Occidental College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Occidental College
“Known as 'the little giant' for its academic prowess and size, Occidental is a...

Occidental College

Los Angeles, California

“Known as ‘the little giant’ for its academic prowess and size, Occidental is a four year, undergraduate-focused institution with a unique core program developed by faculty to unify and enhance the liberal arts education offered.”



Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
2,021 undergraduate students
99% of undergrad students are full time
43% male — 57% female
52% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
171 full-time faculty
76 part-time faculty
10 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

80 percent of the students live on campus.

Retention Fall 2015

93% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

88% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 7%
Hispanic/Latino 15%
Black or African American 5%
White 48%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 13%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 9%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 2%


Colors Black and Orange
Affiliation Division III
Conference SCIAC

MEN’S SPORTS: Baseball; Basketball; Cross Country; Football; Golf; Soccer; Swimming & Diving; Tennis; Track & Field; Water Polo

WOMEN’S SPORTS; Basketball; Cross Country; Golf; Lacrosse; Soccer; Softball; Swimming & Diving; Tennis; Track & Field; Volleyball; Water Polo

Academic Programs

American Studies, Art History & Visual Arts, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Chinese, Classical Studies*, Cognitive Science, Computer Science*, Critical Theory & Social Justice, Diplomacy & World Affairs, East Asian Cultures, Economics, Education*, English & Comparative Literary Studies, French, Geology, German, Group Language, History, Japanese, Kinesiology, Latino/a and Latin American Studies, Linguistics*, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Russian, Sociology, Spanish, Theater, Urban & Environmental Policy, Writing & Rhetoric

* Minor only

Occidental students develop their personal and academic potentials, all while supporting the endeavors of their peers. They can choose from 31 majors as well as supplementary learning opportunities like research and experiential learning. Occidental motivates it students to push past their boundaries to elevate their college experiences and extend their growth beyond the classroom.

Liberal Arts and Joint Academics

Occidental is a liberal arts institution, offering its students a well-rounded education that spans multiple disciplines. Students are also given the option to take classes at Caltech or the Art Center in order to have the best possible array of courses for their academic pursuits. Some students go on to earn joint degrees from Columbia University, Keck Graduate Institute, and Caltech.

International Programs

Occidental offers several international programs in an effort to increase multicultural awareness and respect for the global society. An international experience, like study or research abroad, is a great way for students to develop valuable skills like cross-cultural communication and independence.

Occidental faculty are genuinely interested in their students. They firmly and enthusiastically encourage them to explore concepts outside of their comfort zones. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, such a challenge is achievable with the help of an individualized and intimate learning experience for every student.

Professors and their Roles

Occidental faculty work tirelessly, fulfilling roles far beyond those as lecturers. Professors serve as mentors, advisors, and guides to their students. The relationships between faculty and students are much stronger, creating a more meaningful educational experience for both parties.


Occidental is committed to diversity. Every member of the campus community is reminded to keep the College’s commitment to inclusion at heart. The nuance of diversity is constantly changing shape, and Occidental makes it a mission to stay abreast of issues so as to serve the needs of the community. At the forefront of this effort are the faculty members who strive to set a positive example for their students.

Occidental offers several clubs and organizations with areas of focus ranging from media and entertainment to sustainability. Students are also given the option to create their own club if they have particular passions that are not yet represented. Occidental also has a lively Greek life, giving students the option to rush and enjoy the bonds of a sorority or fraternity.

Los Angeles

Occidental is located in the city of Los Angeles, affording students access to the amenities and attractions of the famed, thriving city. L.A.’s warm climate makes it easy to enjoy the great outdoors year-round. What’s more, the proximity to the city gives students many chances to intern for and work at major institutions and businesses.

Community Engagement

Occidental has three offices that are wholly dedicated to community engagement and service. The Center for Community-Based Learning brings together groups from the campus community to bring awareness to issues of social justice, and the Office of Community Engagement hooks students up with service opportunities through which they can apply Occidental’s values to the greater community. The Urban & Environmental Policy Institute links social initiatives with environmental needs, helping students to bring about change with regards to sustainability.  

Occidental prepares students for success after college, developing their breadth of knowledge through multiple disciplines and concentrations. Students graduate with experience in sciences and arts. They are well-read, outspoken, and intelligent individuals. When it is time to receive their diplomas, they are ready.

Job Shadowing

Occidental offers a job-shadowing program to its students called “Walk In My Shoes” (WIMS). This program connects students with alumni and community members, exposing them to professional, applied methods in their chosen fields of study. A designated host works individually with students in order to place them in the proper shadowing program that best prepares them for the future goals. Before students embark on their shadowing experience, they complete a series of preparatory tasks like pre-site training and writing reflective essays.

The Career Development Center

The Career Development Center is great for transforming student uncertainty into bright, ambitious ideas. This Center works with students to help link their college-life experiences to the real world, clarifying their options for the future. Students can also use the Center to seek out internship and job-shadowing opportunities.


Internships are a great way for students to implement academic theories into a professional setting. They teach valuable skills while providing the experience of what it feels like to work in a professional environment. Occidental’s relationship to Los Angeles brings numerous opportunities to students seeking internships, connecting students to an endless array of professional, top-notch industries.


Admissions Fall 2015

5,911 Total Applicants 
2,652 Total Admissions 
518 Total Freshman Enrollment

44.87% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 600 690
SAT Math 600 690
SAT Writing 605 690
ACT Composite 28 31
ACT Math 26 31
ACT English 28 33
ACT Writing    





Tuition $48,690
Fees $558
Total $49,248
Room and Board (on campus) $14,236
Room Only $7,936
Board Only $6,300
Estimated Total On Campus $63,484


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

70% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
55% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$33,159 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$7,078 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates