Department of Philosophy and Religion

Bachelor of Arts

Brendan Murday, Assistant Professor and Chair (fall semester)

Craig Duncan, Associate Professor and Chair (spring semester)

The Department of Philosophy and Religion offers courses that develop critical and creative skills, as well as broad-ranging knowledge of fundamental beliefs and ideas. Such skills and knowledge are brought about by (1) training students in the analysis and clarification of concepts involved in all forms of thinking, whether legal, medical, political, scientific, or metaphysical; (2) systematically analyzing and evaluating topics of perennial human interest, such as religion, art, and morality; and (3) challenging students to articulate and develop their own ideas in the context of argumentation.

  • The Introduction to Philosophy courses (PHIL 10100 and PHIL 10200) are highly recommended as stepping-stones to all other courses in philosophy.
  • The Introduction to World Religions courses (RLST 10500 and RLST 10600) are highly recommended as stepping-stones to all other courses in religious studies.

Requirements for Honors in Philosophy and Religion

Honors in the Department of Philosophy and Religion are offered for the purpose of encouraging, challenging, and recognizing majors and minors who undertake advanced academic work.

Majors and minors in the department may apply for honors by submitting an honors thesis. Written application to the honors program must be made to the department chair early in the senior year. A minimum GPA of 3.50 in the major or minor is required.

An adviser and a second reader are appointed by the chair in consultation with the student and members of the faculty. The adviser supervises the writing of the thesis, which should be at most 30 pages long and must be completed by March 31. The departmental faculty decides whether the thesis has earned honors designation. Then, if the student wishes, the adviser arranges for an oral presentation of the accepted thesis to the departmental faculty, guests, and other philosophy and religion majors and minors.


Philosophy is the most conceptually fundamental of the liberal arts. It is that academic discipline that is most concerned with ideas. The student majoring in philosophy is trained to understand abstract ideas and their relations to one another and the world, to learn what have been among the most influential ideas in human history from ancient Greece to the present, and to enter into the dialectical process of rational disputation concerning those ideas. 

Religious Studies

The study of religion is multidisciplinary, cultivating a wide array of interpretive skills from related fields of study. Students in religious studies explore the meaning of myths, symbols, historical events, rituals, personal experiences, and classic texts, and consider how participants in world religions continually reinterpret existing traditions and apply them to new cultural contexts. Religious studies offers an excellent basis for careers in the human service professions, such as counseling, social work, or teaching; in business and professions involving work with people from diverse cultures; and in all forms of creative activity, including writing and other fine arts.

See PHIL courses and RLST courses

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