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.

Special Registrations


All persons attending, auditing or participating in a program of instruction must officially register with the college. Permission of the instructor is required to audit a course. An auditor is a visitor in a class and participates in its activities only at the invitation of the instructor. Students are discouraged from auditing courses that involve performance, lab work or extensive use of equipment such as studios, gymnasia and computers. Auditors take exams or hand in written work only at the direction of the instructor. A person who has audited a course may not subsequently earn credit for it by special examination. Students auditing courses where tests and evaluations are used to establish an early grade pattern may not register those courses for credit after the add deadline has passed. Auditing of summer school courses is not permitted.

Successful Audits: A person attempting a successful audit must have the permission of the instructor at the time of entering the course and should negotiate the conditions necessary for completion of a successful audit with the instructor at that time. A successful audit form, available from the Registrar's Office, is to be completed by the student and the instructor together and returned by the student to the Registrar's Office no later than the last day to drop a class for the semester in which the course is being offered. A properly documented successful audit will be entered on the auditor's transcript. Successful audits are not awarded course or grade credit nor do audits fulfill graduation requirements in whole or in part. Auditors other than registered full-time St. Olaf and Carleton students or staff will be required to pay 20% of the current tuition charge per course.


Full-time, degree-seeking St. Olaf and Carleton College students may enroll in courses on either campus. Inter-registration is limited to one course per term. A course taken at Carleton must receive prior approval of the Carleton instructor and registrar and be worth at least six variable Carleton credits. A Carleton course must be properly registered in order for credit to be awarded (see procedure below). As a general rule Carleton will not inter-register St. Olaf students for Carleton courses which are routinely taught at St. Olaf. Carleton courses are computed in the St. Olaf grade point average.

Registration for a Carleton Winter Term course is considered a full St. Olaf load. A St. Olaf student may not simultaneously register for a St. Olaf Interim. A Carleton Winter Term course counts as one St. Olaf Interim (January Term).

Physical Activity courses must be inter-registered. A PHA course taken at Carleton will count toward the General Education requirement (PHA) at St. Olaf, but no credit will be given toward the total number of courses required for graduation. A student wishing to apply a Carleton course to his/her major should consult with the appropriate department chair or program director before completing the inter-registration procedure. Consult the Registrar's Office for the procedure to secure General Education credit approval before completing the inter-registration process.

To enroll in a Carleton College course:

  1. Obtain an application from the St. Olaf registrar.
  2. Obtain the signature of the Carleton instructor and the Carleton registrar.
  3. Complete an application each term that you take a Carleton course. Example: You must register for two Carleton terms if you wish to take the Hebrew 101-102 sequence.
  4. Return the completed application to the St. Olaf registrar's window for approval. The application will then be sent to Carleton for approval and a copy returned to the student.
  5. Drop a Carleton course by obtaining a change of registration form from the St. Olaf registrar's window. Have it signed by the Carleton instructor; return it to the St. Olaf registrar by the posted Carleton drop deadline.

    Note that St. Olaf students cannot register for an independent study or independent research with a Carleton faculty member.


St. Olaf College permits enrollment on a part-time basis in most regular college classes at a reduced rate of tuition. Prospective continuing education students must comply with the following:

  • Continuing Education students must be 25 years of age or older and non-degree seeking or be a St. Olaf graduate;
  • Register on a space available basis;
  • Register no earlier than the first day of classes with signatures from faculty.

Continuing education students who later decide to become degree seeking may count only 7 (seven) courses taken under the continuing education guidelines toward a degree.

Persons wishing to take courses as continuing education students must obtain and complete the appropriate paperwork in the Registrar's Office prior to attending class. Any questions should be directed to the Registrar's Office.
Regular degree-seeking students registered full- or part-time in the traditional college program are not permitted to take courses at the reduced rate as continuing education students.


