Occidental College

Occidental College Thorne Hall Occidental College, located on a 120-acre campus in the Eagle Rock neighborhood, is a private liberal arts college located about eight miles from downtown Los Angeles, California. The college’s location has a suburban feel and lively atmosphere. There are coffee houses, galleries, restaurants and stores located just about everywhere you look. Occidental College is very competitive and enrollment is reserved to students who have placed in the top 25% of their high school class. The college takes pride in its diverse student body and its dedication to academic excellence. As a result of its accomplishments in the liberal arts and sciences, Occidental College was awarded a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Occidental College students have been awarded 55 Watson Fellowships, 10 Rhodes Scholarships, 13 Truman Scholarships, and 60 Fulbright Scholarships over the last decade. The college is also ranked in the top 10 colleges nationwide whose graduates go on to earn Ph.D.s. The college is also one of a few select liberal arts colleges chosen by the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement on Teaching, an independent policy and research center established in 1906, recognized for its ongoing collaboration of the surrounding community. Occidental College offers students a unique combination of a rigorous academic program, small size, and a diverse student body. Before transferring to Columbia, Barack Obama spent two years at Occidental College. President Obama told the L.A. Times in an e-mail he has “fond memories” of Occidental and that he’s happy to have the school consider him an alumnus. Occidental College is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Liberal Arts Program

The liberal arts program at Occidental College is made up of three parts in an effort to unify and enhance the school’s educational offering. Students are required to complete the following:

  • 2 first-year writing seminars
  • Courses in languages, geography, and the arts
  • 3 mathematics and science courses
  • Comprehensive exam their senior year within the student’s field of study

The center of the liberal arts core program at Occidental is 8 course hours of first-year seminars. While the seminars are manditory, students are able to choose from a variety class options to fulfill this requirement. The classes vary in topic but each revolves around cultural studies. These classes are introductory in nature and are designed to expose students to four principles – excellence, equity, community and service (the foundation of Occidental’s mission). Within the geography requirement, students must take 3 courses relating to Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the United States, Latin America, and Africa and the Middle East. In addition, students must become proficient in a foreign language, demonstrate college level writing, and take courses in fine arts, mathematics or other quantitative/reasoning classes. The comprehensive exam, completed during a student’s senior year, may include fieldwork, theses, research, creative projects or seminars.

International Programs

Occidental College offers students a variety of study abroad opportunities. Students can participate in study abroad programs offered in several regions including the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and even Oceana. About 30% of students participate in a study abroad program during their junior year. In addition to study abroad opportunities, the college offers a unique program known as the “Occidental-at-the-United Nations”. This program allows students to intern in the United Nations Secretariat or in a related department, such as the international NGO or US State Department. Intern opportunities are also provided in Washington, D.C. Occident offers a number of undergraduate research opportunities for its students. One such opportunity, the Richter Summer Research Program, allows students to conduct independent research in various locations worldwide. At Occidental it’s not uncommon to meet students from other countries and universities as exchange students are welcome at the college.

Cooperative Joint Degree Programs

Occidental College provides students a variety of exciting, educational and career advancing education exchange and cooperative joint degree programs with a variety of local institutions including the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Columbia University, Art Center College of Design, Columbia University School of Law and Keck Graduate Institute. Through a cooperative arrangement, Occidental students can take courses free of charge at California Institute of Technology located in neighboring Pasadena. Engineering majors have the opportunity to finish there degree (after 3 years at Occidental) at either the California Institute of Technology or Columbia University. In total, the cooperative engineering program takes 5 years to complete. Upon completion, graduates will have earned a Bachelor of Arts from Occidental College as well as a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Students enrolled in the Art major at Occidental College can take courses at one of the top-ranked art schools in the nation, the Art Center college of Design, in Pasadena, free of charge. (This program is not available to first year freshman.) Barack Obama Upon completion of their junior year, students can apply directly to the Columbia Law School Accelerated Interdisciplinary Program in Legal Education. To qualify students must have a competitive GPA and LSAT scores. This is a six year program that enables students to receive a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Occidental College as well as a law degree from Columbia University. This is the same program that U.S. President Barack Obama graduate from. If you’re interested in biotechnology, Occidental has a combined program that might be right down your alley. Biochemistry majors at Occidental who maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA in the core courses are guaranteed admission to the Keck master’s in bioscience program provided by the Keck Graduate Institute (a member of the Claremont Colleges consortium).

