About Luther

Located in the vibrant town of Decorah in northeastern Iowa, Luther is an undergraduate liberal arts college affiliated with the Lutheran Church (ELCA).

A Place of Welcome

Founded in 1861 by Norwegian immigrants, Luther values its heritage, just as it values the diversity of its students, staff, and faculty, who hail from many faith backgrounds and heritages.

The college strives to make Luther affordable for all students by offering scholarships, need-based aid, work study, and loan programs.

Academic Excellence

Luther offers more than 60 majors and preprofessional programs leading to the bachelor of arts degree. The college’s learning philosophy highlights connections between disciplines. Its thoughtful and rigorous curriculum moves beyond immediate interests toward engagement in the larger world. This approach to education helps Luther earn inclusion in the top tier of national liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News and World Report’s college guide.

Luther is a Phi Beta Kappa institution, an honor belonging to only 10 percent of colleges and universities, and its graduates regularly earn awards, such as Fulbright, Rhodes, Goldwater, and NCAA Postgraduate scholarships.

Passionate Teachers

Luther’s faculty are committed to their areas of expertise—93 percent of them hold the most advanced degree in their field. And because 89 percent are tenured or tenure-track and have earned a permanent position here, they’re also committed to Luther. This means that Luther students receive an education from qualified professors who are passionate about what they teach and fully invested in the college and its students.

A student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1 gives students an exceptional classroom experience, and Luther’s faculty also mentor students, act as advisers, and learn and research in collaboration with students.

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Luther values learning beyond the classroom. Internships, externships, and opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research are vital components of a Luther education—and they help test career goals and build résumés. This experiential learning contributes to the stellar career outcomes and postsecondary education rates of Luther graduates.

Study-away experiences are another way that students learn beyond the classroom, and they’re key to the global perspective that Luther promotes. Each year more than 400 Luther students study abroad in 41 countries. Many undergraduates take advantage of study-away opportunities during January Term, a three-week period between semesters that allows students to study a particular subject in depth.

An Open-Door Culture

An open-door culture is part of the Luther ethos. Faculty and staff are enthusiastic, accessible, and focused on student success. Luther professors enjoy being a part of the campus community so much that 95 percent of them live within five miles of campus, and 87 percent of students say they’ve been invited to a professor’s home.

An Active Student Body

Luther’s 2,400 students are highly engaged in campus life. Almost 25 percent of them compete in one or more of the college’s 19 intercollegiate sports, and about 60 percent play intramural sports.

Nearly 1,000 students participate in the school’s six choirs, three bands, three orchestras, two jazz bands, and numerous smaller ensembles, all of which combine to form one of the world’s largest, most acclaimed collegiate music programs.

Student involvement, a Luther hallmark, is also evident in more than 100 student organizations, including a campus newspaper and radio station, as well as many service and honor societies. About 70 percent of Luther students volunteer, exhibiting the service ethic intrinsic to the college.

Sustainable Practices

Luther takes seriously its mission to “practice joyful stewardship of the resources around us.” Green campus operations, partnerships with local businesses, and academic courses that incorporate sustainability have earned Luther a number of environmental leadership awards, including a 2012 Second Nature Climate Leadership Award.

Experience Luther

The best way to learn about Luther is to visit in person and get a firsthand look at how you might fit into the Luther community.

"[Writing, problem-solving, and critical thinking] skills were nurtured at Luther through a diverse array of courses and professors that were heavily invested in my learning. I remember showing up unannounced at a professor’s office many times with new formulations of my senior paper, and he would sit and talk with me for an hour. I found this level of dedication to hold true for nearly all of my professors at Luther, and I believe that it was invaluable to my education.”

—Nick Andresen, '13