Credit Policy

Academic Period: Swarthmore College uses the semester course credit system, and lists semester course credits on the official Swarthmore College transcript. Excluding holidays, Swarthmore College has two semesters of fourteen or fifteen weeks, thirteen or fourteen instructional weeks including a mid-semester break, and one week of final examinations.

Recommended instructional time: Our official normal student work load is four course credits per semester. One unit of Swarthmore College credit normally represents three to four hours of class or seminar time, with conference sessions and laboratory periods in addition. Conference sections, professor-lead additional study sessions, and laboratories are usually three hours or more in length, and are not reflected on the transcript, but occur in many courses.

Recommended out of class time requirements: We advise students to plan to spend two to three hours of work for every hour of class attended. Our research shows that Swarthmore College students typically work at least two hours outside of class preparing for every hour of class attended. The typical student attends class or seminar for 12 or more hours per week, and prepares for class or seminar at least 24 hours per week.


Course Credit and Numbering

The semester course credit is the unit of credit. One semester course credit is normally equivalent to 4 semester hours elsewhere. Upper-class seminars and colloquia are usually given for 2 semester course credits. A few courses are given for 0.5 credit.

Courses are numbered as follows:

001 to 010

Introductory courses

011 to 099

Other courses (Some of these courses are not open to first-year students or sophomores.)

100 to 199

Seminars for upper-class students and graduate students.

The numbers for yearlong courses are joined by a hyphen (e.g., 001–002) and must be continued for the entire year. For introductory language yearlong courses, credit is not given for the first semester’s work only, nor is credit given for the first semester if the student fails the second semester. In cases where credit is not earned for the second half of a yearlong course, the first semester is excluded from counting toward degree credit, although the registration and grade for the first semester remain on the permanent record.

Course listings in this catalog are intended to facilitate planning, but are subject to change. A better guide to course offerings in any particular semester is the schedule of courses available at the Registrar’s website www.swarthmore.edu/Admin/registrar/.

Subject Code Key

ANCH      Ancient History

ANTH     Anthropology

ARAB      Arabic

ARTH      Art History

ASIA        Asian Studies

ASTR       Astronomy

BIOL       Biology

BLST       Black Studies

CHEM     Chemistry and Biochemistry

CHIN       Chinese

CLST       Classical Studies

COGS       Cognitive Science

CPLT      Comparative Literature

CPSC       Computer Science

DANC      Dance

ECON      Economics

EDUC      Educational Studies

ENGL      English Literature

ENGR      Engineering

ENVS       Environmental Studies

FMST      Film and Media Studies

FREN       French

GMST      German

GREK      Greek

GSST        Gender and Sexuality Studies

HIST        History

INTP       Interpretation Theory

ISLM       Islamic Studies

JPNS        Japanese

LASC       Latin American Studies

LATN      Latin

LING       Linguistics

LITR       Modern Languages and Literatures

MATH     Mathematics

MDST      Medieval Studies

MUSI       Music

PEAC      Peace and Conflict Studies

PHIL       Philosophy

PHYS       Physics

POLS       Political Science

PPOL      Public Policy

PSYC       Psychology

RELG       Religion

RUSS        Russian

SOAN      Sociology and Anthropology

SOCI        Sociology

SPAN       Spanish

STAT      Statistics

STUA      Studio Art

THEA      Theater

Footnote Key

  1. Absent on leave, fall 2013.
  2. Absent on leave, spring 2014.
  3. Absent on leave, 2013–2014.
  4. Absent on administrative leave, 2013–2014.
  5. Fall 2013.
  6. Spring 2014.
  7. Affiliated faculty.
  8. Ex-officio.