St. Olaf CollegeAcademic CatalogSt. Olaf College

Table of Contents
An Education for the 21st Century: Academic Life
Graduation Requirements and Curricular Advice
Academic Regulations and Procedures
International and Off-Campus Studies

Special Programs
» Education Put to Work
» Pre-Professional Programs

Admissions and Financial Aid
Life Outside the Classroom
Facts and Figures
College Calendar

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



Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Education Put to Work

The college is proud of its record of “education put to work.” Breadth in liberal arts study combined with depth in an academic major remains the most adaptable and enduring education for students anticipating productive lives in a rapidly changing world.

A large percentage of St. Olaf graduates continue their education in America’s best graduate and professional schools. According to the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates, St. Olaf ranks sixth among bachelor’s degree colleges in the number of graduates who went on to earn doctoral degrees during the period 1991-2000. St. Olaf was first among baccalaureate colleges in mathematics, fourth in chemistry and sixth in life sciences as an undergraduate supplier of Ph.D.s during the same period. (It ranks 11th among all higher education institutions as a source of Ph.D.s in mathematics.)

Many St. Olaf graduates enter university programs in medicine, law, the fine arts, business and management and government and public policy, as well as research programs in technologies not dreamed of a decade ago. Other graduates embrace the life and mission of the Church, teaching and careers in international service, outreach and travel.

The college counsels patience, search and reflection in the preparation for future work. Some of the most successful academic programs and majors preparatory for careers are not decided until the end of the sophomore year, and college majors that seem unrelated to specific careers often prove extremely viable. It is noteworthy that many of the country’s top business leaders were philosophy or history majors. Today it is not uncommon to see chemistry majors enter law school and English majors (with requisite health science electives) admitted to medical school.

A number of factors contribute to the success of St. Olaf graduates, including an education that recognizes that as knowledge becomes increasingly less compartmentalized it will be those who have learned how to learn who will have the advantage.

Through their regular coursework, innovative options like the Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum program (see Index), and the hands-on experience provided by independent study and research options, internships, and programs like the Finstad Office for Entrepreneurial Studies, students explore the interconnectedness of the world today — and prepare for life in the ever-changing world of

Guiding students in their explorations are the informed and caring men and women of the St. Olaf faculty and staff, who provide continuing support to students in a regular and resourceful program of search and guidance. A number of pre-professional studies programs also help them shape their studies to fit the requirements of America’s top professional and graduate schools.


The Center for Experiential Learning

The Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) was established in 2000 to fulfill the vision of providing every interested St. Olaf student with experiential learning opportunities that relate to and complement the St. Olaf liberal arts curriculum. Building on the educational strategy that students need to “live their learning” by creating bridges between classroom work and the world by “the Hill,” CEL programs focus on internships and service learning, career development and entrepreneurial studies. Programs are implements through the CEL’s Offices for Career Connections, Internships, Servant Leadership and Entrepreneurial Studies with the intent of providing a coordinated, comprehensive, classroom-based experiential learning program that is academically sound, inclusive of all academic disciplines and connected with all sectors of the domestic and global communities. For in-depth information about these programs, visit

Career Connections — The mission of the Office for Career Connections is to assist students in developing, implementing and evaluating career/life plans and to educate faculty and staff regarding issues of career and life planning. The career connections process emphasizes career exploration, experiential learning and reflection through a wide range of assessments, resources, services and programs throughout the campus community.

Internships — The Office for Internships provides services and resources that assist students in exploring and engaging in internahips and externships (job shadowing). These experiential learning opportunities allow students to apply their classroom theories and knowledge in a real world setting, develop transferable skills, build a network of employer contacts, assess strengths and evaluate career options as they prepare for life beyond the campus. The office works to create meaningful learning experiences by facilitating interactions between students, faculty, alumni and organizations.

Entrepreneurial Studies — The Finstad Office for Entrepreneurial Studies, established in 1992 with a major gift from Paul and Anne Finstad and other St. Olaf alumni, promotes entrepreneurial thinking and action among students, faculty and alumni of the college. Through a variety of courses and activities in entrepreneurship, the Finstad Office helps students prepare for roles as business owners and managers, venture capitalists or consultants to smaller businesses, providing an unparalleled learning experience in entrepreneurial practice.

Servant Leadership — The mission of the Office for Servant Leadership is to build upon the rich heritage of St. Olaf College in developing servant leaders — students challenged to be responsible citizens of the world, concerned for the common good and bringing their gifts to the world. Through experiential learning, the Office for Servant Leadership continues to build a community of future servant leaders, supporting students in their desire to first serve and through that service to become agents for change. The office accordingly creates opportunities for students and faculty to connect academic experiences with practical, “hand-on” engagement in service by facilitating service-learning initiatives, campus and community engagement, civic dialogues and international study-service programs.