2021-2022 Catalog

The College

Occidental College is an independent, coeducational college of liberal arts. Although founded in 1887 by a group of Presbyterian ministers and laymen, Occidental has had no formal religious association since 1910. It is governed by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees and holds membership in a number of regional and national organizations related to higher education. The Delta of California Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established at Occidental in 1926.

The first baccalaureate degree was conferred in 1893, and graduate instruction leading to the master of arts degree in selected fields was inaugurated in 1922. 

Occidental seeks to provide an education of high quality in the best tradition of the liberal arts, emphasizing thorough competence in a chosen field of study together with a broad understanding of our historical and cultural heritage, and the relationships among fields of knowledge.

Students and faculty at Occidental are engaged in an intellectual partnership in which student initiative and responsibility are encouraged. To an unusual degree, students may participate in the construction of their own educational programs. Independent study and interdepartmental programs are encouraged.

Occidental students represent varied intellectual interests, socioeconomic backgrounds, racial and ethnic groups, religious beliefs, nationalities, and social and political convictions. This diversity finds its expression not only in the variety of academic programs and options open to students, but also through the entire range of student organizations and enterprises, college cultural events, visiting lecturers and forums, all of which taken together comprise the many facets of life in an invigorating academic community.

The College is committed to a philosophy of total education. Intellectual capability is a dominant component, but is conceived of as one dimension in a process that includes and stresses personal, ethical, social, and political growth toward maturation as well. The high percentage of students in residence at the College works toward the achievement of this objective.

Successful Occidental students are self-motivated, independent-minded, and intellectually talented people. They base their judgments upon respect for evidence, ideas, and a deep concern for values, both private and public. They are alert to the possibilities of betterment in themselves, their college, and their society. Above all, they realize that no education is finished and that they are in college to learn how to learn so that they may carry on their own education for the rest of their lives.

Occidental College is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer, and does not discriminate against employees or applicants because of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, gender, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation or disability. This nondiscrimination policy also covers student access to College programs, including but not limited to academic admissions, financial aid, educational services and employment.

Occidental College is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100

Alameda, California 94501

Telephone: (510) 748-9001

An individual may contact the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education for review of a complaint. The bureau may be contacted at:

2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400

Sacramento, CA 95833

Telephone: (916) 431-6924

Fax: (916) 263-1897

Website: bppe.ca.gov