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Academic Program Requirements for the Art Major for the Class of 2023

NOTE: The following requirements are for only the Class of 2023. 

Requirement for Admission to the Art Major

  • Completion of at least one course in art history and 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 (seven credits of art and three credits of art history) to fulfill major requirements. Five art credits in a chosen medium will form an art concentration. In addition to the five studio credits in one concentration (architectural studies, painting, photography, or sculpture), which includes the Senior Capstone, students must also complete two additional studio courses outside their area of concentration. Of the three credits of art history, two must be survey courses and the third must be an upper-level art history course. Here are how the credits are divided:

  • Five courses in one art concentration (including Senior Capstone)
  • Two elective art courses
  • Two art history survey courses
  • One upper-level art history course

Further information on the requirements:

  • Four credits in an art concentration must be completed before entry into an Senior Capstone.  
  • 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 group exhibitions will be curated in collaboration with studio faculty and the List Gallery director. The exhibitions are scheduled during the end of spring semester each year. 
  • 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 (with two exceptions: first-semester CR/NC policy and Spring 2020 CR/NC courses)

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 three credits in art history count 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. Past experience has shown, however, that art courses in most foreign study programs fall considerably below the academic standards of comparable courses at Swarthmore. 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. Please note: To receive transfer credits in art history, you must have taken at least one art history course at Swarthmore (normally before going abroad).