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Alumni Outcomes

Though the College collects information about our alumni from a range of sources for our Alumni Records database, we also routinely ask about current activities on our COFHE Alumni Survey (managed by the IR office). The most recent survey was conducted in 2017, and a summary of the employment and education outcomes was prepared. The summary is available here; below is an overview.

Alumni Survey 2017: Outcomes
Employment and Pursuit of Advanced Degrees


Chart of Alumni Activities

  •  In spring 2017 the College surveyed alumni from the classes of 1969, 1979, 1989, 1994, 2004, 2006, 2012, and 2016, asking them to reflect on many aspects of their college experience, and how it may have impacted current activities. This report focuses on the employment and advanced education outcomes of these alumni based on the survey.
  • Over two thirds of our graduates (70%, across the crosssection of classes) are working full-time, with an additional 10% working part-time. The unemployment rate (unemployed and seeking a position) for these graduates is 1.0%, below the national average (for individuals with a Bachelor’s degree or higher) of 2.3% at the time of the survey.[1]
  • Consistent with our liberal arts mission, over a third of graduates (35%) are working in fields unrelated to their undergraduate majors. Forty-one percent work in fields related to their major, and nearly one-quarter (24%) are working in the field of their major.
  • Most often, those alumni not currently employed are pursuing further education (7% of all respondents).
  • The rates at which Swarthmore graduates earn advanced degrees are very high. About three-quarters of those who graduated five years ago (Class of 2012) reported earning or currently pursuing a graduate or professional degree – and the rate was even higher for each of the older classes, to a high of 91% of the Class of 1969. Across all classes (excluding 2016), 32% of the graduates had earned or were pursuing doctoral degrees at the time of the survey.
  • While the largest share of those doctorate earners who were employed full-time work in the field of higher education, a majority (54%) do not.
  • Graduates work in a range of occupations, with the largest categories being educators, trainers, or librarians (24%), scientists, social scientists, or mathematical occupations (13%), health or mental health professionals (10%), business or management occupations (8%), legal professionals (8%), and computer scientists, programmers, or technologists (6%).

[1] Table A-4. Employment status of the civilian population 25 years and over by educational attainment, (seasonally adjusted). September 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics.