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.

Registering for Courses


The Registrar's Office is on the main level of the Administration Building. Student hours are 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Monday-Friday except on "deadline days" (last day to add/drop or change a course grade designation) when the window is open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. In the summer, the office closes daily at 4:30 p.m. and is closed after 12 p.m. (noon) on Friday.

During the regular academic year, students may make appointments with staff members Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., or at other times by arrangement. Student inquiries relating to private/personal academic matters should be made in person, not by telephone.

The Registrar's Office is closed during the daily chapel service.

Forms and papers relating to adding and dropping courses, S/U changes, faculty advisers, academic programs, regulations, off-campus courses, transcripts, registrations, transfer work, petitions and other daily matters are available at the registrar's window or on the registrar's web site:

The numbers of the office are:

(507) 646-3015,
(507) 646-3210 fax


Course credits cannot be earned unless a student is officially registered with the college for courses actually taken. Registration for courses and sections is made only through the Registrar's Office. Informal arrangements, including section changes, between a student and an instructor do not constitute official registration. Registration does not go into effect until the student has made arrangements for financial charges with the Business Office.

College-wide registrations are held three times each year: September (new students) for Fall Semester, November/December for Interim and Spring Semester and April/May (currently enrolled students) for Fall Semester and Summer School. New students, students not enrolled during the previous semester and students returning from off-campus programs may register in the opening days of each term. Specific registration dates are posted on the academic calendar. Note that students must have settled their tuition bills with the Business Office to be able to register for a term.

Students must register in person or through a proxy at times appointed to each by the registrar. Appointments are rotated alphabetically from registration to registration so no one group of students is consistently first, last or in the middle of the registration schedule. Special arrangements are made for disabled students. Failure to register at the appointed time may result in a limited selection of courses. Part-time students, high school honors students and other "special status" students register on the first day of classes each term at the registrar's window.

Students should consult the Registrar's Office web page to verify the courses for which they are registered and to inspect their degree audits. Schedule errors and/or corrections to the record should be made at the registrar's window immediately.

  1. Procedure:
    Registration is made only on an official registration form sent to each student's faculty adviser two weeks prior to registration. Advisers notify students or post appointment times for discussion and the transfer of the signed registration form to the student to bring to registration.

    Students going on off-campus programs must register for the program at registration. If the program includes an Interim, registration must be made at both the semester and the Interim registrations.

  2. Changes in Registration:
    Students may change their course registration up until the deadline posted on the academic calendar or on the posted registrar's calendar. Registration changes (adding or dropping courses, S/U changes, etc.) are processed with drop/add slips available from, and returnable to, the Registrar's Office. The date the signed slip is returned to the Registrar's Office, not the date it was signed, determines whether the change meets the deadline. An unauthorized withdrawal results in a failure in the course. Being on a closed-course waiting list does not negate the deadline for adding a course.

    If a student drops a performance studies course (lessons) after the first day of class, no refund of music lesson fees is made.

    Requests to change registration after deadlines are made on a petition form available from, and returnable to the Registrar's Office. Such petitions, including assigning handling fees, are acted on by the registrar. The student may appeal a decision on a petition to the Curriculum and Educational Policies Committee, whose decisions are final. Petitioners may call at the registrar's window the day following the committee meeting for information concerning action taken on a petition.


The Class and Lab Schedules are published three times a year: August, November and April. The schedules list the titles, times, and meeting places of all courses offered during the next academic term. All issues also designate dates for final exams.

The schedules indicate amounts of credit and the requirements that a particular course fulfills. Should a schedule be found in error with regard to course credit, the registrar maintains a master course file for reference and inspection.


Deadlines pertaining to courses and academic procedures are posted on the academic calendar. Academic deadlines are set by the St. Olaf faculty upon recommendation of the Curriculum and Educational
Policies Committee.


A student may add a course until the deadline specified on the academic calendar or in the registrar's calendar by submitting to the Registrar's Office an appropriately signed drop/add slip. Late additions may be petitioned to the registrar and a handling fee may be assigned. Note that no course addition will be permitted that creates an overload for the term.

A student who has been placed on an instructor's waiting list, and who subsequently gains entry into a previously closed course, must officially add the course at the Registrar's Office by the posted add deadline.

Note that first-half and second-half semester courses have posted deadlines different from those for semester-length courses. Consult the academic calendar.

Performance studies lessons can be added only with a music lesson drop/add slip available from the Music Office. This drop/add slip must be processed by the Music Department secretary before it will be accepted at the Registrar's Office.


A student may drop (withdraw from) any course for which he/she is registered until the deadline for dropping a course posted in the academic calendar in this catalog or in the Catalog Supplement. A student under review for an honor code violation may not drop the course in question unless a withdrawal is authorized by the student honor council.

A drop/add slip, available from and returnable to the registrar's window, must be properly signed by the instructor whose course is being dropped. Post-deadline changes require a special petition and may result in a handling fee. An unauthorized withdrawal results in a failure in the course.

Note that first-half and second-half semester courses have deadlines different from those deadlines for courses that last the entire semester.

If a student adds a course which creates a course overload, he/she must drop a course to make room for the addition by the add deadline posted on the college calendar.

If a student drops a performance studies course after the first day of class, no refund of music lesson fees is made.
A student must be registered for at least 3.00 credits in order to retain full-time status, and to receive veteran's benefits. Four full courses are required to maintain certain forms of State of Minnesota financial aid. Degree candidate students dropping below the three-full-course minimum during a semester may lose housing (resident hall) privileges and financial aid. Students considering this option should consult with the Dean of Students Office before taking final action.

