Resources for Academic Advisors

This resource sheet is a quick guide to some of our students' more common questions; it isn't comprehensive. If your question isn't answered here, please consult the course catalog or contact the Registrar's Office (; x18101). 

My advisee still doesn't understand the GE requirements. Can you help me with a quick overview?

Here is an overview of the GE requirements.

Do students really have to take three semesters of a foreign language here?

No. The requirement is for proficiency, not coursework, so students can satisfy it in many ways. They can take a placement test during Orientation and earn a score that places them out of the third semester course. International students who graduated from secondary school in which English was NOT the language of instruction may request a waiver of the foreign language requirement.

Please note that in order to be eligible for election to Phi Beta Kappa, students must demonstrate proficiency in mathematics and foreign language by completing a math course numbered 30 or above and the fourth college semester of a language other than English or its equivalent. Students can demonstrate foreign language proficiency that satisfies the Phi Beta Kappa requirement by placing into the fifth semester or higher via placement exam, or by receiving a native proficiency waiver for the GE in foreign language.

How does AP/IB credit work?

Here is an explanation of AP/IB credits.

My advisee wants to satisfy one of the GEs by taking a course elsewhere over the summer. Is this okay?

It depends on the GE and the course your advisee selects. Your advisee needs to consult with the department that administers the GE and with the Registrar.

My advisee wants to take an online course and transfer the credit to CMC. Can students do that?

Normally, no. CMC does not give credit for online courses. CMC made a temporary exception and permit courses offered online elsewhere from the summer of 2020 through the summer of 2021 to be eligible for transfer credit. Current students must have all courses pre-approved to qualify for this exception. Your advisee should request transfer credit approval by filling out the transfer credit approval request form after conferring with the appropriate department or program chair regarding course equivalency at CMC.

My advisees have questions about another CMC major or sequence. Where do I send them?

Department and Program Chairs for 2022-2023

American Studies: Daniel Livesay (History) 
Asian Studies: Minju Kim (Modern Languages and Literatures) 
Biochemistry: Mary Hatcher-Skeers (Keck Science-Chemistry) 
Biophysics: Adam Landsberg (Fall 2022)/Scot Gould (Spring 2023) (Keck Science-Physics) 
Biology: Donald McFarlane and Marion Preest (Keck Science-Biology) 
Chemistry: Anna Wenzel (Keck Science-Chemistry) 
Classical Studies: Shane Bjornlie (History)
Data Science: Mark Huber (Mathematical Sciences)
Economics: David Bjerk (RDS)
Economics-Accounting: Marc Massoud (RDS) 
Economics and Engineering: Scot Gould (Keck Science-Physics) 
Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP): Branwen Williams (Keck Science- Environmental Science)
Environmental Analysis Program (EAP): Colin Robins(Keck Science- Environmental Science)
Film Studies (dual major only): Jim Morrison (Literature) 
French: Fazia Aitel (Modern Languages)  
Government: Jon Shields (Government) 
History: Tamara Venit-Shelton (History) 
International Relations: Bill Ascher (IR/Government)  
Literature: Nicholas Warner (Literature) 
Mathematical and Computational Sciences: Chiu-Yen Kao(Mathematical Sciences)
Middle East Studies: Heather Ferguson (History)
Molecular Biology: Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert (Keck Science-Biology)
Neuroscience: Melissa Coleman(Keck Science-Neuroscience)
Organismal Biology: Sarah Budischak (Keck Science-Biology)
Philosophy: Adrienne Martin (Philosophy)  
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE): Cameron Shelton (Robert Day School)
Philosophy and Public Affairs: Drew Schroeder (Philosophy)  
Physics: Adam Landsberg (Fall 2022)/Scot Gould (Spring 2023) (Keck Science-Physics) 
Psychological Science: Cathy Reed (Psychological Science)
Public Policy: Shanna Rose (Government)
Religious Studies: Esther Chung-Kim (Religious Studies) 
Science Management: Anna Wenzel (Keck Science-Chemistry)
Spanish: Salvador Velazco (Modern Languages) 

What about sequences?

Asian American Studies: Wei-Chin Hwang (Psychological Science) 
Computer Science: Mark Huber (Mathematical Sciences)
Data Science: Mark Huber (Mathematical Sciences)
Ethics: Rima Basu (Philosophy)
Financial Economics: Nishant Dass (RDS) 
Gender and Sexuality Studies: Sarah Sarzynski and Diana Selig (History)
Human Rights: Wendy Lower (History)
Jewish Studies: Gary Gilbert (Religious Studies) 
Leadership Studies: Ron Riggio (Psychological Science)  
Legal Studies: Michael Fortner Government)

What about RDS and the BA/MA program?

Eric Hughson, Director of Graduate Programs.

My advisee wants to do an off-campus major.  Anything special I should know about that?

Your advisee should make an appointment with the chair of the department housing the off-campus to get the most up-to-date information. The Registrar's Office has a form they will eventually fill out with that person in order to declare the major

My advisee wants to declare a major I know nothing about. Should I stop being the advisor of record?

If both of you are happy with the advising relationship, there's no need to sever it, but your advisee should make sure to consult regularly with the faculty member assigned to advise majors in the relevant department.  If your advisee does want to switch advisors there is a Change of Advisor form at the Registrar's Office.  The major advisor can also be listed as the secondary advisor. 

My advisee has questions about an intercollegiate major. What are those, anyway?

There are two intercollegiate departments, Africana Studies and Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies, which offer majors. There are also two intercollegiate majors, one in Media Studies and one under the auspices of the Pomona College Theater Program.   

