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Grapple with the insights of great thinkers from across the world and throughout history while developing skills in critical thinking, argument analysis and cultural literacy.

We prepare graduates to meet a rapidly changing world. Students who choose to concentrate in philosophy will study ancient and contemporary philosophers as they engage in rigorous debate, ask the big questions and sharpen their critical thinking skills. Students who choose to concentrate in religion are introduced to the academic study of the world's religions. They dive into the sacred texts, rituals, histories and ethics of different cultures while learning to communicate effectively with those who think differently from themselves. The interdisciplinary philosophy and interdisciplinary religion concentrations allow students to craft their own majors by counting up to nine credits from outside of the department toward the major.

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Students majoring in Philosophy and Religion may choose one of four concentrations: either philosophy (B.A. or B.S.), religion (B.A. only), interdisciplinary philosophy (B.A. or B.S.) or interdisciplinary religion (B.A. only).

The philosophy concentration focuses on major figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant. Students will study problems arising in contemporary movements such as analytic philosophy, existentialism and American philosophy; students will be introduced to the major subdivisions of philosophy, including logic, ethics, aesthetics, philosophy and law, philosophy of science and philosophy of religion.

The religion concentration focuses on the major religious traditions of the world––Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam––as well as their expression in diverse cultures and contexts. Topic areas in the study of religion include eastern religions, western religions, Biblical studies, ethics, religion and society, and religious thought and theology. Religion majors make connections between religion and other areas of knowledge, such as literature, politics, medicine, history, and the arts. Students will assess the role religion plays in contemporary social and political contexts, American and global.

The interdisciplinary philosophy concentration is designed for students who want to concentrate in philosophy but also apply philosophical ideas to work in other departments.

The interdisciplinary religion concentration is designed for students who want to concentrate in religion but also integrate their work in religion with work in another, complementary disciplinary area.

Philosophy and Religion
  • Degrees Offered: 
    • B.A.
    • B.S.
  • Concentrations:
    • Philosophy
    • Religion
    • Interdisciplinary Philosophy
    • Interdisciplinary Religion
  • Minors: 
    • Christian Studies
    • Ethics
    • Global Religion and Global Issues
    • Logic and Reasoning
    • Philosopgy
    • Religious Studies

Both philosophy and the academic study of religion prepare students to meet a rapidly changing world. Students completing a philosophy and religion major will be able to think critically, rigorously analyze arguments, listen carefully to the viewpoints of others, construct views that are based on sound reasoning and evidence, and communicate clearly and persuasively in writing and in speaking. They will grapple with the insights of some of the greatest figures in history as they learn to contextualize texts, issues and phenomena to arrive at well-informed and enlightened interpretations.


Declaring the Major

New Freshmen and Transfer Students
Students should declare the Philosophy and Religion major when they register for orientation.

Currently Enrolled Major Changers 

  1. Log into MyMadison; select "Student Center."
  2. Select Major/Minor Change from the "Other Academic…" dropdown menu.
  3. To add a program of study, select "Add Major/Minor." To narrow your search, select the plan type, change the criteria of plan description to "Contains," and enter the beginning letters of the plan. (Hint: type the word "philosophy" for a philosophy major, "religion" for a religion major, "ethics" for an ethics minor, etc.)
  4. If this is your first major, you should use the major with a degree (ie. Philosophy and Religion B.A.) If this is your second major, select the major, but choose the option listed with no degree (i.e. Philosophy and Religion).
  5. To change your concentration for an existing program of study, select "Add/Change Concentration."
  6. Select "Submit Request."

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