Madison Script James Madison University
College of Arts and Letters

Department of Philosophy and Religion

Department of Philosophy and Religion

Dr. William J. Hawk, Head

Phone: (540) 568-6394
E-mail: hawkwj@jmu.edu
Web site: www.jmu.edu/philrel/dept.htm


Professors
D. Flage, S. King, R. Lippke, W. O'Meara, A. Wiles

Associate Professors
W. Hawk, I. Maclean

Assistant Professors
T. Adajian, A. Cohen, S. Hoeltzel, W. Knorpp


Mission Statement
The department offers a combined major in philosophy and religion. Students may choose one of the four concentrations: either philosophy, religion, philosophy with an interdisciplinary focus or religion with an interdisciplinary focus. Whether concentrating in philosophy or religion, students in the department acquire the following fundamental skills and knowledge: the ability to think critically and rigorously with increased capabilities for problem solving and analysis of arguments; thorough familiarity with the literature, major figures, issues and phenomena of the discipline and the ability to express themselves clearly, soundly and persuasively in oral and written form. These three skill areas are the foundation and substance of a major in philosophy and religion. On the basis of this training, students should be prepared to express their own creative thought in a disciplined and effective manner.


Goals
Philosophy Program
Students completing a major with a concentration in philosophy are expected to know the major movements, problems, writings, concepts and terms in the history of Western philosophy. The program concentrates on major figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant; on problems arising in contemporary movements such as analytic philosophy, existentialism and American philosophy and on the major subdivisions of philosophy, including logic, ethics, aesthetics, philosophy and law, philosophy of science and philosophy of religion. All students will take PHIL 475 as a capstone course. In the capstone course, students will give an oral presentation of a term paper, receive criticism from faculty and students and then formally write the paper and submit it for use in assessment of the major.

Religion Program
Students completing a major with a concentration in religion will do course work in all three of the following sequences: biblical studies, reflective studies and history of religions. Depending on the courses they select, they will master certain information and skills:

Biblical Studies
  • The range of methods used in a nonsectarian, academic approach to the Bible.
  • The ability to apply them to a given text.
  • The ability to research and critique the major issues and theories within biblical studies.


  • Reflective Studies
  • Knowledge of major movements in western religions, ethical and social thought.
  • The theories, concepts and terms associated with these movements.
  • Knowledge of the central ideas of selected western religious and ethical thinkers.
  • The ability to evaluate the movements, ideas, theories and concepts comparatively and critically.


  • History of Religions
  • Knowledge of the thought, practices and cultural foundations of major religious traditions such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism.
  • The ability to represent, compare and enter into dialogue with dimensions of these religious traditions from a nonsectarian perspective.



  • All students who concentrate in religion will study at least one non-western religion. In addition, all will take a 400-level capstone seminar during their senior year that will provide them extensive opportunity for research, critical and creative thought, and oral and written expression. They will select a topic, research it extensively, write a term paper, present the results of their research orally in class, receive peer critique, and then revise their term paper and submit it to the department as part of senior assessment.


    Career Opportunities and Marketable Skills
    Many of the department's majors enter graduate school in philosophy or religion, law school or seminary. Alternatively, a departmental major graduating with a concentration in religion might move directly into work connected with religious service, into the human services fields or into teaching. A concentration in philosophy leads most directly into teaching or law school.

    A student's opportunities are by no means limited to these more obvious options, however. While there is no direct path from philosophy and religion to many specific jobs, students who have majored in philosophy and religion successfully find satisfying employment. Employers seek many of the capacities which the study of philosophy and religion develops such as
    • Problem solving.
    • Effective communication in speaking and writing.
    • Organization and analysis of ideas and issues.
    • Assessment of the pros and cons of arguments and issues.
    • Reduction of complex information to essential points.
    • Persuasion
    These capabilities represent transferable skills useful in almost every work environment. Many students of philosophy and religion ultimately find careers in business or industry, in government or public service, in law, human services and communications.

    Students should work with the Office of Academic Advising and Career Development for help in finding suitable employment.


    Preparation for Law School
    Students who plan to attend law school should seriously consider philosophy as an undergraduate major. Philosophy majors have historically scored very well on the Law School Admission Test. Philosophy courses emphasize the kinds of skills that prepare students for the LSAT and the law school curriculum: reading, comprehending and analyzing complex texts; organizing and synthesizing information and drawing reasonable inferences from it; analyzing and evaluating the reasoning and arguments of others and researching and writing essays and papers. Law schools recommend that students choose an undergraduate major that challenges them and provides them with an understanding of what shapes human experience. Philosophy does an outstanding job on both counts. The requirements of the major leave students plenty of opportunity to acquire a broad education by exploring other areas. For more information on philosophy as a pre-law major, contact Dr. Richard Lippke by phone at (540)568-6010 or by e-mail at lippk1rl@jmu.edu.

