Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Nordic Studies

Director, 2009-10: Solveig Zempel (Norwegian), Norwegian literature and language

Faculty, 2009-10: J. Patrick Dale (Political Science) comparative p0litics, Russian, Eurasian, and European politics; Andrea Een (Music) Hardanger fiddle; Todd Nichol (History), immigration and Scandinavian history; Margaret Hayford O’Leary (Norwegian), Norwegian literature and language (on leave); Steve Soderlind (Economics) urban and regional economics (on leave Fall Semester and Interim)

The Nordic studies program enables students who enter St. Olaf with advanced competence in Norwegian (or another Nordic language) or those who wish a more interdisciplinary approach than that offered by the Norwegian major an opportunity to pursue their interest in Nordic language, culture and society.


The interdisciplinary concentration in Nordic studies allows students to focus on Nordic language, culture, or society by combining courses from several departments into a five-course concentration. Competence in a Nordic language is an integral part of the concentration.



The Nordic studies concentration consists of five courses, Norwegian 253 plus four other approved courses, at least one from the Norwegian Department and at least two from other departments. Up to three courses taken on St. Olaf off-campus programs such as the Oslo International Summer School, the Scandinavian Urban Studies Term, or the Denmark International Study Program may be approved.

Courses offered by the Departments of Art, History, Music, Philosophy, Religion, and others may be included in the concentration, providing a portion of the course focuses on some aspect of Nordic language, culture, or society. The student’s proposed concentration must be approved by the director of the Nordic studies concentration, who is also the chair of the Norwegian Department.


The Norwegian Department sponsors many speakers and activities such as the annual Christmas service and Seventeenth of May breakfast and provides students with the opportunity to live in a language house with a native speaker assistant. The Norwegian-American Historical Association, a rich source of information on Norwegian immigration, is housed in Rølvaag Memorial Library. Many students choose to study in Norway on a variety of programs such as the Oslo International Summer School and the International Studies programs in Norway. Norwegian professors also participate in the Foreign Language Across the Curriculum (FLAC) program, collaborating with disciplinary professors to offer students the opportunity to use their foreign language skills in selected courses in other departments.