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Academic Program Requirements for the Art Major

Download a printable Art Requirements [pdf] here

Requirement for Admission to the Art Major

  • Completion of at least two courses in art at Swarthmore with grades of B or better.

Requirements for Completion of the Art Major

All art majors are required to take 10 courses (nine credits of art courses and one credit of art history) to fulfill major requirements. Five art credits in a chosen medium will form an art concentration. Of these five courses, one will be the Senior Capstone. The areas of concentration are painting, 3D design, photography, and sculpture. In addition, art majors will be required to take the two-credit course ARTT 101: Contemporary Art Practice Seminar.  ARTT 101 will be offered each Fall and should be taken in the senior year as a precursor to Senior Capstone. Additionally, students must complete two elective studio courses outside their area of concentration. The one required art history credit should relate to the chosen area of concentration in the art major. Students are encouraged to take more art history courses in their time at Swarthmore. These courses would count outside the art major.

Art Major Credits:

  • Five courses in one art concentration (including Senior Capstone)
  • Two elective art courses
  • One art history course related to the area of concentration
  • ARTT 101: Contemporary Art Practice 

Further information:

  • Four credits in an art concentration must be completed before entry into an Senior Capstone.  
  • ARTT 101: Contemporary Art Practice must be completed before entry into an Senior Capstone.
  • As part of ARTT 101, art majors will write a significant research paper on a topic related to their own interests and work.
  • Up to two credits abroad can count toward the major.
  • Art majors are required to mount a selection of their thesis work in a group exhibition in the List Gallery. The exhibitions will be curated in collaboration with art faculty and the List Gallery director. The exhibitions are scheduled during the end of spring semester each year.
  • The senior exhibition is a comprehensive exam and is a pass/fail.
  • Honors art majors are required to mount a solo exhibition in the List Gallery, and in addition to giving an artist’s talk, all honors art majors must complete a 3,750- to 5,000-word artist essay, framing their work, influence, and process for readers.
  • There is no course minor in art, only an honors minor.
  • CR/NC designations cannot be accepted for courses inside the major

Art Majors and the 20-Course Rule

It is a College requirement that 20 of the 32 credits required for graduation must be outside the major. This means that students can take no more than 12 courses in the major unless they graduate with more than 32 credits, in which case the surplus can also be in the major. For art majors, the required one credit in art history counts within the major, but additional credits in art history count outside the major. 

Off-Campus Study

The Art Department strongly encourages those with an interest in art and its history to consider incorporating study abroad — either during a summer or a regular academic term — into their Swarthmore program. Important examples of art and architecture are scattered throughout the world, and the encounter with works still embedded in their original context is vital to an understanding of their historical and contemporary significance. Students who are interested in bettering their chances of gaining a full Swarthmore credit for a course taken in a foreign program are advised to meet with their advisor and the chair of the Art Department before leaving the campus. Up to two credits abroad can count toward the major.