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How to Write a Sophomore Plan of Study

Sophomore Plan Components

The "Sophomore Plan" is a reflection on your experiences, and a plan for your remaining time at Swarthmore. The Plan is also a central piece of your application for your academic major(s) and - if sought - your minors(s).

The Sophomore Plan has a few parts:

  • A brief description of the primary interests, purposes, and principles that organize your program of study, including major(s), minors, off-campus study, Honors, etc.
  • A semester-by-semester list of courses and seminars which are central to your academic program. This list will assist planning for the next two years. Note: because of leave patterns and other factors, there is no guarantee that you will be admitted to all seminars and courses you list, even if your program is approved.
  • Any forms required by individual departments, individualized special majors, etc.

Students complete their Sophomore Plan electronically, via the Majors and Minors section on the mySwarthmore website

Faculty can access students' Sophomore Plans electronically, via the Majors and Minors Departmental Portal on AppGarden.

Majors & Minors

Each student is (only) required to have one major, which may be a departmental, an inter-departmental, or a special major.

A student may choose to major in two subjects simultaneously, or "double major." Students considering this option should be aware that some departments require a higher grade point average for double majors. Also, having two majors may limit a student's flexibility in course selection.

Students may also choose to pursue one or two minors with some limits. A minor may be completed in course or as part of an Honors program. Most departments and interdisciplinary programs offer course minors. Those departments or programs not offering course minors are:

  • Comparative Literature
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Sociology & Anthropology
  • Studio Art

These departments and programs do offer Honors minors.

Students will normally apply for admission to the Honors Program at the time they write their Sophomore Plan of Study, via the mySwarthmore Majors and Minors website. Students who are accepted into Honors as sophomores are accepted with the provision that their work will continue to be of Honors quality. Students may also apply later to enter the Honors Program.


Students may have up to two majors; a student with two majors may not have a minor.

One exception: A student in Honors (having an Honors major and an Honors minor) may have a second major outside of Honors so long as that second major is the same subject as the Honors minor. This is the only circumstance in which a student may major and minor in the same subject.

Students may have one or two — but no more than two — minors, if they have only one major.

Overlap rule: Minors will include at least five credits, four of which may not overlap with the student's major or other minor. Information on the overlap rule is available on the Registrar's Website.


If your Plan of Study involves a special major, please consult the College Catalog regarding the development of the plan. There are already "regularized" special majors described in the Catalog (e.g. Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Educational Studies special majors).

For a truly "individualized" special major, you must consult the departments under which this type of major will be supervised. You also must complete the Individualized Special Major form provided by the Registrar's Office.

Sophomore Plan Info & Advising


During the first three weeks of the spring semester, many departments and programs offer an informational meeting for prospective majors and minors. These meetings are intended to provide more specific information about the department or program, its faculty, its expectations, and its requirements.

The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility and Career Services are also available to help students. The Lang Center staff are eager to talk with students interested in connecting community service or activism to their academic plans. Using data on alumni occupations and academic majors, Career Services counselors can help students think about how their choices relate to professional or educational possibilities.



After attending informational sessions, students receive individual advising regarding their intended program of study. After the deadline for students to indicate their prospective major/minor(s), each prospective major/minor department will assign each student a Sophomore Plan Advisor. This advisor info is visible to students in the mySwarthmore Majors and Minors website, in the Advising Tab.

Students who expect to pursue teacher certification should also have their plans reviewed by the faculty in the Department of Educational Studies. The requirements of the state for certification are very specific.



Student Academic Mentors (SAMs) can help you navigate the sophomore plan of study process.

Dean Liz Derickson (Assoc. Dean of Academic Success) can help you with sophomore planning dilemmas, and Mira Baric (Student Affairs Division) supports the overall Sophomore Planning process.

If you need access to the Sophomore Plan in mySwarthmore, especially after the initial application process has closed, please contact the administrative assistant for the academic department or program (both majors and minors) to which you are applying and ask to be granted temporary access in order to update your plan (mySwarthmore for students; AppGarden for faculty/staff).