St. Olaf CollegeAcademic CatalogSt. Olaf College

Table of Contents
An Education for the 21st Century: Academic Life
Graduation Requirements
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 sci-ences 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 Program for Entrepreneurial Studies, students explore the interconnectedness of the world today — and prepare for life in the ever-changing world of tomorrow.

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 mission of the Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) is to create and facilitate experiential learning that complements the St. Olaf curriculum, to enrich students’ academic programs, and to guide students in the process for pursuing vocational goals. The CEL is comprised of four programs and provides 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 Career Connections program assists students in developing, implementing and evaluating career/life plans and educates 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 Internships program provides services and resources that assist students in exploring and engaging in internships. Academic internships allow students to apply their classom learning to a structured educational work experience. These experiential learning opportunities encourage students to build a network of employer contacts, develop transferable skills, assess strengths and interests, and evaluate career and/or graduate school options as they prepare for life beyond the campus. The program works to create meaningful learning experiences by facilitating interactions among students, faculty, alumni, and organizations.

Entrepreneurial Studies — The Finstad Program for Entrepreneurial Studies is dedicated to the advance-ment of education, research, and service in entrepreneurship within the St. Olaf community. It works to provide students with the expertise, experience, and entrepreneurial spirit they need to thrive while starting a new business or working within an established organization, whether for-profit or not-for-profit focused. This program provides an unparalleled learning experience in entrepreneurial practice by providing Finstad Grants, courses, internships, speaker events, and other activities.

Service Learning and Civic Leadership — This, the newest of the CEL programs, is a collaboration between the CEL’s experiential learning professionals and faculty, helping classroom instructors identify ways that students can connect service and civic engagement to classroom learning. Building on the college’s longstanding commitment to service and community involvement, the goal of the program is to make these activities academic in nature while contributing to the needs of the community.