Claremont McKenna College is a part of the seven-college consortium known as The Claremont Colleges. Students can take classes among any of the seven schools and many participate in clubs or organizations within the other campuses. Claremont McKenna is located in Claremont, California, a suburban town about 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. It was originally founded as Claremont Men’s College in 1946, and it became coeducational in 1976. Although the student population is small at just under 1,400, students from the various Claremont colleges often interact, resulting in a larger community feel.
Claremont McKenna’s curriculum focuses on social sciences including economics, government, international relations and psychology. These are also among the most popular majors, of which there are 33, and around 45% of students will major in social sciences. There are also several multidisciplinary majors, including management engineering, philosophy and public affairs, and science and management. There are no traditional minors offered, but Claremont McKenna College students can take ‘interdisciplinary sequences’ in subjects like Asian American Studies, computer science, ethics, financial economics and gender studies.
In order to graduate, students must take calculus, two science classes, two humanities classes outside of their major and three social science courses outside their major. They also must prove proficiency in a foreign language by taking a proficiency exam or taking a third semester of a language. Freshmen must complete a humanities and a writing seminar. Seniors must also finish a senior thesis which usually takes one semester. Students who do not participate in sports are required to take three semesters of physical education classes. Claremont McKenna College also offers more than 10 research institutes, which allows undergraduates to experience graduate-level research.
Classes remain small. About 83% have less than 20 students. The student-faculty ratio is also low at 10.5 to 1. Over half the students choose to participate in study-abroad programs. Some students choose to take part in the Washington Program, where they complete an internship and take government-related classes in Washington. However, there are many opportunities on campus as well. All Claremont McKenna College freshmen are required to live on campus, and about 85% decide to live in college housing their entire four years. Dorms are divided into three sections: the North Quad, Mid Quad, and South Quad. There are also senior apartments on the eastern side of campus. Most of the social activities and parties occur in the place between buildings 661 and 671 near these apartments. There are also many student-run organizations and clubs, including an improv and an a cappella group. Students can write for “The CMC Forum,” the oldest publication on campus. It was originally a newspaper, but now can be found solely online. There are also several magazines, including “The Claremont Independent” and the “Claremont Port Side.” The athletics program is combined with student athletes from Harvey Mudd and Scripps College. They compete in the NCAA Division III Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The Claremont Colleges represent opportunities to move outside each individual campus for a wider selection of classes and extracurricular activities. Because of the small student population, there is a tight-knit community, but the proximity to Los Angeles provides bright employment prospects.