Skip to main content

Choosing Courses [Part II]

Later this summer, you will find links to more detailed information from the Registrar and academic departments about:

  • First Year Seminars (FYS)
  • Writing Courses (W)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Practicums (NSEP)
  • AP and IB Credit Guide 
  • New from the Department of English Literature: First-year students are now eligible to take MANY more English literature courses that used to have prerequisites. ALL English literature First Year Seminars (all numbered English 009, such as 009A, 009B, etc.) will offer extensive support for improving student writing.  Some First Year Seminars are offered in the Spring, but many more are offered in the Fall, so consider one of those courses as part of your first semester. Students who may be anxious about their writing skills, might consider taking English 001F (which has multiple sections), and other Composition courses.

  • Classical Mythology (CLST 036 W Course) and Greeks and the Persian Empire (ANCH 031 W Course): both classes are excellent entry points to the study of Classics at the college level and do not require Greek or Latin. They are open to first-years, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
    First-Year Seminar: Slavery in Ancient Greece and Rome (ANCH 010, W Course).
    Greek 001 and Latin 001: Learn the fundamentals of the language and begin to read Plato, Homer, Vergil, or Ovid in the original.
    Intermediate Latin: for those students with several years of Latin, we have two intermediate Latin courses Latin 11 Lyric, Pastoral, and Elegiac Poetry and Latin 029 Caligula and Claudius. Please meet with Professor Ledbetter to determine which one is right for you. 

  • Environmental Studies: First-year students interested in Environmental Studies are encouraged to take one of the courses in [this list] in the Fall semester and to consider taking ENVS 001 (Intro to Environmental Studies) in the Spring.

  • College Jazz Ensemble: Interested in playing jazz on campus this fall? The Swarthmore College Jazz Ensemble has projected openings in all sections. Please be sure to bring your instrument with you to campus. Any questions about the ensemble and the Swat jazz scene can be directed to Andrew Neu at
  • College Orchestra: Calling all instrumentalists! The Swarthmore College Orchestra is welcoming new members in the fall. Be sure to bring your instrument and some music for your audition when you come to campus. Auditions will be held on Monday, September 4 and Tuesday, September 5 (the first two days of classes). Please prepare any 2-3 minute piece (or part of a piece) that you enjoy playing and that you feel shows your strengths as a performer. You may also be asked to sight-read a short excerpt from our repertoire. If you're interested in joining Orchestra, sign up for an audition time on the bulletin board across from the Music Department Office when you arrive on campus. In the meantime, feel free to email Andrew Hauze (the Orchestra director) at with any questions. We hope to make music with you in the fall!
  • Wind Ensemble (Band): The Wind Ensemble welcomes anyone who plays a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument. We are a Tri-College group, welcoming students from Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges who are interested in exploring the Concert Band repertoire in a collegiate setting.  The Wind Ensemble takes field trips to hear world-renowned bands (such as the President's Own Marine Band), and sometimes rehearses outdoors in the Scott Amphitheater.  Any member of the Tri-Co community who plays a band instrument is welcome to join. Auditions (for seating purposes only - everyone is welcome to play!) will be held on Monday, September 4 and Tuesday, September 5 (the first two days of classes). Auditions are informal and laid back: please just prepare any 2-3 minute piece (or part of a piece) that you enjoy playing and that you feel shows your strengths as a performer. If you're interested in joining Wind Ensemble, sign up for an audition time on the bulletin board across from the Music Department Office when you arrive on campus.
  • Want to relieve stress while making beautiful music? Come sing with the Swarthmore College Chorus and Garnet Singers - and get academic credit for it!  The Chorus, a mixed group of about seventy singers. It comprises mostly students but is also open to faculty, staff, and community members. Auditions take place at the beginning of each semester.  Rehearsals are held Wednesdays from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Lang Concert Hall during the academic year. The Garnet Singers, a select mixed group comprising approximately twenty-four members, tackles more intimate repertoire. Auditions take place at the beginning of each semester and rehearses every Wednesday from 8:30-10:00 p.m. Membership in Chorus is necessary to audition for and sing in the Garnet Singers. Academic credit available for both ensembles. Contact Joseph Gregorio for audition information.

  • Gamelan Semara Santi is a classical percussion orchestra from Bali, Indonesia, consisting of tuned gongs, bronze-keyed xylophones, drums, and bamboo flutes. Approximately 20 to 25 musicians participate, mostly Swarthmore students, plus a few additional community members. We perform classical and modern compositions from Bali - some instrumental, some with dance. We rehearse Indonesian style, without the use of notation. Musicians may receive 0.5 credit per semester if desired. We welcome any student musician to play, with or without prior training in music. No audition is necessary. Students who wish to dance should have a background in some form of dance (not necessarily Indonesian dance). Weekly rehearsals are on Mondays from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Lang Music 410, plus an additional 30 minutes per week in smaller groups ("sectionals"), day and time TBA. There are also three Sunday afternoon rehearsals per semester. For more information e-mail Tom Whitman at
  • Dance Orientation Meeting: Dance classes are open to all students from beginning to advanced dancers.  Placement discussion for those with prior experience.  Classes may be taken for academic or PE credit.

Registration for courses will happen on August 26, 2020, after you hae met with your academic adviser.  For now, make a list of courses that not only are in the discipline you think will be your major, but also those courses that interest you outside that discipline.  This will be a good start for that first conversation with your adviser.

Some courses will need to be lotteried. If you are concerned about a particular course and whether there is need for a lottery, please refer to that academic department's webpage under "Courses."

Check back here later.