Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.
A St. Olaf Education
Mission of the College
St. Olaf, a four-year college of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, provides an education committed
to the liberal arts, rooted in the Christian Gospel and incorporating
a global perspective. In the conviction that life is more than a livelihood,
it focuses on what is ultimately worthwhile and fosters the development
of the whole person in mind, body and spirit.
Now in its second century, St. Olaf
College remains dedicated to the high standards set by its Norwegian
immigrant founders. In the spirit of free inquiry and free expression,
it offers a distinctive environment that integrates teaching, scholarship,
creative activity and opportunities for encounter with the Christian
Gospel and God's call to faith. The college intends that its graduates
combine academic excellence and theological literacy with a commitment
to lifelong learning.
St. Olaf College strives to be an
inclusive community, respecting those of differing backgrounds and beliefs.
Through its curriculum, campus life and off-campus programs, it stimulates
students' critical thinking and heightens their moral sensitivity; it
encourages them to be seekers of truth, leading lives of unselfish service
to others; and it challenges them to be responsible and knowledgeable
citizens of the world.
Approved by the St. Olaf faculty
in 1987 and the opening paragraph adopted, as a shorter version, by
the St. Olaf Board of Regents that same year.
An Education for Life in the 21st Century
The St. Olaf Curriculum
The St. Olaf College curriculum engages students
in a multidisciplinary, multicultural exploration of human knowledge
and experience. The curriculum cultivates the basic skills students
need to succeed in college and beyond and introduces students to the
traditional liberal arts disciplines. The combination of General Education,
major and elective courses helps students develop both breadth and depth
in their college education.
At the same time, the curriculum provides opportunity
for integrative study through double counted courses which meet more
than one requirement and through a variety of interdisciplinary majors
and concentrations. This blend of traditional and innovative instruction
nurtures a critical, creative and flexible intelligence. The St. Olaf
curriculum prepares students for the lifelong learning so essential
to their continued personal and professional development.
A student's General Education program includes three
types of courses.
Foundation studies focus on the development
of basic verbal, mathematical, and physical skills. The requirements
in this area include:
First-Year Writing (General Education 111),
a course that equips students for effective writing in the liberal
arts and introduces writing as a means of learning;
Four additional writing-intensive courses,
available in a variety of disciplines;
Foreign language courses that permit students
to develop an intermediate level of proficiency;
One course that develops oral communication
competence and confidence, available in a variety of disciplines;
A course in mathematical reasoning;
Two different quarter-credit courses in physical
activities or dance or one .50 course in Physical Education.
Core studies introduce the different fields
of knowledge and diverse ways of knowing that are at the heart of the
liberal arts. Core requirements include:
Two courses in the history of Western culture;
Two courses examining global and domestic diversity;
Two courses in literature and the fine arts;
Two courses introducing Biblical and theological
Two courses in the natural sciences;
Two courses analyzing human behavior.
Finally, an integrative ethics course offers
upper-division students an opportunity to apply a variety of normative
perspectives to the analysis of a range of personal and social issues.
Faculty from across the college offer advanced courses which systematically
address questions of justice, morality, rights and responsibilities,
often in the context of a student's major.
These requirements support the college's mission
in a variety of ways. Students are introduced to the liberal arts in
First-Year Writing and in a variety of discipline-based foundation and
core courses. Courses in Biblical and theological study, together with
the ethics course, support the college's concern to graduate theologically
literate students. A global perspective is articulated in foreign language
courses, in multicultural studies courses and in international programs
that meet General Education requirements. Students are prepared for
the world of work in foundation courses that emphasize communication
and analytic skills and in integrative courses that promote flexibility
of mind. Taken as a whole, the General Education requirements seek to
foster the development of mind, body and spirit that is at the heart
of our mission.
Students are also prepared for lives of worth and
service in their major studies. Many students choose to major in one
of the traditional liberal arts disciplines, such as art, biology, economics,
history, mathematics or philosophy. Others choose an interdisciplinary
program which brings the perspectives of several disciplines to bear
on a specialized area of concern, such as Asian studies, medieval studies,
or women's studies. Many students choose to double-major or to pursue
a concentration or certification program in addition to a disciplinary
major or to develop an area of emphasis within a major.
See Graduation Requirements in the Index for detailed
information on the General Education requirements. Consult the Class
and Lab Schedules published three times a year by the Office of
the Registrar for specific information on the requirements that particular