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You know about Vikings, Ikea, and Ingmar Bergman, but if you delve a bit deeper into the rich cultural history of Northern Europe as a Scandinavian Studies major, you’ll learn about the cultures of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and their neighboring countries. You’ll explore Scandinavian history, folklore, literature, theater, film, politics, economics and government from the medieval to modern eras, and take classes in Danish, Swedish or Norwegian, reading novels, plays and poetry in their original language. Some schools offer exchange programs, and spending a semester abroad is a great opportunity to experience Scandinavian people, language, and culture firsthand. By senior year, most majors undertake an independent study project; possible topics vary from Norse mythology, to the design of the “Welfare State,” to twentieth-century Finnish architecture.

A Scandinavian studies major can be applied to many fields, including arts, business, economics, filmmaking, political science, social science, tourism, and translation.


  • Danish Novel

  • Introduction to Folklore

  • Introduction to Scandinavian Linguistics

  • Old Norse Paleography and Philology

  • Scandinavian Mythology

  • Strindberg and Europe

  • Studies in Drama and Film: Ingmar Bergman

  • Swedish Literature and Culture

  • Topics in Finnish Literature and Culture

  • Viking and Medieval Scandinavia

  • War and Occupation in Northern Europe

  • Women in Scandinavian Society


English and history classes are essential preparation for this major; European History and World Literature will come in particularly handy. In addition, take three or four years of a foreign language to round out a solid humanities background, and make learning subsequent languages easier.