    Preparation for Seminary
    The pre-seminary adviser will help majors and minors design undergraduate programs that will prepare them for further study in theological seminaries and university divinity schools. Academic counseling of students takes place within guidelines provided by the American Association of Theological Schools. The department offers rich opportunities for the study of the history, content and interpretation of the Bible; historical and modern theology; particular religious traditions and cross-cultural topics in religious studies. Class assignments require students to think critically about a variety of theological and ethical issues; to read original, classical expressions of religious thought and to become knowledgeable about specialized terms and the major spiritual and intellectual interpreters of the Hebrew and Christian traditions.

    Students are encouraged to visit various seminaries and the department welcomes seminary representatives to the campus to discuss the possibilities for further theological education with students. Interested students may receive academic credit for practical supervised field work with social agencies and churches in order to help them find the particular forms of ministry (pastoral, campus, youth, missions, social, counseling) for which they are best suited. Qualified students are also encouraged to undertake independent study and write an honors thesis in their junior and senior years. For more information on pre-seminary study, contact Dr. Iain Maclean by phone at (540) 568-7059 or by e-mail at macleaix@jmu.edu

    Co-curricular Activities and Organizations
    A student-run Society of Philosophy and Religion, a philosophy honor society (Phi Sigma Tau) and a religion honor society (Theta Alpha Kappa) provide excellent opportunities for fellowship and student participation in the intellectual and social activities of the department.


    Degree and Major Requirements

    Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion

    Degree Requirements

    Credit Hours
    General Education1 41
    Foreign Language classes (Intermediate level required)2 0-14
    Philosophy course (In addition to General Education courses) 3
    University electives 26-43
    Major requirements (listed below) 33-36

    120


    1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary. 2 The foreign language requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of the second semester of the intermediate level of the student's chosen language (typically 232), or by placing out of that language through the Department of Foreign Language's placement test.

    Major Requirements

    Philosophy Concentration
    Core Corses Credit Hours
    PHIL 250. Introduction to Symbolic Logic 3
    PHIL 330. Moral Theory 3
    PHIL 340. Ancient Greek Philosophy 3
    PHIL 341. Modern Philosophy 3
    PHIL 475. Major Thinkers and Issues in Philosophy1 3
    Any religion course that is not cross listed 3
    Electives in philosophy (nine credits must be at the 300 level or above)2 15

    3

    1 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major. 2 If the student takes GPHIL 101 as part of Cluster 2 in the General Education program it can double count as one course of this elective section. GPHIL 120A cannot be used as an elective.

    Interdisciplinary Philosophy Concentration
    This option is designed for students who want to concentrate in philosophy but also apply philosophical ideas to work in other departments. Part of the requirements for this concentration is a cognate of 12 credit hours from a different but related discipline.
    Core Corses Credit Hours
    PHIL 250. Introduction to Symbolic Logic 3
    PHIL 330. Moral Theory 3
    PHIL 340. Ancient Greek Philosophy 3
    PHIL 341. Modern Philosophy 3
    PHIL 475. Major Thinkers and Issues in Philosophy1 3
    Additional philosophy courses chosen in conference with the adviser (six credits must be at the 300 level or above) 9
    Cognate of four courses from one or more disciplinary areas outside of philosophy 12

    36

    1 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major. 2 If the student takes GPHIL 101 as part of Cluster 2 in the General Education program it can double count as one course of this elective section. GPHIL 120A cannot be used as an elective. GPHIL 120A cannot be used an elective.

    Students with an interdisciplinary concentration in philosophy are not required to take a course in religion.

