Registration and Course Enrollment


A student must be officially registered through the Registrar's Office in order to earn credit(s) for their St. Olaf courses. Informal arrangements, including section changes, between a student and an instructor do not constitute official registration. The presence of a student’s name on a class list in Moodle (the college’s course management tool) does not constitute official registration in the course. Registration does not go into effect until the student has made arrangements for financial charges with the Business Office.

Specific registration dates are posted on the academic calendar and on the Registrar's Office website. Advisors electronically authorize students to register. Students participating in study abroad and away programs are registered for the program by The Smith Center for Global Engagement. If the program includes a January term registration is made at both the semester and the January term registrations. Note that students must have settled their tuition bills with the Business Office to be able to register for a term.

Students register via the Student Information System (SIS). Semester registration order is based on anticipated graduation date. Priority for January term registration is given to first-year students, who are required to register for a January term course. For registration purposes, and to ensure equity for all students, first-year students will remain in the first-year student registration pool throughout their first year at St. Olaf.  Failure to register during the registration period may result in a limited selection of courses. Continuing education students, high school honors students, and other “special admit” students register with the Registrar's Office after all degree-seeking students have registered.

Students should consult the Student Information System (SIS) to verify the courses for which they are registered and to review their degree audits. Schedule errors and/or corrections to the record should be made immediately at the Registrar's Office window. Students are also responsible for reading and understanding the academic regulations in this catalog and are urged to consult the catalog regularly.

During registration, courses may be closed to additional enrollment by the department chair or program director. Thereafter a student may only add the course with the permission of the instructor.

A wait list to enroll in a course closed at registration is an informal arrangement between a student and the instructor of the course. The arrangement does not constitute enrollment in the course, nor does it negate the college-wide deadline for adding a course. It does not constitute a promise on the part of the college that a closed course will be open at a later date. Departments/programs or individual instructors, not the Registrar's Office, maintain wait lists for their courses following registration.

The fully updated class and lab schedule is posted and maintained on the Registrar's Office website. The schedule lists the titles, credit value, OLE Core curriculum attributes, instructor, and meeting place and time of all courses offered during the next academic term. Should a schedule be found in error with regard to course credit, the registrar maintains a master course file for reference and inspection.  

Proxy Registration

Students who are unable to access the Student Information System (SIS) during registration should contact the Registrar's Office.

Auditing Courses

All persons attending, auditing, or participating in a program of instruction must officially register with the college. Permission of the instructor and the registrar is required to audit a course. A student auditing a course participates in the class activities only at the invitation of the instructor. Students are discouraged from seeking to audit courses that involve performance, lab work, discussion sessions, or extensive use of equipment such as studios, gymnasia, and computers. In the case of science courses with attached labs, students may audit the course but not the lab. Students auditing a course take exams or hand in written work only at the direction of the instructor.

Students may

  • Take a course for credit after auditing it.
  • Audit a course after taking the course once for credit.
  • Audit a course more than one time.
  • Audit a maximum of one full credit beyond a full 4.50 course load.
  • Audit a January term course if not registered for a different January term course, provided they meet the graduation requirement of three completed January term courses in addition to the audited course.

Students may not

  • Subsequently earn credit for a course by special examination after auditing the same course.
  • Register for credit through petition for courses where tests and evaluations are used to establish an early grade pattern after the add deadline has passed.
  • Audit a January term course if concurrently registered for a different January term course.
  • Audit an IS/IR, internship, or music lesson.
  • Audit summer school courses.

A person wishing to audit a course must have the permission of the instructor at the time of entering the course and should negotiate the conditions necessary for completion of the audit with the instructor at that time. A Course Audit form, available from the Registrar's Office, is to be completed by the student and the instructor together and returned by the student to the Registrar's Office no later than the last day to add a class for the semester in which the course is being offered. Changing a course from graded to audit requires completion of the Course Audit form and must be submitted by the last day to drop a class or make a change in the grading option. A properly documented audit is entered on the auditor's transcript with a notation of AU. Audits are not awarded course or graded credit nor do audits fulfill graduation requirements in whole or in part. An unsuccessful audit occurs when the student does not complete the plan set forth on the audit form. An unsuccessful audit appears on the transcript with a notation of UA. Students who choose to audit a course other than registered full-time St. Olaf students or staff will be required to pay 20 percent of the current tuition charge per course.

