Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.
The 4-1-4 Calendar
The St. Olaf College academic year consists of a 4-1-4 curriculum and calendar plan (two 14-week semes-ters of four courses each separated by a one-month Interim of one course in January). The 4-1-4 curricu-lum is augmented by two summer sessions during which a total of 2.5 credits each session may be taken.
This schedule improves the quality of instruction by concentrating student effort on fewer courses at one time; by providing an opportunity for independent study for students at some time during the four years; by providing opportunities for students with special abilities through programs of departmental and interdepartmental distinction; by providing integration of intellectual experiences and philosophy of life through interdisciplinary and capstone courses; and by allowing for students to complete more than one major.
Study in the January Interim, in seminars, and in independent study courses is aimed at helping the student develop greater insight, initiative, creativity, and responsibility.
The January Interim is a four-week period of intensive study in one area. The Interim provides an oppor-tunity for instructors and students to focus their entire attention on one course for a full month and offers a time for single-minded study in depth. It is a time when unique teaching and learning styles may be uti-lized in traditional courses or when unique subjects may be studied in international or domestic off-cam-pus locations. Faculty often develop creative on-campus course work dealing with contemporary topics in their discipline.
Upperclass students may pursue, with guidance of a faculty member, independent study projects or internships on or off campus during the Interim. A group of students may design an experimental course with approval by the college curriculum committee. Thus, the Interim provides the student with an opportunity to choose from a wide variety of independent or group learning activities. St. Olaf upperclass students may also attend an Interim at one of approximately 25 other 4-1-4 colleges on an Interim exchange basis.
Students are expected to devote a minimum of 40 hours of study per week directly related to the Interim course, including class time, outside reading, and other course-related work. In general, faculty and student contact hours for the Interim approximate the contact hours per course during the regular semester: 35-40 hours for the entire Interim or 8-10 hours per week. Class attendance is required on the last day of the Interim for examination or evaluation purposes. Grades are based on evaluation procedures similar to the regular semester.