varies by major but is typically awarded based on review by the entire faculty of the department or program major. Likewise, the type of senior exercise that may earn distinction varies. For some majors, the honor is awarded only to students who write a thesis; in others it is awarded for students who take comprehensive examinations or complete other exercises in lieu of thesis. When awarded, “Distinction in the Senior Exercise” appears on the student’s transcript along with other degree information. 

Awards and Prizes

A number of endowed awards and prizes are given each year for general accomplishments and for proficiency in specific fields of study. A list of these awards is available on the Pomona College Website at http://www.pomona.edu/administration/academic-dean