Nordic Studies

Nancy Gates Madsen (department head), Maren Johnson (program director)

Required for a major: 32 hours including NORST 101, 102, 201, 202, plus 16 additional credits in approved courses, 8 credits of which must be at the 300 level or above; a language immersion experience. Approved study abroad courses can be used to fulfill the requirements for the major. Writing requirement completed with NORST 345, 361, 363, FCUL 361, 363; or other approved writing courses in the Nordic Studies program. Double majors may elect to complete their senior project in another discipline.

Required for a minor: 24 hours including NORST 101, 102, 201, plus 12 additional credits in approved courses. Approved study abroad courses can be used to fulfill the requirements for the minor.

A student may not apply the same elective courses in a Nordic Studies major/minor towards a major/minor in International Studies. Students who wish to substitute a Nordic language, other than Norwegian, for the language core should consult with the Nordic studies director.

Current courses approved for the Nordic studies major/minor include:

  • ART 149
  • FCUL 185, 250, 251, 339 (Russia and Scandinavia), FCUL 339 (Peace and Reconciliation), FCUL 361
  • HIST 256, 348, 352, 485 (when topic concerns Nordic countries)
  • PAID 450 (Ethics of Sustainable Organizations), PAID 450 (Islam in Europe), PAID 450 (Nordic Environmentalism)
  • NORST 101, 102, 115, 201, 202, 250, 251, 339 (Russia and Scandinavia), NORST 339 (Peace and Reconciliation), NORST 345, 346, 348, 352, 361

Additional courses that might apply toward the Nordic studies major or minor are reviewed by the Nordic studies program director and the Nordic studies board.

Language immersion experience: For majors, a minimum of one semester of academic study in a Nordic country. For minors, a term of study abroad is strongly recommended, but not required. Program selection and other options must be approved by the department for all majors and minors prior to departure.

View program learning goals for an explanation of learning outcomes in Nordic Studies. 

Language Learning Center

The department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics has a Language Learning Center in Main Building. Language students have access to computerized language learning materials, to computers with audio and video editing software, and to video study rooms where they may view prerecorded foreign language videos and DVDs or watch live international TV. The Language Learning Center also houses the department's Foreign Language Media Library with over 800 foreign language films and a selection of leisure reading books and audio books for language learners. Students can check out these materials as well as audio and video equipment for their class assignments. The Language Learning Center also provides language students with valuable work-study experiences related to their interest in languages.

Nordic Studies Courses

NORST 101 Elementary Norwegian I

  • 4 hours

Speaking Norwegian from the first day of class, students learn to apply a practical knowledge, first to their own situation in this country and subsequently to selected aspects of Norwegian culture ranging from everyday customs and manners, travel and shopping, to history, the arts, and education.

NORST 102 Elementary Norwegian II

  • 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: NORST 101

Speaking Norwegian from the first day of class, students learn to apply a practical knowledge, first to their own situation in this country and subsequently to selected aspects of Norwegian culture ranging from everyday customs and manners, travel and shopping, to history, the arts and education.

NORST 115 Scandinavian Fine Handcrafts

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression

Working in a variety of natural materials, which may include wood, horn, reindeer leather, or birch bark, students will produce traditional useful objects with a Scandinavian aesthetic. Use of Vesterheim's collection along with studio experience.

NORST 201 Intermediate Norwegian

  • 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: NORST 102

With the aim of developing ease in the students' ability to communicate in the language and to increase their knowledge of the country, the course combines readings, recent Norwegian feature films, oral discussions, dramatization, and written compositions with a general review of grammar and pronunciation.

NORST 202 Norwegian Through Film and Literature

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression
  • Prerequisites: NORST 201

Continuing to develop students' abilities to communicate in the language and to increase their knowledge of the country, the course combines readings from short stories, novels, and recent Norwegian feature films. Students will be asked to conduct oral presentations, written analysis and contribute to course discussions that further their competencies in Norwegian language and the development of cultural and artistic understanding.

