Communication-A & Communication-B Requirement

Students working on computers in College Library WisCEL Space

The Undergraduate Communication Requirement is a two-course requirement that all undergraduates at UW-Madison are required to complete. Both courses of this requirement include an information literacy component.  For more information about General Education Requirements at UW-Madison, see the General Education website.


Except for the small percentage of students who test out, all incoming first years are required to take the Communication-A (Comm-A) course of the Communication Requirement within their first year. Comm-A includes literacy components in information literacy, as well as in written and oral communication. The 2012 approved information literacy outcomes are available on the General Education Requirements website.

The information literacy component, which is taught by library staff, is designed to orient students to the campus library system and to introduce them to the basic research skills and strategies needed to find resources for their classes. The module consists of two parts: Sift & Winnow: Libraries@UW, an interactive, online tutorial, and a library instruction session.


Communication-B (Comm-B), the second course of the Undergraduate Communication Requirement, includes an information literacy component that addresses research within the disciplines. It is intended to follow Comm-A and to build on the skills and strategies taught in that first course.

In many cases, Comm-B is discipline- or subject-specific, and the information literacy component is designed to introduce students to resources and research skills related to those disciplines. The Libraries can assist with the information literacy component of Comm-B in a number of ways:

  • Teaching an instruction session on library resources and search strategies
  • Assisting faculty and instructors with the development of information literacy modules that they will teach
  • Developing supporting materials related to information resources and/or library services
  • Assisting with the design of library assignments

Please see this document for more information about the library research component of Communication-B courses.