General Studies

The Luther College curriculum allows for the offering of courses under the heading of general studies. This heading is reserved for those courses whose primary content lies outside a departmental subject area, and there are normally no academic prerequisites for those courses. The courses bear full academic credit and advance students toward the total number of credits for graduation; however, the courses do not fulfill requirements for majors or minors.

General Studies Courses

GS 100 Foundations for Learning and Development

  • 2 hours

The purpose of this course is to enable students to understand the foundations of learning and development by examining their skills, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and the contribution of a liberal arts education to their holistic development (emotional, ethical, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational). Students will develop academic and other skills related to higher-order thinking, social and emotional intelligence, cultural competence, digital age learning, and financial decision-making. They will learn to enhance their own motivation, responsibility and leadership. Students will also explore their personality, strengths, interests, and purpose in order to fully engage in the education process and set goals that represent their values and priorities. Open to first-year students accepted into the SSS TRIO Program.

GS 105 Luther College Symphony Orchestra Residency in Vienna: The World of Vienna

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression

During a three-week residency in rehearsal and performance, orchestra students will explore the rich diversity of peoples and cultures of Vienna from its Medieval past until today. Vienna is well known as a center of European culture, with art museums, cultural sites, and musical performances that contribute to its being named "the world's most livable city" and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vienna is also a diverse city which welcomed Jewish and Eastern European refugees after World War II and the Cold War, and more recently has welcomed refugees following conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In this course students will examine and appreciate the complexity of Vienna through readings assigned in advance of the course, visits to museums and cultural sites, attendance at formal and informal musical performances, and conversations with local speakers. Coursework will include a midterm exam, a structured and graded journal, and a final paper.

GS 110 Critical Reading and Learning

  • 2 hours

We become better students when we become better critical readers aiming to withhold judgement until we have considered texts or issues carefully and thoughtfully. In this course we practice critical reading strategies, including inspectional, analytical, and syntopical ways of approaching issues and texts. In this course we also review and practice best learning strategies in the context of a liberal arts curriculum.

GS 200 Lives that Matter: Vocation, Self and Service (Arizona)

  • 4 hours

This course is designed to help students connect their own gifts, talents, and vocation with the needs of the world. The course begins with on-campus days of introduction to the major concepts of community, service, compassion, social justice, social change, leadership and vocation. These classes will also enable students to identify their own strengths. The second part of the course, based at the ELCA "Spirit in the Desert" retreat center in Carefree, Arizona (close to Phoenix), offers an intensive service experience through area churches in order to allow students to address a specific need such as homelessness. The course concludes with a special 2-day Blessed to be a Blessing retreat at Spirit in the Desert, offering students further readings, discussion, and rich inter-generational reflection in order to incorporate their service experience into an understanding of their own vocation in relation to the needs they have witnessed and addressed. Additional fees will apply ($850 for flight and accommodations in Arizona) Requires sophomore status or above.

GS 382 Integrating Academic and Experiential Learning

  • 2 hours

In this course, offered concurrently with the Rochester Semester immersion intership experience, students will i) identify and integrate pertinent knowledge and insights gained from their previous liberal arts coursework with their internship settings and ii) evaluate the challenges and opportunities posed by the cultures and practices of the organizations in which they are working, as well as their current and potential roles within them. Students will be asked to analyze, synthesize, and reflect on past and current experiences, and to act in preparation for future plans. Drawing on student experiences and insights from external speakers, social and cultural factors of different work environments will be evaluated. Assignments will include journals, reflective essays, interviews, mind-mapping and prototyping exercises, workforce networking, and a capstone synthesis project. One hour and half session/week, 2 cr.