About the Department
-John Kerry, Secretary of State
The philosophy and religious studies major is a quality program offering humanities depth and the key intellectual skills employers are looking for in today’s nimble workforce: effective spoken & written communication, and critical thinking & analytical reasoning skills.
The Philosophy and Religion majors are among the most flexible at Winthrop, requiring only 30 hours. The major requirements in PHRL can easily be completed in two academic years and the major combines readily with other programs of study to create an ideal double-major program. (Please note that BA double-majors are not required to have a minor.)
Philosophy is the process of thinking rationally and critically about the most basic and important questions of life: what gives life meaning, what is ultimately real, what is the character of value or ethics, how do I distinguish knowledge from the varying opinions of what people claim to be true, what constitutes sound reasoning?
Philosophical thinking is essential to authentic person-hood. The critical thinking skills attained through the study of philosophy are applicable to any vocation, and philosophy teaches these skills more directly and consistently than any other academic discipline. The study of Philosophy is imperative to creating a civil society and equipping our citizens with the ability to reason soundly and exercise good judgment, according to the Washington Post.
Religious Studies utilizes the insights and methods of such diverse fields as literary criticism, linguistics, iconography, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and history in order to analyze and explore the essential character of the religious dimension of life, especially the various ways in which religious experience has been or is understood and expressed in the world. No religious or irreligious beliefs are required in such study.
According to William 'Chip' Gruen, associate professor of religion studies at Muhlenberg College, "in today's environment, an understanding of the different religions of the world is not a luxury but a necessity".