Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Nordic Studies

Director, 2014-15: Margaret Hayford O’Leary (Norwegian), Norwegian literature and language

Faculty, 2014-15: J. Patrick Dale (Political Science), comparative p0litics, Russian, Eurasian, and European politics; Kari Lie Dorer (Norwegian), Norwegian language, applied linguistics (on leave); Dean Krouk (Norwegian), comparative literature, Scandinavian literature and Norwegian language; Todd Nichol (History), immigration and Scandinavian history; Björn Nordfjord (English), film studies; Steve Soderlind (Economics), urban and regional economics; Elizabeth Weis (Music), Hardanger fiddle

The Nordic studies program enables students who enter St. Olaf with advanced competence in Norwegian (or another Nordic language) or those who wish a more interdisciplinary approach than that offered by the Norwegian major an opportunity to pursue their interest in Nordic language, culture and society.


The Nordic Studies Concentration at St. Olaf College is designed to meet the needs of students who wish a more interdisciplinary study of the Nordic cultures than that offered through the Norwegian major. The Nordic Studies Concentration is an interdisciplinary study of the language, literature, history, and culture of the Nordic countries. It is a self-designed combination of courses, approved by the Director of Nordic Studies, who is also the chair of the Norwegian Department.



The Nordic studies concentration consists of five courses:

  • One Norwegian language course beyond FOL-N. For example, Norwegian 232: Intermediate Norwegian II (or above) or; advanced interimediate knowledge of a different Nordic language.
  • One or two other courses from Norwegian department offerings selected from Norwegian 130, 140, 224, 240, 244, 253, 282, 371, 372, or others, as approved by the director.
  • Two or three courses from other departments, such as History 222, Philosophy 233, or other courses with significant content relating to the Nordic countries.
  • Up to three courses from study abroad programs such as DIS, HECUA: The New Norway, and university direct-enroll programs may be counted toward the Nordic Studies concentration.
  • At least two of the five courses must have a focus on at least one Nordic country other than Norway.

To become a Nordic Studies Concentrator, contact the Director of Nordic Studies and inform the registrar by filling out the form at the Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising.


The Norwegian Department sponsors many speakers and activities relevant to the Nordic studies concentration such as the annual Christmas service and Seventeenth of May celebration and provides students with the opportunity to live in a language house with a native speaker assistant. The Norwegian-American Historical Association, a rich source of information on Norwegian immigration, is housed in Rølvaag Memorial Library. Many students choose to study in a Nordic country on a variety of programs such as the Oslo International Summer School and the St. Olaf-sponsored programs in Norway and Denmark. Norwegian professors also participate in the Foreign Language Across the Curriculum (FLAC) program, collaborating with disciplinary professors to offer students the opportunity to use their foreign language skills in selected courses in other departments.

Examples of Courses from Outside the Norwegian Department

History 111: Viking and Medieval Scandinavia
History 169: Fom Fjord to Frontier: Norwegian-American History in Literature
History 222: Modern Scandinavia
Music Performance: Hardanger Fiddle Lesson
Philosophy 233: Kierkegaard and Existentialism
Political Science 283: European Social Democracy
Political Science 382: The Geopolitics of Eurasian Energy
Religion 213: Lutheran Heritage (if paper deals with Scandinavian Lutherans)