College Profile

Sweet Briar College is located in Central Virginia on 3,250 acres. We empower and educate young women to build and reshape their world however their passions lead them. It's what we've done since 1901. We focus on personal and professional achievement through a customized educational program that combines the liberal arts, preparation for careers and individual development. The faculty and staff guide students to become active learners, to reason clearly, to speak and write persuasively and to lead with integrity. They do so by creating an educational environment that is both intense and supportive and where learning occurs in many different venues, including the classroom, the community and the world.


  • In the National Survey of Student Engagement, Sweet Briar outperforms other colleges in its level of academic challenge, active collaborative learning, student-faculty ratio interaction, enriching educational experiences and being a supportive campus environment
  • The 2010 Princeton Review ranked Sweet Briar in six of the top-20 category lists: No. 3 for "Most Accessible Professors," No. 6 for "Most Beautiful Campus," No. 8 for "Best Career/Job Placement Services," No. 4 for "Professors Get High Marks," No. 8 for “Best Classroom Experience,” and No. 11 for "Class Discussions Encouraged"
  • Top 50 Best Value College – Princeton Review/USAToday, 2010
  • Consistently recognized as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, and the fourth largest campus in the United States with 3,250 acres in the foothills of the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains, 30 buildings, six nature sanctuaries and two lakes
  • A leader in the development of modern riding in the United States and internationally for outstanding instruction and exceptional facilities


  • Total: 760
  • Degree-seeking undergraduate students: 610
  • Countries represented: 7
  • States represented: 39
  • 50% from Virginia
  • 95% live on campus
  • 194 first-year students (2011)


  • 46 areas of study
  • B.A., B.F.A., B.S., M.A.T., M.Ed.
  • Average GPA: 3.4
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 8:1
  • Average class size: 11
  • 77 full-time faculty and 49 part-time
  • Semester academic calendar
  • The Mary Helen Cochran Library is the cornerstone of library services. With the Junius P. Fishburn Music Library and the Wick Storage Facility also on campus, students have access to the largest private undergraduate college library in Virginia.
  • Most popular majors: Business (30%), Biology (25%), Psychology (20%), Engineering (14%), Art History (11%)


Sweet Briar College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts in Teaching, and Master of Education. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Sweet Briar College.


  • Undergraduate tuition: $32,325; room and board: $11,440
  • In 2011, 98% of all degree-seeking undergraduates were awarded non-need-based or need-based aid (a mix of grants/scholarships, loans and work-study)
  • Average aid package: $19,018

Residence Life

We are intentionally residential. 95% of students live on campus. There are 49 clubs and organizations, so there's always something to do.


  • NCAA Division III, Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC)
  • Intercollegiate: Field hockey, soccer, swimming, lacrosse, softball and tennis
  • Club: Fencing and cross country


  • More than 20 courses in hunter/jumper/equitation, training/schooling young horses and hunter-oriented cross country
  • Equine Studies Certificate
  • 130-acre on-campus riding center, more than 18 miles of trails, one of the nation's largest indoor college arenas
  • Opportunities to compete independently or as a member of our field team, hunter/jumper/equitation teams or our IHSA or ANRC/ODAC teams


Guion Science Center — the location for biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, engineering and psychology programs — houses impressive classrooms and laboratories, and some of the best equipment in the nation among liberal arts colleges.

Starting in your first year at Sweet Briar, you can examine, analyze and investigate in labs and with equipment like our 400-MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, nicknamed "Dr. Oblina Bubble."

There are spectrometers, spectroscopes and chromatographs; modeling equipment; a machine shop, wind tunnel; centrifuges; microscopes; tensile, concrete and impact testers; and more.

Because our classes are small, you're guaranteed opportunities to interact one-on-one with faculty, participate in their research or design your own — and you won't have to wait until you're an upperclasswoman to use even our most sophisticated scientific equipment.


The 700-seat Murchison Lane Auditorium, located in Babcock Fine Arts Center, is host to cultural and intellectual events from student dance and theater productions to world-renowned speakers and the Babcock Season, which brings visiting performing artists, theater troops and music ensembles to campus. Rotating art exhibitions are research-, studio- and community-based and are presented in one of three galleries: Babcock, Benedict and Pannell. The Anne Gary Pannell Art Gallery houses the Sweet Briar Collection and larger touring exhibitions.

The Sweet Briar Museum, located in the Boxwood Alumnae House, contains an excellent teaching collection of 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century American decorative arts, including artifacts of the College's founders and memorabilia from throughout the College's history.

The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the only artists' retreat in the nation with direct ties to a college or university, is located adjacent to the Sweet Briar campus. Writers, visual artists and composers working at the VCCA come to the College to teach in its interdisciplinary Bachelor of Fine Arts program and to take part in campus life.

Every summer, Endstation, the residential theater company at Sweet Briar, hosts a theater festival on campus which includes outdoor productions of Shakespeare and indoor productions of other plays and musicals. Each year, Sweet Briar students have the opportunity to apply for internships with the company.