Occidental Rankings and Reputation

According to the U.S. News and World Report’s 2010 rankings of liberal arts colleges in America, Occidental is ranked number 36. In Forbes Magazine rankings of national research universities, liberal arts colleges, and military academies Occidental ranked #86. We understand that at first appearance a number 36 and 86 ranking don’t seem that impressive, but just remember that there are thousands of colleges nationwide. To even be ranked in the top 100 is quite an accomplishment. The College Prowler, a top online college review website, said that most people “look at Occidental degrees very highly,” but that the school doesn’t get the attention that it deserves. We couldn’t agree more. Occidental is one of the hidden jewels of the higher education industry. Not only does it provides students with a well-rounded liberal arts education but it prepares students to be leaders in whichever career field or path they pursue.

Athletic Programs

Did you know that Occidental College is one of the original five colleges that founded the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) in 1915? Well, it did. If you’re looking for an undergraduate college that appreciates sports and has a well-developed athletic program, then look no further. Occidental College has 21 varsity sports teams and offers students a large variety of intramural and intercollegiate sports clubs, organizations and competitive events. Nearly one fourth of the students at Occidental are involved in the varsity sports program. For several years the Tigers (nickname for athletics at the Occidental College) have been SCIAC champions in cross country, basketball and football. In 2007, the school’s rugby team won the league championship and in 2011 they made it to the NSCRO final in Virginia Beach, VA. The college also has a competitive dance team.

Greek Life at Occidental

There are a number of fraternities and sororities at Occidental College. Greek life at Occidental is intended to instill in students the college’s core values by providing students the opportunity to live and learn in a community where leadership development, academic excellence, respect for diversity and philanthropy are not only accepted but promoted. Currently there are seven recognized chapters at Occidental College. These include four sororities, (Alpha Lambda Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Omicron Tau and Sigma Lambda Gamma) and three fraternities (Kappa Alpha Psi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Phi Kappa Psi, and Zeta Tau Zeta – the school’s only coed fraternity). Philanthropy and service are at the core of Greek life at Occidental College. Each fraternity or sorority has its own beneficiary agency that provides service both on and off campus. Recently, Greek organizations at Occidental have raised over $30,000 for charity and $3,000 specifically for Haitian relief efforts. And last, but not least, social life. Greek life at Occidental is all about the social life. Students participating in fraternities or sororities at Occidental College can look forward to a variety of diverse and exciting activities including dances, parties, mixers, formals, trips, shows, and concerts, to name just a few.

General Information

Admission Office 1600 Campus Road Los Angeles, CA 90041 (323) 259-2700 (800) 825-5262 Fax: (323) 341-4875 admission@oxy.edu Contact: Vince Cuseo Dean of Admission Main Address 1600 Campus Road Los Angeles, CA 90041-3314 (323) 259-2500 www.oxy.edu
Size Total undergrads: 1,846 First-time degree-seeking freshmen: 467 Degree-seeking undergrads: 1,834 Graduate enrollment: 22 Setting Suburban setting Very large city (over 500,000) Residential campus Degrees offered: Bachelor’s Master’s

Tuition & Fees

Estimated Expenses for Academic Year 2008-’09 2009-’10 2010-’11 2011-’12 % change 2010-’12
Tuition and fees $35,343 $37,071 $38,935 $40,939 +5.15%
Books and Supplies $935 $988 $1,054 $1,116 +5.88%
Living Arrangement – On Campus
Room and Board $9,500 $10,270 $10,780 $11,360 +5.38%
Other $1,743 $2,080 $2,204 $2,276 +3.27%
Living Arrangement – Off Campus
Room and Board $0 $0 $0 $0 0.00%
Other $0 $0 $0 $0 0.00%
Total Expenses 2008-’09 2009-’10 2010-’11 2011-’12 % change 2010-’12
In-state On Campus $47,521 $50,409 $52,973 $55,691 +5.13%
In-state Off Campus $36,278 $38,059 $39,989 $42,055 +5.17%
In-state with Family $36,278 $38,059 $39,989 $42,055 +5.17%
Average Graduate Student Tuition & Fees
Tuition for In-state Students $24,930
In-state Student Fees $1,069
Tuition for Out-of-state Students $24,930
Out-of-state Fees $1,069

Financial Aid

Type of Aid Students Percent Amount Avg. Per Student
All students financial aid 365 79%
Grant or scholarship aid 339 73% $7,711,860 $22,749
• Federal grants 101 22% $787,986 $7,802
• Pell grants 101 22% $366,515 $3,629
• Other federal grants 94 20% $421,471 $4,484
State/local government grant or scholarships 69 15% $616,458 $8,934
Institutional grants or scholarships 338 72% $6,307,416 $18,661
Student loan aid 265 57% $1,354,146 $5,110
• Federal student loans 168 36% $658,755 $3,921
• Other student loans 124 27% $695,391 $5,608

