Beyond academics, it's a journey of self-discovery.

Many colleges teach similar subjects with comparable majors. What makes Gustavus special is our focus on you.

From our classes, to the user-friendly schedule, to the way we advise–we’ve designed our outstanding academic program to give you flexibility and choice.

Student in the classroom.

Find Your Focus

Where do your passions meet your purpose and values? How do you want to make a difference? In what field will you take on the great challenges of our time, and make your life count?


College designed for you.

Do you have a multitude of interests? You can pursue them all. Gusties thrive on participation – From lively discussions in classrooms, to performances in our music hall and theatres, to research with faculty. The Gustavus academic experience is designed to help you live your whole life.

Two female students in choir performance robes hugging and smiling.

We asked current Gustie students what worked best for them and built our academic program to support your engagement.

  • Small classes and personalized learning. You’ll be encouraged to engage in your courses by faculty, not graduate assistants, who know your name and are ready to challenge and support you.
  • Diverse opportunities for internships, studying away, research, and participating in co-curricular activities.
  • Summer terms for focused coursework, research projects, music and athletic tours, and shorter study-away opportunities.
  • A focus on thinking for the future. We don’t know what new jobs will be created in the next twenty years. What we do know is that Gustavus’s liberal arts education prepares you to adapt and lead in an ever-changing world.

The Gustavus Advantage

A flexible experience so you get more out of college.

Starting in Fall 2024, we’re implementing the biggest changes to our academic program and calendar in more than 40 years. This is a comprehensive re-imagining of our academic program, giving you greater flexibility with your schedule and freedom to choose across your academic interests.

  • Fewer required courses You’ll have the flexibility to explore your academic interests with fewer general education requirements.
  • Fewer major requirements By requiring less within our majors, you can use your elective courses to customize your degree.
  • Easier to double major The process to declare a major is simple and you’ll have space in your schedule to fit in additional majors or minors.
  • Every class counts All introductory courses count toward general education requirements, allowing you to stay on track to graduate in four years.
  • Classes limited to 3 times per week Classes meet just two or three times each week – giving you more time to study, work, or pursue other interests.
  • Protected time for your activities Over 27% of Gusties are involved in varsity athletics and 40% in the performing arts, so we protect that time with no classes during the week from 3:30-5:30 p.m., making it easier to pursue your passions.
  • Earn credit for labs and rehearsals You earn academic credit for science labs, music ensembles, and other arts experiences.
  • Personalized mentoring Regular academic and career planning meetings and events will help guide your success, including a college-wide Advising Day each semester.
  • May Term By starting spring semester in January, we’ve created an optional May Term. Gusties can use May to travel or focus on one course or to get their summer started sooner with an internship or job.
  • Built in breaks The academic calendar includes a week-long fall break and spring break and three weeks between semesters, as a time for work, relaxation, or college-sponsored trips.
Gustie student interacting with faculty at a computer screen in the human performance lab.


Connecting academics to your future career

The Gustavus Signature Experience (SigX) connects your Gustavus education to whatever you decide to pursue after graduation. With four distinct pathways, you choose how to tailor your SigX experience to meet your goals and interests.

83%  of the class of 2023 reported participating in internship, research, or study away.
$1,500  in additional potential financial aid to support your SigX
  1. InternshipsGain experience in your field while studying at Gustavus, leveraging the resources of our Career Development Center to help you find an internship that is the right fit for you.
  2. Student-Faculty ResearchWork collaboratively with faculty on their research–an opportunity typically found at the graduate level at larger institutions.
  3. Community ProjectsEnroll in courses that immerse you in a community setting, enabling you to apply your liberal arts education to meaningful, real-world scenarios.
  4. Study AwayEnrich your academic journey by selecting from a wide range of domestic and international programs, expanding your personal horizons and professional prospects.

You are never just a face in the crowd

From the first day, you'll be assigned an academic advisor who will assist you each semester in choosing classes and a major that links your academic journey to your career path. With personalized advising, the academic and career advice you’ll receive will be as unique as you are, including dedicated academic and career planning days to help you stay on track.

Learn & Discover

Award winning faculty, committed to you

Gustavus faculty members lead 100 percent of Gustavus courses. You’ll learn from people who are nationally and internationally recognized in their fields (you might even do research or write a paper with them), who have bylines in national outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post, and whose passion and purpose is helping you make the most of your liberal arts education.

11:1  Student to Faculty Ratio
18  average class size
Laura Triplett, PhD

Laura Triplett, PhD

Associate Professor of Geology


I am curious about how human activities on the landscape affect the quality of rivers, lakes, and groundwater. My research projects focus on river water quality, and help communities answer questions like “how can we protect our water?” and “how can we reduce the pollution in our river?” I teach about how the earth works, focusing on topics that intersect with human interests: climate change, rivers, soil, landslides, glaciers, coasts, etc.

Read more about Laura Triplett, PhD

Laura Burrack, PhD

Laura Burrack, PhD

Associate Professor of Biology


My teaching spans several areas of biology including microbiology, cancer biology, molecular genetics, and the interdisciplinary borders between biology and society. My research uses microbes to explore the mechanism and consequences of several types of genetic changes seen in cancer cells and during the development of drug resistance in pathogens.

Read more about Laura Burrack, PhD

Betsy Byers, MFA

Betsy Byers, MFA

Chair and Associate Professor of Art and Art History, Environmental Studies Faculty


I teach courses in painting and printmaking at Gustavus, as well as a specially developed course for ES, Climate Change Art, and for First-Term Seminar, Good Art, Bad Art. My courses explore art as both a subjective and objective experience, allowing students to explore how we can communicate visually and utilize art to enhance our daily experience. Of late, my work is inspired by the intersection between art and science, specifically climate change and ice loss.

Read more about Betsy Byers, MFA

Sheng Yang, PhD

Sheng Yang, PhD

Professor of Economics, Marcia Page and John Huepenbecker Endowed Professor in International Business and Entrepreneurship


As an economist in the fields of Industrial Organization, Investments, and Applied Econometrics, my research has been mostly focused on the empirical analysis of strategic behavior and market dominance, capital market efficiency, and behavioral economics. The main topics of my publications vary widely and interdisciplinarily, including empirical analysis of asset pricing, structure-conduct-performance paradigm, student ethic awareness, efficiency wage theory, and selectivity bias in survey estimates. My current research is about investigating the short-run and long-run dynamics between exchange rates and stock prices and the path through which monetary policy shocks impact on these markets in small open economies.

Read more about Sheng Yang, PhD

Julie Bartley, PhD

Julie Bartley, PhD

Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies


I teach courses that explore how Earth has changed over time. My courses include introductory courses (Geochemistry of the Environment; Our Planet: Introduction to Earth Science) and upper-level courses (Evolution of the Earth; Paleontology; Sedimentary Systems). My research investigates how life on Earth has shaped environments through Earth history. I study the fossil and sedimentary records of microbes and also investigate how we can recognize and interpret microbial records, both on Earth and on other planets.

Read more about Julie Bartley, PhD

You Belong Here

Graduate Equipped for Any Journey - in Four Years - Guaranteed

The goal is more than graduation. It’s transformation.

Walk away as a critical thinker, adept communicator, community contributor, and adaptable leader ready to launch into your career path. Plus, gain mentors and friends, and have some fun all in four years, made possible by our Gustie Guarantee.

Learn More about the Gustie Guarantee