    Religion Concentration
    Core Corses Credit Hours
    Choose one introductory religion course: 3
    GREL 101. Religions of the World
    GHUM 102. God, Meaning and Morality
    Choose one philosophy course 3
    GPHIL 101. Introduction to Philosophy recommended
    Choose two courses in each of the three areas at the 200 or 300 level 18
    Biblical Studies
    REL 201. Introduction to Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
    REL 202. New Testament
    REL 342. Quests for the Historical Jesus
    Reflective Studies
    REL 218. Philosophy of Religion
    REL 240. Jesus and the Moral Life
    REL 270. Religious Ethics
    REL 322/SOC 322. Sociology of Religion
    PHIL 330. Moral Theory
    REL 360. History of Western Religious Thought
    REL 375/PHIL 375. The 19th Century: Age of Ideology
    REL 380. Contemporary Theologies
    History of Religions
    REL 310. Religions of India
    REL 312. Religions of East Asia
    REL 315. Women and Religion
    REL 320. Judaism
    REL 325. Modern Catholicism
    REL 330. African and African-American Religion
    REL 344. Christianity in the Roman Empire
    REL 370. Mysticism
    REL 385/PHIL 385. Buddhist Thought
    Choose one capstone course
    REL 450. Religion and Society1
    REL 460. Biblical Texts in Context1
    REL 475. Inter-religious Dialogue1
    Electives 6

    33

    1 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major.

    All religion majors must take at least one course in a non-Western religion (REL 310. Religions of India, REL 312. Religions of East Asia or REL 385/PHIL 385. Buddhist Thought). This may be taken as the course in the history of religions sequence or as an elective. In addition, GHUM 102 or GPHIL 101 can be double-counted with the general education program.

    Interdisciplinary Religion Concentration
    This option is designed for students who want to concentrate in religion, but also wish to integrate their work in religion with work in another, complementary disciplinary area. A student electing this option will fulfill the requirements for the regular concentration in religion, with one change: a cognate of nine credits from one or more disciplinary areas outside of religion (chosen in conference with the adviser) will be used in place of the six credits of religion electives required for the concentration in religion. The interdisciplinary religion concentration requires a total of 36 credit hours.
    Core Corses Credit Hours
    Choose one introductory religion course: 3
    GREL 101. Religions of the World
    GHUM 102. God, Meaning and Morality
    Choose one philosophy course 3
    GPHIL 101. Introduction to Philosophy recommended
    Choose two courses in each of the three areas at the 200 or 300 level 18
    Biblical Studies
    REL 201. Introduction to Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
    REL 202. New Testament
    REL 342. Quests for the Historical Jesus
    Reflective Studies
    REL 218. Philosophy of Religion
    REL 240. Jesus and the Moral Life
    REL 270. Religious Ethics
    REL 322/SOC 322. Sociology of Religion
    PHIL 330. Moral Theory
    REL 360. History of Western Religious Thought
    REL 375/PHIL 375. The 19th Century: Age of Ideology
    REL 380. Contemporary Theologies
    History of Religions
    REL 310. Religions of India
    REL 312. Religions of East Asia
    REL 315. Women and Religion
    REL 320. Judaism
    REL 325. Modern Catholicism
    REL 330. African and African-American Religion
    REL 344. Christianity in the Roman Empire
    REL 370. Mysticism
    REL 385/PHIL 385. Buddhist Thought
    Choose one capstone course
    REL 450. Religion and Society1
    REL 460. Biblical Texts in Context1
    REL 475. Inter-religious Dialogue1
    Cognate of three courses from one or more disciplinary areas outside of religion 9

    33

    1 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the

    Recommended Schedule for Majors

    First Year Credit Hours
    Introductory courses in major 6
    Foreign language courses 1 6-8
    General Education courses 1 6-18

    30

    Second Year Credit Hours
    Required courses in major 6
    Choose from the following 6
    Foreign language courses
    Electives
    General Education courses 18

    30


    Third Year Credit Hours
    Requirements and electives in philosophy or religion 12
    Electives (may be outside of major) 12
    General Education courses 6

    30

    Fourth Year Credit Hours
    Requirements and electives in philosophy or religion 12
    Electives (may be outside of major) 18

    15

    1 Students are advised to adjust General Education load to foreign language load to achieve 30 hours total.

    Minor Requirements

    Philosophy Minor
    Required Course Credit Hours
    GPHIL 101. Introduction to Philosophy 3
    PHIL 340. Ancient Greek Philosophy 3
    PHIL 341. Modern Philosophy 3
    Three electives, at least two of which must be above PHIL 300 1 9

    18

    1 The department strongly recommends that students elect at least one 400-level course. GPHIL 120A cannot be used as an elective.

    Religion Minor
    Required Course Credit Hours
    Choose one introductory religion course 3
    GREL 101. Religions of the World
    GHUM 102. God, Meaning and Morality
    Choose one course in each of the three sequence areas (biblical studies, reflective studies, history of religions) 9
    Two electives (one of which must be at the 300 or 400 level) 6

    18

    All religion minors must take at least one course in a non-Western religion (REL 310, REL 312 or REL 385/PHIL 385). This may be taken as the course in the history of religions sequence or as an elective.

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