Pomona College awards the Bachelor of Arts degree to students who complete the following requirements. General Education Requirements may be completed on a Credit/No Credit basis, so long as Credit/No Credit grading is not prohibited for a specific course, as indicated in the course schedule. Students are advised that courses taken for General Education requirements may sometimes be requirements for their eventual major, which might require a letter-grade for the course.
- General Education Requirements
- The Critical Inquiry seminar for first-year students (ID 001 PO ) is 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 in the first semester.)
- The Breadth of Study Requirements
- The Breadth of Study area that a course fulfills is determined by the department that offers it, except as noted. 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 6 as explained in the chapters for the Departments of Dance, Music and Theatre.
- The Language Requirement
- The Physical Education Requirement
- The Writing Intensive Requirement
- The Speaking Intensive Requirement
- The Analyzing Difference Requirement
- 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.
- Grade Point Average Requirement
A minimum overall grade point average of 2.00 (C) is necessary to be eligible to graduate.
- 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. Third majors are not allowed.
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 30 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 2023 seminars is provided in the Critical Inquiry section among the departmental listings of this catalog.
Students who receive below a C-minus grade in the Critical Inquiry seminar are put on probation for the second semester of the first year.
Breadth of Study Area Requirements
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 six breadth 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.
No two Breadth areas can be fulfilled with courses from the same department or program. 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 that offers it, with only the explicit exceptions as noted below. The Critical Inquiry seminar, senior exercises, independent studies and lower-division foreign language courses do not satisfy any area requirement. Area 6 may be completed with combined partial-credit courses in dance, music and theatre, subject to the rules found in the catalog chapters for those departments; otherwise, partial-credit courses do not satisfy area requirements.
Students are encouraged to fulfill the Breadth of Study requirements within the first two years.
Area 1: Criticism, Analysis, and Contextual Study of Works of the Human Imagination
Dance (criticism, history, and movement analysis)
Literatures (in English or English translation, or at the upper-division level in a foreign language, or in Classics)
Media Studies (theory and history courses)
Music (theory, history, appreciation, and ethnomusicology courses)
Theatre (history and criticism)
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 and formal reasoning courses offered in the disciplines above satisfy Area 5 rather than Area 2 (ECON 057 PO , POLI 090 PO , PSYC 158 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 )
Gender & Women’s Studies (courses beginning GWS or GFS)
Area 4: Physical and Biological Sciences
Geology (except GEOL 112 PO )
GEOL 112 PO does not satisfy any area requirement, and has a prerequisite completion of an Area 4 course.
Area 5: Mathematical and Formal Reasoning
Formal Logic (PHIL 060 PO )
Statistics (includes statistics courses offered by any department)
Area 6: Creation and Performance of Works of Art and Literature
English and creative writing courses in other languages
Dance (performance courses)
Media Studies (production courses)
Music (performance, composition courses)
Theatre (performance courses)
Courses in other departments/programs as appropriate
Area 6 can be fulfilled by combinations of cumulative and half-credit theatre and dance courses as noted in the chapter for the Department of Theatre ; Opportunities to satisfy Area 6 in the Music Department through applied music or ensemble courses are detailed in the chapter for the Department of Music.
The Language Requirement
The requirement for a language other than English is satisfied in one of the following eight ways:
- By passing the third semester or higher of a language or literature course at Pomona College (or an approved equivalent course at another eligible institution) in a language other than English. If a literature course is selected, it may not be in translation;
- By earning a score of 4 or 5 on an Advanced Placement examination in a language other than English;
- For languages other than English, by earning a score of 6 or 7 on an International Baccalaureate (IB) Language B Higher Level or Language A (Standard Level or Higher Level) exam; The Chinese program now accepts scores of 6 or 7 in the IB Chinese exams as fulfilling the language requirement;
- By earning a score of 650 or higher on a College Board SAT-II Subject test in a language other than English (Listening Tests are not eligible). Exams which significantly test in Romanized writing (instead of or in addition to native orthography) do not satisfy the language requirement (Chinese, Japanese and Korean exams);
- By earning a grade of at least B on an A-level or equivalent exam in a language other than English, Chinese or Japanese (O-level exams are not accepted);
- By presentation of a foreign school diploma verifying a non-English language as a primary language of instruction, through the eighth grade, or any year above the eighth grade;
- In the case of Chinese and Japanese, by achieving a grade of C- or higher on the final exam for the third semester course, administered by the Pomona Department of Asian Languages and Literatures; in the case of Korean, by passing a proficiency examination administered by the CMC Korean faculty.
