Repeat Course Policy
The Policy in Brief, and Recommendation from the Registrar
If you get a bad grade in a course and think you want to repeat it, you can (with the permission of the instructor), but the original grade and registration will remain on your record permanently, so the repetition has little cosmetic value. I recommend against repeating courses for a better grade, except in the rare case when a certain grade in that certain course is required to fulfill a specific educational goal of yours. If your goal is to improve your transcript, the best way to do it is to take courses (other courses) in which you do well.
The Full Policy from the Catalogue
Some courses can be repeated for credit; these are indicated in departmental course descriptions. For other courses, the following rules apply: (1) Permission to repeat a course must be obtained from the Swarthmore instructor teaching the repeated class. (2) These repeated courses may not be taken CR/NC. (3) To take a course at another school that will repeat a course previously taken at Swarthmore, the student must obtain permission from the chair of the Swarthmore department in which the original course was taken, both as a part of the preapproval process to repeat it elsewhere and, in writing, as part of the credit validation after the course is taken elsewhere.
For repeated courses in which the student withdraws with the grade notation W, the grade and credit for the previous attempt will stand. For other repeated courses, the registration and grade for the previous attempt will be preserved on the permanent record but marked as excluded, and any credit for the previous attempt will be permanently lost. The final grade and any credit earned in the repeated course are the grade and credit that will be applied to the student’s Swarthmore degree.