2020-2021 Catalog

General Information

The academic year at Occidental College consists of two 16-week semesters, each includes one week of final examinations. 

Undergraduate full-time status is 12 or more units. Part-time status is 11 or fewer units.

Students electing to enroll for fewer than 16 units in any semester during their course of study at Occidental must be aware they may not be making normal academic progress and must accept the consequences of a possible delayed graduation date. Only by special petition to the dean of students and under the most unusual circumstances may students reduce their academic load to fewer than 12 units. Students may petition to be part time through the last day to drop classes. After that date students may only withdraw from a class and the enrollment status will not change.

Classification of Students

The class in which a student is to be ranked is determined as follows: 

Frosh The meeting, in full, of all entrance requirements;

Sophomore The satisfactory completion of 32 units of credit; 

Junior: The satisfactory completion of 64 units of credit; 

Senior:  The satisfactory completion of 96 units of credit.

Class Attendance

Regular class attendance is expected of all students. Although the recording of attendance is at the discretion of the instructor, students may not enroll for two courses that have any overlap in time. Faculty have the option of administratively dropping any student who fails to attend the first two hours of  class in any given semester. Professors will communicate with students who have not been able to attend the first two hours of the course to determine whether circumstances beyond their control prevented them from attending before administratively dropping them from the course. Students are responsible for arranging with the instructor the manner in which work missed through absence will be made up.


The decision is left to the instructor whether a final examination is held in a course at the close of the semester. Final examinations may not be administered before the scheduled examination period; take-home examinations may not be issued to students before the final day of classes. When the last day of classes falls on a Friday of a full week (a week during which Occidental classes are scheduled every day) the last week of classes is considered to be the five days of that week. In all other cases, the last week of classes for a course is considered to be the days up to and including the last day of classes that allow for the usual number of class sessions that would take place for that course during a full week. The time of an examination can be changed within the examination period if there is unanimous agreement from students in the class and if an appropriate room can be found by the Registrar. No exam may be held on a scheduled reading day. Examination times and reading days are posted on the Final Examination Schedule with the exception of courses offered at an irregular time.

Academic Ethics

Students are responsible for meeting a high ethical standard in their academic work. Academic misconduct occurs when a student misrepresents others work as their own or otherwise behaves so as to advantage unfairly them self or another student academically. Any member of the Occidental community who believes that a student has engaged in misconduct of academic work should promptly report the possible misconduct to the Judicial Examiner. The Judicial Examiner is a disinterested third party who will ensure that procedures designed to respect the rights and responsibilities of all involved are followed. Key concepts, definitions, roles, procedures, and sanctions that constitute the policy by which charges of academic misconduct are handled can be found in the Student Handbook.

Disability Services

Occidental College works to support students who are differently abled so that they have equal access to programs, activities, jobs, services, and courses. Students who need help related to their disability are encouraged to contact Disability Services by calling (323) 259-2969 or emailing accessibility@oxy.edu. This office offers services such as approval for accommodations, assistance with advocacy, ensuring adherence to state and federal disability laws, and basic support for academic skill building. By working closely with faculty, staff, and administrators, the Disability Services team works to create a supportive community that promotes awareness, sensitivity, and understanding of students with disabilities.

The Student Progress Committee

The Student Progress Committee is charged with interpreting and enforcing academic policies.  Chaired by the Associate Dean for Student Issues, it is comprised of the Associate Deans of the College, the Registrar, the Director of Academic Advising, the Disability Services Coordinator, the Director of Financial Aid, and the Director of Student Success. The Student Progress Committee decides questions of academic standing, readmission to the college after a required academic leave due to academic standing, and reviews and makes decisions on Independent Studies, Independent Patterns of Study, and Petitions for Special Consideration.