St. Olaf CollegeAcademic CatalogSt. Olaf College

Table of Contents
Academic Life
Academic Regulations
» Entering St. Olaf
» Transferring to St. Olaf
» Registering for Courses
» Special Registrations
» Counting Courses & Credits
» Academic Status
» Curr. Regulations & Advice
» Records/Policies
» Leaving St. Olaf
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.

Counting Courses and Credits

For numerical purposes the term "course" means a full (1.00) course credit, as distinguished from fractional course credits.

St. Olaf courses are not denominated in semester or quarter credits. Each St. Olaf course is equivalent to 4.00 semester credits or 5.50 quarter credits.

Course descriptions are printed in this catalog or in the Catalog Supplement. Course offerings during a given semester are listed in the Class and Lab Schedules, which are published three times a year.

Thirty-five full courses are required for the Baccalaureate degree. Unless reduced as the result of transfer credits, 24 of the 35 courses must be taken on a graded basis.

Half-semester courses have drop/add and S/U deadlines that are different from full-semester courses. Consult the academic calendar in this catalog, the Class and Lab Schedule, and the registrar's web site. If a student is taking a full load of 4.50 courses with the .50 being a first-half semester course, he/she cannot register for a second-half semester course unless he/she meets the criteria for an overload stated under "Course Loads" in this catalog.

Note that "1" designates a first-half semester course and "2" a second-half course in the Class and Lab Schedule. If there is a "1" next to the Lab/Disc column, the course is offered during the first half of the semester. If there is a "2" next to the Lab/Disc column, the course is offered in the second half of the semester.

Often credit earned from specific courses varies with different Baccalaureate degrees, core requirements and majors. Rely on this catalog and the Class and Lab Schedules for information about which courses fulfill General Education requirements.

  1. Performance studies courses are always Level I when counted toward the Bachelor of Arts degree. Credit for performance studies courses is counted as Upper Level in the principal performing medium for Bachelor of Music degree students only during the junior and senior years.
  2. Dance activity courses count toward the physical activity requirement (PHA).
  3. If a student repeats a course, that course may earn only one credit after it has been completed with a passing grade. A course may be repeated only once, only at St. Olaf and only when the grade is C- or below, U or N. A course cannot be repeated after satisfactory completion of any course in the same department for which the course is considered a pre-requisite, unless specifically required to graduate. A course may be repeated S/U only if the course was originally taken S/U and a U was received. If a course receives an S credit, it may not be repeated regardless of the actual reported grade. A course may earn only one credit once completed with a passing grade. Each course attempt remains part of the permanent record, but only the second grade is computed into the grade point average.
  4. After students have graduated with a degree, the college will not accept additional courses transferred from other colleges except two courses to complete an additional major.
  5. A student may not take an independent study for a course regularly offered in a department of the college. Independent study or research may count toward a major, but may not fulfill a General Education requirement (except as a course with writing [WRI]).
  6. Twenty-four of the 35 full courses required for graduation must be taken on a graded basis unless that number has been reduced by transfer or off-campus course work.
  7. A student must complete at least six courses with grades of C or higher in a major in order to complete the major requirement. A grade of C- or S does not count in fulfilling this requirement.

St. Olaf courses have levels designated by course numbers in this catalog and in the Class and Lab Schedules as Level I, II and III.

Level I Courses, numbered 100 through 199, are for the most part introductory to a field or discipline. They exert a demand for only such depth of study, student responsibility and independence commensurate with initial work at the college level.

Level II Courses, numbered 200 through 299, require student independence in the acquisition of material and mastery of techniques and methods above that demanded in Level I courses.

Level III Courses, numbered 300 through 399, are usually confined to the major and demand control of methods as well as command of basic factual and theoretical knowledge appropriate to the discipline. A student should have at least two Level III courses in the major.

Courses numbered at Level II and Level III are referred to as Upper Level courses.

Students may be required to have at least two Level III courses in their major.

Eighteen of the 35 full courses required for graduation must be at Level II or III.

A course can earn only one level. It cannot be raised in level as the result of extra studies, assignments, or performance. A course with a lower number cannot, as the result of extra work, become another course of a higher number because of scheduling conflicts or closed course status. For example, Art 119 (.50) cannot earn credit as Art 233 (1.00), nor can Art 233 become 244. Likewise, a .25 credit course cannot become a .50 credit course.

