St. Olaf is rooted in the Lutheran tradition of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and is a place where conversations about matters of faith are part of campus life and numerous opportunities are provided for students to grow in their faith and discover how they are called upon to serve others. St. Olaf currently is one of 27 colleges and universities affiliated with the ELCA, and the student congregation is considered to be an ELCA congregation. In addition to regular Sunday services in Boe Memorial Chapel, daily chapel services that feature a faculty or staff member, student, or visiting speaker, are open to students of any faith who choose to attend.
As the St. Olaf community embraces its Christian heritage and engages in interfaith dialogue and activity, so also does it strive to be an inclusive community of various faith traditions, beliefs, and backgrounds.Approximately 40 percent of students at St. Olaf are Lutheran, but the college hosts a variety of religious groups for students to explore faith, including Muslim, Jewish, and a variety of Christian student associations, plus a Baha’i Club.
St. Olaf intends that its graduates combine academic excellence and theological literacy with a commitment to lifelong learning. Students are required to take two religion courses as part of their general credits; these provide not only a theological background of the Bible and Christian faith, but also a perspective into other religious practices and moral reasoning.