Languages & Humanities Division
Studying Religion and Philosophy at Missouri Valley College
Who am I? Why am I here? Can I know anything, and, if so, how? How ought I to behave, and why? Is there a God? What is the nature of reality? Why is there evil? Students who major or minor in Religion and Philosophy at Missouri Valley College engage these and other “big” questions of human experience and existence. Students are introduced to the sacred texts and beliefs of the major world religious traditions (with particular emphasis placed on Judaism and Christianity) and to the central texts and arguments of the Western philosophical tradition. Significant attention is given to how these texts and beliefs shape, and are shaped by, cultures, societies, and institutions. Through such inquiry, students are enabled to develop enlarged understandings of the varieties of human belief and experience and to reject closed-mindedness and dogmatism. While recognizing the diversity of forms that religious and philosophical thought can take, our program affirms that, at their best, religion and philosophy serve to enhance and defend human dignity.
Life Beyond the Major
Given the opportunities the Religion and Philosophy major at Missouri Valley provides for engaging deep and interesting questions that human beings have pondered for millennia, it has its own intrinsic rewards. Religion and philosophy, however, are eminently practical fields of study, as well, that provide ideal preparation for the world of work and further study, and for life beyond college, in general:
- • Above all, religion and philosophy develop the practical skills and qualities of mind necessary for an ever-changing and increasingly diverse workplace: problem-solving skills; written and oral communication skills; analytic reading skills; persuasiveness; and an openness to, understanding of, and ability to adapt to other points of view.
- • That employers recognize the value of these skills is borne out by empirical data. The average mid-career earnings of philosophy majors ($81,200) are the highest among all humanities majors, and significantly higher than business management ($72,100), nursing ($67,000), and accounting ($77,100) majors (“Best Undergrad College Degrees By Salary,” http://www.payscale.com/2008-best-colleges/degrees.asp).
- • Philosophy provides ideal preparation for graduate and professional school. Nationally, on the LSAT (the law school entrance exam), philosophy majors are outperformed only by math and economics majors. Majors in all other humanities and in the social and natural sciences perform less well. Philosophy majors also tend to score exceptionally well on the GRE (the general entrance exam for most graduate schools), particularly on the verbal portion of the exam, where they outperform even English majors. Philosophy majors also tend to do well on the GMAT and MCAT, the admissions exams, respectively, for medical and law school.
- • Perhaps most importantly, majoring in Religion and Philosophy provides numerous opportunities for developing a sense of vocation. Novelist and theologian Frederick Buechner defines vocation as that place “where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.” By virtue of the questions they wrestle with, religion and philosophy are fields of study that can help foster a life of passion, engagement, and commitment.
Major requirements: 30 elective hours of Religion/Philosophy courses and RE 485.
Minor requirements: 18 hours in Religion, including at least 9 upper division hours, taken in consultation with a Religion advisor.
Students may elect to concentrate in either Religion or Philosophy.
- PL 100 Introduction to Philosophy
- PL 110 Introduction to Critical Thinking
- PL 150 Biomedical Ethics
- PL 300 The Art of Good Reasoning (Logic)
- PL 325 Ethics
- PL 331 History of Philosophy I
- PL 332 Hisotry of Philosophy II
- PL 376/476 Independent Study
- RE 100 Introduction to World Religions
- RE 101 Introduction to the Bible
- RE 111 Introduction to the Old Testament
- RE 161 Introduction to the New Testament
- RE 165 Topics in Religion
- RE 203 Jesus in Faith and History
- RE 210 Introduction to Christian Theology
- RE 308 Religion in American Life
- RE 323 History of Christianity I
- RE 324 History of Christianity II
- RE 349/449 Special Topics in Religion and Philosophy
- RE 376/476 Independent Study
- RE 485 Senior Seminar