Major in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Overview

The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies offers a major in which students may concentrate in either philosophy or religious studies. Both concentrations lead to either a B.A. or a B.S. degree that consists of 36 hours; 30 hours of core courses in philosophy or religious studies and 6 hours of program specific electives. See the Radford University catalog for further B.A. and B.S. requirements.

To learn more about the PHRE major, get in touch with our department chair or visit us in CHBS 4202

This program fulfills the REAL Curriculum "E" area in Humanistic or Artistic Expression.

One Major. Two Concentrations.

All Philosophy and Religious Studies majors complete the same core curriculum, regardless of concentration:

  • PHIL 112. Ethics and Society
  • RELN 112. Survey of World Religions
  • PHIL 213. Critical Reasoning & Argumentation

After completing this core curriculum, students choose to concentrate in either Philosophy or Religious Studies:

Philosophy Concentration

After nearly 20 years in law teaching, I can confirm that no one is smarter than the serious undergraduate philosophy major.

Brian Leiter, University of Chicago

Concentratring in philosophy allows you to explore life’s toughest questions while acquiring some of the most desirable traits sought by employers. Here’s why. As a philosophy major you learn skills in critical thinking, written and verbal communication, moral and ethical reasoning and will learn how to analyze and understand arguments better that just about any other major. Because of these traits, more and more employers seek philosophy majors. Additionally, philosophy majors promote faster in the workplace.

The philosophy concentration in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies is a 30-credit major, making it ideal as both a stand-alone or double major. Students can take courses in ethical reasoning, critical thinking, professional ethics, knowledge and reality, philosophy of law, and many more topics. There is even a course on philosophy in the movies! We also offer 18-credit minors in philosophy and ethics.

Please consult the Radford University catalog B.A. requirements or B.S. requirements for area course requirements for students wishing to concentrate in philosophy.

Philosophy Student Testimonials

  • “The greatest benefit of being a philosophy major are the skills you gain in writing, structuring arguments properly, and learning how to evaluate complex philosophical language.” —Parker Brackin
  • “I am more prepared for the global world that we now live in and can work with and understand people from various backgrounds different from my own.” —Brandon Dunford
  • “Through my studies, I have gained exposure to a plethora of different perspectives. I have strengthened my ability to analyze, critique, and form well-reasoned arguments.” —Greg Capps

Philosophy Faculty

Our philosophy faculty come from diverse backgrounds, have diverse interests, and are internationally recognized in their areas of specialization.

  • Dr. Guy Axtell is a widely recognized expert on virtue theory and objectivity.
  • Dr. Steven Fesmire is an internationally known scholar of ethics, education, and politics.
  • Dr. Gilburt Goffstein is an expert in philosophies of human liberation, focusing on thinkers like Freud, Marx, G. H. Mead, and Habermas.
  • Dr. Heather Keith publishes widely on ethics, intellectual disability, and environmental philosophy.  
  • Dr. Glen Martin researches and writes extensively on global democracy. 
  • Nickolas Montgomery researches game theory and the philosophy of language.
  • David Parks specializes in offering introductory courses in philosophy.
  • Katy Shepard is a philosopher and artist, and studies the role of artists in building identity and fostering liberation.  
  • Mr. Darrell Shomaker holds expertise in healthcare ethics.
  • Michael Zarella specializes in offering courses about the fundamental questions of human existence.

Religious Studies Concentration

I often say that if I headed back to college today, I would major in comparative religions rather than political science. That is because religious actors and institutions are playing an influential role in every region of the world and on nearly every issues central to U.S. foreign policy.

John Kerry, former U.S. Secretary of State

It seems almost too good to be true, but religious studies is the major that allows you to explore life's most enduring questions while acquiring some of the most desirable traits sought by employers. Here's why: As a religious studies major you develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for diverse cultures, a trait increasingly important in today's globalized and pluralistic workplace. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of the major, students learn to examine problems from many different perspectives. The study of religion immerses students in geopolitics, ethics, sociology, and history. Because of these traits, more and more employers are recognizing the value of religious studies majors.

The religious studies concentration in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies is a 30-credit major, making it ideal as both a stand-alone or double major. Students can take courses in the world religions, women in religion, Hinduism and Buddhism, biblical studies, religion and American nationalism, cults, religion and culture, and religious experience. There is even a course on religion and monsters! We also offer an 18-credit minor in religious studies.

Please consult the Radford University catalog B.A. requirements or B.S. requirements for area course requirements for students wishing to concentrate in philosophy.

Religious Studies Student Testimonials

  • "Being a religion major has allowed me to connect and relate to people in a more universal and innately personal way, which was a large part of my wanting to stick with it."   —Katelyn Dobbins
  • "I am more prepared for the global world that we now live in and can work with and understand people from various backgrounds different from my own."   —Brandon Dunford

Religious Studies Faculty

Our religious studies faculty come from diverse backgrounds, have diverse interestes, and are internationally recognized in their areas of specialization.

  • Ryan Lytton specializes in offering courses about early Christianity and its scriptures.
  • Dr. Kay Jordan studies the religions and cultures of East and Southeast Asia.
  • Dr. Geoffrey Pollick is an expert on American religion and culture. 
  • Dr. Eric Rothgery's expertise focuses on Hinduism and Islam in Idia, specifically addressing healing rituals.
  • Dr. Paul Thomas is an expert on the use and impact of religious texts. 

Despite their specializations, they all enjoy teaching introducotry courses in religious studies.

Where Are They Now?

Philosophy majors find their way into all career fields. Not only that, philosophy majors outscore other majors on the LSA, GRE, and GMAT. Philosophy majors are also among the highest mid-career earners. Our former majors hold many different types of jobs, including: bioethics program director, project manager, teacher, psychologist, and marketing coordinator.

Religious studies majors work in diverse fields, including law, business and finance, education, nonprofit, and medicine. Our former majors hold many different types of jobs, including: project manager, admission counselor, psychologist, and teacher.