Major | Minor

Studying anthropology helps you understand human cultural and biological diversity. It also reveals the common factors that bind us together.

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Why Study Anthropology?

Do you have an interest in human diversity and want to learn more about what we all have in common?

Studying anthropology lets you experience the amazing expression of human culture. You’ll learn how to engage in other cultures through travel. You’ll study clothing, artwork, and tools. You’ll also discover how to seek clues to the lives of past people through archaeological excavation and remote sensing.

An anthropology major helps you understand what makes us human. This ability is critical in our interconnected and multicultural world. Studying anthropology is about transforming your understanding of other people and yourself.

Why Study Anthropology at Luther?

Luther’s anthropology program helps you develop your critical thinking, understand different perspectives, and develop cultural humility. It will also help you make connections across different disciplines. For example, medical anthropology prepares premed students for patient care through cultivation of skills like interviewing, empathizing with patients, and building bridges with communities. Environmental anthropology opens students’ eyes to different ways of living in the world, providing innovative solutions to environmental issues. Studying anthropology helps you learn how to observe and document social life – skills in high demand in many areas of today’s workforce.

Program Highlights

Off-Campus Study

Spend January in Tanzania. Study current issues in Europe. Take part in Luther’s Archaeological Field School in northeast Iowa.

Student/Faculty Collaboration

Conduct research with faculty and staff in the lab and field.

Anthropology Lab and Collections

Gain hands-on experience in collections management, research, exhibit development, or in a work-study position.

What You’ll Learn

Luther’s anthropology program helps you examine central questions about the human condition today and in the past. The program focuses on the four fields of cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology.

Anthropology Major

Core courses in the major introduce you to the main subfields of anthropology. The 200-level research methods courses equip students with the tools and framework needed to conduct anthropological research. ANTH 485 capstone course allows students to practice problem-solving and to discern career opportunities. Electives build upon the 5-course core and emphasize personal interests and goals.

Anthropology Minor

As an anthropology minor, you’ll take five courses, including Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology, one research methods course, an elective, and our senior capstone course ANTH 485.

Whether you major or minor in anthropology, you’re encouraged to have a field experience. You can do this through a regular course offering, an internship, or study abroad.


Careers and Outcomes

Luther’s anthropology program teaches you to use anthropological knowledge to address real-world problems. Our anthropology majors go on to find success in a diverse variety of careers. Many also continue their studies in graduate school.


  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office
  • Smithsonian Institute
  • Science Museum of Minnesota
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Universal American School, Kuwait
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • Veterans Administration Rural Health Resource Center
  • College Possible
  • Ana M. Mencini & Associates

Career Fields

  • Personnel administration
  • Urban planning
  • Museum curation
  • Contract archaeology
  • International business
  • Teaching
  • Cultural resource management
  • Immigration law
Abby Vidmar
It is critical to have an understanding of a vast number of subjects because issues in the world are complex. Luther’s anthropology program reflects this multidisciplinary mindset.
Abby Vidmar '19

Geophysical Remote Sensing

Archaeological remote sensing allows archaeologists to study the remains of past cultures without physically contacting them. It can include aerial photography, satellite imagery, and a range of geophysical techniques. Luther is one of only a few institutions in the U.S. that offers this opportunity for undergraduates.

At Luther, you can get hands-on experience with archaeological remote sensing. Our students are have used this specialized technology to learn more about Decorah’s history.

two people are out in a field of grass, holding wires and an oblong metal device being swept over the ground


Luther helps match anthropology students with choice internships at museums, educational organizations, and various nonprofit organizations. Recent anthropology majors have interned at:

  • Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
  • YMCA of Metro Minneapolis
  • Helping Services of Northeast Iowa
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio


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