Degree Requirements

9.1 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science

The degree of bachelor of arts or bachelor of science is conferred upon students who have met the following requirements for graduation. The candidate must have:

  1. Completed 32 course credits or their equivalent.
  2. An average grade of at least C in the Swarthmore courses counted for graduation (see section 8.2.6). A student with more than 32 credits may use the Swarthmore credits within the highest 32 for the purposes of achieving the C average.
  3. Complied with the distribution requirements and have completed at least 20 credits outside one major subject (see section 7.2).
  4. Fulfilled the foreign language requirement, having either: (a) successfully studied 3 years or the “block” equivalent of a single foreign language during grades 9 through 12 (work done before grade 9 cannot be counted, regardless of the course level); (b) achieved a score of 600 or better on a standard achievement test of a foreign language; (c) passed either the final term of a college-level, yearlong, introductory foreign language course or a semester-long intermediate foreign language course; or (d) learned English as a foreign language while remaining demonstrably proficient in another.
  5. Met the requirements in the major and supporting fields during the last 2 years. (For requirements pertaining to majors and minors, see section 7.4).
  6. Passed satisfactorily the comprehensive examinations in his or her major field or met the standards set by visiting examiners in the Honors Program.
  7. Completed four semesters of study at Swarthmore College. Two of these must constitute the senior year (i.e., the last two full-time semesters of degree work), with the exception that seniors during the first semester of their senior year, with the approval of the chair(s) of their major department(s), may participate in the Swarthmore Semester/Year Abroad Program. (For more information regarding the senior year rule, see section 7.6.1).
  8. Completed the physical education requirement set forth in the Physical Education and Athletics Department statements.
  9. Paid all outstanding bills and returned all equipment and library books.

9.2 Master of Arts and Master of Science

The degree of master of arts or master of science may be conferred subject to the following requirements:

Only students who have completed the work for the bachelor’s degree with some distinction, either at Swarthmore or at another institution of satisfactory standing, shall be admitted as candidates for the master’s degree at Swarthmore.

The candidate’s record and a detailed program setting forth the aim of the work to be pursued shall be submitted, with a recommendation from the department or departments concerned, to the Curriculum Committee. If accepted by the committee, the candidate’s name shall be reported to the faculty at or before the first faculty meeting of the year in which the candidate is to begin work.

The requirements for the master’s degree shall include the equivalent of a full year’s work of graduate character. This work may be done in courses, seminars, reading courses, regular conferences with members of the faculty, or research. The work may be done in one department or in two related departments.

A candidate for the master’s degree shall be required to pass an examination conducted by the department or departments in which the work was done. The candidate shall be examined by outside examiners, provided that where this procedure is not practicable, exceptions may be made by the Curriculum Committee. The department or departments concerned, on the basis of the reports of the outside examiners, together with the reports of the student’s resident instructors, shall make recommendations to the faculty for the award of the degree.

At the option of the department or departments concerned, a thesis may be required as part of the work for the degree.

A candidate for the master’s degree will be expected to show before admission to candidacy a competence in those languages deemed by his or her department or departments most essential for the field of research. Detailed language requirements will be indicated in the announcements of departments that admit candidates for the degree.

The tuition fee for graduate students who are candidates for the master’s degree is the same as for undergraduates (see section 4.1).