Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Graduation and Commencement



In the fall, members of the senior class apply for candidacy for the degree to which their courses apply. Application is made through the Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising. Only such members of the senior class as have been accepted as candidates for a degree participate in Commencement events. Seniors not filing this application risk being overlooked for a diploma and inclusion in the Commencement program.

Seniors who will complete all requirements and graduate after fall semester or Interim are contacted individually and asked to apply for candidacy by late October.

Early Graduation

While the St. Olaf curriculum was designed to be completed in four years, it is possible to graduate within three to three and one-half years if students take advantage of options such as pre-college credit, St. Olaf summer school, or transfer credit within the specified maximum number of allowable credits.  St. Olaf students who have graduated within three to three and one-half years have majored in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, and fine arts. They have, in some cases, also completed a concentration or a double major. 

"Early graduation" calls for careful planning. Students interested in this possibility must confer with their academic advisor and with the Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising as soon as possible. The ability for any individual student to graduate within three to three and one-half years depends on many factors, including the structure of the major, course offerings during summer school, and the student's level of preparation.

senior audit

In the fall, the Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising conducts a review for each senior who has applied to graduate. Seniors who will not meet the requirements stated for participation in Commencement are notified that they have been removed from the list of graduating seniors. Seniors should be cautious about changing registration during the senior year. Any change that brings a senior below the stated requirements for participation in commencement results in the student being dropped from the graduating class.

Past experience leads the college to believe that seniors should be cautious about taking courses S/U. A "U" designation does not carry credit and will not be changed to another type of grade for graduation credit at a later date. An "S" grade does not fulfill a general education requirement.

Class Rank

Participation in COMMENCEMENT

Commencement exercises are held each May for graduating seniors who are members of that class and who have successfully completed 35.00 credits and all other requirements for the degree.

Only students who have successfully completed 33.00 credits out of the required 35.00 credits with a minimum 2.00 grade point average are eligible to be included in the Commencement program and participate in Commencement and its related activities without receiving a diploma. Students who participate in Commencement without receiving a diploma are referred to as “participators.” Participators' names appear with appropriate honors designation, if any, in the Commencement program, but they do not receive a diploma until the completion of all requirements. The grade point average for participators may change if their remaining course work is completed at St. Olaf. Honors may also change, but rank in class remains unchanged. The grade point average for diploma graduates changes if St. Olaf courses that qualify for inclusion in the grade point average are subsequently taken, but honor designation and rank in class remain as they were recorded on the date of graduation. The diploma is conferred and a complete transcript issued following completion of all requirements.

Neither senior status, number of courses attempted, time spent in college, delays in submitting off-campus or transfer work, nor other circumstances or miscommunication eliminate the 33.00 credit requirement for participation in commencement. The 33.00 credits must be fulfilled and recorded before the day of Commencement. (See INCOMPLETES and CARLETON INTER-REGISTRATION.) The responsibility for understanding and meeting graduation requirements rests entirely with the student.


A diploma is issued to each member of the graduating class at Commencement under the following conditions:

  1. All requirements for the Baccalaureate degree have been successfully completed. A diploma is not issues to participators.
  2. The recipient has no outstanding financial obligations to the college.

There is a fee for replacing a diploma: $25.00 (domestic); $35.00 (international).