St. Olaf CollegeAcademic CatalogSt. Olaf College

Table of Contents

An Education for the 21st Century: Academic Life
» The Mission
» The St. Olaf Curriculum
» Majors and More
» The 4-1-4 Calendar
» Academic Advising
» Academic Support
» Academic Resources
» The Campus

Graduation Requirements
Academic Regulations and Procedures
International and Off-Campus Studies
Special Programs
Admissions and Financial Aid
Life Outside the Classroom
Facts and Figures
College Calendar

Registrar's Office
Admin 224
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
Northfield, MN 55057



Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Academic Resources

Together, the St. Olaf Libraries and Information and Instructional Technologies provide a variety of carefully selected resources that seek to mirror the breadth and depth of the under-graduate curriculum. The partnership between the Libraries and Information and Instructional Technologies provides access to regional, national, and international networks, data-bases, and other sources of information and ensures the availability of academic resources to the entire community.

St. Olaf’s Libraries and Special Collections

Thirty librarians and staff and more than 100 students work to purchase, organize, and make available a rich blend of materials and access points. The collections contain over 600,000 books and bound periodicals and over 275,000 nonbook items (videos, DVDs, sound recordings, software, microforms), housed in three separate libraries: Rølvaag Memorial Library (the “main” library), Halvorson Music Library, and Glasoe Science Library. The libraries receive more than 1,700 print periodicals, as well as thousands of electronic publications. The libraries are a partial depository for federal government publications. While the collections provide the basic resources required for undergraduate study as defined by the college curriculum, they have unusual strengths and emphases which reflect unique elements in the college’s tradition. Therefore, they are especially strong in  the fields of religion, Scandinavian literature and history, mathematics, and music. St. Olaf is also one of the few places where extensive materials can be found for the study of the culture and church life of Norwegian Americans.

In addition to the St. Olaf collections, the libraries also provide access to materials held across the state, the nation, and the world through their home pages, the online catalog system, a variety of online subscription services, and the Internet. Strong consortial relationships, especially with nearby Carleton College, ensure the availability of supplemental materials that enrich undergraduate study and research.

The St. Olaf Libraries are distinguished by an instruction program which teaches students research methodologies and evaluation techniques applicable to a variety of disciplines. The instruction is used immediately as students work on assignments dealing with a world of rapidly proliferating information and delivery systems and will also provide a foundation for lifelong learning after they leave the college. Librarians work with specific assignments in classes and provide research assistance at the reference desks — Rølvaag (over 60 hours per week) and the science and music libraries as posted. The libraries are open 110 hours per week when class is in session — with extended hours late in the semester and during exams.

Kierkegaard Library

The Howard and Edna Hong Kierkegaard Library, located within the Rølvaag Library Building, is one of the major research libraries in the world for the study of the thought of the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. The library was presented to St. Olaf College in 1976 by the Hongs, St. Olaf alumni and internationally noted Kierkegaard scholars and translators.

College Archives

Located in the Rølvaag Library Building, the Shaw-Olson Center for College History contains official records and publications, private papers, photographs, books, periodicals, audio and visual recordings, and museum artifacts that record and illustrate the history and life of the college. These materials provide historical information about the Board of Regents, the faculty, the student body, alumni, academic departments, the curriculum, administrative offices, campus services, college organizations, and campus activities. The mission of the archives is 1) to preserve materials that reflect the college’s identity; 2) to make these materials available to scholars, students, alumni, and other interested researchers; and 3) to promote attention to the college through public history projects. The archives web page includes a search engine for the completed online index of the Manitou Messenger, the student newspaper. The archives also provides work study opportunities for some students and a limited number of internships for majors in appropriate departments and programs.

The Norwegian-American Historical Association

Housed in the Rølvaag Library Building, the Norwegian-American Historical Association (NAHA) has been sheltered by St. Olaf since its founding in 1925. With an international membership of nearly 2,000, NAHA has two goals: to publish scholarly books on Norwegian-American history (90 books have been published so far) and to be a national center for research in Norwegian-American history by collecting and maintaining printed and manuscript materials produced by Norwegian-Americans or concerning their history. Printed materials are incorporated in the college library collection and other materials (such as diaries, journals, newspapers, periodicals, and records of organizations) in a separate archive. The oldest, out of print publications are available on the NAHA website at: Both students and the public are invited to use this center for research in Norwegian migration.

Information and Instructional Technologies

Information and Instructional Technologies (IIT) provides computers, software, A/V technologies, and support services to the entire St. Olaf community. All campus computers — including Macintoshes, PC-compatible, and Linux-based systems — connect to a campus network that provides free access to e-mail, software servers, electronic storage spaces, the Internet, and Internet 2.

Public labs are located in all the academic buildings and residence halls and provide equal access to equipment and software for all students, whether or not they are enrolled in a course requiring the use of the computer. In addition to the public facilities, 19 departments share or have their own specialized computing labs. This brings the total number of computers available for student use to more than 730, or a student-computer ratio of 4:1. Multimedia editing facilities are also available and used heavily.

Computing use is not limited to out-of-class assignments as nearly all of the St. Olaf faculty rely on some form of computing technology in their teaching, e-mail notifications or discussions and use of Moodle — the campus course management system — being the most popular. The college is working to ensure that classrooms are equipped with the appropriate technologies and, at present, 85% of classrooms are equipped with various technologies. Additional classroom technology installations are added or updated each year.

Over 96 percent of all students have their own computer on campus; many also have their own printer. Students who own a computer can connect to the campus network and the Internet in their own rooms in all of the eleven residence halls, using either the wireless network or a wired connection. Wireless access is also available in many of the academic buildings. Students can access their course assignments, check e-mail, review their grades, view their tuition bills, or just surf the web from the comfort of their rooms.

IIT employs 22 full-time professionals and nearly 70 student employees who support the computing needs of the entire campus — students, staff, and faculty. A campus help desk is staffed nearly 66 hours per week during the academic year.