Independent work is a privilege to be extended only if those involved agree the student is prepared to benefit, that the proposal is well planned and that there is previous course work in the area to give credence to independent study. The following regulations apply:

  1. Total work to be done shall approximate that expected for a regular semester course. No proposal worth less than or more than a full (1.00) course will be considered.
  2. Independent study/independent research may fulfill an elective credit or a credit in the major, but it may not fulfill a General Education requirement (except for a course with writing [WRI]).
  3. Independent study/independent research is not a substitute for a regularly offered course, but a special type of educational experience with purposes different from those for which regular courses are designed. Ordinarily, prerequisite course work will have been completed in the area of the independent study.
  4. A student may take up to a total of three independent study courses. A student may also take two independent research courses in each field in which he/she has completed five courses. Independent study is registered by department or program as 298, Level II. Independent research is registered as 398, Level III. First-year students may not take an independent study course.
  5. Applications for independent study/independent research are available at the registrar's window and in department offices. Several signatures are required. Students should complete the form before they register for the independent study/independent research.
  6. Independent study/independent research courses are considered as residential-supervised, not off-campus correspondence experiences. With the exception of already established independent courses on study/service programs, a St. Olaf independent study/research credit cannot be registered during a term in which the student is on a St. Olaf (or non-St. Olaf) off-campus program, and independent work cannot receive credit during that off-campus term, nor while a student is not in residence at St. Olaf. This prohibition includes "senior project" or thesis courses which often are in the nature of independent study/research.

Questions about independent study/independent research should be directed to the registrar.


Students have the option of proposing a self-designed, integrative major through the Center for Integrative Studies (CIS), at any time during the sophomore year or at the beginning of the junior year. A student may propose any sequence of courses, seminars, independent studies or experiential learning as the means of pursuing an individual major.

The proposal must have the support of a faculty academic adviser. The coherence, depth and feasibility of each proposal is evaluated by a faculty review committee convened by the CIS. Students pursuing individual majors also keep a web portfolio of their work in the major as a means of demonstrating the connections among its various components, to the work of other students or to other sites of public discussion.

For reference to more information about individual majors or other programs of the Center for Integrative Studies, consult the Index.


Three successful Interim courses are required for graduation. The January Interim is a four-week period of intensive study in one area. Students may take only one course or program of instruction during Interim. For example, St. Olaf students enrolled in a Winter Term course at Carleton are not permitted to enroll in the St. Olaf Interim. The Carleton course equals a full Interim load. Students enrolled in an Interim course or program cannot audit another course for the purpose of having a second transcript entry, e.g. "successful audit."

Upperclass students may choose an off-campus Interim at one of approximately 25 other 4-1-4 colleges on an Interim Exchange basis under the terms stated in "Interim Exchange" below. The Registrar's Office has a list of participating colleges and the application form.

Departments and interdisciplinary programs have varying requirements concerning the use of Interim courses in the major, or to fulfill graduation requirements. Students should consult the department or program, this catalog and the Interim Class and Lab Schedule.

Students who enroll at St. Olaf for the year, but who elect to omit the Interim course are not entitled to a refund of Interim tuition or room. A student must apply for a board credit through the Business Office before leaving campus. No credit will be given once interim begins.

Specific regulations as they apply to Interim include:

  1. First-year students must register for an Interim course unless they have prior approval from their
    class dean.
  2. For students who originally matriculated at St. Olaf, three successful Interims are required for graduation. Transfer students admitted with sophomore or junior standing must successfully complete two Interims as is the case of transient students who spend the sophomore and junior years at another institution.
  3. For senior "participators" who have successfully completed two Interims, a St. Olaf summer school course taken after Commencement may count as the third Interim. The St. Olaf summer school course replacing the third Interim must be an in-class, residential course. It cannot be off-campus independent study, independent research, Economics 389, senior thesis or other types of non-residential instruction.


St. Olaf will accept Interim Exchange only from 4-1-4 colleges with which it has an exchange agreement and only if the Interim is at least 3.5 weeks in length. Interim Exchange courses earn elective credit and may qualify for certain majors. Off-campus programs taken through another college by Interim Exchange cannot be used to fulfill a St. Olaf General Education requirement. Applications available at the registrar's window must be approved by the registrar. The Registrar's Office has some Interim Exchange college catalogs for use; otherwise the student/applicant must procure the catalog for review.
First-year students may not participate in Interim Exchange.

Grades earned at other colleges through Interim Exchange are not computed in the St. Olaf grade point average.

