Philosophy and Religious Studies

What You'll Study

The undergraduate major in Philosophy and Religious Studies consists of 60 units of course work with approximately one third each in the philosophy core, the religious studies core, and either the general major or the special concentration.

The mission of the undergraduate program in Philosophy is to train students to think clearly and critically about the deepest and broadest questions concerning being, knowledge, and value, as well as their connections to the full range of human activities and interests. The Philosophy major presents students with paradigms and perspectives of past thinkers and introduces students to a variety of methods of reasoning and judgment formation. Courses in the major equip students with core skills involved in critical reading, analytical thinking, sound argumentation, and the clear, well-organized expression of ideas. Philosophy is an excellent major for those planning a career in law, medicine, business, or the non-profit sector. It provides analytical skills and a breadth of perspective helpful to those called upon to make decisions about their own conduct and the welfare of others. Philosophy majors who have carefully planned their undergraduate program have an excellent record of admission to professional and graduate schools.

The Department of Religious Studies brings a variety of disciplinary perspectives to bear on the phenomenon of religion for the purpose of understanding and interpreting the history, literature, thought, social structures, and practices of the religious traditions of the world. Comprised of a dozen regular faculty with particular strengths in the study of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, it enrolls about thirty graduate students (mostly doctoral) and roughly as many undergraduate majors, minors, and joint majors.

Religious Studies works closely with several related programs at Stanford: the Department of Philosophy, with which it offers a joint undergraduate major; the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies; the Taube Center for Jewish Studies; the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies; the McCoy Center for Ethics in Society; and the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies.

Degrees Offered: