Bachelor of Arts General Graduation Requirements

See also: General Education Requirements

General Graduation Requirements


Students must take the equivalent of 35 St. Olaf credits through a combination of full-credit and fractional-credit courses.

Note: For numerical purposes, the term "course" means a full (1.00) course credit, as distinguished from fractional course credits, unless otherwise noted.

Residency Requirement

Seventeen of the 35 St. Olaf credits required for graduation must be taken through St. Olaf College. This may include St. Olaf-sponsored off-campus programs.   See, however, Participation in Commencement.

January Interim

At least three of the required 35 St. Olaf credits must be earned in three separate January full-credit (1.0) Interims. An Interim may be taken on campus, through a St. Olaf off-campus Interim program, or through an approved Interim exchange with another 4-1-4 college. Transfer students admitted with at least sophomore standing must complete two Interims. After having successfully completed two Interims, senior participators may satisfy the third Interim requirement by means of a summer course taken during a St. Olaf summer session after the commencement in which the student participates.

Grade Points and Grade Point Average

An average grade of C (2.00 on a 4.00 system) for all courses taken for the usual letter grades. See Grade Point Average for details.

Course Level

See Explanation of Course Levels.

Satisfactory completion of 18 credits above level I, courses numbered 200 and higher.

A course can earn only its assigned level. It cannot be raised in level as the result of extra studies, assignments, or performance.

Graded Courses

See Grades.

A minimum of 24 credits out of 35 must be taken graded through courses taken from a St. Olaf professor.

A sliding scale is used if not all work is taken at St. Olaf or if credit is earned through special programs such as Advanced Placement. Sophomore transfer students need a minimum of 18 graded credits and junior transfer students a minimum of 13 graded credits. Details are available from the registrar.

All students should be aware of the restrictions on S/U and P/N grades.

Students studying on St. Olaf off-campus programs should refer to Graded and Ungraded Courses in the Academic Regulations section of this catalog for details about how this graduation requirement is affected by off-campus programs.

Major — 8 or More Credits

One completed major is required for graduation. Depending on the department or interdisciplinary program, the number of courses required for a major ranges from eight to twelve courses, with some departments requiring course work in other departments. Departments and interdisciplinary programs may require comprehensive examinations or special research projects. (See Majors, Concentrations, and Areas of Emphasis.) Consult the department or interdisciplinary program listing in this catalog for specific major requirements. Students must declare one major no later than March 15 of the sophomore year, in advance of spring registration for fall semester courses. Students are allowed to change this declaration or add a second major at a later date. Only this catalog defines the specific requirements for each departmental or interdisciplinary major.

Other regulations are:

  • Of the credits counting toward the minimum requirements for a major, a total of six (6.00) must be completed with a grade of C or higher.
  • Only one full-course equivalent (1.00-credit course) taken S/U may count toward the minimum requirements for a major. Some departments have more stringent regulations.
  • At least 50 percent of the minimum major must be taken through St. Olaf. Students should consult the registrar and the appropriate department chair or program director about counting toward a major courses taken at other colleges. In addition to the registrar, the chair must sign the student’s transfer of credit form (available from the Registrar's Office) if work from other institutions is accepted in advance. Likewise, courses taken through St. Olaf off-campus programs must be approved by the chair or director and the off-campus program advisor in advance if credit toward a major is sought. (See Transfer of Credit to St. Olaf)
  • Certification of a completed major is the responsibility and prerogative of the department chair or program director, not the registrar.
  • See below, Credits Outside the Major.

Multiple Majors

Attaining two or three majors within the confines of 35 St. Olaf credits is often difficult. Students should consult frequently with their advisor and the chair or director of the major departments and programs. A graduate may add an additional major to the St. Olaf record if no more than two courses from another institution are subsequently applied to the additional major.

Credits Outside the Major

While the maximum course credits counting toward a major in any one department may vary, 21 total full-course credits must be completed outside of the SIS "department" code of the major. The 21 total credits include Education Department courses attending the major. In order for a student to be certified in a second or third major, 21 credits also must be taken outside of the SIS "department" code of each of those majors as well. If a student has a double major, courses taken in one major count toward the 21 credits outside of the other major. Credits outside the major department or program include full- (1.00) credit courses plus partial - (.25, .50, .75) credit courses. Students who double-major in studio art and art history are required to complete at least 18 full-course credits outside the SIS "ART" department designation.

Completion of Incomplete Grades

A student with an incomplete on his/her academic record may participate in Commencement if all other requirements for graduation have been met (see Participation in Commencement). Only after a final grade has been recorded for the course, however, will a degree be conferred and a diploma issued.