Mission and Goals

The mission of the anthropology program is to create a learning environment through which students can come to understand and appreciate human diversity, develop a critical perspective on their own society, and examine their role as citizens in a complex, global community.  

The initial experience for many students occurs in one of the four introductory level courses (101, 102, 103, 104), which as a set provide a solid grounding in the anthropological perspective. Beyond this introduction to the discipline, the research methods courses (210, 211) give students the background necessary to critically evaluate existing anthropological research and conduct independent anthropological inquiry. Finally, upper level coursework emphasizes the discipline’s historical and theoretical foundations and provides in-depth exploration of a range of topics. Upper level electives, as well as opportunities for independent study and directed research, allow students the ability to chart their own course within the major according to their academic interests.

In its entirety, the range of coursework required for the major is intentionally designed to encompass the following central learning goals, providing the tools and perspectives necessary for future work in the discipline.

Luther College Anthropology Program Learning Goals


Students who complete the anthropology major will have:

  1. an introduction to the subfields of anthropology, and an understanding of the connections among them
  2. a critical understanding of the origins and historical development of the discipline
  3. an understanding of the major theoretical paradigms, past and present
  4. knowledge of the way anthropology is interconnected with other disciplines
  5. a solid understanding of the history of anthropological ethics, the current standards for ethical practice, and the range of ethical dilemmas encountered in anthropological research and practice
  6. an understanding of and appreciation for cultural diversity, both locally and globally
  7. the ability to collect and analyze anthropological data
  8. the ability to write within the discipline
  9. the ability to read critically and evaluate scholarly material
  10. the ability to present ideas, critiques, and research verbally
  11. the ability to examine critically one's own culture from an anthropological perspective
  12. the ability to apply anthropological knowledge and methods to contemporary social issues