Faculty-Led Semester Programs

St. Olaf faculty members organize and lead semester-long programs.  The Global Semester is offered annually during fall semester plus Interim and Environmental Science in Australia is offered every other year during the spring semester.  See International and Off-Campus Studies website for course details and general education requirements that the courses fulfill.

The Global Semester (Fall Semester and Interim)

The Global Semester is a five-month academic program offering five courses in different parts of the world.  Courses are designed to enable students to develop windows on the world from distinct academic perspectives through class lectures, field trips, and other activities. The program aims to facilitate immersion in the daily life of each community and develop comparisons with American society. Students are encouraged to incorporate a global view into their liberal arts study of what it means to be a citizen of the world.

The itinerary takes the group around the world with visits to Egypt, Israel/Palestine, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, and South Korea. The academic program focuses for one month on each of four countries: Egypt, India, Hong Kong, and South Korea. In cooperation with coordinators in each of the four countries and in association with staff members of the American University in Cairo, Madras Christian College in Chennai, Henry Martyn Institute in Hyderabad, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Yonsei University in Seoul, students study Egyptian history, religions of India, Chinese art, and Korean society.

History 257: Themes in Ancient Graeco-Roman and Islamic-Egyptian History
Lectures, discussions, and extensive field trips provide understanding of significant developments and themes in Egypt’s ancient and medieval past with emphasis on dynastic Coptic and Islamic periods. Field trips include a visit to Luxor. Counts toward major.
NOTE:  Should political developments necessitate, the time in Egypt would be shifted to an alternate location.
Religion 254: Religions of India
The course introduces students to varied religious traditions of India through lectures, discussions, and excursions.  Religious scholars from India at Madras Christian College and Henry Martyn Institute provide the background for an understanding of the views, traditions, and contemporary practices of the dominant religious expressions in India, including Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Indian perspectives on religious pluralism and interfaith dialogue. Counts toward major.
Art 241: The Arts of China
Survey of Chinese art, its function, technique, and aesthetic elements from bronzes and oracle bones of the Shang Dynasty to porcelain and scroll paintings of the Ching Dynasty. Counts toward major.
Sociology 255: Korean Society
Introduction to the social structure and institutions of contemporary South Korea, including population, urbanization, social class and mobility, work organizations and labor relations, family, and women. Counts toward major.

Field Supervisor’s course 2016  Interdisciplinary Studies 155:  Social Change and Technology in a Globalized World
The explosion of information and communication technologies across the globe has been praised and blamed for enormous social upheavals.  To what extent and in what ways have these tools been part of global political and economic shifts? Through site visits, on-site guest lectures, source material from a wide range of sources, analysis of current online artifacts, and collaborative team projects undertaken with local students, the course explores the complex relationship between social change and technology. 

Environmental Science in Australia (Spring Semester)

Note: Normally offered every other year. Offered next in Spring 2018.

The flora, fauna, ecological habitats, and human history of Australia offer opportunities for study that are unique in diversity. This program will start in Melbourne during Australia’s late summer and move northward into the warmer latitudes during the semester as the fall season progresses. All travel will be in the eastern third of the country where the greatest diversity of natural habitats and human activity occur. A combination of lectures, extensive field experiences, and brief research projects will enable students to learn about and appreciate this fascinating continent. Students considering this program should be aware that it has a demanding physical schedule and moves frequently to new locations.

Biology 224: Marine Biology
Field trips will explore many habitats from mud flats to coral reefs. Studies will occur at several marine research facilities located throughout the Southern Ocean and Pacific Ocean. At least one week will be spent at the Heron Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef. Participants will begin to appreciate the unique diversity of marine organisms and habitats, why we should be concerned about them, what factors threaten the survivial of species and policies that influence how we can conserve them.
Biology 226: Terrestrial Ecology
Course will examine organism-environment interactions and the study of populations and biological communities across Eastern Australia's diverse terrestrial ecosystems from coastal sand dunes to subtropical rain forests as well as the dry outback. Field trips will include two week-long camping trips in remote areas. Studies will occur at many national parks and involve hands-on project planning, data collection and scientific presentations. Participants will begin to appreciate the unique diversity of terrestrial organisms and habitats, pressures from the biotic and abiotic environment that bring about change in biological communities, and how ecological research and inquiry connects to conservation and/or preservation efforts.
Sociology/Anthropology 222: Cultural Anthropology:
Course features ethnography as a means to gain insight into the ways of life and culture structrues in Austalia as well as provide an introduction to the traditional and contemporary cultures of indigenous peoples. Course will visit both rural and urban aboriginal communities as well as significant aboriginal sites. Students will explore the juxtaposition of museum holdings with historic and contemporary aboriginal cultures. Special attention will be given to the European impact on the Aborigines and the influence of cultural meanings on the Australian environment over the last 200 years.
Political Science 221: Environmental Policy:
Course will study Australia's governmental structure, political parties, and civic expectations about the role of government as it relates to the making and enforcement of environmental policy and practice. Comparisons and contrasts between the USA and Australia provide opportunities to gain insight between various approaches to environmental challenges and solutions.  The historic contexts of European colonization, immigration, and displacement of the Aboriginal Peoples expose continuing cultural challenges in both environmental and social domains.  One focal point for this class will be visits to state and/or federal capitals, including Parliament. Topics will range from the roles of local, regional, and national governments to the activities of NGOs to mineral resources to the Great Barrier Reef.