What is the academic study of religion?
Religion, defined loosely as the beliefs and practices by which people relate to what they perceive as transcendent, is a major part of human life around the globe. It has historically been one of the most important components of the identities we build as individuals and as communities. Moreover, religion has a profound influence not only on issues like politics and nationality and economics, but on seemingly more mundane aspects of life like the clothes one wears and the food one eats. The extreme diversity we find both between and within religious communities means that this influence is far from uniform, but instead takes many forms.
Here at UWG, we study religion from a comparative and philosophical perspective. Rather than advocating for any particular religion, or for or against religion more generally, we instead seek to better describe and explain diverse examples of religious beliefs, texts, practices, and traditions, and to understand the role they play in shaping the areas of human life mentioned above.
Why study religion?
Working knowledge of some of the world's religious traditions is a valuable asset for someone in any career, especially in today's globalized world. Throughout your career, you are sure to work with persons of varied religious backgrounds as both your colleagues and customers. Additionally, like all humanities courses, courses in religion help you to develop the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills essential to success in any field. Finally, whatever your own religious convictions or views about the status and value of religion, studying religion from a philosophical perspective enables you to think more critically about those views and develop them in a more sophisticated way.
For more information, please see the Academic Catalog. A program map, which provides a guide for students to plan their course of study, is available for download in the Courses tab below.
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In addition to Core and elective hours, the B.A. in philosophy with a concentration in religion requires 33 hours of upper-level (3/4000) coursework in philosophy. Students engage in the academic study of religion and philosophy in courses such as Theories of Religion, Christian Thought, Islamic Thought, and Philosophy of Religion. To complete their degree, students may choose from among a variety of other classes covering the history of philosophy and a wide range of philosophical questions and issues.
Method of Delivery
Most courses are face to face
The University of West Georgia is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Credit and transfer
Total semester hours required: 120
This program may be earned entirely face-to-face. However, depending on the courses chosen, a student may choose to take some partially or fully online courses.
UWG is often ranked as one of the most affordable accredited universities of its kind, regardless of the method of delivery chosen.
- Total tuition costs and fees may vary, depending on the instructional method of the courses in which the student chooses to enroll.
- The more courses a student takes in a single term, the more they will typically save in fees and total cost.
- Face-to-face or partially online courses are charged at the general tuition rate and all mandatory campus fees, based on the student's residency (non-residents are charged at a higher rate).
- Fully or entirely online course tuition rates and fees my vary depending on the program. Students enrolled in exclusively online courses do not pay non-Resident rates.
- Together this means that GA residents pay about the same if they take all face-to-face or partially online courses as they do if they take only fully online courses exclusively; while non-residents save money by taking fully online courses.
- One word of caution: If a student takes a combination of face-to-face and online courses in a single term, he/she will pay both all mandatory campus fees and the higher eTuition rate.
- For cost information, as well as payment deadlines, see the Bursar's Office website
There are a variety of financial assistance options for students, including scholarships and work study programs. Visit the Office of Financial Aid's website for more information.
PHIL-2010 - Introduction to Philosophy
A historically framed introduction to philosophy,high-lighting major developments that have defined Western philosophical inquiry. Required for the major in Philosophy.
PHIL-2020 - Critical Thinking
An investigation of logical fallacies and patterns of valid reasoning in primarily oral by also written discourse. Required for the major in Philosophy.
PHIL-2030 - Introduction to Ethics
An introduction to the central concepts in ethics and an exploration of such contemporary ethical issues as abortion, genetic engineering, euthanasia, and capital punishment. Required for the major in Philosophy.
PHIL-2130 - Introduction to World Religions
A comparative study of the beliefs and practices of several world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This course not only explores the history of these faiths and their early doctrinal and communal development, but their place in today's world.
PHIL-3100 - Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
This course examines major ancient figures and schools stemming largely from the ancient Greek world. Plato and Aristotle may be central; but other moments may include the Presocratics; ancient Indian or Chinese thinkers; major Hellenistic, North African, or Roman philosophies; and/or Jewish or early Christian responses to popular philosophical movements.