- For languages not offered at The Claremont Colleges, by the successful completion of a Foreign Language Resource Center-approved proficiency exam that is offered by a faculty member or instructor teaching that language at another accredited college or university; that tests reading, writing, and speaking literacies; and that verifies the student’s preparedness to enter the fourth semester of college-level language instruction.
Students with financial need who are taking AP, SAT-II, or off-campus proficiency exams may apply for Dean of Students funding to cover transportation and exam fees for up to two exams.
The Physical Education Requirement
The requirement for physical education is satisfied by passing two physical education activity courses in different semesters. Students are expected to pass one physical education activity course during their first year. Students admitted as transfer students are required to take only one 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 course credits from all cumulative courses completed) to the 32 courses required for graduation.
The Overlay Requirements
Overlay requirements (the Writing Intensive, Speaking Intensive, and Analyzing Difference requirements) are requirements which may be completed with courses that also satisfy a Breadth of Study area. As with the Breadth of Study requirements, overlay requirements can only be completed with courses taken at The Claremont Colleges; credit is not awarded for Study Abroad or other external program coursework. Lower-division foreign language courses cannot be used to satisfy any of these requirements. Students admitted as transfer students may be awarded Writing Intensive, Speaking Intensive, and Analyzing Difference requirements credit for work completed outside The Claremont Colleges prior to matriculation, but once students matriculate these requirements can only be fulfilled by courses taken at The Claremont Colleges. Please note that although courses may be designated as meeting both the speaking and writing intensive requirement, a single course cannot fulfill both requirements for students.
The Writing Intensive Requirement
Students must complete at least one writing-intensive course after the completion of the Critical Inquiry seminar for first-year students (ID 001 PO ) and are expected to do so before the seventh semester. Writing Intensive courses are certified and supported by the Director of College Writing and the Critical Thinking Committee. A course fulfilling the Writing Intensive requirement may also be used to fulfill a Breadth of Study area requirement and/or an Analyzing Difference requirement; however, a single course cannot fulfill both the Writing Intensive and Speaking Intensive requirement.
The Speaking Intensive Requirement
Students must complete at least one speaking-intensive course. Speaking Intensive courses require that twenty percent or more of a student’s final grade be from graded oral communication, with at least three instances of individual feedback over the semester (in the case of a half-credit course, 40 percent or more of the student’s final grade must be from oral communication). Examples of oral communication can include, but are not limited to, debates, formal presentations, dramatic presentations, leadership of discussion, oral critiques, and participation in class or laboratory discussions. The Critical Thinking Committee certifies Speaking Intensive courses. A course fulfilling a Speaking Intensive requirement may also be used to fulfill a Breadth of Study area requirement and/or an Analyzing Difference requirement; however, a single course cannot fulfill both the Writing Intensive and Speaking Intensive requirement.
The Analyzing Difference Requirement
Students must pass at least one Analyzing Difference course to graduate. Analyzing Difference courses are primarily focused on a sustained analysis of the causes and effects of structured inequality and discrimination, and their relation to U.S. society. Such courses will make use of analyses that emphasize intersecting categories of difference. Examples include, but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, citizenship, linguistic heritage, class, religion and physical ability. The Critical Thinking Committee certifies approved courses. A course fulfilling the Analyzing Difference requirement may also be used to fulfill a Breadth of Study area requirement and/or a Writing Intensive or Speaking Intensive requirement.
2. Credit Requirements
Students must complete the equivalent of at least 32 course credits to graduate, 30 of which must be earned following matriculation as a degree-seeking student at Pomona College, or, for transfer students, at a regionally accredited college or university. Further regulations include:
- The Residency Requirement. At least 16 course credits must be earned, and at least four semesters spent in residence, at Pomona College or at 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.
- Transfer Credit Limitations. A maximum of 16 course credits will be awarded for eligible and approved college work completed outside The Claremont Colleges, inclusive of advanced-standing credits that may have been awarded.
- Cumulative Credit limitation. A maximum of eight cumulative courses (the equivalent of two courses) will count toward graduation.
- 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 seventh 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 2.00 (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 with approved colleges, Semester in Environmental Science at the Marine Biological Laboratory Program, the CMC Washington Program or the CMC Silicon Valley Program.
4. Major Requirements
Students should consider their choice of major during the first year and must declare the major by end of the registration period in the spring of the sophomore year. 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 prerequisites 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 Credit/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.