Philosophy and Religion Department

The Philosophy and Religion Department invites and provokes students to examine themselves and the world in ever more comprehensive ways, as well as to look at the most fundamental aspects of human reasoning and discourse. The Department also continues the College's heritage of insisting that examination of the religious dimensions of human existence is essential to a liberal arts education; all religion courses are taught in a non-sectarian manner.

The Department offers a major and a minor both in philosophy and in religion. A major in philosophy provides excellent preparation for graduate work in law, ethics, religion, philosophy and other fields in which reasoning and argumentation skills or the ability to work at a high level of abstraction are important. A major in religion is useful for those desiring to pursue a church-related vocation or as preparation for graduate work in any aspect of academic religious studies.

In addition, a major or minor in either religion or philosophy can serve as an excellent complement to other aspects of one's liberal arts education. As a result, double majors are common, with recent graduates successfully combining either philosophy or religion with fields as diverse as biology, history, music, chemistry, English or political science. The Department encourages such creative combinations. Internships in religion or philosophy often are cross-disciplinary with another field.

Philosophy majors can emphasize such areas as ethics, the analytic tradition, Continental philosophy and Asian philosophy. Independent studies can be arranged for in-depth exploration of special topics of interest. The religion curriculum permits majors to focus on either the Judeo-Christian tradition or the broader range of world religions; regardless of the emphasis chosen by the student, the Department affirms the wisdom of the maxim that "Those who know only one religious tradition know none."

Students interested in attending seminary to prepare for ordained ministry should confer with the appropriate church authorities and seminaries as early in their college program as possible. The Department will work closely with all concerned to provide the most appropriate college preparation. Academic counseling of pre-seminary students adheres to the recommendations of the Association of Theological Schools, which emphasizes breadth of training in the liberal arts. Regardless of one's major field (which need not be religion), those planning to attend seminary should include 12-18 credits of philosophy and religion courses in their undergraduate program.