Physical Education, Athletics, and  Recreation

At Sweet Briar College, athletics, physical education, and recreation are an important part of the education of the total student. The department's faculty and staff are committed to enhancing the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of all students as an integral part of their educational experience. The instructional program offers a wide range of activities allowing each student to develop skills and knowledge that will contribute to a healthy lifestyle. The intercollegiate athletics program provides opportunities for competitive excellence for students with advanced skills.

Through high quality coaching, appropriate facilities, and adequate funding, student-athletes are afforded the opportunity to succeed both as individuals and as team members. In accordance with NCAA Division III philosophy, athletics complements the educational experience and priority is placed on encouraging academic success. Adherence to NCAA rules and regulations regarding amateurism, ethical conduct, and sportsmanship is emphasized.

The College is also committed to providing and maintaining facilities that support the recreational and fitness needs of members of the Sweet Briar community. The Department of Physical Education and Athletics offers a wide variety of activities for students at all levels of ability. In addition to fielding eight varsity intercollegiate sport teams, the department offers instructional courses in fitness, team and individual sports, and a variety of recreational activities.

Intercollegiate Sports

The College sponsors intercollegiate varsity teams in cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, and tennis.  The College supports qualified individuals and teams in state, regional, and national competition.

The College is a member of:

  • National Collegiate Athletic Association
  • Old Dominion Athletic Conference
  • Middle Atlantic Tennis Association
  • Virginia Intercollegiate Soccer Association
  • United States Tennis Association
  • Virginia Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches
  • Virginia and United States Women’s Lacrosse Associations
  • National Field Hockey Coaches and United States Field Hockey Associations
  • Intercollegiate Tennis Association
  • American Swimming Coaches Association
  • College Swimming Coaches Association of America
  • National Fastpitch Coaches Association


The College sponsors numerous extracurricular, educational, and recreational events. Recreational events are scheduled in running, spinning, swimming, water aerobics, Zumba and other sports activities. Riding Program: see program description and course listing under Riding Program.

Sweet Briar Outdoor Program

The Sweet Briar Outdoor Program is coordinated through the Office of Student Life, Athletics, and Recreation. A wide variety of outdoor activities are offered including: hiking, rock climbing, whitewater canoeing, rafting, kayaking, skiing, hang-gliding, biking, caving. These programs are offered to students of all skill levels.

Physical Examination

All students are required to have had a recent physical examination, with a copy of the report on file at the Health Center.

Activity Courses

Up to five credits in physical education activity courses and/or riding program activity courses    may be applied toward the degree. Instruction is provided from the beginning level through the
varsity level to accommodate students of varying abilities and experience. These courses are offered to fulfill the General Education Physical Activity Requirement (IV.3) and for students who elect to continue a physical education activity. If there are extenuating circumstances limiting a student’s ability to take classes which would normally count toward fulfilling the requirement, a modified program should be set up in consultation with the department chair and the College physician. Credit is given at the rate of 0.5 hours per quarter or 1 hour per semester. Courses are offered on a rotating basis and descriptions of current courses are available from the Physical Education Athletics and Recreation Department. Activity courses are offered on a P/CR/NC grading option only.

Fitness Activity Courses

PHED 113  Walking For Fitness
PHED 117  Weight Training I
PHED 127  Spinning
PHED 128  Personal Fitness
PHED 217  Weight Training II
PHED 219  Aerobic Fitness
PHED 220  Advanced Personal Fitness


PHED 101  Beginning Swimming
PHED 104  Swim for Fitness
PHED 105  Aquatic Fitness Activities
PHED 201  Intermediate Swimming
PHED 204  Advanced Swim for Fitness

Outdoor Education

PHED 125  Hiking in the Blue Ridge
PHED 126  Introduction to Caving
PHED 129  Kayaking
PHED 130  Outdoor Adventure Skills
PHED 131  Beginning Canoeing
PHED 228  Intermediate Canoeing
PHED 229  Intermediate Kayaking