Carleton Inter-registration

Full-time, degree-seeking St. Olaf and Carleton College students may enroll in courses on either campus. Neither part-time students nor non- degree-seeking students may participate in the inter-registration arrangement. Inter-registration is limited to one course per term. A Carleton course must be approved by the Carleton instructor, St. Olaf Registrar, and Carleton Registrar for the St. Olaf student to be registered and for credit to be awarded (see procedure below).  Carleton course grades are computed in the St. Olaf grade point average.

For a student to receive 1.00 St. Olaf credit for a Carleton course, the Carleton course must carry at least six Carleton credits (Carleton/St. Olaf credit equivalencies: 1 Carleton credit = 0 St. Olaf credits; 2 Carleton credits = .25 St. Olaf credit; 3 or 4 Carleton credits = .50 St. Olaf credit; 5 Carleton credits = .75 St. Olaf credit; and 6 Carleton credits = 1.00 St. Olaf credit).

Registration for a Carleton winter term course is considered a full St. Olaf January term load (1.0 St. Olaf credit).  A student must register for a 6.00-Carleton-credit course to be eligible.  A St. Olaf student may not simultaneously register for a St. Olaf January term course.

A student wishing to apply a Carleton course to their major should consult with the appropriate St. Olaf department chair or program director before completing the inter-registration procedure. A student wishing to apply a Carleton course toward their OLE Core curriculum requirements should include the specific OLE Core curriculum attribute on the inter-registration form along with the course description and syllabus. To fulfill an Active Body requirement with a Carleton physical education course, the student must be inter-registered. While the course will count toward the Active Body OLE Core curriculum requirement, no credit will be awarded toward the total number of credits required for graduation.

Note that St. Olaf students may not register for an independent study or independent research with a Carleton faculty member. St. Olaf students may not audit Carleton courses. As a general rule, Carleton will not inter-register St. Olaf students for Carleton courses which are routinely taught at St. Olaf.

Seniors must be aware that Carleton grades from spring term courses are not reported until after St. Olaf’s commencement ceremonies. Taking a Carleton course during the spring semester of the senior year will affect the student’s graduation status.

Inter-registration procedures:

To add a Carleton course:

  1. Contact the Carleton instructor to inquire about registering for the course. A form is required for each Carleton term.
  2. Submit the completed St. Olaf/Carleton Inter-Registration form to the St. Olaf Registrar’s Office by the Carleton add deadline.
  3. The St. Olaf Inter-Registration coordinator will contact the Carleton Registrar’s Office indicating approval or denial. The student will be notified via email. 

To drop a Carleton course:

  1. Obtain written permission from the Carleton instructor and submit it to the St. Olaf Registrar’s Office by the Carleton drop/late drop deadline.  
  2. The St. Olaf Inter-Registration coordinator will contact the Carleton Registrar’s Office.

Independent Study/Independent Research

Independent work is a privilege to be extended only if those involved agree the student is prepared to benefit, that the proposal is well-planned, and that there is previous course work in the area to give credence to independent study. The following regulations apply:

  1. Proposals for 1.0, 0.5 and 0.25 course credits will be considered.
  2. The total work done for a 1.0 independent study or independent research course shall approximate that expected for a regular 1.0 credit course.  For 0.5 or 0.25 credit IS or IR, the amount of work should be reduced proportionally.  
  3. A student may not substitute an independent study/independent research course for a course regularly offered in a department or program. Ordinarily, prerequisite coursework will have been completed in the area of the independent study/research.
  4. Independent study/independent research may fulfill an elective credit.
  5. Independent study/independent research may count toward a major with departmental approval but may not fulfill OLE Core curriculum requirements, except for OLE Experience in Practice if approved.
  6. First-year students may not take an independent study/independent research course.
  7. A student may take up to a total of three independent study courses. A student may also take two independent research courses in each field in which they have completed five courses. Independent study is registered by department or program as 298, level II. Independent research is registered as 398, level III.
  8. Independent study/independent research courses must be supervised by a St. Olaf faculty member. The exception is already-established independent courses or study service through approved St. Olaf study abroad/away programs. Normally, a faculty member may not supervise more than two independent study, independent research, or internship courses per term.
  9. Applications for independent study/independent research are available at the Registrar's Office window or website. Paperwork is due by the last day to add a class. Several signatures are required. Students must complete and return the form before they will be registered for the independent study/independent research. Once it is approved by the registrar, the registration appears on the SIS.
  10. Students on non-St. Olaf study abroad/away programs do not receive credit for independent study/independent research.

