Enrolling in your first semester’s courses is one of the most important and exciting aspects of your first week at Pomona. Together with your faculty advisor, you will select those classes that best integrate your interests and your exploration of new areas. The information in this guidebook will allow you to think about the subjects and courses you’d like to take in your first semester at Pomona.
Your first year should be used primarily to explore the academic offerings of the College while fulfilling Breadth of Study requirements and sharpening basic skills (i.e., writing, mathematics, foreign language, etc.). This guide contains some helpful hints to assist you in the selection process; it should be used in conjunction with the enclosed list of fall semester courses, to develop your first semester course schedule.
First, a few general points:
The Critical Inquiry (ID 001) is the only class that is required for all first-year students. Information about the seminars and how to submit your seminar preferences is available on myPomona. (Go to the New Student link (Through the Gates) on the left side of your home page and select "Critical Inquiry Seminar - Rank your choices") Your top seven choices from the sections offered are due to the Registrar’s Office by July 13. This is the only class you will enroll in before arriving to campus in the fall.
About half of our first-year students are undecided about their majors when they arrive on campus; half of the others change their minds during the first two years. Therefore, it is important to be flexible when choosing your classes. Keep options open while being mindful of special requirements in some disciplines. The requirements for most majors can be completed in three years or fewer; there is no urgency about this decision during your first year at Pomona. The exceptions to this are in some of the natural sciences (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology) and Music, and because they require many semesters of language preparation, International Relations and foreign languages and literatures. In these fields, an early start on required courses may be strongly recommended by your faculty advisor.
It is important not to defer enrollment in a foreign language since the foreign language requirement requires three semesters for those students who begin a new foreign language at the College. It is best to complete your foreign language requirements and all your Breadth requirements in your first two years before courses for your major take precedence in your course schedule.
Law schools and business schools are interested in students with a variety of undergraduate majors, so students interested in these options need not be concerned with meeting special requirements during the first year. Medical schools also encourage students to consider a variety of majors, but they do have specific requirements which require starting Chemistry and Math as early as possible. It is possible to be pre-med and postpone these courses; however, this may require course overloads or summer school work later on.
Pomona does not have a major in pre-business, pre-engineering, pre-law or pre-medicine; i.e., one cannot be a “pre-med major,” but it is possible to satisfy all of the requirements for admission to professional schools while pursuing a Pomona College major. In some departments, e.g., Chemistry and Economics, first-year students are limited to the standard introductory courses like General Chemistry (CHEM001A/B) or Accelerated First Year Chemistry (CHEM051) or Principles of Macroeconomics (ECON051). In other departments you are free to choose from all of the offerings unless specific prerequisites are listed in the Pomona College Online Catalog. You should be aware, however, that upper-division courses assume a more experienced audience than those courses typically elected by first-year students.
Because the College believes that small classes make for the best learning outcomes, you will find that some courses you want to take will close; you may need to wait a semester or two to take the course. It is also not uncommon for specific sections of courses to close in areas such as Math and Economics, where many sections of the same course are offered at different hours. Flexibility in planning your program is the key to coping with these situations. Select several alternates for courses in your planned schedule.
In the following pages, you will see reference to “cumulative credit courses.” Such courses (e.g., music lessons, physical education activities, language conversation classes, etc.) earn one-fourth course credit. In addition to the maximum full-time load of four courses for first-year students, students may take: 1) cumulative and/or half-credit music, dance studio, physical education, or theatre courses totaling one course credit; or 2), two half-credit music, dance studio, physical education, or theatre courses and one cumulative course. The maximum cumulative credit applied toward graduation is two credits (eight cumulative courses).
You should be aware of the College’s academic requirements as you plan your first-year program, although there is no need to let these requirements dictate your entire program during the first semester or year. Students are encouraged to complete the five breadth of study requirements by the end of the second year and before selecting a major. Most of your choices can be determined as much by your own preferences as by College regulation. When thinking about your tentative program, you will want to have in mind some of the basic academic requirements.
A summary of Pomona’s graduation requirements is provided below. You should also read the full description of graduation requriements as presented in the Degree Requirements & Academic Regulations section fo the College catalog.
1. General Education Requirements
- The Critical Inquiry Seminar for First-Year Students (ID 001), taken in the first semester
- The Breadth of Study Requirements
- The Foreign Language Requirement
- The Physical Education Requirement
2. Credit Requirement
32 courses are required to graduate, 30 of which must be completed with post-college-admission/matriculation coursework, and 16 of which must be completed at Pomona College, in a minimum of 4 semesters, with the final semester in residence at Pomona College.
3. Grade Point Average Requirement
A grade point average of 6.00 (C) is required to graduate. However, students whose first semester or first year GPA falls below 7.0 are subject to being placed on academic probation.
4. Major Requirements
Students must complete a major, including any required senior exercises. Students may opt to complete a second major and one or more minors. Students completing two majors must complete all requirements for both majors, including unique senior theses or projects. These options are described at the end of this section.
Requesting a PERMission to Enroll Authorization
Once you are able to access the portal, you will be able to view the Claremont Undergraduate Colleges Course Schedule. As you begin to think about what courses you would like to take, you might notice that some courses are closed or you are not currently eligible to take them. You can request permission to enroll in the course using the “PERM” system on the portal course schedule. You simply click on the course name and number; this takes you to a more descriptive page about the course that will usually make clear why you are ineligible for the course. It might be that the course is open only to juniors and seniors, or to students from another College, or is closed.
From there you can click on the link, “Request a PERMission to enroll authorization.” This allows you to send a note directly to the instructor requesting permission to enroll in their course. The text box will allow you to personalize the request to the instructor. You shouldn’t expect a quick response as most instructors wait until the first day of class to respond to requests. Even if you don’t get a response, the instructor has your request; you can see the request yourself by visiting the PERMission to Enroll portlet on the Student portal page.