🏫 Identify email addresses or domains names that belong to colleges or universities. Help automate the process of approving or rejecting academic discounts.
Latest commit 9f748a3 Feb 11, 2017 @ReidWeb ReidWeb committed on GitHub Merge pull request #1325 from Yourfavoreo/master
African Leadership University


Swot 🍎

Build Status Gem Version

If you have a product or service and offer academic discounts, there's a good chance there's some manual component to the approval process. Perhaps .edu email addresses are automatically approved because, for the most part at least, they're associated with American post-secondary educational institutions. Perhaps .ac.uk email addresses are automatically approved because they're guaranteed to belong to British universities and colleges. Unfortunately, not every country has an education-specific TLD (Top Level Domain) and plenty of schools use .com or .net.

Swot is a community-driven or crowdsourced library for verifying that domain names and email addresses are tied to a legitimate university of college - more specifically, an academic institution providing higher education in tertiary, quaternary or any other kind of post-secondary education in any country in the world.

Pop quiz: Which of the following domain names should be eligible for an academic discount? stanford.edu, america.edu, duep.edu, gla.ac.uk, unizar.es, usask.ca, hil.no, unze.ba, fu-berlin.de, ecla.de, bvb.de, lsmu.com. Answers at the foot of the page.


Swot is a Ruby gem, so you'll need a little Ruby-fu to get it working. Simply

gem install swot

Or add this to your Gemfile before doing a bundle install:

gem 'swot'


  • Ruby >= 2.0


Verify Email Addresses

Swot::is_academic? 'lreilly@stanford.edu'           # true
Swot::is_academic? 'lreilly@strath.ac.uk'           # true
Swot::is_academic? 'lreilly@soft-eng.strath.ac.uk'  # true
Swot::is_academic? 'pedro@ugr.es'                   # true
Swot::is_academic? 'lee@uottawa.ca'                 # true
Swot::is_academic? 'lee@leerilly.net'               # false

Verify Domain Names

Swot::is_academic? 'harvard.edu'              # true
Swot::is_academic? 'www.harvard.edu'          # true
Swot::is_academic? 'http://www.harvard.edu'   # true
Swot::is_academic? 'http://www.github.com'    # false
Swot::is_academic? 'http://www.rangers.co.uk' # false

Find School Names

Swot::school_name 'lreilly@cs.strath.ac.uk'
# => "University of Strathclyde"

Swot::school_name 'http://www.stanford.edu'
# => "Stanford University"

Contributing to Swot

Contributions welcome! Please see the contribution guidelines for details on how to add, update, or delete schools. Code contributions and ports to different languages welcome too.

Thanks to the following people for their contributions: @blutack, @captn3m0, @chrishunt, @johndbritton, @johnotander, @pborreli, @rcurtis, @vikhyat,.

Special thanks to @weppos for the public_suffix gem 🀘

Known Issues

  • You can search by email and domain names only. You cannot search by IP.
  • You don't know if the email address belongs to a student, faculty, staff member, alumni, or a contractor.
  • There may be a few false positives, missing institutions... maybe even a couple of typos. Contributions welcome!

Please note: just because someone has verified that they own lreilly@stanford.edu does not mean that they're a student. They could be faculty, staff, alumnni, or maybe even an external contractor. If you're suddenly getting a lot of traffic from websites like FatWallet or SlickDeals, you might want to find out why. If you're suddenly getting a lot of requests from a particular school, you should look into that too. It may be good business, word of mouth, or someone may have found a loophole. Swot gives you a high confidence level - not a guarantee. I recommend putting some controls in place or at least monitor how it's doing from time to time.

What is a swot?

According to UrbanDictionary πŸ“˜

A word used by morons to insult a person of superior academic abilities.


[verb] To Swot; Revision undertaken preceding an examination.


[backronym] Stupid Waste of Time

Pop Quiz Answers

Hopefully, you'll be surprised by some of this:

Domain Academic? Comments
stanford.edu βœ”οΈ OK, this was an easy one so you could get at least one right
america.edu βœ–οΈ Prior to October 29th 2001, anyone could register a .edu domain name (details)
duep.edu βœ”οΈ Alfred Nobel University is a Ukranian University in the Ukraine i.e. not in the USA πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
gla.ac.uk βœ”οΈ Glasgow University in Scotland
unizar.es βœ”οΈ The University of Zaragoza in Spain
usask.ca βœ”οΈ The University of Saskatchewan in Canada
hil.no βœ”οΈ Lillehammer University College in Norway
unze.ba βœ”οΈ University of Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina
fu-berlin.de βœ”οΈ Free University of Berlin in Germany
ecla.de βœ”οΈ ECLA of Bard is a state recognized liberal arts university in Berlin, Germany
bvb.de βœ–οΈ It's a soccer team from Germany
lsmu.com βœ”οΈ Lugansk State Medical University in the Ukraine

If you verified this by visiting all of the websites, how long did it take you? Did you have fun? Imagine you had to do this 10 - 100 times every day. Now you know a little something about the inspiration for Swot. Swot can verify them all in a fraction of a second and remove a πŸ’© part of someone's job.

See Also