DEGREE FINDER is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.

Swarthmore College appears in these rankings:

Top 25 Liberal Arts Colleges with the Best ROI

30 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the Northeast

Swarthmore College was first founded in 1864 as the meeting place for the Religious Society of Friends and named after Swarthmoor Hall in Lancashire, England. Despite its Quaker roots, Swarthmore is now a premier private non-profit, non-sectarian liberal arts institution. With the motto "Mind the Light," Swarthmore College belongs to the Tri-College Consortium with Bryn Mawr and Haverford. It's located on a 425-acre suburban campus in the borough of Swarthmore in Pennsylvania's Delaware County just 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia. Endowed for over $1.8 billion, Swarthmore College educates around 1,500 students. The college's alumni base includes five Nobel Prize winners, 11 MacArthur fellows, and 22 CEOs.

According to the U.S. News, Swarthmore College is the nation's third best liberal arts college, eighth top value school, and third best pick for veterans. For an A+ financial grade, Forbes ranked Swarthmore as America's 27th top private college with the 20th most grateful grads. Princeton Review named Swarthmore 24th in the "Colleges That Pay You Back" and 14th for "Best Classroom Experience." The Wall Street Journal crowned Swarthmore College the 10th top feeder school for medical and law school. Swarthmore ranks fourth nationally for percentage of graduates earning PhDs. Washington Monthly magazine also lauded Swarthmore as the fourth best liberal arts college for social mobility and service.

Swarthmore College Accreditation Details

Since 1921, Swarthmore College has been institutionally reviewed by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). This is one of six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Furthermore, the Department of Engineering is approved via the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Swarthmore College Application Requirements

Named one of the "Little Ivies" by the Greenes' Guide, Swarthmore College has a highly selective acceptance rate of 17 percent. First-year applicants must compete with a standard high school diploma and strong college-prep curriculum. Passing at least four units of English, four units of mathematics, three units of natural science, three units of social science, and two units of foreign language with no grade under "C" is required. AP, IB, and Honors courses are encouraged. On average, admitted students have a high school GPA of 4.06. Freshmen achieve a mean SAT score of 2158 and ACT score of 31. Extra-curricular commitments and recommendations are also considered.

Undergraduate students attending other regionally accredited colleges can transfer to Swarthmore after completing at least two full-time semesters. Holding the equivalent of 30 credit hours in university-level coursework is mandatory. Incoming transfers shouldn't have earned more than 60 credits at another college. Standardized test scores are optional for transfers, but maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0 is preferred. Swarthmore College only reserves around 20 spots for foreign national students annually. International learners studying on F-1 visa from non-English speaking countries must score at least 90 on the TOEFL or 550 on the SAT Critical Reading section.

Before the priority deadline on January 1st, interested students should apply to Swarthmore College by submitting the following:

• Completed Common Application form
• $60 non-refundable fee or fee waiver
• Official high school and college records
• Two academic teacher evaluations
• Standardized testing scores, excluding writing
• Guidance counselor recommendation
• 250-word essay about interest in Swarthmore

Tuition and Financial Aid

Regardless of state residency, full-time students at Swarthmore College will pay $48,720 in tuition per academic year. Carrying more than five courses per term will cost an additional $6,090. Part-time learners can pay $3,045 per unit taken. On-campus housing is estimated to cost $7,410 annually for double occupancy rooms. Meal plans average a price of $7,036 per academic year. Students are also responsible for the $384 activities fee yearly. Annual cost of attendance is $63,550. Four-year bachelor's degrees at Swarthmore come with a total price tag of approximately $254,200.

The NCES reports that 60 percent of beginning, full-time students earn financial aid. More than $30 million in institutional aid is conferred yearly. Many scholarships are awarded, including the McCabe Scholarship, Philip Evans Scholars Program, and Lang Opportunity Scholarship. Free federal aid is available with the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. In-state residents should apply for the Pennsylvania State Grant, Pennsylvania Chafee Education Grant, or GEAR UP Scholarship program. Monthly tuition payment plans are offered with a $35 application fee. Students can borrow Federal Stafford, Perkins, and Parents PLUS loans. Along with Federal Work-Study (FWS), resident assistantships are given for up to $7,160 yearly. Honorably discharged veterans can qualify for tuition benefits with the Post-9/11 GI Bill too.

Degrees Available at Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College is an academic powerhouse that builds on a liberal arts core with 50 undergraduate majors leading to B.A. or B.S. degrees. There's also the "Design Your Own Major" for interdisciplinary, individualized study. Swarthmore is well-known for its Honors Program, which is modeled after the tutorial system at Oxford University. Thanks to the low student-faculty ratio of 8:1, the college has America's third most accessible professors. Bachelor's students can pursue the:

Peace and Conflict Studies Major

Featured in Foreign Policy magazine, the Peace and Conflict Studies Major at Swarthmore is ranked in the top 20 programs for studying international relations. This distinguished major introduces students to the non-violent methods for coping with conflict on a global scale. For at least 120 credits, students take coursework in crisis resolution, social change, gender equality, social entrepreneurship, gun violence prevention, peace studies, and Middle East conflict. The program allows students to spend one year abroad at the Irish School of Ecumenics in Belfast.

Cognitive Science Major

Swarthmore's Cognitive Science Major is a lesser-known bachelor's program concerned with studying the complex biological functioning of the brain. Within the 120-credit curriculum, students can select from over 50 designated courses to explore how cranial structures give rise to thought, language, and behavior. Coursework will delve into neurobiology, bioinformatics, semantics, artificial intelligence, behavioral neuroscience, cognitive psychology, statistics, epistemology, and psycholinguistics. Students benefit from hands-on lab work, an annual colloquia series with top researchers, and participation in the Cognitive Science Society.

Other undergraduate majors available at Swarthmore College include Asian Studies, Comparative Literature, Film and Media Studies, Interpretation Theory, Islamic Studies, Medieval Studies, Public Policy, and Theater.

Take the next step towards your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

Man working at desk