Skills Requirement

The knowledge of different academic disciplines is not sufficient to prepare a student to function successfully in the world outside of college. The college graduate must also possess the oral, written, and quantitative skills with which to express ideas and interpret information. The difference between success and failure in the classroom, in the workplace, and in our personal interactions is often the ability to communicate clearly and effectively.

Quantitative reasoning skills also are essential at the personal and professional level in a world that is increasingly technological and analytical. Because oral, written, and quantitative reasoning skills are invaluable in any discipline, the teaching of these skills is a job that is shared by the whole faculty. Training and practice can make an enormous difference in our ability to make our meaning understood and our ability to understand what others are saying. This training should not end when a student completes her high school education or her first year of college. Development of these skills will continue throughout the college years, culminating whenever possible in the refinement of the skills in the major.

A course designated as "skills intensive" is one in which the skill itself is a focus of the class and not just one of the requirements. In a skill-intensive course, activities directly related to the skill should constitute a significant amount of class time. A course may fulfill more than one skill requirement. Courses that are skill intensive may also fulfill "Knowledge Area" requirements and may fit within a chosen major or minor. Skill-intensive courses will be indicated as such in the Catalog and Schedule of Courses.

Skill requirements can be met by transfer courses which are equivalent to Sweet Briar courses as determined by evaluation by the Registrar's Office in consultation as needed with departments and the Instruction Committee. The criteria for acceptance of these courses are:

  1. By definition, the course must have a skills component that is an integral and substantial element of the course content
  2. The skills component of such a course is essentially the same, regardless of the institution which offers it

Oral Communications Requirement
To increase her proficiency in oral communications, a student is required to pass at least two oral-intensive courses (for a total of at least 6 credit hours) at least one of which must be taken for her major (or, in the case of multiple majors, for each of her majors). All oral-intensive courses must devote a significant amount of the classroom instruction to the development of oral skills. Effective oral communication in the classroom will vary and will require a range of simple to more complex skills according to different classroom environments.

Written Communications Requirement
To increase her proficiency in writing, a student is required to pass: the first-year writing requirement (unless exempted) plus at least three other writing-intensive courses (for a total of at least 9 credit hours) including at least one course taken for her her major (or, in the case of multiple majors, for each of her majors). While grammar is an important part of writing, a writing-intensive course is not a class in remedial grammar, but rather one whose larger aim is to help the student express herself clearly and forcefully in her writing.

Transfer students must complete the first-year writing requirement. In addition, transfer students are required to take one writing-intensive course for each year they attend Sweet Briar College. One of these courses must be in her major.

Quantitative Reasoning Requirement
To increase her proficiency in using and analyzing quantitative information, a student is required to pass at least two courses (for a total of at least 6 credit hours) in which quantitative reasoning is itself a focus of the class. A significant amount of classroom instruction should be devoted to the training and practice of quantitative reasoning. While mathematics is an important part of quantitative reasoning, a course that targets quantitative reasoning is not a class in remedial mathematics. Quantitative reasoning includes the development of quantitative ability (arithmetic and data analysis), problem solving, and logical reasoning.


Oral Communication (6 credits)

  • Course designation is III.O
  • One course must be in the major

Written Communication [in addition to the first-year writing requirement] (9 credits)

  • Course designation is III.W
  • One course must be in the major

Quantitative Reasoning (6 credits)

  • Course designation is III.Q