The Smith Center for Global Engagement
St. Olaf offers a rich variety of study abroad (international) and study away (U.S.) programs in the United States and abroad in Africa & the Middle East, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, Europe, North America, and Central & South America. Program options are listed in this catalog and on the Smith Center for Global Engagement application website. Specific questions should be directed to Smith Center staff or to the faculty advisor of each study abroad/away program. See: The Smith Center for Global Engagement.
Study abroad and away opportunities are available to students who meet the requirements of the host institution and/or any St. Olaf prerequisites. Certain programs have limitations based on a student's class year; others are open to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Study abroad and away programs are closed to first-year students with the exception of certain January Term programs. A first-year student may apply during the first year for participation in the sophomore year (including the summer following the first year). Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing to participate in study abroad and away; students on academic probation may apply to participate but must be declared off probation by the end of the semester prior to planned study abroad or away.
Students participating in study abroad and away programs will be registered by Smith Center staff after each student has applied and been admitted. In order for a student to receive academic credit for study abroad or away sponsored by an institution with which St. Olaf has a program relationship, approval and registration must be completed in advance through St. Olaf College. While abroad or away, students who are unable to access the Student Information System (SIS) during registration should contact the Registrar's Office. St. Olaf’s satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) policy applies to courses taken on study abroad or away programs. Students must notify The Smith Center in writing to change a course credit from graded to S/U or S/U to graded where these options exist. All requests must conform to deadlines posted on the registrar’s calendar.
Students considering a study abroad or away program should have their proposed courses reviewed for major and OLE Core curriculum requirements to ensure normal progress toward graduation.
Students may earn as much credit on an study abroad or away program as would be earned on campus in a given semester (up to a maximum of 4.5 credits).
All credits earned on St. Olaf-approved programs are viewed as resident credit and fall under the guidelines for ungraded credit. St. Olaf-approved study abroad or away courses do not count against the maximum number of transfer credits allowed after a student matriculates.
Certain study abroad and away courses count toward OLE Core curriculum requirements, as indicated in the St. Olaf catalog and the Smith Center website or with the approval of the St. Olaf Registrar's office. As with on-campus courses, OLE Core curriculum attributes are not awarded when the course is taken S/U, unless the course is a .25 credit course. Courses offered P/N only may fulfill OLE core requirements.
Study abroad and away courses may, with the approval of the department chair/program director, count toward a student’s major or concentration.
A St. Olaf independent study/research or internship credit cannot be registered independently of the program while a student is on a St. Olaf-approved study abroad or away program.
Students studying on St. Olaf-approved study abroad and away programs should be aware of the “24 graded courses” graduation requirement. Grades from St. Olaf-sponsored study abroad and away programs are recorded on the student’s official transcript, but do not count in the St. Olaf grade point average or toward the 24-graded-course requirement, unless the course is taught and graded by a St. Olaf faculty member.
OLE Core Attribute Limits by Program Category
See St. Olaf College's general policy on OLE Core Curriculum Accreditation of St. Olaf-Approved Transfer Courses and Study Abroad or Away Coursework.
Faculty-led January term and summer courses
These courses are reviewed by the Curriculum Committee in the same way as are on-campus courses. As a result, faculty-led January term and summer courses are not subject to OLE Core credit limits.
Faculty-led semester programs
The credit students receive through participation in Religion, Politics, and Society in Jerusalem and Athens, Environmental Studies in Australia and New Zealand and the Global Semester derives from two types of instruction:
The St. Olaf faculty leaders’ course
Like faculty-led January term or summer courses, such courses are reviewed by the Curriculum Committee in the same way as are on-campus courses.
Courses offered by non-St. Olaf instructors affiliated with the programs
The number of OLE Core attributes students may earn through such work depends on the content of the courses and the duration of the course.
Courses taught by non-St. Olaf instructors on semester-length programs
May meet up to four (4.00) OLE Core curriculum attributes, distributed as appropriate and within the parameters specified at this link.
Other St. Olaf-approved study abroad and away programs unaccompanied by St. Olaf faculty
These include a variety of academic and field-based programs offered within the United States and abroad under the auspices of sponsoring consortia, providers, or institutions with which St. Olaf has a formal affiliation. Such programs are listed on The Smith Center's website. The number of OLE Core curriculum attributes students may earn on such programs depends on the content of their courses and the duration of each program.