All Degrees and Programs

BA/BS MA/MS PhD AA/AS CERT
Total of All Education Programs 477 7 - - -
Area, Gender, Cultural, Ethnic, and Group Studies 27 - - - -
American/united States Studies/civilization 3 - - - -
Asian Studies/civilization 9 - - - -
Ethnic, Cultural Minority, Gender, and Group Studies, Other 15 - - - -
Biology and Biomedical Sciences 49 - - - -
Biochemistry 15 - - - -
Biology and Biological Sciences, General 34 - - - -
Computing and Information Sciences - - - - -
Computer Science - - - - -
Education - 7 - - -
Elementary Education and Teaching - 4 - - -
Secondary Education and Teaching - 3 - - -
English Language, Composition and Literature/letters 36 - - - -
English Language and Literature/letters, Other 36 - - - -
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 24 - - - -
Comparative Literature 1 - - - -
Foreign Languages and Literatures 4 - - - -
French Language and Literature 1 - - - -
Spanish Language and Literature 18 - - - -
History 28 - - - -
History 28 - - - -
Mathematics and Statistics 6 - - - -
Mathematics 6 - - - -
Multi-/interdisciplinary Studies 5 - - - -
Cognitive Science 5 - - - -
Multi-/interdisciplinary Studies, Other - - - - -
Natural Resources and Conservation 25 - - - -
Environmental Studies 25 - - - -
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies 19 - - - -
Kinesiology and Exercise Science 19 - - - -
Physical Sciences 20 - - - -
Chemistry 7 - - - -
Geology and Earth Science 4 - - - -
Physics 9 - - - -
Psychology 31 - - - -
Physiological Psychology/psychobiology 3 - - - -
Psychology 28 - - - -
Social Sciences 150 - - - -
Economics 62 - - - -
International Relations and Affairs 43 - - - -
Political Science and Government 21 - - - -
Sociology 24 - - - -
Visual and Performing Arts 57 - - - -
Art/art Studies 29 - - - -
Drama and Dramatics/theatre Arts 20 - - - -
Music 8 - - - -
Above data represent first majors only.
(-) Indicates that program is not offered at this award level.

Admissions Information

Application Fee College has an application fee: Yes Regular application fee: $50 Online application fee: $50 Application Data Test Scores — 25th / 75th Percentile SAT Critical Reading: 590 / 690 SAT Math: 590 / 680 SAT Writing: 590 / 690 ACT Composite: 27 / 31 Enrollment Rates Percent applicants admitted: 39% Percent of students who return for sophomore year: 94% Costs Tuition and Fees: $37,071 Books: $988 Room and Board: $10,270 Other Expenses: $2,080 Total Cost: $50,409
Admissions Considerations Secondary school GPA: Recommended Secondary school rank: Recommended Secondary school record: Required Completion of college-prep program: Required Recommendations: Required Admission test scores (SAT/ACT): Required TOEFL: Required Undergraduate Admissions Fall 2011 Number of Applicants: 6,120 Percent Admitted: 39% Percented Admitted Who Enrolled: 23% Test Scores: Fall 2011 SAT Critical Reading
  • 600 (25th Percentile)
  • 700 (75th Percentile)
SAT Math
  • 610 (25th Percentile)
  • 690 (75th Percentile)
SAT Writing
  • 600 (25th Percentile)
  • 700 (75th Percentile)
ACT Composite
  • 27 (25th Percentile)
  • 31 (75th Percentile)

Enrollment Statistics

Undergraduate Attendance Status Undergraduate Student Gender

Undergraduate Student Age Undergraduate Student Residence


Graduate Attendance Status


Undergraduate Race/Ethnicity


Retention and Graduation Rates

Retention Rates for First-Time Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees Overall Graduation and Transfer-Out Rates for Students


Graduation Rates for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees



6-Year Graduation Rate by Gender for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees



6-Year Graduation Rate by Race/Ethnicity for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees


Undergraduate Majors

Area, Ethnic, Cultural, & Gender Studies
American Studies B Asian Studies
Arts, Visual & Performing
Art – General
Art History/Criticism/Conservation
Drama/Theater Arts
Music – General
Biological & Biomedical Sciences
Biochemistry B Biology
English Language & Literature
English Language & Literature – General
Foreign Language & Literature
Foreign Language & Literature – General
French
Spanish
History History – General
Mathematics Mathematics – General
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies
Cognitive Science
Parks, Recreation & Fitness
Exercise Sciences
Philosophy & Religion
Philosophy
Religion/Religious Studies
Physical Sciences
Chemistry
Geology
GeophysicsSeismology
Physics
Psychology
Psychology – General
Social Sciences
Critical theory and social justice
Economics
International Relations
Political Science/Government
Sociology
Degree levels for each major are designated by the following letters:
A = Associate degree
B = Bachelor’s degree
C = Certificate or diploma
*We do not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

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