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.

Registrar's Office
Admin 224
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
Northfield, MN 55057



Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Successful Study


Class attendance is expected and sometimes required. Irregular class attendance becomes the concern of the college since absence from class represents an academic loss. Excessive or prolonged absences are reported by instructors to the Dean of Students Office.


Instructors are required to file a continuous reporting form that alerts the Office of the Dean of Students to students who are having attendance, academic or personal difficulties in a course.


Faculty Office Hours
Professors hold office hours for the classes they teach. "Office hours" are regular times set aside each week to talk with students from class — usually on a walk-in basis. This provides an opportunity to ask questions about class topics, to extend the class discussion or to get to know instructors better.

Help Sessions
Many departments hold special help sessions or discussion groups for particular courses. These are usually listed on syllabi for those courses and are usually staffed with upperclass students who have been successful in the course. These sessions may offer an opportunity to get a second look at the class material, to rehearse the ideas and vocabulary and to ask questions.

Study Groups
Most students find it helpful in at least some of their courses to form a study group of two to five interested classmates. Such groups often improve understanding of course material through discussing assignments, exploring course ideas further, brainstorming possible test questions for each other or formulating questions to bring up in class.

Study Time and Study Habits
Many students need to adjust their time use habits on arrival at college. St. Olaf students report spending, on average, two to three hours of study outside of class for each hour in class. Making the best use of the limited time available usually requires using a good mix of daylight and evening hours for studying and avoiding study marathons. Successful study at St. Olaf usually includes reading ahead, attending class, using office hours, studying for each class in frequent, short study sessions, attending help sessions, forming a study group, asking questions soon after they arise and seeking help if the preceding efforts don't appear to be working.

The Academic Support Center
The St. Olaf Academic Support Center (ASC) offers a variety of no-fee services to assist students in meeting the demands of higher education. The professional staff and the student staff of academic assistants are available to help students design individualized programs to develop college-level skill in reading, writing, notetaking, time management, mathematics, listening, concentrating or problem solving. Most students first encounter the ASC during Week One in a Schedule Planning Workshop or in a series of sessions called "Meeting Academic Challenges at St. Olaf."

The ASC compiles and maintains a list of help sessions offered by academic departments, and the staff supervises the following ongoing programs:

  • Academic Assistants: This selected and trained student staff is available to help any student with general study skills or time management issues. Appointment times are available daily for a Study Skills Inventory.
  • Writing Place: Trained student tutors are on duty most afternoons and evenings to offer assistance with the various stages of the writing process for papers and other writing assignments.
  • Math Clinics: Trained student tutors are on duty most evenings to offer assistance with beginning calculus and statistics courses.
  • Tutoring: The ASC assigns one-on-one department-approved tutors in most subject areas for regular students who are having serious difficulties in a course.
  • Student Disability Services: Upon submitting documentation of a disability to the ASC, students with disabilities learn of resources, services and options available. The staff then helps the students develop and implement individual action plans, request accommodations and optimize study habits.
  • English Project: Students experiencing difficulties in their classes because English is not their first language are provided with a tutor to help build necessary language skills.


This federal TRIO grant supports selected eligible students. It includes the Professional Exploration Program (PEP), a college success program, funded in conjunction with a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Foundation grant.

New to the St. Olaf Catalog in 2003–04

Student Disability Services is the designated office on the St. Olaf College campus that verifies and files documentation, establishes reasonable accommodations and acts as a resource/advocate for students with disabilities. Any student who has need for accommodations should contact Kathy Quade, coordinator, Student Disability Services, Room 1, Old Main Annex, Academic Support Center, (507) 646-3364.
To be eligible for services, students must have a documented disability: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities (walking, seeing, speaking, learning, breathing, working, taking care of oneself, performing manual tasks).

Student Disability Services seeks to provide equal access to students with disabilities through accommodations and support, and to inform and edify the entire college community about disability concerns.