Students who participate in an Interim Exchange are not entitled to a refund of Interim tuition or room. A student must apply for a board credit through the Business Office before leaving campus. No credit will be given once interim begins.

Questions regarding a specific exchange and about course credit from an exchange should be directed to the registrar.

Academic internships are viewed as an integral part of a student’s academic life at St. Olaf College. An academic internship is a planned, supervised, experiential learning project integrating study and practical work. As a credit-bearing experience it allows students to acquire and apply knowledge through direct experience in a field related to their academic program. The academic internship is intended to integrate on-site learning with the knowledge base of a related discipline. Academic integrity is assured through established department/program criteria, faculty supervision, an Academic Internship Learning Plan and guidance from the Office for Internships.

The following regulations govern academic internships:

  1. To assure that a proposed academic internship is credit-worthy, a student must complete a Learning Plan in advance of the internship. A form for a Learning Plan is available from the Office for Internships.
  2. Credit for an academic internship will be granted only when the academic internship is completed in conjunction with a St. Olaf academic program.
  3. Each academic internship must have a St. Olaf faculty supervisor and an on-site supervisor. There must be ongoing communication among the college, the student and the on-site supervisor during the academic internship to assure fulfillment of the Learning Plan.
  4. An academic internship as outlined in a Learning Plan must be approved by the Office for Internships and by the faculty supervisor. Approval by the department chair is needed for the academic internship to be counted toward a major.
  5. Each academic internship must include both practical work experience assigned by the on-site supervisor and complementary academic work assigned by the St. Olaf faculty supervisor as outlined by the Learning Plan.
  6. A student may enroll for an academic internship as either a Level II (294) or Level III (394) course, using criteria established by individual departments or programs. At the discretion of an individual department, a student may take a second internship with the same number in that department, provided it has a different focus.
  7. A student may be paid for work done during the academic internship.
  8. The academic internship experience must be evaluated by the St. Olaf faculty supervisor, with input from the on-site supervisor.
  9. Only proposals for internships bearing a full (1.00) course credit will be considered
  10. Academic internships are offered P/N only.
  11. Academic internships do not fulfill General Education requirements.
  12. Consideration of transfer of academic internship credit from another institution will follow the transfer credit policy for matriculated students as outlined in the college catalog.
  13. No more than three academic internship courses may apply to a St. Olaf degree.
  14. A student may register for an academic internship only after the Director of Office for Internships approves the Learning Plan.
  15. A student must register for an academic internship prior to or during the term for which the student receives credit. Credit will not be awarded retroactively.
  16. The academic internship experience (on-site work in addition to academic work) must total 160 hours, with a minimum of 120 hours on site.


St. Olaf offers a rich variety of off-campus programs. They are defined only in this catalog and in the
St. Olaf Off-Campus Studies Catalog. Specific questions should be directed to the International and Off-Campus Studies Office or to the faculty adviser of each off-campus program.

  1. Participation
    Off-campus study opportunities are available to students who meet the requirements of the host institution and the St. Olaf prerequisites. Certain programs have limitations based on class in college; others are open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Students going on off-campus programs must register for the program at the normal registration preceding the term off campus. Students going on programs that include both the Interim and Spring Semester must register in person at registrations held for both terms.

    Students on St. Olaf-sponsored off-campus programs may have a resident student proxy register for them for the next St. Olaf term.

    Students on academic probation may file an application for participation but must be declared off probation by the end of the semester prior to planned international participation.

    All off-campus programs are closed to first-year students with the exception of certain language Interims. However, a first-year student may file application during the first year for participation in the sophomore year.

  2. Credit
    1. Students considering an off-campus program must consider major and General Education requirements to make sure participation will not jeopardize normal progress toward graduation. Off-campus program courses taken ungraded (S/U or P/N) will not fulfill a General Education graduation requirement.
    2. Certain off-campus courses count toward St. Olaf General Education requirements, as indicated and, at the option of the department/program concerned, may count toward a student's major or concentration. No credit is granted where courses are worth fewer than three semester credits at the host university. General education credit is not awarded when the course is taken ungraded.
    3. Qualified students must notify the registrar in writing to change a course credit from graded to S/U or S/U to graded where these options exist. If this is done by mail, postmarks must conform to deadlines posted on the college calendar.
    4. Students will not receive transfer credit if they make their own arrangements to enroll in a foreign institution with which St. Olaf has already developed a program relationship. If a student is to receive academic credit, registration must be through St. Olaf.
    5. Except for already established study/service programs, a St. Olaf independent study/research or internship credit cannot be a component in a St. Olaf off-campus program.
    6. Students may not earn more credit on an off-campus program than would be earned on-campus in a given semester.