4.5 courses is the typical, maximum course load allowed from all sources during a semester and only one course may be taken during Interim. Note that a student cannot add a course so as to create a course overload; a course must be dropped first if an added course would put the student's course load over the allowed 4.5 maximum.
With the permission of the registrar, a student may exceed 4.5 courses during a semester if:

  1. The student is a senior, for whom the maximum load is 5.00 full courses during one semester of the senior year. The senior year is defined as the two semesters prior to graduation either as a participator or as a diploma graduate.
  2. The student has a 3.60 grade point average over the nine most recent, full St. Olaf courses and thereby can take up to the maximum load of 5.00 full courses.
    First-year students are not eligible for course overloads.

    To be considered full-time, a student must be registered for at least 3.00 course credits. Students receiving veterans benefits need 3.00 course credits to be considered full-time. Four full-credit semester courses are required to maintain certain forms of State of Minnesota financial aid. Note that all students will receive an extra tuition charge for course overloads beyond 4.5 credits. See "Additional Fees and Costs."

Final grades are designated as follows:

Excellent A(A+) 4.0 grade points
3.7 grade points
3.3 grade points
Very Good B 3.0 grade points
2.7 grade points
  C+ 2.3 grade points
Satisfactory C 2.0 grade points
  C- 1.7 grade points
Poor D+ 1.3 grade points
  D 1.0 grade points
0.7 grade points
Failure F 0.0 grade points
Failure N No credit (D+ to F)
Failure U No credit (D+ to F)
  P Pass (C- or higher)
  S Satisfactory (C- or higher)
  WP Withdrawal with a passing grade
  WF Withdrawal with a failing grade

Course credit cannot be earned with a U, N, I, WP, WF, or F.


Grade/Credit 1.00 0.75 0.50 0.25
A 4.00 3.00 2.00 1.00
A- 3.70 2.77 1.85 .92
B+ 3.30 2.47 1.65 .82
B 3.00 2.25 1.50 .75
B- 2.70 2.02 1.35 .67
C+ 2.30 1.72 1.15 .57
C 2.00 1.50 1.00 .50
C- 1.70 1.27 .85 .42
D+ 1.30 .97 .65 .32
D 1.00 .75 .50 .25
D- .70 .52 .35 .17

The grade point average is based upon final grades for all course work taken at St. Olaf.

Grades and grade points for courses transferred from other schools are not computed in the St.ÊOlaf grade point average. The only exceptions are for grades earned through inter-registration at Carleton College, and grades earned through the Minnesota Intercollegiate Nursing Consortium Program where there is a completed major in nursing.

Graded courses from St. Olaf off-campus programs are not computed in the grade point average except for courses taught by St. Olaf instructors.

The grade point average is computed to two decimal places, (3.15, 2.36, etc.) and is never rounded up or down.

An average grade of C (2.00) is required for graduation.
Grades earned S/U or P/N and grades earned through transfer credits, Advanced Placement, or other means, are not computed in the grade point average.

Computing the Grade Point Average
The grade point average (G.P.A.) is computed by dividing the total number of St. Olaf, MINC, or Carleton-graded courses into the total grade points computed from the scale found under grade points by course credit (see chart).

Below is a "tally line" from a sample St. Olaf transcript indicating how this is done.

95.52 grade points divided by 29.25 graded courses equals a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.26.

Projecting a G.P.A.: Formula for Determining Grades Needed to Reach a Specific G.P.A.

Using the "tally line" from your St. Olaf transcript (see example), one may project a desired G.P.A. by using the following formula:

  Total number of graded courses to date   ____
(plus) Number of graded courses registered for (intending to) + ____
(equals) Total number of graded courses = ____
(times) G.P.A. attempting to reach x ____
(equals) Total grade points needed to reach desired G.P.A = ____
(minus) Current grade points on transcript - ____
(equals) Grade points needed in current graded courses to reach desired G.P.A = ____

Example: The senior whose transcript "tally line" appears above has a 3.26 G.P.A. He/she wishes to determine the grades necessary to reach 3.30 in order to graduate with honors. There are two steps.