NORST 250 Topics in Nordic Literature

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts
  • Prerequisites: NORST 202

This course will offer reading and discussion of literature of various genres, authors and time periods of Norway and other Nordic countries. Topics will change annually and rotate. Students may enroll in the course multiple times for credit (and count towards the major/minor in Nordic Studies), provided that the topic is new. The course is taught in English and readings are in English. Students who have completed SCST 202 may elect to enroll in this course for extra assignments in Norwegian.

NORST 251 Topics in Nordic Film

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts
  • Prerequisites: NORST 202

The course will offer viewing and discussion of films of various genres, directors and time periods of Norway and other Nordic countries. Topics will change annually and rotate. Students may enroll in the course multiple times for credit (and count towards the major/minor in Nordic Studies), provided that the topic is new. The course is taught in English, readings are in English, and films are subtitled in English. Students who have completed SCST 202 may elect to enroll in this course for extra assignments in Norwegian.

NORST 345 Composition, Conversation, and Advanced Grammar

  • 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: NORST 202

This course is for students who have completed four semesters of college-level Norwegian or the equivalent. It focuses on developing skills in speaking, writing, and reading comprehension and offers ample opportunity for individual practice and feedback. Several recent feature films and novels provide the basis for class discussion and writing assignments, while the course culminates in an oral report based on individual research.

NORST 346 Scandinavian Immigration History

  • 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: NORST 202

A study of the history of immigrants to the United States from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, and their descendants. Drawing on the rich ethnic resources of Luther College and Vesterheim museums, this course examines the nature of the immigration experience and the development within immigrant communities of a sense of old world ethnicity combined with a rising U.S. nationalism. Students will be required to do some of the reading in a Scandinavian language and meet one day a week in which the class in conducted in Norwegian.

NORST 348 Vikings in History

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods, Historical
  • Prerequisites: PAID 112 or transfer equivalent

This course covers the "Viking Era," approximately 780 - 1070 CE. It will examine Viking society, religion and mythology, social structure, maritime technology and shipbuilding, political developments, literature and arts, and Viking expansion. Students will submit papers written in Norwegian, Danish or Swedish. Students without a background in Scandinavian studies should enroll in HIST 248.

NORST 352 Scandinavia and the Baltic

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior, Historical

A survey of Scandinavian and Baltic history (including Finland and Iceland), beginning with the Viking age and ending with the current status of the welfare state in the relevant countries. Special emphasis on the Great Power periods of Denmark and Sweden in the 16th and the 17th centuries, and on the emergence of Norwegian and Finnish national movements in the 18th and 19th centuries. Discussion as well of current political and economic issues in Scandinavia. Students must submit papers written in Norwegian, Danish or Swedish. Students without a background in Scandinavian studies should enroll in HIST 352. Offered alternate years.

NORST 361 Henrik Ibsen

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts
  • Prerequisites: PAID 112 or transfer equivalent and NORST 202

Norway's preeminent playwright, Henrik Ibsen, lived most of his life outside of his homeland, which he nevertheless observed with unmatched acuity. The course follows Ibsen's development as a dramatist while also exploring the cultural context of his time. The course includes recent film productions of selected plays and an opportunity to experience an Ibsen play as performed by the Commonweal Theater in Lanesboro, MN. All readings and discussions are in English. Students who have completed SCST 202 may elect to enroll in this course for additional coursework in Norwegian. Offered on a rotating basis.

NORST 363 Norway's Nobel Prize-Winning Authors

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts
  • Prerequisites: PAID 112 or transfer equivalent and NORST 202

Through the lives and literature of Nobel Prize-winning authors, Bjornstjerne Bjornson, Knut Hamsun, and Sigrid Undset, the history of Norway unfolds with its struggles and triumphs from the Middle Ages through Norway's World War II occupation by Hitler's forces. Reading selected works and viewing films based on them, as well as researching the authors' lives and times, students will gain an understanding of the highlights of Norway's history and literary production. All readings and discussion are in English. Advanced Norwegian language students may elect to enroll in this course for additional coursework in Norwegian. Offered on a rotating basis.

NORST 490 Senior Project

  • 1, 2, or 4 hours