Nordic Studies

Major | Minor

Prepare to be a global citizen. Discover how the "happiest people in the world" live while developing your Norwegian language skills. Travel to the Nordic region and see it all for yourself.

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Why Study Nordic Studies?

Today’s complex world needs global citizens. As a Nordic studies major, you’ll cover topics ranging from social democracy to environmental policy and entrepreneurship. This unique interdisciplinary major will prepare you for countless career fields including education, consulting, epidemiology, marketing, clergy, travel, and many more!

Why Study Nordic Studies at Luther College?

Luther has strong ties to Norway—we’re the oldest U.S. college founded by Norwegian immigrants.

Nordic values like equality, mutual respect, and innovation have shaped Luther College throughout its history. Luther’s spirit reflects Nordic commitments to service on behalf of the common good, empowering women, practicing environmental stewardship, and offering hospitality to those of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Our offerings incorporate Nordic insights in the areas of business management and economic theory; alternative approaches to social welfare, health care, and education; as well as efforts to address global issues like peace and conflict resolution, deforestation and climate change, and relief and development work.

Here, you will study under faculty who are experts in Norwegian culture, policy, literature, history, and landscape.

Our programs abroad will allow you to learn the Norwegian language, explore the region in person, and experience its cultures.

Program Highlights


Work with your professors to find the right internship for you! Our Nordic studies faculty members have connections locally and overseas. Get paid to intern at the internationally renowned Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, located right here in Decorah.

Study Abroad

Faculty members will connect you with a number of exciting study-abroad programs across the Nordic region. These programs allow you to improve your Norwegian speaking skills, explore the region, and experience its cultures.


Through the Wigeland/American-Scandinavian Foundation Scholarship, you could spend one semester or a full academic year studying in Scandinavia.

What You’ll Learn

Whether you major or minor in Nordic studies, you will learn global citizenship. A global citizen is someone who is aware of and understands the wider world and their place in it. You will be better able to confidently lead, make decisions, solve problems, think critically, communicate ideas effectively, and work well with others. These skills are essential to have no matter the career path you choose.

As a Nordic Studies Major You Will:

  • Be required to spend a minimum of one semester of study in a Nordic country. You will develop language skills at the intermediate-high proficiency level, as defined by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language.
  • Use intercultural knowledge and skills to connect more fully with people from the Nordic region.
  • Deeply understand the practices and perspectives of Nordic cultures and reflect upon your own.
  • Analyze the cultural differences and diversity within the Nordic region.

As a Nordic Studies Minor You Will:

  • Be encouraged to spend a semester of study in a Nordic country. You will develop language skills at the intermediate-low proficiency level, as defined by ACTFL.
  • Employ intercultural knowledge and skills to connect more fully with people from the Nordic region.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the practices and perspectives of Nordic cultures and reflect upon your own.


Levi Bird
With Nordic Studies, we get our training in language and literature, but there's also the opportunity to explore things related to sociology and psychology and culture—exploring all those aspects of human expression and society.
Levi Bird '21

Careers and Outcomes

The language skills you will gain as a Nordic Studies student can complement virtually any career you choose. Following graduation, recent modern language and Nordic studies majors find success in jobs across a variety of organizations.


  • Norway House
  • Borton Overseas Travel
  • Pulpit Rock Brewing Company
  • Luther College
  • Luprino Foods
  • C.H. Robinson

Career Fields

  • Law
  • Social work
  • Bilingual education
  • Management
  • Accounting
  • Tourism
  • Government (customs, intelligence work, diplomatic service)

Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies

The Richard L. and Judith A. Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies honors Luther College’s legacy as the first college in the United States founded by Norwegian immigrants. Its mission is to make connections with today’s Nordic region.

The center’s work focuses on creating meaningful internships and opportunities, establishing travel grants for faculty and staff, bringing scholars to campus who understand life and issues in the Nordic region, and overseeing the Peace Scholars Program. The Tomson Family Endowed Chair in Norwegian Language and Modern Nordic Culture explores and enhances the connections between Luther and the contemporary Nordic region.

Luther’s Nordic studies program supports rich partnerships with our Center for Ethics and Public Engagement, Center for Sustainable Communities, and Center for Global Learning.

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