The Smith Center for Global Engagement

St. Olaf College, through the Smith Center for Global Engagement, offers study abroad and away programs that serve the mission of the College at sites in the United States and abroad. These programs integrate academic and experiential education. The experiential component of these programs amplifies and extends the liberal arts learning that occurs on campus and enhances students' global engagement.

Approximately 75 percent of all St. Olaf students participate in study abroad/away programs, many of them led by St. Olaf faculty members. Of the participants, about 80-85 percent study abroad internationally in one of over 40 countries, in places as diverse as Aberdeen, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Konstanz, Quito, Sydney, and Tokyo. Around 15-20 percent participate in U.S. study away programs — ranging from January Term courses focused on field paleontology in Florida or art in New York City, to semester programs with courses on environmental history in Oregon or a foreign policy internship in Washington, D.C.  The National Student Exchange offers a semester abroad/away at one of over 160 universities across the U.S., U.S. Territories, and Canada. A number of students find study abroad/away so valuable that they participate in two or three programs during their years at St. Olaf. Of equal importance is the fact that faculty members find these programs extremely rewarding — both for their students and for their own teaching and scholarship.

The Smith Center advises St. Olaf students on selecting a program, financial aid and scholarships, and preparing to study abroad or away. Each program also has a program advisor. Program advisors are St. Olaf faculty members who are particularly well qualified to offer academic advice on specific programs.

Policies and Procedures

Students are responsible for adhering to the regulations and policies contained in the Academic Regulations and Procedures section of this catalog. In particular, students on St. Olaf study abroad/away programs are directed to refer to the policies on “Graded and Ungraded Courses” for full details on how these programs affect graduation requirements.


Nearly all St. Olaf students who study abroad or away do so during their sophomore, junior, or the first semester or January Term of their senior years. (A few January Term programs are open to first-year students on a space-available basis). The college’s 4-1-4 calendar (two semesters separated by a January term in January) contributes to the flexibility: it enables students to participate in programs that last a month, a summer, a semester, or a full year.

Students intending to take part in a recognized study abroad or away program must be in good academic and disciplinary standing and able to participate in the essential learning activities of the program. Students with documented disabilities may request accommodations to enable them to participate in most study abroad or away programs, though not every program can accommodate every disability. Many programs have prerequisites, including introductory or advanced courses in a specific discipline or certain levels of language proficiency. Some programs are competitive, and applicants are accepted based on the student's GPA, related coursework, class standing, and/or the quality of the application and/or interview. Details about all St. Olaf-approved January term, summer, semester and year-long programs, program advisors, prerequisites, and application deadlines and procedures are found on the Smith Center for Global Engagement's website.


Students who participate in study abroad or away programs pay St. Olaf tuition plus program fees and out-of-pocket costs.  Complete cost information for each program is available on the Smith Center application website. St. Olaf financial aid can be applied to Smith Center programs and additional study abroad/away scholarships are also available. Information about scholarships for Smith Center programs is available from the Financial Aid Office or from Smith Center advisors.