Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Alternative Language Study Option (ALSO)

Director, 2011-12: Renata Debska McWilliams, Director, World Languages Center

Faculty advisory committee, 2011-12: Phyllis Larson (Asian Studies), Japanese language and literature; Amine Bekhechi (French) 20th-century French and Francophone literature

The Alternative Language Study Option (ALSO) is a pilot program that offers students the opportunity to study languages outside the traditional language curriculum currently offered at St. Olaf. In the first year (2011-12), only two sections of beginning Arabic are offered; in subsequent years, languages such as Korean, Italian, and Portuguese may be offered.

The program is administered as an independent study program through the faculty for Interdisciplinary and General Studies. The World Languages Center (WLC) offers the necessary space, technology, and instructional materials for language study to be pursued. Any courses taken under the ALSO option cannot be used to fulfill the foreign language GE requirement at St. Olaf; rather, they are intended to serve as a supplementary option for language study.

All language sessions take place in the WLC Resource Room, TOH 153. In each session, students work with a native-speaker conversation partner to practice reading, writing, and general language content, including grammar. Outside of these class sessions, students work on homework assignments to continue learning content that is then practiced in class. Throughout the semester, students complete an oral and written midterm and final exam developed by an outside examiner. Students are also expected to meet with the ALSO program director regularly to discuss their progress in the course. Grades are determined through evaluation of student work by the outside examiner and program director.


Eligibility for participation in the ALSO program is determined by previous language performance. Interested students must have successfully completed the college's foreign language (FOL) requirement within existing curriculum, must demonstrate evidence of serious motivation and the ability to work independently, and must meet the 2.75 minimum GPA requirement. In addition, students are required to provide two faculty references, one of which must be a former language professor.


Alternate Language Study Option 100

Students learn a language such as Arabic in a guided, independent study program offered through the World Languages Center. They meet with a native speaker conversation partner for three hours a week, in addition to ten hours of study on their own. Syllabi and tests are developed and administered in consultation with an expert outside examiner. Students in this program are strongly encouraged to take courses in the general curriculum that provide important cultural context for the study of their language. The language(s) offered in any semester depend(s) on student interest, usually requiring 2-5 students to offer a section. Prerequisite: Prior completion of FOL requirement. For additional course information see