Questions about independent study/independent research should be directed to the registrar.

January Term

The January term (formerly Interim) is a four-week period of intensive study in one area. January term provides an opportunity for instructors and students to focus their entire attention on one course for a full month and offers a time for single-minded study in depth. It is a time when unique teaching and learning styles may be utilized in traditional courses or when unique subjects may be studied in study abroad or away locations. Upper-class students may pursue, with guidance of a faculty member, independent study projects or internships on- or off-campus during January term. St. Olaf upper-class students may also attend a January term at one of approximately 25 other 4-1-4 colleges on a January term exchange basis. Consult the Registrar's Office for details.

Specific regulations as they apply to January term include:

  1. Three successful January terms are required for graduation. Transfer students admitted with sophomore or junior standing must successfully complete two January terms.
  2. Students are expected to devote a minimum of 40 hours of study per week directly related to the January term course, including class time, outside reading, and other course-related work. In general, faculty and student contact hours for January term approximate the contact hours per course during the regular semester: 35-40 hours for the entire January term or 8-10 hours per week. A class session is required on the first day and the last day of the January term for examination or evaluation purposes. Grades are based on evaluation procedures similar to the regular semester.
  3. First-year students must register for a January term course unless they have prior approval from their class dean.
  4. Students may take only one course or program of instruction during January term. For example, St. Olaf students enrolled in a winter term course at Carleton are not permitted to enroll in the St. Olaf January term. The Carleton course equals a full January term load. Students enrolled in a January term course or program cannot audit another course for the purpose of having a second transcript entry, e.g., "successful audit."
  5. Departments and interdisciplinary programs have varying requirements concerning the use of January term courses in the major or to fulfill graduation requirements. Students should consult the department or program, this catalog, and the online January term Class and Lab Schedule.
  6. For seniors who are completing their degree and who have successfully completed two January terms, a St. Olaf summer school course taken after commencement may count as the third January term.  The student must pay the appropriate St. Olaf summer school tuition.
  7. Students may waive one of the three 1.00 credit January term requirements through participation in a St. Olaf-approved study abroad or away program if the dates of the abroad or away program preclude successful completion of a separate January term course.

January Term Exchange

St. Olaf accepts January term exchanges only from 4-1-4 colleges with which it has an exchange agreement and only if the January term is at least 3.5 weeks in length. January term exchange courses earn elective credit, may earn OLE Core curriculum credit if approved, and may qualify for certain majors. Applications, available at the Registrar's Office window, must be approved by the registrar. The student/applicant may check the college's website for information about courses.

First-year students may not participate in a January term exchange.

A January term exchange course must be taken for a letter grade, but grades earned at other colleges through January term exchange are not computed in the St. Olaf grade point average.

Students who participate in a January term exchange are not entitled to a refund of January term tuition or room. A student must apply for a board credit through the Business Office before leaving campus. No credit will be given once January term begins.

Questions regarding a specific exchange and about course credit from a January term exchange should be directed to the registrar.


An academic internship is a planned, supervised, experiential learning project integrating study and practical work. As a credit-bearing experience it allows students to acquire and apply knowledge through direct experience in a field related to their academic program. The academic internship is intended to integrate on-site learning with the knowledge base of a related discipline. Academic integrity is assured through established department/program criteria, faculty supervision, an academic internship learning plan, and guidance from The Piper Center for Vocation and Career.

The following regulations govern academic internships:

  1. To assure that a proposed academic internship is credit-worthy, a student must complete a learning plan in advance of the internship. A form for a learning plan is available online at The Piper Center for Vocation and Career website.
  2. Credit for an academic internship will be granted only when the academic internship is completed in conjunction with a St. Olaf academic program.
  3. Each academic internship must have a St. Olaf faculty supervisor and an on-site supervisor. There must be ongoing communication among the college, the student, and the on-site supervisor during the academic internship to assure fulfillment of the learning plan.
  4. An academic internship as outlined in a learning plan must be approved by The Piper Center for Vocation and Career and by the faculty supervisor. Approval by the department chair or program director is needed for the academic internship to be counted toward a major.
  5. A student may register for an academic internship only after The Piper Center for Vocation and Career approves the learning plan.
  6. Each academic internship must include both practical work experience assigned by the on-site supervisor and complementary academic work assigned by the St. Olaf faculty supervisor as outlined by the learning plan. The faculty supervisor and site supervisor may not be the same person. Any exceptions must be approved by the registrar in consultation with The Piper Center for Vocation and Career. Normally, a faculty member may not supervise more than two independent study, independent research, or internship courses per term.
  7. A student may enroll for an academic internship as either a level II (294) or level III (394) course, using criteria established by individual departments or programs. At the discretion of an individual department, a student may take a second internship with the same number in that department, provided it has a different focus.
  8. A student may be paid for work done during the academic internship.
  9. The academic internship experience must be evaluated by the St. Olaf faculty supervisor, with input from the on-site supervisor.
  10. Proposals for internships bearing a full (1.00), one-half (0.5), or one-quarter (0.25) course credit will be considered.
  11. Academic internships are offered P/N only.
  12. Academic internships can only fulfill the OLE Experience in Practice attribute. Other OLE Core attributes cannot be fulfilled through internships.
  13. Consideration of transfer of academic internship credit from another institution will follow the transfer credit policy for matriculated students.
  14. No more than three (3.00) academic internship credits may apply to a St. Olaf degree.
  15. A student must register for an academic internship prior to or during the term for which the student receives credit.
  16. The academic internship experience (on-site work in addition to academic work) must total 160 hours, with a minimum of 120 hours on site for a one-credit internship; 100 hours, with a minimum of 80 hours on site for the one-half-credit internship; and 65, hours with a minimum of 55 hours on site for the one-quarter-credit internship. 
    Credit Total Hours Hours Devoted to Academic Activities Assigned by Faculty Supervisor Hours Devoted to Internship
    1.0 160 40 120
    0.5 100 20 80
    0.25 65 10 55
  17. Each department or program sets guidelines for approved experiential learning activities and may therefore choose to offer either full-credit (1.00), half-credit (0.5), or quarter-credit (0.25) internships as part of its curriculum.
  18. Neither a 0.5 credit academic internship nor the sum of two 0.5 credit academic internships taken during January term may count toward the graduation requirement that three credits must be earned during three separate January terms. Quarter-credit internships may not be taken during January term.
  19. The registration process for internships during summer sessions must be completed by June 1.
  20. First-year students may not register for an academic internship. Any exceptions require the approval of the first-year dean of students in consultation with the student's academic advisor, the registrar, and The Piper Center for Vocation and Career.
  21. Academic internship credit is not awarded retroactively.

Study Abroad and Away Programs

See The Smith Center for Global Engagement's Study Abroad and Away Programs.

Repeating a Course

A course may be repeated only once, and only under certain circumstances:

  • The grade earned from the first attempt must be C- or below, U (unsatisfactory), or N (no credit).
  • A course that served as a prerequisite for a subsequent course that the student has successfully completed may not be repeated.
  •  A course completed at St. Olaf may be repeated only at St. Olaf; a course cannot be transferred to St. Olaf from another institution and count as a repeated course.
  • If a course receives an S credit, it may not be repeated regardless of the actual reported grade. If a course receives a U credit, it may be repeated on either an S/U or graded basis. 
  • A course earns only one credit once completed with a passing grade of S or D- or higher. While each course attempt remains part of the permanent record, only the last grade is computed into the grade point average.

There are a few courses that are considered “allowable repeats.” See individual department/program course listings. If a course may be repeated, the course description indicates so. Topics courses may be repeated if the topic is different each time.

Summer Session at St. Olaf

The St. Olaf College summer session consists of two five-and-one-half-week terms. A student may take a maximum of 2.50 credits, for a total of 5.00 credits during the two terms of summer session.

Course descriptions, costs, and other details are available online. Questions about summer session programs, credits, and registration should be directed to the Registrar's Office.

A non-refundable deposit must be paid before a student is permitted to register for summer courses.

See "Financial Aid Program" for further information relative to federal and state grants during summer sessions.

Veterans Benefits

The Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018 added a provision to 38 USC 3679 that requires schools to allow eligible beneficiaries to attend class without penalties while awaiting payments from the VA.  Contact the Registrar's Office at or 507-786-3015 with any questions.