PHIL-4300 - Senior Seminar
The aim of this course is to examine current theoretical and practical issues about the discipline of philosophy; to reflect upon and analyze implications of students' course of study; to read and discuss the debates surrounding the topic of the seminar; to develop, research, and execute a rigorous philosophical argument relating to the topic of the seminar; and to develop the skills of leading class discussion and presenting an academic paper. Required for Philosophy majors. Students must have obtained Senior level status.
PHIL-3105 - Medieval to Early Modern Philosophy
This course examines philosophy in transition from the medieval to the early modern era. Debates may concern the proper spheres of religious and secular power; engagements of Islamic, Jewish, or Christian thought with philosophical arguments (for example, about creation, self, or God); and Renaissance or early modern confrontations between traditional thought and new developments in philosophy and science.
PHIL-3110 - 18th-19th Century Philosophy
This course examines philosophy in the modern and late modern context. Topics may include questions about the limits of science, morality, or human hopes; the foundation of the state, society, or economy; critiques of religious beliefs and ideologies, and replies; arguments on the significance of art, beauty, or imagination; or proto-existentialist concerns with freedom, tragedy, or faith.
PHIL-3115 - Political Philosophy
An examination of significant themes in political philosophy, highlighting the way in which major concepts of political thought evolved from ancient Greece to contemporary western society. By critically examining the works of classical and modern political theorists (such as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Mill, Rawls, and Nozick), we will explore such topics as the nature of the distributive justice.
PHIL-3120 - American Pragmatism
This course considers metaphysical and epistemological questions by examining how they were treated by the thinkers who founded pragmatism, America¿s distinctive philosophical tradition. Philosophers covered may include classical American pragmatists, such as Peirce, James, Dewey, and Mead, as well as the contemporary American pragmatists, such as Rorty.
PHIL-3140 - Existentialism
An examination of the historical development and representative themes of existentialism, beginning with Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and continuing through Sartre.
PHIL-3160 - Philosophy in Literature and Film
An examination of significant philosophical and literary texts in terms of their thematic and/or conceptual interconnections. Same as ENGL 3160.
PHIL-3180 - Moral Theories
This course in moral philosophy examines central issues in areas such as meta-ethics (e.g., whether moral judgments are all relative to some standpoint, or true or false in any interesting sense) and normative and applied ethics (e.g., what makes objects of moral evaluation right or wrong or good or bad?).
PHIL-3205 - Theories of Religion
This course examines some of the most important historical developments in the Western academic study of religion. Topics covered include: how to define and conceptualize religion itself; the role the concept of religion has played in colonialism and indigenous responses; the function of religion in relation to human psychology, identity, society, and politics; the insider/outsider problem; the distinction between religious studies and theology; and the role and importance of various aspects of religion including texts, practices, community, and institutional authority.
PHIL-3220 - Christian Thought
This course examines the development of Christian thought from the New Testament to present day (e.g. feminist and liberation theologies). A sample of thinkers to be considered includes Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Schleiermacher, Barth, and Bultmann. Required for religion-track majors.
PHIL-3250 - Islamic Thought
This course examines the development of Islamic thought from the lifetime of Muhammad to the present day. Some of the areas of thought to be addressed in the course include theology, ethics, law, philosophy, and politics. A major focus of this course is to draw connections between theoretical developments in the history of Islamic thought and contemporary events in the Islamic world.
PHIL-3301 - History and Philosophy of Science
A study of the historical development of science and a philosophical examination of scientific reasoning. Same as HIST 3301.
PHIL-4100 - Phenomenology
An historical examination of such twentieth-century phenomenologists as Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Marcel, and Ricoeur.
PHIL-4110 - Philosophy of Law
An exploration of the major philosophical concepts that underlie our idea of law as well as application of these ideas to issues in moral, legal, criminological, and social philosophy
PHIL-4120 - Professional Ethics
This course examines ethical questions that can arise in the professions and occupations, such as: Is my privacy violated when my job requires that I be tested for drugs? What should I do if I know that my employer is making an unsafe product? Should physicians ever lie to their patients? Do corporations have any responsibilities beyond making a profit for their shareholders? The course also examines more theoretical issues concerning professionalism and the professions, such as the nature of the relationship between professionals and clients and the connection between ordinary and professional morality. Required for philosophy majors in the Law and Justice track.
