What gives life meaning? What is the character of value or ethics? What is ultimately real? These are some of the questions philosophy asks. On the other hand, religious studies examines the various ways in which religious experience is understood and expressed in the world. These two separate but related disciplines are combined at Winthrop into one department — the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Each discipline examines the fundamental assumptions, concepts, and values we employ in understanding ourselves, the human community, and the ultimate character of reality. The focus of all programs is developing the conceptual understanding and critical thinking skills that define the educated person.