The philosophy and religion degree includes the study of the spiritual thought and practice of diverse groups, communities, and individuals throughout the ages. Courses emphasize the central importance of integrating diverse areas of knowledge and experience into wider visions of human community, reading and analysing texts, and developing skills for the disciplines of profound self-reflection and contemplation. Students will gain basic knowledge about diverse religious traditions and develop a deeper understanding of their special areas of interest. The goal of this program is to provide students with techniques and insights needed for rigorous examination of the issues, experiences, and concerns arising from religious quests for certainty, community, and social justice.
The department welcomes students from other majors or programs who wish to examine their personal philosophy and religious beliefs and practices, investigate the philosophies and religions of others, or sharpen their skills as independent thinkers.
Many of the courses offered are not only appropriate as part of a philosophy and religion major but are of special interest to students in other fields. These courses are designed to help students understand the theoretical frameworks, religious implications, and more abstract dimensions of the paramount areas of knowledge. Students interested in either the philosophical and religious understanding of a field of knowledge, or in philosophy and religion for self-understanding, should feel free to consult the department chairperson or an advisor on appropriate courses.
The philosophy and religion major program includes six units from related fields. This gives students an opportunity to integrate courses offered by other departments into the major, so long as those courses are substantially concerned with philosophy or religion and approved by an advisor. Undergraduate advisors are also authorized by the department to designate units obtained in other departments as satisfying unit requirements. Neither students nor advisors should view this as an escape clause which enables a student who has not quite satisfied the major requirements in philosophy and religion to do so. Units outside the department are to be designated for use in the major on the basis of their contribution to the student’s major program. To avoid confusion on this point, students should obtain written approval from an advisor before obtaining non-department units to be utilized in the major.
Students who have not taken PHIL 110 PHIL 110 PHIL 110 may begin the program but should complete this course or its equivalent at the earliest opportunity. Equivalencies must be approved by a departmental advisor.
The Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion requires a minimum of 40 units, with at least 31 of these units being upper-division. The program culminates in a one unit personalized learning outcomes course in which students reflect philosophically on their development of skills and knowledge. This learning outcomes course, PHIL 696 PHIL 696 PHIL 696, can be taken in either the first or second semester of the student’s senior year.
The program offers a great deal of flexibility, permitting individualized emphases in specific areas. Students majoring in philosophy and religion are urged to lay out a tentative program of courses with their advisors early in their tenure at the university. Depending upon the student’s area of specialization, up to six units of courses outside the philosophy department may be approved by a department advisor as elective units for the B.A.