International and Domestic Off-Campus Studies: Overview
St. Olaf College, through International and Off-Campus Studies, creates and provides programs that serve the mission of the College at sites in the United States and abroad. These programs are characterized by the integration of academic and experiential education. The experiential component of these programs amplifies and extends the liberal learning that occcurs on campus and enhances students' global perspective by helping them encounter and understand changes confronting our world in a context of global community and world citizenship.
Around three-fourths of all St. Olaf students participate in off-campus programs, many of them led by St. Olaf faculty members. In recent years, around 70% of the students in every graduating class have studied internationally, in places as diverse as Aberdeen, Bangalore, Chiang Mai, Dakar, Irkutsk and Istanbul. Around 15 percent have participated in domestic programs — ranging from Interim courses on environmental psychology in Rocky Mountain National Park or the contemporary art scene in New York City, to semester programs on urban studies in Chicago or politics in Washington, DC. A number of students find off-campus study so valuable that they participate in two or three programs during their St. Olaf careers.
Of equal importance is the fact that faculty members find these programs extremely rewarding — both for their students and for themselves. That is why, in the more than 40 years that St. Olaf has been sponsoring them, the college’s field-supervised programs (Mediterranean Semester, Term in Asia, Global Semester, and more recently, Environmental Science in Australia) have been led by more than 50 different professors, and 140 faculty members have led more than 300 off-campus Interim courses.
Each off-campus offering has a program advisor. Program advisors are St. Olaf faculty members who are particularly well qualified to offer academic advice on specific programs.
It is strongly recommended that all first-year students discuss off-campus study plans with their academic advisor and with the faculty program advisor or the study abroad advisor in the International and Off-Campus Studies Office.
Exchange agreements and the college’s membership in consortia make it possible for students to participate in a number of exciting off-campus programs in addition to the ones sponsored by St. Olaf itself.
St. Olaf is one of 14 liberal arts colleges that make up the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM). Other ACM members are Beloit, Carleton, Coe, Colorado, Cornell, Grinnell, Knox, Lake Forest, Lawrence, Luther, Macalester, Monmouth, and Ripon.
St. Olaf is also a member of the Higher Education Consortium
for Urban Affairs (HECUA), which offers students specialized programs
in domestic and international sites focusing on community issues
and social change.
Policies and Procedures
Students are responsible for adhering to the regulations and policies contained in the Academic Regulations section of this catalog. In particular, students on St. Olaf off-campus programs are directed to refer to the policies on “Graded and Ungraded Courses” for full details on how off-campus programs affect this graduation requirement.
Nearly all St. Olaf students who study off campus do so during their sophomore, junior, or senior years. (A few Interims are open to first-year students.) The college’s 4-1-4 calendar (two semesters separated by an Interim in January) contributes to the flexibility: it enables students to participate in programs that last a month, a summer, a semester, half a year, or a full year.
Students intending to take part in a recognized program off campus must be in good academic standing, be sufficiently mature to benefit from such study, and physically able to participate in the core activities of the program. Many programs have prerequisites, including introductory or advanced courses in a specific discipline or certain levels of language proficiency. Some programs are competitive, and applicants are accepted based on meeting a standard set of criteria governing the selection process. Details about all St. Olaf-approved Interim, summer, semester and year-long programs, program advisors, prerequisites, and application deadlines and procedures are found on the International and Off-Campus Studies Web site. The brief descriptions located in this catalog, however, will give you an idea of the breadth and depth of St. Olaf's off-campus study opportunities.
Students in all St. Olaf-sponsored programs pay the St. Olaf tuition plus additional travel and on-site costs that vary, depending on the nature of each off-campus program. Apart from these payments, students are expected to cover passport and visa fees, the cost of additional independent travel, and personal expenses on their own. St. Olaf financial aid is available for St. Olaf off-campus programs. Information about special scholarships for off-campus study is available from the Financial Aid Office or the study abroad advisor in the International and Off-Campus Studies Office.