General Activities 

PHED 118  Rape Aggression Defense
PHED 123  Relaxation and Stretching

Individual Sports

PHED 135  Beginning Badminton
PHED 138  Fencing
PHED 139  Golf
PHED 146  Beginning Tennis
PHED 346  Intermediate Tennis

Team Sports

PHED 132 Softball Skills
PHED 133 Flag Football
PHED 136 Basketball Skills
PHED 141 Field Hockey Skills
PHED 142 Lacrosse Skills
PHED 150 Soccer Skills
PHED 401 Varsity Swimming Team
PHED 407 Varsity Cross Country Team
PHED 412 Varsity Golf Team
PHED 432 Varsity Softball Team
PHED 441 Varsity Field Hockey Team
PHED 442 Varsity Lacrosse Team
PHED 446 Varsity Tennis Team
PHED 450 Varsity Soccer Team 

Elective Courses
These courses are graded and count toward the hours required for graduation, but they do not
satisfy the General Education Physical Activity requirement.

PHED 116 (2)–Introduction to Sport Psychology

The purpose of this course is to introduce the students to the field of sport psychology, specifically mental training principles and techniques that have been found to enhance competitive athletic performance. The students will be provided with lectures, written self-awareness exercises, and group discussions designed to develop the mental skills necessary to become effective athletes. Athletes of any level (recreational-competitive) will benefit from this course.

PHED 120 (3)–Theories of Athletic Training

This course is an introductory exploration of the etiology and pathology of athletic-related injuries. It explores historical issues related to both past and current theories on treatment of athletic- related injuries. Topics discussed include the evolution of sports medicine as a defined discipline in the medical world and an exploration of the physical and philosophical differences.

PHED 161 (1, 2, or 3)–Special Study Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of one course in the department in the activity desired. A student may propose a project for a term, to be supervised by a member of the department with the approval of the chair. Usually, the student does not repeat a special study within the same activity.

PHED 164 (3)–Holistic Nutrition/Exercise

We will examine different views on “healthy eating,” explore the relationship between diet and chronic disease, and discuss educational, biological, psychological, economic, and socio-cultural obstacles we face in attempting to meet our nutritional needs. Students will discuss and critique various theories on nutrition and research and make oral presentations on related topics. They will outline strategies for overcoming our nutritional challenges based on the information presented. III.O

PHED 179 (3)–Introduction to Women’s Sport and Culture

We will examine factors that shaped women’s intercollegiate, Olympic and professional sport in the twentieth century, including historical background, socio-political influences, media coverage, and medical implications of competition. Title IX and the effects of equity action on women in sport will be studied as well, and each student will analyze the impact of the legislation on her own sporting experience. III.O, V.5.

PHED 221 (.5)–Advanced Personal Fitness Theory Prerequisite: PHED 128; co-requisite: PHED 220.

This course is designed for students interested in understanding, designing, and participating in training programs to achieve higher levels of human performance through fitness and conditioning. Among topics to be covered are: goal setting and program design; methods of strength training; anatomy, flexibility, and injury prevention; nutrition and the female athlete triad; aerobic and anaerobic energy systems; and sport specific training.

PHED 361 (1, 2, or 3)–Special Study Prerequisites: 100-level PHED course and permission of the instructor.

The study of an intermediate level topic by an individual student or by a small group of students under the immediate supervision of a faculty member.

PHED 377 (1, 2, or 3)–Internship Prerequisites: Three credits in PHED and permission
of the instructor, department chair, and dean. This course is graded P/CR/NC only.

PHED 461 (1, 2, or 3)–Independent Study Prerequisites: One 100-level PHED course, one 200-level PHED course, and permission of the instructor. Pursuit of an upper level research project determined in advance by the student in consultation with a faculty member who will act as the sponsor.

Updated: Sept. 15, 2016