January Term

January Term at Luther alters the pace of the academic year by creating opportunities for students to engage in focused exploration of a single subject. January study is often experiential and/or experimental, and it offers students both greater freedom and greater responsibility for their learning. A separate listing of January courses is published online every year.

Students must take a first-year seminar (4 credits), and they must complete a second January experience (2 or 4 credits) that involves one of the following: off-campus engagement, directed readings/research, or student-designed study.

The first-year seminar, offered on many different topics each January, engages beginning students in significant responsibility for course presentation and interaction with their peers.

The second required January Term may be fulfilled in any year after the first and must engage students in one of the following:

  1. Off campus experiences: Study away (international and domestic) courses, internships that require work off campus, and/or field experiences, including service-learning opportunities. These forms must involve significant off-campus interaction with the broader community, even if students live on campus during January.
  2. Directed readings or research: Faculty-designed opportunities for students to study selected readings in a given topic, or to be involved in faculty-guided research.
  3. Student-designed study: An experiential learning opportunity that may involve locations on or off campus. Used by the student who wishes to design a course of independent study not otherwise available in the curriculum.

The registration form for directed or independent study or research can be found online at http://www.luther.edu/academics/registrar/ (http://www., http://www.luther.edu/financialaid/consumer, http://www.luther.edu/registrar)

Students are encouraged to spend their other two January terms in off-campus experiences, vocational exploration, community service, and/or senior project development. A sample January term pattern over four years might look like this:

First year: completion of a first-year seminar.

Second year: completion of the second January requirement, as described above.

Third year: an internship or job shadowing, a service project on or off campus, or an individual or group project designed by students and approved through the Registrar.

Fourth year: concentrated work on the senior project.

This is only one example of how Luther students can take advantage of January. Students should begin talking with their academic advisor during their first year to consider options for satisfying the two January requirements and for good use of their time in the other two terms.