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University of Virginia UVA Arts & Sciences Default


The faculty has established the Literacies requirement with the recognition that, in order to navigate a rapidly transforming global community, students must master particular intellectual arts of knowing, doing, and reasoning embedded in the languages of world vocation and citizenship. The Literacies thus equip our students with fluency in a range of idioms they will need to engage multiple communities and multiple forms of thought. These include World Languages, Rhetoric for the 21st Century, and Quantification, Computation, & Data Analysis.

World Languages (Varying Credits; Proficiency through 2020)

Every student in the College of Arts and Sciences should be able to communicate in a language other than his or her native language. Courses satisfying the requirement develop students’ communicative competence in a language (students should be able to listen/understand, speak, read and write in meaningful contexts at the intermediate proficiency level or above). Language courses also expand students’ knowledge of one or more of the cultures that speak the chosen language through engagement with authentic cultural products. This requirement helps prepare College students to interact and collaborate within multilingual communities in their community and around the world.

Students completing the language requirement will realistically perform at a range of levels, with intermediate level being a minimum. Actual outcomes for each student will vary based on the nature of the language (cognate or non-cognate) as well as on the skill assessed (listening and reading skills tend to progress ahead of speaking and writing skills, for example). Some students will complete the sequence performing well above the intermediate level in some if not all areas.

Proficiency may be evaluated in five areas: speaking, writing, listening, reading, and cultural competence. Speakers at the Intermediate level are able to create with the language when talking about famil­iar topics related to their daily life. Writers at the Intermediate level can create with the language and communicate facts and ideas in order to meet practical writing needs, such as composing and responding to messages, notes, and requests for information. Listeners at this level can understand information conveyed in predictable, sentence-length speech on familiar topics in face-to-face conversations or in everyday contexts such as announcements, straightforward instructions, or directions. Readers can understand information conveyed in texts in familiar formats, such as weather reports, announcements, or advertisements. Learners combine all four skills with ongoing engagement with the practices, products, and perspectives of the cultures studied in order to communicate with cultural competence and understanding.

Rhetoric for the 21st Century (6 Credits)

We believe that all students need thorough experience with what we call “Rhetoric for the 21st Century”—by which we mean the written, oral, and digital forms of expression used by highly literate members of our society.  In order to develop their capacity with the various arts of rhetoric, we propose that all students in the College of Arts and Sciences take a first-year writing course that includes written, oral, and digital assignments; that they engage in writing regularly as a form of inquiry and reflection in core Engagement courses; and that they take a course that meets the second writing requirement, from among the departments, which includes written, oral, and digital projects.

Quantification, Computation, and Data Analysis (6 Credits)

The Quantification, Computation, and Data Analysis literacy enables students to apply mathematical skills to understand and solve real world problems. Through this requirement students will develop quantitative literacy in both theory and application. Students fulfill this requirement by completing two 3- or 4-credit courses that include some or all of the following:

  1. Theoretical concepts and structures of mathematics and statistics including (but not limited to) pure mathematics, logic, and theoretical statistics;
  2. Manipulation and interpretation of mathematical expressions;
  3. Application of computational and analytical methods in order to manipulate, organize, summarize, and evaluate quantitative information;
  4. Theoretical and/or practical interpretation and presentation of data in order to solve real-world problems.

Courses fulfilling this requirement should be primarily focused on quantitative and/or computational methods and analysis, rather than the use of such methods in a course with some other primary focus.