The Academic Program

The defining characteristic of the world today is change. There is no better preparation for an increasingly complex and uncertain world than a liberal arts education, precisely because that education is not tied to a specific vision of the future.The breadth of experience St. Olaf provides its students ensures that each graduate has the opportunity to develop a robust and flexible set of tools and skills.  St. Olaf graduates write clearly, reason logically, understand the geography of human knowledge, recognize problems and know how to resolve them, know how to learn and work with others in teams and groups, and can function effectively in a changing and multi-dimensional world.

A St. Olaf liberal arts education provides both breadth and depth. The college’s General Education (GE) curriculum ensures that students are exposed the full spectrum of disciplines that contribute to a balanced intellect. The major allows students to delve deeply into a discipline that captures their imagination and sustains their interest. The availability of 45 majors provides a wide variety of choice.

While the major demands a dedicated effort to learn the conventions and techniques of a single area of study, other curricular offerings are designed to spark interdisciplinary exploration. Some 20 concentrations and five Conversation programs examine ideas, eras, areas of the world, or emerging issues across traditional academic boundaries. This blend of traditional and innovative instruction nurtures a critical, creative, and flexible intelligence.