Students dropping a Carleton College course for which they are registered should consult "Carleton Inter-Registration" in this manual.


Students desiring to add a course after the posted deadline may petition with a form available from, and returned in person to, the registrar's window. The petition form must be signed by the instructor of the added course, the student's adviser and the student. Note that petitioning to add a course late without previous attendance may make taking the course more difficult; the instructor, therefore, must verify that the student has sufficient time to make up the work missed.

A student who mistakenly attends a different section of a course from the section registered must petition for a change in registration. The instructor for both sections must verify the error. A student may not subsequently request an incomplete grade for a course added late because of insufficient time to complete the assigned work.

Being placed on a waiting list for entry into a closed course does not negate the need to register properly for the course before the deadline for adding a course.

Note that a handling fee may be assigned for accepted petitions.


Students desiring to drop a course after the posted deadline may petition with a form available from, and returned in person to, the registrar's window. The petition form must be signed by the instructor of the course and the student's adviser. An unreported drop or withdrawal results in an F in the course. If the petition is granted, a notation of WP or WF will be made on the student's transcript to indicate whether the student was doing passing or failing work at the time that the course was dropped.

If a student is dropping a course he/she never attended, the instructor must verify the absence from the class.


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 or program for which the repeated course is considered a prerequisite. A repeated course may be taken 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 of D- or higher. Each course attempt remains part of the permanent record, but only the second grade is computed into the grade point average

Students projecting grade point averages where the projection involves repeating a course should consult with the Registrar's Office. See individual department listings for policies relating to specific departments.


Students may take six of the 35 required courses on an S/U basis. The intent of this option is to allow students to explore areas in which they have an interest, without the grade counting in their GPA.

All courses are open to the S/U option as distinguished from P/N (pass/no pass) courses where the ungraded option is mandatory. Neither an S nor a U figure into the grade point average. An S is awarded for a grade of C- or higher; a U represents a grade of D+ or lower. A U does not earn course credit.

The S/U Provisions For All Students Are:
In completing the minimum of 35 full courses required for graduation, students may take up to six full course equivalents on an S/U basis. The seventh course and courses beyond seven taken with an S grade are non-credit events.

Of courses taken to meet General Education requirements, only .25 credit courses may be taken on an S/U basis. Such courses are counted toward the six full credit course equivalents allowed. Full or .50 credit courses taken S/U do not fulfill General Education requirements.

A maximum of one full course equivalent taken S/U may count toward the minimum requirements for a major or an interdisciplinary concentration. Individual departments may have stricter rules.

The 24-graded-course requirement must be observed.
Students may elect to change the grading option from graded to S/U or from S/U to graded through the deadlines designated at the Registrar's office as posted on the college calendar.

Courses taken S/U on St. Olaf off-campus programs count toward the six full-course equivalents allowed. This use of S/U is distinguished from off-campus courses offered P/N only.

Students going on non-St. Olaf off-campus programs may be subject to a reduced number of S/U courses and should consult with the registrar in advance.

Students transferring to St. Olaf, or transferring work taken at other institutions after entering St. Olaf, may be subject to additional S/U restrictions and should consult with the registrar in advance.

A course completed on an S/U basis may not be assigned another type of grade at a later date. If a student receives an S credit in a course, that course may not be repeated regardless of the actual reported grade.

No indication of S/U registration is made on a professor's class list.

Some courses are offered on the P/N basis only upon previous approval of the dean of the college; announcement is made in the Class and Lab Schedule.


Deadlines for changing courses from S/U to graded or from graded to S/U are designated on the academic calendars in this catalog and in the Catalog Supplement. Students may change a course registered graded to S/U and S/U to graded through the posted deadline.

The date the S/U slip or a subsequent petition is submitted to the registrar, rather than the date it was signed, determines if the request meets the deadline. Students wishing to make an S/U change after the posted deadline may petition to do so on a petition form available at, and returned to, the registrar's window. Students may appeal a denied petition to the curriculum and educational policies committee by resubmitting the petition to the registrar. Decisions of the committee are final.


Under the S/U option, a U will be assigned for any grade of D+ or lower. A student earning a grade of D+ to F in a course taken S/U receives a U, which carries no credit. A U cannot be assigned another type of grade at a later date.


At registration courses may be closed to additional enrollment by the department chair or interdisciplinary program director. The registrar will keep a waiting list for each course during registration. Waiting lists will be turned over to instructors at the end of the registration period. Thereafter an instructor may add a student to a course by signing a drop/add slip returnable by the student to the registrar's window before the posted add deadline.
Placement on an instructor's wait list does not negate the college-wide deadline for adding a course, nor the need to submit a signed drop/add slip.


Students away on St. Olaf-sponsored off-campus programs may have a resident student proxy register for them for the next term. Likewise, students unable to register at their scheduled registration time may have a proxy register for them for the next term.

A proxy may not request another student's transcript or degree audit from the registrar. Rather the off-campus student should make arrangements to share academic and course information with his/her proxy.


A waiting list to enroll in a course closed at registration is an informal arrangement between a student and the instructor of the course. The arrangement does not negate the college-wide deadline for adding a course or constitute a promise on the part of the college that a closed course will be open at a later date.

The Registrar's Office turns over waiting lists to instructors at the end of each registration.