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Scandinavian Studies

Swedish language and Nordic culture from classic to contemporary.

Your curiosity about Nordic culture and language can lead to a fascinating education and life using those skills. Augustana is the place to begin.

Augustana is one of the few North American colleges and universities offering a Scandinavian studies major and minor based in the Swedish language. The college was founded by Swedish immigrants and maintains deep connections to the Nordic region that benefit students every year.

In Scandinavian studies, you’ll have a skills-based liberal arts education anchored in language study and hands-on experience such as translation and work with historical archives. Along with Swedish language, course topics focus on Nordic literature, history, the arts and film, from classic to contemporary.

You’ll graduate with language and cultural experience that can partner well with any other field and position you for graduate school, a career and life as a world citizen.

What you'll learn

Intercultural competence

Intercultural competence

Understand real and imaginary similarities and differences. Use more than one perspective to view issues.

Disciplinary knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge

Gain a deep understanding of your subject and how it connects to other subjects.

Intellectual curiosity

Intellectual curiosity

Set yourself up for lifelong intellectual growth. Take responsibility for your own learning.

Ethical citizenship

Ethical citizenship

Examine and embrace your strengths, passions and values. Develop ethical convictions and act on them.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking

Combine ideas to create something new. Use imaginative ways of solving problems.


  • The Scandinavian studies faculty members teach a range of topics and collaborate with other departments across the liberal arts, including history; religion; theatre arts; geography; and women, gender and sexuality studies. Scandinavian studies complements virtually any other field of study.
  • Study in Scandinavia is an excellent way to boost language proficiency and cultural understanding, and earn 12 credits toward the major or minor. Students can study abroad for a semester or a year, taking advantage of Augustana’s exchange programs with Uppsala University or SVF-Vättern College, a classic Nordic folk high school in Jönköping. Other options include summer study and 3-week J-term courses in Scandinavian countries.
  • Many students use their $2,000 Augie Choice funding towards travel. Other grants specific to language study abroad include the $1,000 IOP Passport Grants and Freistat Center Grants (amounts vary) for language and cultural studies.
  • Working with their professors and career coaches in CORE, many students complete internships. For example, recent internships have taken students of Scandinavian studies to the Bishop Hill historic settlement in nearby Bishop Hill, Illinois; the Swedish-American Archives, Swedish-American Museum and Akvavit Theatre Company in Chicago; and Augustana’s own Swenson Center (see below).Students also have interned at the U.S. Consulate, the Grand and Sheraton hotels, and the Swedish UNESCO office, all in Stockholm.
  • Located on campus is a national institute for archival research of immigration history, the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center. Students get hands-on experience working with multimedia resources in Scandinavian studies courses led by their professors and expert staff at the center.
  • Augustana’s vibrant campus community includes about 150 student groups. Students can participate in Scandinavian Club, Swedish conversation table and activities with the local American Scandinavian Association. Every winter, students and faculty in the Scandinavian studies department present a Sankta Lucia festival for the community.

Recent grads

Amanda Schar ’19 is pursuing Master of Social Work and Master of Theology and Ministry at Boston College.

Bex Fernandez ‘19 is a member of the human resources team at Six Flags.

Brett Mignin '16 earned a master's in Nordic studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a sales representative and social media manager at Nitto Kohki USA, Inc., in Wheaton, Ill.

Kitty Depa ’16 is a technical writer at Nordic Semiconductor in Stockholm, Sweden.

Timothy Ludolph ’15 is a planning and development director for the City of Berlin, Wisconsin.

Erek Bell '14 earned his master’s in physical geography at Lund University; he is an administrator at HepCat in Lund, Sweden, and a freelance translator.

Britta Newell ’11 is the associate director, events and experience, at The Institute for Functional Medicine in Seattle, Wash.

Amanda Lindoo ’11 earned her Ph.D. in volcanology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Bristol in England.

Bex Fernandez
More Than I Imagined Bex Fernandez
“I took Swedish classes to fulfill my language requirement and never imagined falling in love with it the way I did.”
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Amanda Schar
More Than I Imagined Amanda Schar
“Dr. Mark Safstrom, one of my Scandinavian studies professors — his encouragement and support has helped me grow so much.”
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lucia festival

Festival of Sankta Lucia set for Dec. 4

Augustana's annual celebration of the Festival of Sankta Lucia on Dec. 4, 2023, will commemorate the holiday with traditional Scandinavian Christmas carols, lessons and poetry.

Shelley Cooper

Cooper's newest one-woman opera showcases Jenny Lind

Shelley Cooper’s opera was made possible by Augustana in the form of a grant, a few friends and some serious talent. 

Swedish Augie Class

In class with Swedish peers without leaving campus

When Augustana's Dymitri Kanellakis ’24 signed up for "SCAN-310A Crises in Sweden-US," he never expected eight of his classmates would be nearly 4,500 miles away at Uppsala University, Sweden.