Courses

Each unit of course credit at Occidental College requires a minimum of three hours of student work per week for every week over the duration of a semester. As such, each 4-unit course represents a minimum of 12 hours of involvement per week, and each 2-unit course represents a minimum of six hours of involvement per week. Students will typically spend a quarter of this time in direct interaction with faculty, and the remainder of the time will be spent preparing for class. Faculty may choose to set expectations for student involvement differently while maintaining a reasonable approximation of the minimum requirement. Faculty might also require, or students might choose, to spend more hours than the minimum requirement. This definition holds for all types of courses (e.g., lecture, seminar, independent study, lab, practicum, etc.), regardless of the amount of credit offered.

Courses numbered 1–85 are those in the first-year Cultural Studies component of the Core program. 100-level courses are introductory, open to first-year students. 200-level courses are designed primarily for second-year students and are considered lower division courses. 300-level courses are intended primarily for juniors and seniors and 400-level courses are advanced courses, usually open only to seniors. Courses numbered 300-499 are considered upper division courses. 500-level courses are intended for graduate students.

Courses numbered 500 and above are ordinarily limited to graduate students. However, advanced and specially qualified undergraduates may be permitted to enroll in such courses by special petition to the instructor, the department chair and the coordinator of Graduate Studies. In special circumstances, by additional petition to the director of Graduate Studies, credit toward the Master of Arts degree may also be granted provided the course is not required to fulfill a bachelor’s degree.

Any undergraduate course in which fewer than 10 students are enrolled at the beginning of a semester may be cancelled.

Course Repeat Policy

Occasionally students seek to repeat a course in which they earned a passing grade must submit a Petition for Special Consideration. If approved, credit is not awarded for the repeated course; both grades are averaged into the grade average, and both courses and grade appear on the transcript.

Students retaking a failed course may register for the course through normal processes. The student will have both grades appear on the transcript and both grades averaged into the grade point average.