About Luther

Located in the vibrant town of Decorah in northeastern Iowa, Luther is an undergraduate liberal arts college affiliated with the Lutheran Church (ELCA).

A Place of Welcome

Luther values the diversity of its students, staff, and faculty, who hail from many faith backgrounds and heritages.

The college strives to make Luther affordable for all students by offering scholarships, need-based aid, work study, and loan programs.

Academic Excellence

Luther offers more than 60 areas of learning. The college’s learning philosophy highlights connections between disciplines. Its thoughtful and rigorous curriculum moves beyond immediate interests toward engagement in the larger world. This approach to education helps Luther earn inclusion in the top tier of national liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News and World Report’s college guide.

Luther is a Phi Beta Kappa institution, a recognition belonging to only 10 percent of colleges and universities, and its graduates have been honored with awards, such as Fulbright, Rhodes, Goldwater, and NCAA Postgraduate scholarships.

Passionate Teachers

Luther’s faculty are committed to their areas of expertise—95 percent of them hold the most advanced degree in their field. This means that Luther students receive an education from qualified professors who are passionate about what they teach and invested in the college and its students.

A student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1 gives students an exceptional classroom experience, and Luther’s faculty also mentor students, act as advisers, and learn and research in collaboration with students.

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Luther values learning beyond the classroom. Internships, externships, and opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research are vital components of a Luther education—and they help test career goals and build résumés. This experiential learning contributes to the stellar career outcomes and postsecondary education rates of Luther graduates.

Study-away experiences are another way that students learn beyond the classroom, and they’re key to the global perspective that Luther promotes. In fact, 90 percent of Luther students study away, domestically or internationally. Many undergraduates take advantage of study-away opportunities during January Term, a three-week period between semesters that allows students to study a particular subject in depth.

An Open-Door Culture

An open-door culture is part of the Luther ethos. Faculty and staff are enthusiastic, accessible, and focused on student success.

An Active Student Body

Luther’s 1,800 students are highly engaged in campus life. More than 25 percent of them compete in one or more of the college’s 19 intercollegiate sports, and about 40 percent play intramural sports.

Luther also has one of the largest undergraduate music programs in the nation, with five choirs, three orchestras, two bands, and two jazz bands. One-third of all Luther students participate in music, including large ensembles, faculty-coached chamber groups, private lessons, and master classes. Nearly 175 music majors study music theory, ear training, history, education, composition, jazz, church music, and performance.

Student involvement, a Luther hallmark, is also evident in more than 80 student organizations, including a campus newspaper and radio station, as well as many service and honor societies.

Sustainable Practices

Luther takes seriously its mission to “practice joyful stewardship of the resources around us.” Green campus operations, partnerships with local businesses, and academic courses that incorporate sustainability have earned Luther a number of environmental leadership awards. They include being selected as a Sierra Club Cool School (on the 2021 list, #1 in Iowa and #56 among all colleges), and a Top 10 national ranking: AASHE 2021 Sustainable Campus Index.

Experience Luther

The best way to learn about Luther is to visit in person and get a firsthand look at how you might fit into the Luther community.