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What’s Distinctive About Swarthmore?

Student lies on ground and reads book outdoors

It ultimately doesn’t matter what courses you take here. What matters is that you took them here.

Our campus thrives on open dialogue, shoulder-to-shoulder discovery, face-to-face exploration. Whether in the classroom or the dining hall, in your dorm or the fitness center, conversations here tend to challenge, inspire, and enlighten. Mention your latest project to fellow Swatties — even if they don’t share your major — and they’ll want to know more about it.

Aside from offering one of the most vigorous academic experiences in the world, what’s unique about learning at Swarthmore? Your first semester is pass-fail, so you can learn for learning’s sake. We have a one-of-a-kind Honors Program. And where else can you explore a liberal arts curriculum paired with an accredited engineering program?

You’ll learn differently here. Our campus creates a sense of belonging, inspiring you to move beyond what you already know.

Most college campuses are made up of spaces that surround you for four years but don’t necessarily influence how and what you learn. Swarthmore’s campus is different.

At first blush, our arboretum campus will enchant you with its mix of world-renowned gardens and untamed forests. Soon, you may find yourself doing biology fieldwork in the Crum Woods for your animal communication seminar, researching how our system of green roofs reduces energy costs for your environmental economics course, or watching your friends rehearse a theater performance in the beautiful Scott Amphitheater. Take a nap on the sun-drenched lawn of Parrish Beach, or clear your head with a trail run through the woods. It’s a place that ultimately helps define your inner landscape.

Swarthmore also gives you what you need to put yourself out there. Self-discovery is a shared experience here. Swatties sharpen their personal vision in collaboration with friends, professors, coaches, and mentors. Swarthmore’s vibrant and authentic campus culture connects you to other people with similar interests — or makes you curious about something you know nothing about. The Tri-Co Consortium, which connects us with Bryn Mawr and Haverford colleges, allows you to expand your social capital and academic opportunities across three stellar institutions.

And we help you figure out what’s next after college, whether it’s through weeklong externships over winter break, through internships or research opportunities in the summer, or through our advising center for students interested in careers in medicine or law. We will help you find your place in the world and become the person you want to be.

Up Close and Personal

With a student-faculty ratio of 8:1, Swarthmore prides itself on an intimate, personal learning environment.

Swarthmore by the Numbers

Challenge Redefined

Swarthmore’s distinctive Honors Program embodies intellectual self-direction, characterized by deep student-faculty collaboration and exams given by leaders in their fields from around the world.


Best in Class

Swarthmore students frequently receive grants and prizes for their research. In fact, the College has been named one of the top producers of U.S. Fulbright Scholars and Students.


Surrounded by Natural Beauty

Swarthmore’s pastoral 425-acre campus is the home of the renowned Scott Arboretum, which boasts robust gardens and more than 4,000 plant varieties.


Leading by Example

With its carbon charge and commitment to zero-waste initiatives, the College is on the forefront of sustainability in higher education.


Hands-On Learning

Unlike most other liberal arts colleges, Swarthmore also offers an undergraduate engineering program.


Life Among Friends

Swarthmore’s Quaker legacy of simple living, social responsibility, and conservation of resources continues to guide the community.


Swarthmore by the Numbers

Learn more facts and figures about Swarthmore College.

Interested in learning more?