The Nordic Studies Program invites senior majors who seek a significant and challenging intellectual experience to apply for Distinction in Nordic Studies.

Criteria for Distinction
To be considered for Distinction, students must satisfy certain minimum GPA requirements, prepare a project under the direction of a Project Advisor in the Department of Norwegian (or an advisor approved by the Department of Norwegian), have the work reviewed by faculty, and successfully complete a public presentation of the project.

GPA requirements
Cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 and GPA in courses for the Norwegian major of at least 3.70. Under special circumstances, and after consultation with their Project Advisor, students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements may petition the Director of Nordic Studies for permission to begin the Distinction process.

Project description
Distinction projects may spring out of work done in courses, but must go well beyond that work.  Thus a paper or project submitted for a course (including an IS/IR course) must be substantially expanded and revised in order to be used for distinction, and in addition, there must be some form of public presentation of the work.  Public presentation could be a talk to students after conversation table, presentation at a scholarly conference, creation of a website, YouTube video, poster, etc.  Papers or projects may be in either Norwegian or English, but projects in English will normally be substantially longer.  Thus a paper in Norwegian should be 10-15 pages in length, but one in English should be 20-30 pages.  A wide range of types of papers or projects may be proposed.  The final product might be a scholarly paper or a piece of creative writing. Projects such as websites or poster presentations must be accompanied by a written prospectus, must be the equivalent of a substantial paper, and will be approved on a case-by-case basis.  Before embarking on a distinction project, the student must have the project approved by the Norwegian Department faculty. Students may not apply for distinction in both Norwegian and Nordic Studies.

Papers or projects should reflect superior (distinct) achievement in one or more of the learning outcomes for the Nordic studies major:

Linguistic outcomes

  1. language proficiency in listening, reading, writing and speaking at the ACTFL Intermediate level in Norwegian; and
  2. metalinguistic awareness of language as a system and of the ways in which language organizes thought processes and information and reflects culture.


Cultural knowledge

  1. ability to comprehend and analyze a wide range of texts taking into account audience, purpose, discourse conventions, and rhetorical elements as well as cultural, historical, intellectual, geographical contexts and analytical methodologies;
  2. ability to interpret trends in two or more contemporary Nordic societies informed by a knowledge of Nordic history; and
  3. ability to critically reflect on the socio-historical and political constructions of power, privilege and inequality and how these intersect with factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and ability.

Timeline 2022-2023

  • Spring, Junior year: All Nordic Studies majors will be informed of the Distinction in Nordic Studies option during the spring semester of their junior year
  • Sept. 30th, Senior year: Nordic Studies majors who have attained an overall GPA of 3.3 and a GPA in the major of 3.7 will be invited to apply for distinction in Nordic Studies by the end of September of their senior year.
  • Oct. 10th, Senior year: Nominated students who wish to apply for distinction must draft a proposal and choose an advisor by this date.  Along with their advisor and the department chair, students may choose a faculty member from outside the Norwegian department to serve on their distinction committee, depending on the topic.  The proposal should consist of a 1 page double spaced overview of their topic, explaining how this project is expanded or revised (if applicable) and who will be acting as their advisor. If the student opts to do the distinction in Norwegian, this should be completed in Norwegian, and likewise for English.
  • January, Senior year: Students should set up 2-3 meetings with their advisor during the fall semester and/or interim to discuss the development of the project, and to receive feedback on their projects.
  • February 28th: Students must submit a draft of their distinction project by this date of their senior year.  This draft will be circulated for comment by members of the department and the outside member of the committee. 
  • April 10th, Senior year: Based on the comments received, students will then make any revisions necessary, and submit a final draft by this date.
  • April 15th, Senior year: The distinction committee (consisting of all Norwegian Department faculty members plus the outside member) will vote on whether or not distinction should be awarded.  Students will be notified by the end of April, and names of students earning distinction in Norwegian will be forwarded to the registrar’s office by the end of April.
  • Last week in April, Senior year: Public presentation of the project, in whatever form is appropriate for the project, will occur in April.