PHIL-4130 - Feminist Philosophy
The aim of this course is to examine critically the central arguments of various feminist theories; to explore what it means to have a feminist approach to philosophical problems of epistemology, identity, morality, freedom, and human nature; to identify the presuppositions of theories; and to recognize the problematic principles of essentialism and exclusion from a more informed standpoint.
PHIL-4150 - Analytic Philosophy
An introduction to analytic philosophy, the predominant tradition of philosophy in America and England during the 19th and 20th centuries. Areas of philosophy to be covered may include the philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and ethics. Philosophers covered may include Frege, Moore, Wittgenstein, Russell, Ayer, Ryle, Austin, Quine, and Putnam.
PHIL-4160 - Symbolic Logic
An intensive introduction to the elements of deductive logic essential to scientific reasoning, computer programming, mathematics, and everyday problem-solving.
PHIL-4220 - Hermeneutics
Hermeneutics is the philosophical discipline investigating the process of textual interpretation. How do we know how to interpret what we read? Is the meaning of a text what the author intended? How would we know what an author intended? Should we understand a text within a historical context? This course addresses the development of the hermeneutic tradition through the primary tests of such influential philosophers as Friedrich Schleiemacher, Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Paul Ricoeur.
PHIL-4230 - Philosophy of Religion
An examination of philosophical arguments about such religious questions as the existence of God, the problem of evil, the relationship between faith and reason, and the concept of human destiny. Required for Religion Track majors.
PHIL-4240 - Philosophy of Friendship and Love
The aim of this course is to examine critically the historical theories of friendship and love through examining important primary philosophical texts; to explore what it means to love and how such notions of love and friendship changed throughout the centuries; to grasp the value and meaning of friendship and love as social and personal elements; and to recognize the historical nature of definitions and questions of friendship and love.
PHIL-4381 - Independent Study
Guided investigation of a topic not addressed by regularly scheduled courses. Students must propose a detailed plan of readings, articulating precise learning objectives, and secure the written consent of both a supervising instructor and of the department chair. Not more than two (2) Independent Study courses may count toward the major in Philosophy without the chair's permission.
PHIL-4385 - Special Topics
An examination of a topic in philosophy that transcends the boundaries of the fixed curriculum. Requires permission of the department chair to repeat.
Guidelines for Admittance
Each UWG online degree program has specific requirements that you must meet in order to enroll.
- Complete online application. A one-time application fee of $40 is required.
- Official transcripts from all schools attended. Official transcripts are sent from a regionally or nationally accredited institution.
- Verify specific requirements associated with specific populations identified here: Freshman Adult Learners Transfer International Home School Joint / Dual Enrollment Transient Auditor Post-Baccalaureate Non-Degree Seeking Readmission
Admission Process Checklist
- Review Admission Requirements for the different programs and guides for specific populations (non-traditional, transfer, transient, home school, joint enrollment students, etc).
- Review important deadlines:
- Fall semester: June 1 (undergrads)
- Spring semester: November 15 (undergrads)
- Summer semester: May 15 (undergrads)
See program specific calendars here
- Complete online application
Undergraduate Admissions Guide
Undergraduate International Application
- Submit $40 non-refundable application fee
- Submit official documents
Request all official transcripts and test scores be sent directly to UWG from all colleges or universities attended. If a transcript is mailed to you, it cannot be treated as official if it has been opened. Save time by requesting transcripts be sent electronically.
Undergraduate & Graduate Applicants should send all official transcripts to:
Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Murphy Building
University of West Georgia
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton, GA 30118-4160
- Submit a Certificate of Immunization, if required. If you will not ever be traveling to a UWG campus or site, you may apply for an Immunization Exemption. Contact the Immunization Clerk with your request.
- Check the status of your application
Specific dates for admissions (Undergraduates Only), go to: UWG Admission Deadlines
Students who successfully complete this degree program will be able to:
- Discuss the views of at least three major historical figures of philosophy.
- Critically analyze and explain a philosophical issue in written communications.
- Incorporate and defend a philosophical position in oral communications.