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The Department of Scandinavian Studies researches and teaches about eight countries with different but related languages and cultures. Faculty expertise stretches from the Vikings to the Nobel Peace Prize, from Henrik Ibsen to Karen Blixen to Scandinavian poetry, from the Baltic Singing Revolution to Nordic Noir. Scandinavian Studies offers opportunities to look at the world from a variety of perspectives, and to understand how small nations have played global roles.
The Department of Scandinavian Studies was established by an act of the Washington State Legislature in 1909.
In 2003, the Swedish Institute honored the Department of Scandinavian Studies’ Swedish Program, identifying it as one of the two best Swedish programs outside of Sweden.
The Department’s Baltic Studies program is the only such program in the U.S. and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019.
The Department’s Finnish Program celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2020.
An endowed professorship has been established in Baltic Studies.
Endowed chairs have been established in Norwegian and Swedish Studies.
Students can earn a BA with a major in Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish or Scandinavian Area Studies. Graduate students can earn an MA degree in Scandinavian Languages and Literature or Scandinavian Area Studies. A PhD is available with an emphasis in languages and literature. The Baltic Studies program offers courses in the languages and cultures of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Average class sizes within the department are relatively small and students have easy access to the faculty.
Study abroad programs are offered in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries for full-year, one-quarter, or September-only terms. Special study abroad courses are also occasionally offered.
Graduates from the department have gone on to successful careers in a wide range of occupations, including teaching, government service, business, and industry. Information about past alumni can be found at https://scandinavian.washington.edu/alumni-profiles.
Most recently, graduates have found extensive opportunities in the field of information technology with the numerous software and internet companies in the Puget Sound region.
- 28 Undergraduate majors
- 30 Undergraduate minors
- 6 Master of Arts student
- 7 PhD students
- 12 Bachelor of Arts degrees
- 2 Master of Arts degrees
- 18 Doctor of Philosophy degrees
- 1 Departmental minors
*2018 - 2019
Major Student Awards*
- American-Scandinavian Foundation Dissertation Fellowship
- Kielland-Løvdal Fellowship
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Dean’s Medal in the Humanities
- Alvord Fellowship in the Humanities
- Fritz Fellowship in the Humanities
- Nadia Christensen Scholar in Nordic Studies
- Joff Hanauer Fellowship
- Fulbright Fellowship
- 3 Professors
- 1 Associate Professor
- 2 Assistant Professors
- 4 Lecturers
- 4 Visiting Lecturers
- 6 Emeritus Professors
Faculty awards and leadership roles include:
- 5 American-Scandinavian Foundation Grants
- 1 Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit
- 1 Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland
- 3 Presidents of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study
- 1 Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies Fellow
- 1 University of Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies Fellow
Faculty research includes the comprehensive study of Scandinavian and Baltic literature, history, politics, and culture. Current research projects include rhetoric and critical theory in Norwegian literature, perception of Vikings in history, the plays of August Strindberg, the roles of small states in international relations, globalization and identity construction in Finland, and Baltic folklore, song, and identity.
Strong interdisciplinary ties with other departments include Cinema & Media Studies; History; Political Science; Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies; Sociology; Drama; Architecture; and the Jackson School of International Studies.
Areas of Scholarship
- Scandinavian Literature and Culture
- Scandinavian and Baltic Folklore
- Scandinavian Politics
- Scandinavian History
- Scandinavian-American History and Culture
- Scandinavian Cinema
- National Identity in Scandinavia
- Ibsen, Strindberg, Hans Christian Andersen, Blixen
- Baltic Studies
- Small States in International Relations
- Sexuality and Society
By working with its Advisory Board, the Department of Scandinavian Studies has maintained exceptionally close ties with various Scandinavian and Baltic communities. Department faculty serve regularly as facilitators, speakers, and area specialists for community organizations and groups, including ethnic venues throughout the Baltic and Scandinavian communities of the Northwest such as the National Nordic Museum.
Chairs and Professorships
- Barbro Osher Endowed Professorship of Swedish Studies
- Georg & Nina Pederson Faculty Fund
- Kazickas Family Endowed Professorship in Baltic Studies
- Sverre Arestad Endowed Chair in Norwegian Studies
Department Fellowships & Scholarships
The Department awards meritorious students support from the following funds:
- Alf Kristian Aulie-Simrad Endowed Fund
- Synnove Lien Fielding Endowed Fund
- Nadia Christensen Endowment
- Ann-Marie & Gunnar Gavel Endowment
- Leslie Grove Memorial Fund
- Gertrude Holdal Endowment
- Kalevala Endowed Fund
- Bernice Kellogg Endowed Fund
- Kielland-Løvdal Fellowship
- Langins Endowed Fund
- Terje Leiren Endowed Fund
- Martin & Ruth Metzon Fund
- John Phillip and Tashia Morgridge Endowed Fund for Scandinavian Studies
- Scott Nelskog Memorial Fund
- Paul O. Nielsen Educational Endowment Fund
- Norwegian American Community Fund
- Peterson Family Endowed Fund
- Raisys/Liffick Endowed Fund
- Scandinavian Exchange Fund
- Kathe & Ragnar Steene Endowed Fund
- SWEA Endowment
- Tetri Endowed Fund
- Totoraitis/Roberts Endowed Fund
- Edwin Vickner Endowed Fund
- Dr. Werner & Mrs. Margit Weingarten Fund
Department of Scandinavian Studies
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Fact sheet last updated: January 2020