Africana Studies: Laura Harris (Africana Studies, Pitzer,
Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies: Rita Alcalá (Scripps, Chicanx/Latinx Studies,
Media Studies: Jim Morrison (Literature,
Theater: James P. Taylor (Pomona, Theater,

My advisee wants to study abroad. Where is the best place to start exploring those options?

Send your advisee to Off-Campus Study at the Center for Global Education to get started on the study abroad process.  For questions about transferring credit back from study abroad to satisfy specific CMC GEs and/or major requirements, your advisee should talk to the contact person listed above for the department/major. 

My advisee has a question about academics that I don't see covered here.

The Registrar's Office always has the answer ( or x18101).

My advisee's parent emailed me with a question about my advisee's academic progress. The parent says their child signed a FERPA waiver.  How should I respond?

When a student signs a FERPA waiver, the advisor gets copied on the email the Registrar sends.  You can always contact the Registrar to ask if your advisee has signed a FERPA waiver. Of course, if the student hasn't agreed to waive their FERPA rights to privacy, you can't communicate with the parent about the student's academic progress.  If the student did sign a waiver allowing the parent access to their academic information, you may communicate with the parent, but you aren't required to. You might want to check to see what the advisee prefers you do in this situation.

My advisee seems to be struggling academically. What resources do we have?

In general: the Dean of Students Office provides academic success resources to support the efforts of the faculty with supplemental academic coaching, peer tutoring, professionalized accessibility services including accommodations testing, and workshops and clinics to develop students' executive functioning skills. The office also helps to manage the withdrawal and readmission processes, and provides early intervention when students are in academic peril. The Dean of Students Office welcomes calls and emails from faculty identifying any academic or health and wellness concerns they have about students. These might include attendance patterns, despondence, disruptive behavior, declining grades, etc. Academic Affairs and Student Affairs at CMC are close partners and are here to support faculty advisors. Please reach out to Dianna Graves (, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at any time.

If your student has a disability, refer them to the Assistant Dean of Students for Disability Services and Academic Success (

For issues with writing: the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, which has trained student consultants who meet with writers at any stage of the writing process. The CWPD also offers support to international students, who should contact Mellissa Martinez ( Finally, the CWPD runs an academic mentoring program for first-year students. Megan Davidson is the interim director (

The Claremont Colleges Library offers a vast array of workshops. Topics include identifying and managing appropriate sources and citing them correctly, conducting research on different topics using different databases, using different presentation software, time management, and many more. Send your student to consult the "Research Support" section of the Library website.

The Murty Sunak Quantitative and Computing Lab offers tutoring  and project consulting for students in quantitative studies across the curriculum and in computing, and also sponsors workshops on different topics.

The Modern Language Resource Center (HUM 122, Scripps) is a joint resource for CMC, Scripps and Pitzer students studying foreign languages. They offer drop-in tutoring and other resources.

My advisee has some personal issues. How should I handle this? 

You don't have to be your advisee's personal confidant, but you can point out some resources. When personal issues come up, it is always appropriate to refer your advisee to the Dean of Students Office (x18114), on the first floor of Heggblade. As appropriate, you can also direct your student to one or more of these places. Many offer mentoring programs for first-year students.

The CARE Center (Civility, Access, Resources, and Expression), Heggblade second floor; Associate Dean of Students for Diversity, Inclusion and Residential Life, Ashley Barton, is the director (

Hillel at the Claremont Colleges: Rabbi Hannah Elkin (; x18824.

The Chaplains' Office (McAlister Center for Religious Activities) has Protestant, Catholic, Muslim and Jewish chaplains who hold religious services and provide pastoral counseling;; x18685.

The Queer Resource Center is a 7Cs resource center housed at Pomona, in Walton Commons;; x78187.

The Asian American Resource Center is housed in the Smith Campus Center at Pomona;; x18639.

The Office of Black Student Affairs holds activities and offers tutoring and academic support for students of African descent. They are housed in the OBSA House at 139 E. 7th St.;; x73669.

Chicano/Latino Student Affairs provides personal, cultural and academic support to Chicanx and Latinx students. They are on the second floor of Tranquada Student Services.; x18044.

International Student Support Services in the Dean of Students Office is led by Chrystal Orozco;

The Student Disability Resource Center is a 7Cs resource center in Tranquada Student Services, first floor;; x77419.

CMC's Assistant Dean of Students for Mental Health and Case Management, Jess Neilson ( works with students grappling with personal challenges to identify their current needs and coordinate support through an ongoing partnership.

The DOS academic success team, headed by Sr. Associate Dean for Student Success, Sue Layden ( supports students in their individual development through mentorship, programming, accessibility, and resources (peer tutoring, success coaches, etc.) that expand their understanding and practice of well-being and academic success.

Speaking of that, my advisee wants to know how to let professors know about a documented learning disability.

The student needs to contact CMC Accessibility Services, if they haven't already, to request accommodations ( That office will send the student an email saying that the student is eligible for accommodations and describing what the appropriate accommodations are.  The student needs to follow up personally, and sooner rather than later, with each professor to make arrangements for any accommodations requested.

My advisee's learning disability hasn't been documented yet.

The student should contact Accessibility Services ( for information about how to do so. Since the process can be lengthy, your advisee should start it as soon as possible.

My advisee seems really down and isn't making a good adjustment to CMC.

Referral to the Dean of Students Office (x18114) is best here. You can also call or email DoS and give them a heads-up that they should check on your advisee and reach out to them. You may want to make a point of checking in with your advisee more often, to help them feel more connected to our community.