May meet up to four (5.00) OLE Core curriculum attributes, distributed as appropriate and within the parameters specified at this link.
Semester-plus-January term-length programs
May meet up to five (6.00) OLE Core curriculum attributes, distributed as appropriate and within the parameters specified at this link.
May meet up to seven (7.00) OLE Core curriculum attributes, distributed as appropriate and within the parameters specified at this link.
The Registrar's Office may authorize OLE Core curriculum attributes for such work within the parameters of the above policies.
Whenever possible, such authorization is made prior to the student’s participation in the program; however, in many cases students do not know what their study abroad or away academic program entails until after their arrival on site. In these cases, OLE Core curriculum accreditation takes place after the student has received written approval for such credit from the Registrar's Office while on the program, or has completed the program and returned to St. Olaf. Students who require approval for OLE Core curriculum attributes upon their return should keep syllabi and written work from their study abroad and away experience for review by the Registrar's Office.
Credit earned through inter-registered course work
Courses completed through inter-registration provisions with Carleton or a January term exchange program may receive OLE Core credit within the parameters of the above policies but are not subject to credit limits described at the above link.
Students wishing to study on non-St. Olaf-sponsored study abroad and away programs (through another college, institution, or consortium unaffiliated with St. Olaf) should take a leave of absence from the college and must negotiate in advance with the registrar in order to be sure that credits will transfer. The student/applicant is responsible for providing the registrar in advance with detailed program descriptions, outlines, and course syllabi. See the Policy for Allowing Non-St. Olaf Study Abroad or Away Programs for complete details.
Students should consult with Smith Center staff about programs offered by St. Olaf before asking to attend a non-St. Olaf program. No transfer credit is awarded if students make their own arrangements to enroll in an institution or program with which St. Olaf has already developed a program relationship. If a student is to receive academic credit for such a program, registration must be through St. Olaf.
Students may earn elective credit and credit toward a major (if approved in advance by the registrar and a department chair or interdisciplinary program director), but may not receive OLE Core curriculum attributes through non-St. Olaf-sponsored U.S. or international programs.
Grades from non-St. Olaf-sponsored study abroad and away programs are recorded on the student’s official transcript but do not count in the St. Olaf grade point average or toward the 24-graded-course requirement. Grades earned in courses taught by a current St. Olaf College faculty member but through another accredited institution, organization or consortium are computed in the student’s St. Olaf grade point average and count toward the 24-graded-course requirement.
The following do not transfer as St. Olaf credit: independent study, research, internship, or practicum courses taken on non-St. Olaf study abroad or away programs; non-St. Olaf study abroad or away programs that are essentially “travel” programs, work experience, visits to museums, or other programs that do not have a solid liberal arts, student-instructor component.
In cases where students believe they should be awarded a different type or amount of credit than what has been authorized through the above procedures, they may appeal the decision to the Curriculum Committee. An appeal should include documentation of the work the student completed (syllabi, examinations, papers, letters from course instructors, and/or any other relevant supporting materials), and a written explanation of how such work meets the guidelines for the requirement(s) the student claims that the work fulfills. See Appeals to the Curriculum Committee.
St. Olaf-School of Record
Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM)
The Budapest Semesters in Mathematics is a St. Olaf-sponsored program that is also accredited by St. Olaf for participants from other colleges and universities. St. Olaf has had a long association with BSM, has sent more students to BSM than any other institution, and currently houses the North American administrative office for the program. BSM is well-respected and known as one of the top-rated study abroad programs in mathematics. St. Olaf issues official transcripts for all participants from other colleges and universities to facilitate transfer credit to the student's home institution.
Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education (BSME)
The Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education, a companion program to Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, is accredited by St. Olaf for participants from other colleges and universities. St. Olaf houses the North American administrative office for the program. Conceived by the founders of Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education is designed for undergraduates interested in teaching secondary education mathematics. Participants study the Hungarian approach to learning and teaching, which emphasizes problem solving, mathematical creativity, and communication. St. Olaf issues official transcripts for all participants from other colleges and universities to facilitate transfer credit to the student’s home institution.