Why Study Anthropology?

Anthropology is about experiencing the amazing expression of human culture, whether by interacting with other cultures through travel; studying clothing, artwork, and tools; or seeking clues to the lives of past people through archaeological excavation. The central thread in each of these experiences is the desire to both understand human diversity and at the same time reveal the common factors that bind us together.

An education in anthropology provides the holistic perspective and analytical skills needed to understand human culture, which is increasingly valued in our interconnected and multicultural world. Above all, studying anthropology requires a sense of adventure and a willingness to transform your understanding of other people and yourself.

Experiential Learning

If you enjoy active learning, you will appreciate the many opportunities our program offers to actually do anthropology, whether in the classroom, in the field, while studying abroad, or in the anthropology laboratory. Imagine participating in January Term and semester-long cultural immersion experiences in Tanzania, Chile, Eastern Europe, or Malta, learning survey and excavation techniques as part of an archaeological excavation, developing your own work study project on beautiful textiles produced by Southeast Asian refugees, or learning how to make fire and throw a spear as part of an experimental archaeology course.

Skills and Perspectives

The anthropology education at Luther will help you develop the critical thinking skills, holistic perspective, and cultural competency that will provide you with the foundation for success in a wide range of potential career paths. Regardless of whether you ultimately define your life’s work as anthropology, you can join many of our alumni who have successfully applied their anthropology education to rewarding careers in public health, environmental studies, museums, non-profit organizations, education, law, and cultural resource management, to name a few.

Anthropology Is Interdisciplinary

One of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of anthropology is the extent to which it allows you to make meaningful connections with a wide range of other disciplines. A career in the medical field is enriched by an awareness of cultural conceptions of healing practices; addressing the planet’s environmental issues requires an understanding of the different ways humans view their place within the natural world. Similarly, using high tech remote sensing methods to investigate a prehistoric earthen mound requires you to draw on principles of geophysics and documenting traditional medicine in east Africa utilizes knowledge of organic chemistry and botany.

In my time as an anthropology major, I've had the opportunity to gain invaluable insight towards the understanding of cultures and our increasingly complex globalized world. What has really captivated me are the incredibly friendly and knowledgeable faculty, who can become amazing mentors and friends during your time at Luther.

— Jorge López '16