  3. Grades
    Grades from St. Olaf-sponsored off-campus programs are recorded on the student's official transcript, but do not count in the St. Olaf grade point average or toward the 24-graded-course requirement. There is an exception to each:

    1. A course taught by a St. Olaf professor within a program is computed into the St. Olaf grade point average and toward the 24-graded-course requirement.
    2. A full-year program (not a semester-length 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

      Graded course reduction is not permitted for less than six off-campus, full-course credits in a single program experience. It follows that semester-length or a combination of different semester-length programs do not reduce the 24-graded-course requirement.


St. Olaf students participating in non-St. Olaf programs (foreign or domestic off-campus programs through another college, institution, or consortium unaffiliated with St. Olaf) must secure transfer credit approval in advance from the Registrar's Office. Students may earn elective credit and credit toward a major (if approved in advance by a department chair or interdisciplinary director). but may not fulfill St. Olaf General Education requirements through off-campus (non-resident) programs of other colleges and universities. This restriction includes off-campus programs taken away from the campus at a host Interim exchange college. Independent study taken on such programs will not transfer as St. Olaf credit.

St. Olaf does not approve off-campus programs for transfer credit where the program is essentially a "travel" program, work experience, museums, or other programs that do not have a solid liberal arts, student-instructor component. The student/applicant is responsible for providing the registrar with detailed program descriptions, outlines and course syllabi in advance.

Credits taken on non-St. Olaf sponsored off-campus programs that are less than two semesters in length will not reduce the number of graded course credits required for graduation.

Seniors going on non-St. Olaf programs risk violating the senior residency requirement and should inform the registrar of their plans.


From September 1969 through May 2000, the Paracollege offered any student in good academic standing an alternative, or "parallel," means of earning the St. Olaf B.A. degree. With close supervision from faculty advisers, students put together educational programs that served their own academic objectives. Paracollege students fulfilled graduation requirements that were different from, though comparable to, the St. Olaf general education requirements. They used a variety of options to achieve their educational goals, including individual or group tutorials with a faculty member, seminars in the Paracollege, courses in the general college and portfolios. Each Paracollege student completed their work with a senior concentration, an individually constructed and usually interdisciplinary area of study. Students' work in the Paracollege was evaluated by P/N or letter grade depending on the type of course, but always also by a narrative evaluation from the faculty instructor. These narrative evaluations are part of each Paracollege graduate's official academic record.

Current students who would like the opportunity to construct a plan of study for themselves should consult with the Center for Integrative Studies, which opened in September 1999, about the option of designing and proposing an individual major, the successor to the Paracollege senior concentration. For more information about individual majors or other programs of the Center for Integrative Studies, consult the Index.


Special students are defined as short-term (one year or less) students who do not plan to graduate from St. Olaf. High school area senior honor students are one category of special students; continuing education students are also considered special students. Anyone not in the categories mentioned above who wishes to register as a special student must consult the Office of Admissions and submit transcripts from any high school or college previously attended. In most instances the registrar requires written authorization for admission from the Office of Admissions.
Part-time students are those who intend to graduate from St. Olaf and who register for fewer than three course credits. Such students must follow the regular admissions procedure.

Both special and part-time students always register on the first day of classes at the registrar's window.


The St. Olaf College summer school consists of two five-and-one-half-week terms, during each of which a student may take a maximum of 2.50 courses. Thus, one may take as many as 5.00 courses during the summer session. Course descriptions, costs and other details are available in the Summer School Catalog. Questions about summer school programs, credits and registration should be directed to the Registrar's Office.

Summer school tuition must be paid before a student will be permitted to register for summer courses.

Seniors anticipating completion of degree requirements through St. Olaf summer school should be aware of limited course offerings in a typical summer session.