Step 1 Total number of graded courses to date   29.25
(plus) Number of graded courses registered for (intending to) + 4.00
(equals) Total number of graded courses = 33.25
(times) G.P.A. attempting to reach x 3.30
(equals) Total grade points needed to reach desired G.P.A = 109.72
(minus) Current grade points on transcript - 95.52
(equals) Grade points needed in current graded courses to reach desired G.P.A = 14.20


Step II Possible scenarios for this student
Grade = Grade Pts.
B = 3.00 13.60 grade points is not sufficient to reach the desired 3.30 G.P.A. because
B+ = 3.30

grade points previously accumulated
+ 13.60
grade points, current courses

total grade points

total graded courses
TOTAL=13.60 (did not accumulate 14.20 grade points needed as shown above)


Grade = Grade Pts.
B = 3.00 14.30 grade points is sufficient to reach the desired 3.30 G.P.A. because
B+ = 3.30

grade points previously accumulated
+ 14.30
grade points, current courses

total grade points

total graded courses
TOTAL=14.30 (the 14.30 grade points accumulated exceeds the 14.20 grade points required as shown above)

Caution: If in doubt about your calculations when attempting to project a G.P.A., please request that the Registrar's Office verify your figures. Projections that involve a repeated course vary somewhat from the procedure given. Consult with the Registrar's Office to compute a projected G.P.A. when repeating a course.

Students have access to their academic records via the World Wide Web. Students who want a paper copy of their grade reports should contact the Registrar's Office.
Under no condition can grades be reported by telephone or to third parties, including parents.

A student has one year to notify the Registrar's Office of a grade error on the transcript. A grade error is a recording mistake made by the Registrar's Office.

Grade changes, on the other hand, are initiated by the instructor issuing the original grade. The instructor submits a grade change request to the registrar/assistant vice president for academic affairs for consideration. If the request is approved, the Registrar's Office will inform both the student and the instructor.

A minimum of six full (1.00) courses with grades above C-, (C or higher) must be completed in the major field. Not more than one of the minimum full courses required for a departmental or interdisciplinary major may be taken on an S/U basis.

A minimum of 24 full (1.00) graded courses out of 35 full equivalent courses is required for graduation. A reduction scale printed below is used if not all course work is taken at St. Olaf, or if credit is earned through special programs such as Advanced Placement. As a rule, two-thirds of the courses taken at St. Olaf must be graded. The graded course requirement is reduced by scale in the following instances:

  1. Credits transferred into St. Olaf from another institution. However, credits taken on an off-campus program through another institution if less than two semesters in length will not reduce the number of graded course credits required for graduation. This rule applies to students who matriculate at St. Olaf before going on a non-St. Olaf off-campus program.
  2. Credit awarded through College Board Advanced Placement.
  3. Credits earned on St. Olaf off-campus programs that are two semesters in length.

    A semester-length St. Olaf off-campus program or combinations of several semester-length off-campus programs will not reduce the number of graded credits required. However, a course taught by a St. Olaf instructor on an off-campus program is considered a graded course and counts toward the 24 required if taken for a letter grade.

    A full-year off-campus program gives a student partial graded course credit toward the 24-graded-course requirement even though the letter grades from a full-year program are not computed in the grade point average unless taught by a St. Olaf instructor. Under these conditions, the 24-graded-course requirement is reduced as follows:

    Nine courses earned — four graded courses reduced
    Eight courses earned — four graded courses reduced
    Seven courses earned — three graded courses reduced
    Six courses earned — three graded courses reduced

    Interim exchange courses do not reduce the number of graded courses required for graduation.

    The reduction scale by course quantity is printed below:

    Ole courses taken Ole graded required
    34 23
    33 22
    32 22
    31 21
    30 20
    29 20
    28 19
    27 18
    26 18
    25 17
    24 16
    23 16
    22 15
    21 14
    20 14
    19 13
    18 12
    17 12

P/N credits are earned in courses that are offered only P/N. In other words, every student taking the course is doing so on an ungraded basis. This differs from S/U grades where each student in a course may elect to take the course graded or ungraded. Courses offered only on the P/N basis, if so designated, may fulfill General Education graduation requirements.

An incomplete in a course is rarely granted and only if there is a distinct possibility of and a commitment to, finishing the course in a timely manner.

Incompletes are granted primarily for documented medical reasons and may not be issued by an instructor without prior approval of the dean of students or one of the associate deans of students.

An incomplete for which a grade is not recorded by the extended deadline automatically becomes an F. The incompleted course cannot be dropped from the record at a later date to avoid a failing grade. Once the course is completed with the assignment of a letter grade and credit, an asterisk is entered beside it on the permanent transcript indicating that the course was once incomplete. A student may not apply for an incomplete in a course added after the posted deadline because of insufficient time to complete the assigned work.

A student who has been granted an incomplete in a course cannot subsequently finish the course with similar course credit transferred from another college. A St. Olaf incomplete which is not completed at St. Olaf will be converted into an F.