Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Education Put to Work

The college is proud of its record of “education put to work.” Breadth in liberal arts study combined with depth in an academic major remains the most adaptable and enduring education for students anticipating productive lives in a rapidly changing world.

A large percentage of St. Olaf graduates continue their education in America’s best graduate and professional schools. According to the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates, St. Olaf ranks eighth among bachelor’s degree colleges in the number of graduates who went on to earn doctoral degrees during the period 1996-2005. St. Olaf was first among baccalaureate colleges in mathematics, fourth in chemistry, and sixth in life sciences as an undergraduate supplier of Ph.D.s during the same period. (It ranks 27th among all higher education institutions as a source of Ph.D.s in mathematics.)

Many St. Olaf graduates enter university programs in medicine, law, the fine arts, business and management, and government and public policy, as well as research programs in technologies not dreamed of a decade ago. Other graduates embrace the life and mission of the Church, teaching, and careers in international service, outreach, and travel.

The college counsels patience, search, and reflection in the preparation for future work. Some of the most successful academic programs and majors preparatory for careers are not decided until the end of the sophomore year, and college majors that seem unrelated to specific careers often prove extremely viable. It is noteworthy that many of the country’s top business leaders were philosophy or history majors. Today it is not uncommon to see chemistry majors enter law school and English majors (with requisite health science electives) admitted to medical school.

A number of factors contribute to the success of St. Olaf graduates, including an education that recognizes that as knowledge becomes increasingly less compartmentalized it will be those who have learned how to learn who will have the advantage.

Through their regular coursework, innovative options like the Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum program, and the hands-on experience provided by independent study and research options, internships, and programs facilitated by the Center for Experiential Learning, students explore the interconnectedness of the world today — and prepare for life in the ever-changing world of tomorrow.

Guiding students in their explorations are the informed and caring men and women of the St. Olaf faculty and staff, who provide continuing support to students in a regular and resourceful program of search and guidance. A number of pre-professional studies programs also help them shape their studies to fit the requirements of America’s top professional and graduate schools.


The Center for Experiential Learning

The CEL is comprised of four umbrella programs offering a host of opportunities to gain experience while pursuing an undergraduate degree. Within each program are initiatives that promote the CEL’s mission to “create and facilitate experiential learning that complements the St. Olaf curriculum.” In addition, the CEL is a resource center for students, providing information and assistance to help determine vocational goals and devise well-informed post-graduation plans. For in-depth information about these programs, visit

Career Connections — The Career Connections program helps students develop, implement, and evaluate career/life plans and collaborates with academic departments to integrate concepts of career development into courses of study. The career connections process emphasizes career exploration, experiential learning, and reflection through a wide range of assessments, resources, services, and programs throughout the campus community.

Academic Internships — The Academic Internship program provides services and resources to assist students in applying their classroom learning to structured educational work experiences. It works closely with academic departments to facilitate internships that offer a high level of correlation between conceptual knowledge and application, and enhances work experiences by providing students and faculty with strategies and guidelines that help ensure meaningful internships.

Entrepreneurial Studies — The Finstad Program for Entrepreneurial Studies promotes social innovation and entrepreneurship among students, faculty, and alumni. Dedicated to education, research, and service within the liberal arts, the program supports a community of people actively engaged in social innovation and entrepreneurship through grants, courses, internships, and special events.

Civic Engagement — The goal of the program is to initiate and promote civic engagement activities that are academically relevant and contribute to the needs of the community. Collaborations between the CEL, faculty members, and community partners build on the college’s longstanding commitment to service with an emphasis on challenging students to be responsible and knowledgeable citizens of the world. Community-based federal work-study options coordinated through the CEL provide a further avenue through which students may fulfill personal and academic objectives.

Multicultural Affairs and Community Outreach (MACO)

The Multicultural Affairs and Community Outreach Office provides services and assists with issues and concerns of African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American students. The office also provides academic advising and financial, personal, career, and social counseling when needed. Planning for cultural programming is deliberately integrated with the entire campus in an effort to raise the level of awareness and increase appreciation of cultural, social, and ethnic differences. The office also provides support and guidance for the multicultural alumni network and student organizations.

International Student Services

St. Olaf welcomes international students from around the world and Americans educated abroad. Upon their arrival, new international students are met at the airport and brought to the St. Olaf campus. Before the beginning of classes, new international students receive a special orientation to provide assistance with registration, U.S. immigration regulations, housing, banking, and U.S. tax concerns.

International students live in residence halls with American students. Specially trained international student counselors are available to assist students throughout the year. They also plan social activities for international students, their roommates, and other St. Olaf students.

Local families enjoy being “friendship families” to international students, and there are several home-stay programs offered for the Christmas holidays.

The international student advisor is available to students for personal, social, academic, financial, and immigration counseling.