Religion and Philosophy
Religion and philosophy both address the fundamental
questions of human existence.
Who are we? Why are we here? How should we live? Whom or what should we
worship, and to whom should we entrust our well-being?
What happens when we die? How far can human reason reach, and are there other sources of knowledge?
Berry’s religion and philosophy curriculum promotes sympathetic
examination of various religious
and philosophical approaches to these
and other questions. Through such exploration, you can expect to gain a greater
understanding of your own heritage and worldview, as well as those
A wealth of possibilities
The Department of Religion
and Philosophy offers a combined
major in the two disciplines, with a concentration in either area. Minors in Religion
or Philosophy are also available. If your goal is to structure a strong interdisciplinary
major with one of these subjects as its core, Berry can accommodate you as well. A major in Religion and Philosophy consists of
36 credit hours,
including the three-hour
general education requirement.
Because it is a Bachelor of Arts degree, you should be prepared to fulfill the foreign-language requirement for
Through your coursework,
you’ll gain a strong liberal arts foundation that can serve as your springboard to careers in a wide array of fields, including
law, government, business, medicine,
nonprofit, and of course teaching and religious
If your goal is a graduate degree in
Religion or Philosophy, your
Berry education will open doors to both types of programs,
as well as to
other fields in the humanities. Even in fields that are not directly related to religion
and philosophy, the degree will set
you apart and certify your ability to think analytically, write clearly, and appreciate other people’s points of view.
What’s the focus of
a Religion major?
The academic study of religion
differs from the faithful practice
of religion. The goal in the classroom is to work toward a sympathetic understanding of the religious beliefs
and practices of others as
well as one’s own tradition. At Berry, you will concentrate on the comparative study of varied religious
traditions, religious and philosophical ethics, the Bible and historical Christianity. To put it simply,
if the opportunity to analytically study some
of the most profound
texts the world has
ever known inspires you academically, then this is the major for you.
As you proceed through the curriculum, courses such as History of Christianity, Religious Themes
in Contemporary Literature, Science and Religion, Scriptures of the World and Women in World Religions will provide you
with the background necessary to
engage in the academic study of complex issues while helping
to improve both your critical-thinking and writing skills. In the process,
you will gain a stronger
understanding of a wide variety
of religious beliefs.
Although many Religion majors go to work for churches and social-work
agencies after graduation, the skills
of analytical thought
and self-expression you develop will leave you well equipped
to handle any entry-level position
that does not require specific
One recent graduate
runs a real estate agency, while another works
for a credit agency. Students can also go on to pursue graduate studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, Duke Divinity
and Yale Divinity School
to name a few.
What can a Philosophy degree do for you?
As a Philosophy major, you will learn
how to use reason and logic to try and answer
some of the most important and challenging questions asked about human beings
and the world. You will find yourself
discussing a wide variety of topics, ranging from the nature of God, morality and the mind, to science,
art, mathematics, literature, politics and law. As you delve into these issues, you will reflect thoughtfully and critically about the ideas
and arguments that shape human life and society.
Berry’s Philosophy curriculum covers
all of the major contemporary
philosophical questions and problems,
as well as the history of philosophy. As you progress through the major, you will be expected
to rigorously examine various philosophical viewpoints, read the writings of the great philosophers and discuss and write critically about them. To
deepen your educational experience, the faculty encourages you to combine your passion for the subject matter with other academic interests such as government or mathematics —
disciplines that have longstanding ties to philosophy.
Courses such as Critical Thinking, Symbolic Logic, Ancient and Medieval
Philosophy, and Modern
Philosophy will sharpen your ability to solve problems,
think logically, read carefully
and write both clearly and persuasively. These
skills are useful and desirable in every field, whether your goal is a career in the computer science industry (which values a
strong background in logic) or to continue
your education in graduate school or
Philosophy majors outperform
virtually every other major on the assessment exams for law school (the LSAT) and graduate
school (the GRE) and outperform marketing, finance, and all other business majors on the business management school exam (the GMAT.) Many
recent graduates have continued their studies at law
schools, medical schools, and graduate programs in Philosophy and other disciplines at such institutions as Vanderbilt University,
Boston College, Washington University,
the University of Notre Dame and
the Medical College of Georgia. Several also have received prestigious scholarships.
and Philosophy major will bring you into contact
with a collection of accomplished faculty members who
well-versed in their craft. Widely published and recognized both on campus
and off for scholarly
excellence, they will help you make the most of your educational experience. In fact, Berry has
miles and miles of trails you
can wander as you talk with your professors about the meaning
If you wish to enrich yourself through outside activities, the department offers an enthusiastic theology reading
group, as well as the Philosophy
Club. Other events feature dynamic
speakers from around the country and other
parts of the world on a remarkable variety
of topics in religion
For more information on Religion
and Philosophy, visit www.berry.edu/academics/humanities/relphi.