St. Olaf CollegeAcademic CatalogSt. Olaf College

Table of Contents

Academic Life
» A St. Olaf Education
» The 4-1-4 Calendar
» Academic Resources
» Majors and More
» Grad. Requirements
» Academic Advising
» Successful Study
» Campus Facilities

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

Changes that have occurred in St. Olaf academic policy and curriculum since the publication in 2002 of the St. Olaf Catalog for 2002–04 are indicated in red and red strikethrough type.

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Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

The 4-1-4 Calendar

The St. Olaf College academic year consists of a 4-1-4 curriculum and calendar plan (two 14-week semesters of four courses each separated by a one-month Interim of one course in January). The 4-1-4 curriculum is augmented by two summer sessions during which as many as four courses may be taken.

This schedule improves the quality of instruction by concentrating student effort on fewer courses at one time; by providing an opportunity for independent study for students at some time during the four years; by providing opportunities for students with special abilities through programs of departmental and interdepartmental distinction; by providing integration of intellectual experiences and philosophy of life through interdisciplinary and capstone courses; and by allowing for students to complete more than one major.

Study in the January Interim, and in seminar and independent study courses, is aimed at helping the student develop greater insight, initiative, creativity and responsibility.

St. Olaf College confers the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music upon students who have completed requirements leading to those degrees. (Consult the Index for more information about Graduation Requirements.) Historically 70-75 percent of all St. Olaf students who enter directly after high school graduate after four years of study, one of the highest graduation rates in the country among four-year, private liberal arts colleges.

January Interim

The January Interim is a four-week period of intensive study in one area. The Interim provides an opportunity for instructors and students to focus their entire attention on one course for a full month and offers a time for single-minded study in depth. It is a time when unique teaching and learning styles may be utilized in traditional courses or when unique subjects may be studied in international or domestic off-campus locations. Faculty often develop creative on-campus course work dealing with contemporary topics in their discipline.

Students may pursue, with guidance of a faculty member, independent study projects or internships on or off campus during the Interim. A group of students may design an experimental course with approval by the college curriculum committee. Thus, the Interim provides the student with an opportunity to choose from a wide variety of independent or group learning activities. St. Olaf upperclass students may also attend an Interim at one of approximately 25 other 4-1-4 colleges on an Interim exchange basis.

Students are expected to devote a minimum of 40 hours of study per week directly related to the Interim course, including class time, outside reading and other course-related work. In general, faculty and student contact hours for the Interim approximate the contact hours per course during the regular semester: 35-40 hours for the entire Interim or 8-10 hours per week. Class attendance is required on the last day of the Interim for examination or evaluation purposes. Grades are based on evaluation procedures similar to the regular semester.

Special Programs and Independent Study

Students can customize their educations at St. Olaf - thanks to an exciting array of international and domestic off-campus study programs, innovative offerings such as a Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum course, the Great Conversation, Asian Conversations and American Conversations and opportunities for independent study and research, internships, pre-professional studies or the creation of an individualized major through the Center for Integrative Studies. For more information on these offerings, see the section on Special Programs in this catalog or consult the Index.