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500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081

(610) 328-8000


Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore is a private, nonsectarian, liberal arts college with engineering. Swarthmore's idyllic, 425-acre arboretum campus features rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails, and is located just 11 miles from Philadelphia.

An Undergraduate Experience Like No Other

Since its founding in 1864, Swarthmore College has given students the knowledge, insight, skills, and experience to become leaders for the common good. Offering a liberal arts and engineering curriculum, the College is private, yet open to all regardless of financial need. It is also decidedly global in outlook, drawing students from around the world and all 50 states. The diversity of perspectives represented by Swarthmore students, faculty, and staff - including different viewpoints, identities, and histories - contributes to the community's strong sense of open dialogue and engagement with ideas and issues.

So much of what Swarthmore stands for, from its commitment to curricular breadth and rigor to its demonstrated interest in facilitating discovery and fostering civic engagement, lies in the quality and passion of its faculty. A student/faculty ratio of 8:1 ensures that students have close, meaningful engagement with their professors, preparing the former to translate the skills and understanding gained at Swarthmore into the mark they want to make on the world.


Swarthmore seeks to help its students realize their full intellectual and personal potential combined with a deep sense of ethical and social concern.


Ninjagrams: On Valentine's Day, ninjas and pirates deliver cards and handmade chocolate truffles to unsuspecting students and professors in the name of romance and charity. Throughout the day, ninjas and pirates deliver gifts to targets and enact battles, whether in classrooms, packed lecture halls or the dining hall. All proceeds go toward a charity.

Crum Creek Regatta: Students battle against freezing temperatures in homemade vessels in the annual Crum Creek Regatta.

Halloween with the Dean: Students enjoy pumpkin decorating, carmel apples, fall foods, and a capella performances at the annual Halloween with the Dean celebration.

Pterodactyl Hunt: During this annual tradition, students defend the campus from pterodactyls and monsters.

On the last day of winter, Swarthmore’s Indian culture organization, Deshi, celebrates Holi by bringing the festival of colors to campus.

RAs foster dynamic dorm communities by hosting social events, ranging from small gatherings to large-scale BBQs, dorm formals, and inter-dorm competitions.

Student Life:

Ninety-three percent of students live on campus in residence halls that house a diverse mix of students of different class years. 

From Boy Meets Tractor sketch comedy troupe to women's rugby, there are more than 100 student-run clubs and organizations to choose from. 

Swarthmore College offers many opportunities for students to participate in a variety of sports at a competitive level through club sports. A club sport is a chartered student organization that is run by students who have a common interest in a particular activity for competitive, recreational, or instructional purposes. There are currently eight groups recognized as club sports at Swarthmore.



Phineas the Phoenix
Between meals at Sharples and walks in the Crum Woods, Phineas roosts in the cupola of Parrish Hall, reads, constantly checks his Facebook profile, and on occasion spontaneously combusts — being careful to avoid anything flammable, of course.

Swarthmore today:

Swarthmore offers more than 40 courses of study, and provides the opportunity for students to design their own major. More than 600 courses are offered on campus each year.


Swarthmore has a total enrollment of approximately 1,580 students. 

Famous graduates:

Alice Paul (born January 11, 1885) grew up with a Quaker background and attended Swarthmore College before living in England and pushing for women's voting rights. When she returned to America in 1910, she became a leader in the suffragist movement, eventually forming the National Woman's Party with Lucy Burns and becoming a key figure in the voices that led to the passage of the 19th Amendment. In later years she advocated for the passage of an Equal Rights Amendment as well. She died in Moorestown on July 9, 1977.

Edward C. Prescott (born December 26, 1940) attended Swarthmore College, Case Western Reserve University and Carnegie Mellon University. He returned to Carnegie Mellon to teach in 1971, where he met co-author Finn E. Kydland. Together and separately, they developed theories on central bank policy and business cycles that earned them the 2004 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Interesting facts about Swarthmore College:

For a student's first semester of the first year at Swarthmore, final grades of CR or NC are the only officially recorded grades on the transcript. This is to allow students time to make the transition to college-level academic work.

Swarthmore’s entire campus of over 300 acres is located on a gorgeous arboretum, exhibiting over 4,000 kinds of ornamental plants. It was formed as a living memorial to a student of the class of 1895, and its mission is educate the public about which plants are suited for home gardens in the Swarthmore area.

Besides finding innovative ways to keep the campus green, Swarthmore also decided to take a fresh twist on traditional teaching methods. Most notable are “the outdoor teaching spaces scattered around the perimeter of the building where honed black granite walls provide ‘blackboards’ so that science classes can be conducted with a traditional teaching wall.”