Major in Scandinavian (BA or BS)


Situated on the periphery of the European continent, the Scandinavian countries have long provided examples of alternative social systems. From the stateless commonwealth in medieval Iceland to the “third-way” model of the modern welfare state, the countries of the north offer us examples that both speak to and elaborate upon what we commonly regard as the norm. As a result of this positioning, Scandinavians being both European and on the border of Europe, the study of the culture and literature of this region allows the student an opportunity to explore a unique set of perspectives. This uniqueness is abundantly expressed in the rich literary traditions of the region. As a faculty, we strive to place these traditions and their transgressions in conversation with the rest of the world.

The Scandinavian section offers courses in the language culture and literature. Currently our language instruction is in Swedish. Our culture courses cover the developments from the medieval period to recent demographic and cultural changes in the region. Our literature offerings provide the student with a richly conceptualized course of study ranging widely in perspective, subject matter, and chronological breath. Examples of this range include literature courses addressing gender, children’s literature, philosophy, autobiography, migration, the welfare state, the Sami, race, masks, madness, medieval sagas, myths, monsters, and drama. We offer regular film courses as well that address similar concerns. All literature and culture courses are conducted in English.

Students in Scandinavian are strongly encouraged to spend a year studying abroad. We currently offer the opportunity for study abroad in Denmark at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS), or at the Copenhagen Business School; in Finland at the University of Tampere; in Iceland at the SIT program in Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics; in Norway at the University of Bergen or the University of Oslo; and in Sweden at Uppsala University. Students who want to study abroad should plan their coursework carefully in consultation with the undergraduate departmental Scandinavian Advisor.

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Requirements for the Major in Scandinavian (BA or BS)

  1. Second-Year Swedish (SWED 201-203), or the equivalent (12 credits). 
  2. Eight Scandinavian literature or culture courses (32 credits).
  3. One topical upper-division course from a related field, advisor approved (4 credits).
  4. Of the requirements listed above, the following rules apply:
    • Three courses must be taken at the UO Department of German and Scandinavian
    • One literature or culture course may be taken pass/no pass

Majors in Scandinavian must be proficient in Swedish at the third-year level, demonstrated either by evaluation by the Scandinavian advisor or by successful completion of work beyond Second-Year Swedish (SWED 203). Typically, this will occur through independent study in Reading and Conference: [Topic] (SWED 405), work with supplementary texts in advanced Swedish as extra requirements in the department’s Scandinavian courses, and/or through study abroad in Scandinavia. Students should plan their course work carefully in consultation with a departmental undergraduate advisor in Scandinavian. They may also satisfy this requirement in Danish or Norwegian.

The department does not accept a grade of C- or lower in any course used to fulfill requirements for a major in Scandinavian.

To declare a major or minor, or ask any questions about our programs, go to our Advising page.