The academic catalog is currently being updated for the 2021-22 year. View the Catalog Archive to access the 2020-21 catalog as well as catalogs from previous years.

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 can enroll in a maximum of 4 credit hours during each January term.

Students must engage in two J-Term experiences:

1) a 4-credit first-year seminar course (offered on many different topics each January under the course number 185; engages beginning students in significant responsibility for course presentation and interaction with their peers); and 

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

  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.
  4. The second January Term requirement may also be fulfilled by completing a year-long or semester-long study away (international and domestic) course from the list of courses produced by the Center for Global Learning.

Students can complete a registration form for directed or independent study or research.

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 (185) course.
  • 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.