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|Return to Academic Units|
|Dr. William J. Hawk, Head
Phone: (540) 568-6394
Web site: www.jmu.edu/philrel/dept.htm
D. Flage, W. Hawk, S. King, R. Lippke, W. OíMeara, A. Wiles
A. Kirk, W. Knorpp, I. Maclean, S. Mittal
T. Adajian, C. Bolyard, S. Hoeltzel, D. Hollenberg, A. Veltman
|Mission Statement||Preparation for Seminary|
|Career Opportunities and Marketable Skills||Co-curricular Activities and Organizations|
|Preparation for Law School||Degree and Major Requirements|
|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 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.|
|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.|
|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.
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 departmentís 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 studentís 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:
|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 email@example.com.|
|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 fieldwork 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|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|
|The electives requirement allows students to design a course of studies that develop their special interests beyond the core requirements for the major and that advances their professional goals. The three options of specialization are: Western Traditions, Eastern Traditions and Comparative Studies (electives selected from any course in the religion program). Thus a student may focus upon a particular religious tradition or configuration of traditions (for example, Hinduism and Buddhism; Islam and Judaism) or upon a particular topic area (for example, biblical studies, ethics or religious thought), or a student may maximize breadth by choosing and five courses of interest. Religious studies majors are encouraged to consult their adviser to ensure that their course selections correspond to a coherently designed program of specialization.|
|Interdisciplinary Religion Concentration|
|This option is designed for students who want to concentrate in religion but also 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: nine credits from one or more disciplinary areas outside of religion (must be chosen in consultation with the adviser) will substitute for six of the religion electives credits required for the concentration in religion. Accordingly, the total required elective credits for the interdisciplinary concentration will be 18 (nine religion elective credits, nine interdisciplinary elective credits), giving a total of 36 credit hours to complete the program.
|These electives requirement allows students to design a course of studies that permits integration of their interdisciplinary interests with additional course selections in religion. The three options for specialization are western traditions, eastern traditions and comparative studies (electives selected from any courses in the religion program). Thus a student may focus upon a particular religious tradition or configuration of traditions (for example, Hinduism and Buddhism; Islam and Judaism) or upon a particular topic area (for example, biblical studies, ethics or religious thought), or a student may maximize breadth by choosing any six courses of interest. Religious studies majors are encouraged to consult with their adviser for approval of the interdisciplinary course selection and to ensure that course selections correspond to a coherently designed program of specialization.|
|Recommended Schedule for Majors|
|The following outline is a sample four year program. The actual courses and sequence a student takes may vary.