Academic Standing

Occidental College requires 128 units of coursework completed with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better for graduation with the A.B. degree. At the close of each semester, the Student Progress Committee reviews the records of all students whose semester or cumulative GPA is below 2.0, who are not making normal academic progress toward graduation, or who have received at least one grade of F for the semester.

Good Standing

The Student Progress Committee uses two criteria to establish the academic standing of a student: (1) that based on the 2.0 average and (2) that based on the number of courses successfully completed with respect to the total number of courses taken (normal academic progress). A student is in good standing unless they are placed on a semester of academic concern, a required academic leave, or dismissed according to the criteria outlined below.

Semester of Academic Concern

Students whose semester or cumulative GPA is below 2.0 will normally be placed on a semester of academic concern  for the following semester. (First-year students finishing their first semester—not transfers—will be placed on a semester of academic concern if their GPA is below 1.85.) In addition, students with GPAs at or above 2.0 may be placed on a semester of academic concern if they appear to be making unsatisfactory progress toward meeting graduation requirements (through withdrawals, Incompletes, dropped courses, etc.). The purpose of placing a student on a semester of academic concern is not punitive; its intention is to alert students to developing problems that may jeopardize their eventual graduation from Occidental, and to urge them to take immediate action to address these problems. Students placed on a semester of academic concern will receive a letter announcing this status, with requirements that they consult with the Dean of Students Office and their academic advisers to devise a plan for academic success and a return to good academic standing.

Required Academic Leave

Students who achieve a GPA below 2.0 for two consecutive semesters may be placed on a required academic leave.  In making this determination the Student Progress Committee will consider not only the GPA but also progress toward the degree, patterns of academic improvement or deterioration, and special circumstances. A required academic leave is intended to provide students who have serious difficulties with time to rethink their academic strategies and relation to Occidental College, with the purpose of having them either return for a successful academic career at Occidental or develop a more successful educational plan elsewhere. It may be assigned for one semester or two immediately following the Committee’s decision. Students on a required academic leave are generally required to do coursework at another institution and complete it satisfactorily before readmission to Occidental, which must occur following the guidelines for readmission after a Withdrawal from the College or Leave of Absence. Specific requirements for students on a required academic leave are set forth in letters sent to them notifying them of the Committee’s decision.

Students who achieve a GPA of 0.75 or below in any semester will normally be automatically placed on a required academic leave for the following semester.

Students earning GPAs below 2.0 for three consecutive semesters will normally be placed on a required academic leave for one year.


When the Student Progress Committee determines that a student’s chances of success at Occidental are minimal or none, it may impose dismissal. A comment indicating the dismissal is recorded on the student transcript. Dismissed students are not given the option of applying for readmission.