Philosophy & Religion
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Philosophy and Religion Studies
1. What is Philosophy?
Philosophy is an activity that attempts to answer fundamental and important issues in our lives. One of the best ways to understand philosophy is to investigate the branches in philosophy.
Branches in philosophy:
As an academic discipline, Philosophy casts a wide net and takes up questions basic not only to the human experience but of interest to other academic disciplines. There are a great many fields of inquiry within Philosophy. They include:
• Metaphysics (What is reality?)
Many of the disciplines of the modern university, including economics, political science, psychology, linguistics, and computation theory were initiated by philosophers. They continue to be examined and developed by philosophers.
Skills Developed Through Philosophical Training
2. What Can I Do With a Philosophy Degree?
Careers for Philosophy Students
A recent article in the New York Times (April 6, 2008) highlights the increasing number of undergraduate philosophy majors nationwide. Another article, from The Guardian (Nov. 20, 2007), shows evidence that philosophy degrees are in growing demand from employers.
Philosophy and Graduate School
Philosophy and Law School
Philosophy is a popular major for those considering law school, and philosophy majors outperform all other majors on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). In fact, two members of the current Supreme Court of the United States were undergraduate philosophy majors (Justice Souter and Justice Breyer)
The Association of American Law Schools says the following: "What the law schools seek in their entering students is not accomplishment in mere memorization but accomplishment in understanding, the capacity to think for themselves, and the ability to express their thoughts with clarity and force." Those who aspire to a career in law need to develop "perception and skill" in the use of language as well as sensitivity to its "fluidity" and "deceptiveness." They also need to "develop insight into, rather than merely information about, the institutions and values with which human beings are concerned." Among other things, potential law students need to have a grasp of the nature of human beings,..... internal and external limitations upon the development of understanding and reason,.... the function of value choices in planning,.... (and the) cultural heritage of Western Societies, including philosophy and ethics."
Philosophy and Business School
The Management Myth. If you want to succeed in business, don’t get an M.B.A. Study philosophy instead!
Philosophy Students and Graduate School Entrance Exams
Philosophy and Jobs
Students enjoy Philosophy courses and Enjoy Career Success after University
American Philosophical Association Statement on the Major
Provides a description of Philosophy and Career Opportunities for Philosophy Students
3. What kinds of programs are offered by Rowan's Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies?
The department offers an interdisciplinary 36 hour major in Philosophy and Religion Studies, a 21 hour minor in Philosophy, a 21 hour minor in Philosophy and Religion Studies, an 18 hour concentration in Philosophy and Religion Studies, and an 18 hour concentration in Ethics. Our majors specialize in either Philosophy or Religion Studies, but take some courses from both disciplines. A portfolio requirement and a service learning component contribute to an integrated and well-rounded education. Visit the department website for a complete description of our courses and programs.
4. Is it possible to combine a degree in Philosophy and Religion Studies with another major?
Our major combines well as a double major with many other disciplines from all the colleges on campus.
5. What are the requirements for admission into Philosophy and Religion Studies?
The requirements are the same as those for admission to the university.
6. What kind of learning opportunities are available, both on and off campus?
Philosophy/Religion Faculty and Course Offerings
See this department’s Faculty page on this website and the Program Guides for Philosophy and Religion Majors
Former Rowan Students who completed Major or Minor in Philosophy and Religion Studies.
Our students have pursued careers in:
Famous Philosophy Students
The following is a list of some famous philosophy students. You will see that philosophers are prepared for a wide variety of future careers: law, politics, journalism, government, entertainment, business, religious positions, economics and the arts.
Film and Television
David Duchovny (actor—The X files, Californication)
Business & Economics
7. Why Study Religion?
The academic study of religion explores both the components common to many of the world’s religions and the unique aspects of individual religions. Religion includes spiritual experiences, intellectual or doctrinal contents of beliefs, narratives, story-telling, myth, written scriptures or texts, development of historical tradition, social organizations, symbols, rites and rituals.
In the mid-twentieth century, scholars could describe much of American religion under the title Protestant, Catholic, Jew. Today the American landscape includes much more: the mosque in Philadelphia, or in the cornfield south of Toledo, Ohio; the Hindu Temple in the north of Boston, or in southern New Jersey; the Buddhist temple in Los Angeles, in Atlanta, in Colorado, or in Decorah, Iowa. The United States today is the world’s most religiously diverse nation. Understanding the world’s religions today is essential for living peacefully with our next-door neighbors as well as conducting business and diplomacy around the world. Globally and nation-wide religions continue to play pivotal roles in the areas of arts, politics, ethics, economy, education and healing.
The Department of Philosophy and Religion offers an exciting program of religion studies, including courses in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Daoism, and other non-western religions. Course in the program expose students to philosophical, historical, sociological, and textual approaches to the study of religion. Selected topics courses are offered from time to time on such topics as religion and the state, religion and violence, and religious ethics.
8. Will Religion Prepare Me For Professional School?
Law and medical schools have always considered a broad liberal arts education the best preparation for professional study. The study of religion gives that breadth, with its insights into psychology, anthropology, philosophy, history, sociology, political science, media and journalism. Introduction to Religion, Religions of the World, Religion in America, and other religion courses offer a more general foundation for the study of religion, which benefits various professions, but is not offered by various professional schools themselves.
A major or minor in religion studies is not required for admission to a Jewish or Christian seminary, where one prepares for professional ministry. However, religion courses at the undergraduate level can help students decide if this is the field for them.
Students who have either a major or minor in religion studies have gone on to do graduate study at a number of leading Ph.D. programs in religion studies, or seminaries and other graduate programs.
9. Will Religion Prepare Me For a Career In Business?
Business leaders deal with religious issues every day. Can a food product carry the “kosher” label? What religious holidays do employees need? How should the business handle orthodox Jewish, Muslim and Sikh male employees with full beards? How will the new employee uniforms look on Muslim women wearing the veil and Jewish men with yarmulkes? Will everyone at the company picnic eat pork barbecue? The questions are endless.
The study of religion can alert one to a wide range of business issues as well as give insight into a vast array of sensitive issues in employee relations, cultural differences, international politics, and ethical problems. Many misunderstandings and conflicts can be avoided by those who take religious differences into account in their business dealings.
Those considering careers in such fields as international relations, politics, human resources, psychology, medicine, law, engineering, and international business would do well to choose courses in religion, a minor in philosophy and religion studies, or a double major with Philosophy and Religion Studies.
10. What Do Religion Studies Entail?
The academic study of religion explores both the various facets common to many of the world's religions and the particular aspects of individual religions. Many of us in this country grow up with a very limited experience of religion. Unless we live in a major urban area, virtually all of our neighbors are Christian or Jewish. As we become part of a global economy and information network, we become aware of differences and similarities in religious outlook between those religions we are familiar with and the religions of Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East. The Department of Philosophy and Religion offers courses not only in the Christian and Jewish traditions but also in world religions or non-western religions. A minor in philosophy and religion studies is especially helpful to those planning to pursue careers as religious leaders, serving as pastors, teachers, rabbis, chaplains, counselors or as workers for social organizations. In addition, a religion major or minor demonstrates to prospective employers that an applicant has a broad understanding of different cultures and thus will be able to function with more ease in the global marketplace.
*This document has consulted a similar one in the website of the Philosophy and Religion Department at Clemson University.