Academic Skills

Learning skills for meaningful and productive study.

Sharing Your Ideas

In your studies at Castleton, you will learn more about the world and how it works. You will explore new societies and cultures and learn about their artistic and intellectual traditions. Perhaps more importantly, you will learn about yourself and what is important to you. Courses in the General Education Program will help you to be a more active learner who can seek these important insights and share what you are learning with others. In your first year, you will begin a sequence of courses that will hone these skills and prepare you for more advanced study in your major or professional degree.

Writing courses begin with English Composition (ENG 1061), a course in college writing usually taken by students in their first semester. Following English Composition, students enroll in two courses designated as Writing Intensive (WI), often courses in their major or professional program. Once a student has enrolled in these courses, he or she will be invited to take the University Writing Standards Exam.

Courses in public speaking and other forms of oral communication help students to present their ideas to others, and to do so with poise and confidence. Most students enroll in Effective Speaking (ENG 1070) during their second semester. After completing this course, they enroll in one more course designated as Speaking Intensive (SI); often this course is offered in their major or professional program.

Computer-Intensive (CI) courses help students to learn the skills necessary to compete successfully in the current academic and workforce environments. Most students take a foundational computer-intensive course (BUS 1270 or ART/ COM 1230) in their first year. Alternatively, some students wait to complete this requirement by taking a Computer-Intensive course offered by specific majors.

In their second year, all students enroll in a literature course surveying the arts and ideas of the classical tradition. Touchstones of Western Literature (ENG 2060) teaches the values and heritage of the Western civilizations while also emphasizing students’ further development of critical reading and thinking skills.

Two other important skills infuse your courses, especially courses in the Frames of Reference.

In your math and science courses, you will practice various forms of quantitative reasoning. Unlike the other skills described above, these skills are assessed using an exam. Most students take the Quantitative Reasoning Exam, essentially a test of Algebra and geometry, in their first year. This test may be retaken, and some students will enroll in a math course to brush up on these skills.

In all of your courses, you will learn about the unfolding world of information that is increasingly available for university study. Being able to interact with this information that thoughtfully is called information literacy. These skills are also assessed through an exam. Most students wait to take the Information Literacy Exam in their second or third year; this allows them to gain some advanced skills in library and internet research.

Graduation Requirements

Taken together, these courses and tests comprise a set of Graduation Standards, requirements that all students must meet before they can graduate from Castleton. For an overview of the program requirements as they relate to the university’s degree requirements, please read the University catalog. Current students can review these requirements and their progress by surveying their Program Evaluation on the Castleton Portal.