Taught to Analyze Views Around the World
“The best part about being a philosophy and religion major is that you are constantly analyzing your own beliefs and views of the world around you. Teachers and topics alike will test you intellectually and spiritually but lead to a positive, personal transformation that can’t be found elsewhere."- Andrew Bollinger, Class of 2016
Opens Many Doors and Career Paths
“As a major in philosophy & religion, many doors have opened for me as I explore new concepts and gain a greater understanding. This degree gives me a greater depth of knowledge and reasoning that will be helpful in any occupation." - Kelsey Limbert, Class of 2016
Philosophy & Religion Major
Division of Humanities and Social Sciences
Study the history of religious and philosophical ideas throughout the world. It’s more than academic. What we believe affects everything.
“Let us go forth upon our travelers' way …”
Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales 33.269
In philosophy, you'll learn about the history of Western thought. You'll study how classical and contemporary philosophers have addressed such questions as "What is real knowledge?" and "How should we conduct ourselves?" Philosophy is the study of the intellectual history of the globe. Learning to reason critically, having respect for evidence, and being able to express yourself well are essential to philosophy.
Studying religion in Western culture begins with an understanding of history. For Western culture, you'll learn the Christian church's ways of interpreting its scriptures, the Christian faith's attitudes toward the traditions that have shaped it, the relationship of religion (including Judaism and Islam) to Western culture, and the ideas of the most influential contributors to religious thought. For world culture, you'll have the opportunity to learn the history, nature and dimension of the major religious traditions (including the indigenous religions of India, China and Japan) that shape the lives and cultures of people worldwide.
Curriculum and Courses
Requires the bachelor of arts degree. Consists of no less than 33 credits, with a minimum of 12 credits each from philosophy and religion, and the remaining credits composed of courses approved by the department and chosen in individualized consultation with the academic advisor.
In their senior year, majors must take the philosophy and religion seminar (either as PHIL-430 or REL-430).
Activities and Clubs
- Participate in the Ethics Bowl to sharpen critical thinking skills
- Visit churches, synagogues and temples to understand the dimensions of contemporary religious life
- Visit local farms to learn about sustainable agricultural practices
Travel abroad with the department through one of our three May Term travel courses:
- Study European Intellectual Culture in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
- Study the roots of Western Intellectual Culture in Greece and Italy.
- Study the archaeology, literature, religions and cultures of ancient Hebrew society and early Christianity in Israel, Palestine and Jordan.
- Study abroad for a semester in one of dozens of countries
We actively encourage you to travel and explore the cultures of the world as part of your liberal arts education.
Graduate Schools and Careers
What can you do with your philosophy and religion degree?
Like our recent graduates, you might enter graduate schools such as:
- American University (International Peace Studies)
- Bethany Theological Seminary (Theology)
- College of William and Mary (Philosophy)
- Dartmouth College (Medieval Studies)
- Eastern Mennonite University (Counseling)
- George Mason University (Public Policy)
- McDaniel College School of Graduate and Professional Studies (Counseling)
- North Carolina State University (Public Policy)
- Northwestern University (Philosophy)
- Oxford University (Theology)
- Pennsylvania State University (Philosophy)
- Princeton Theological Seminary (Theology)
- University of Chicago (Near Eastern Studies)
- University of Colorado (Philosophy)
- University of Maryland (Justice and Peace)
- University of Richmond (Philosophy)
- University of Virginia (Philosophy)
- Union Theological Seminary (Theology)
- Wake Forest Divinity School (Chaplaincy Studies)
- Wesley Theological Seminary (International Peace Studies)
- Yale Divinity School (Theology)
Or pursue a career as:
- Career Coach
- College or Seminary Professor
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Corporate Chief Executive Officer
- County School Administrator
- Denominational Administrator
- Educational Psychologist
- Licensed Professional Counselor
- Management Consultant
- Minister of Education
- Nonprofit Organization Director
- Social Worker
- Teacher – Private and Public Schools
- Youth Pastor
Additional Philosophy Career Information
Explore how the study of philosophy prepares you not only for how to live life well, but increasingly prepares you for jobs, for graduate schools, and provides higher-than-average professional income.