Skip to main content
Login to CatLink
Future Students

Apply online or check the status of your Admissions application:

Admission Portal

RELIGION & PHILOSOPHY.

B.A. Degree in Religion & Philosophy
Minor in Religion & Philosophy
Minor in Religion
Minor in Philosophy

Religious Studies + A Philosophy Major – The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Religion & Philosophy with Two Concentrations

Gain a greater depth of knowledge and commensurate skills in Religion and Philosophy.

If you want to learn from two disciplines that serve as a bridge between every idea in every discipline that exists, then you have found your major at Catawba College when you pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion & Philosophy. The Religion & Philosophy major illuminates practical aspects of today's world, provides a broad liberal education, prepares students for graduate work, and well positions students for employment after graduation.

co-students6.jpgThe Religion & Philosophy Department’s purpose is to introduce a broad range of students to religious and philosophical dimensions of human existence and to encourage these students to develop a greater depth of knowledge and commensurate skills in our disciplines.

Perhaps most importantly, the Religion & Philosophy bachelor’s degree programs are offered at an institution that U.S. News ranks as #4 among Best Regional Colleges in the South and that The Princeton Review perennially includes in its annual Best Colleges guide. 

You can focus your Religion & Philosophy major in one of these two concentrations:

Christian Ministries
Choose the Christian Ministries concentration if you’d like to use your Religion & Philosophy bachelor’s degree to pursue a career that involves building community in a faith-based organization. Coursework offered allows students plenty of hands-on opportunities through a required internship and practicum to put their classroom learning to work in a future career setting. Earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with this concentration gets you ready to begin a vocation related to Christian Ministries and can also pave the way for you to pursue graduate or divinity school.

Theology and Philosophy
Select this concentration for extensive coursework in Philosophy through the ages, studies in Near Eastern and Far Eastern religions, the history of the Christian Church, and the works of 20th and 21st century Christian theologians. A Bachelor of Arts degree with this concentration is the perfect foundation for graduate or divinity school.


Minor in Religion & Philosophy, Religion, or Philosophy

Catawba offers three different minors directly related to this major:

Religion & Philosophy Minor
Pursuing a Religion & Philosophy minor helps you understand our very identity, the culture that has shaped us, the world we live in, what we should think, and how we should live. Both disciplines examine essential aspects of a culture, and both are central to a liberal education and aid in preparing students for future vocations.

Religion Minor
Pursuing a Religion minor allows you to study the nature of the Ultimate, our relationship to the Ultimate, and how religions have worked out these issues. Religion helps us discover needed meaning and value in the world and in our lives.

Philosophy Minor
By pursuing a Philosophy minor, you will study the boundaries of our worldview, the limits within which we think and act.  Philosophy shows us these limits and helps us evaluate them and reconstruct them, and how our worldview affects everything about us.


Program Highlights

Catawba’s Religion and Philosophy major helps undergraduates develop strong critical thinking skills, strengthens their ability to communicate and work with others, enhances reading and writing skills, and heightens students’ awareness of diversity and the various viewpoints present in our multicultural society. In short, inspiring faculty and small class sizes guarantee personal attention necessary to prepare students with workplace skills most desired by employers.

Catawba College Junior Marshals assisting at the Service of Baccalaureate
Internships and Experiential Opportunities in Religion & Philosophy.

Catawba’s Religion & Philosophy majors have opportunities to gain real-world, hands-on experience by completing internships such as being a youth director, an assistant music director, a minister to children, an associate director of a mission program, or serving on staff of an outdoor ministry site such as a camp or retreat center.  Additionally, those interested in serving during on-campus Chapel services may be part of teams that prepare and help lead the services. Other opportunities to assist with these services or other religious services in the life of the college, such as Commencement Weekend’s Baccalaureate Service, are also available.

Through Catawba’s Lilly Center which is directed by the College Chaplain, Religion & Philosophy majors are offered additional opportunities to engage in theological and ministerial pursuits. Several programs geared towards assisting students who desire to explore their vocations or contribute to the general Salisbury/Rowan County community include: The Year of Inquiry Program, the Retreat Leadership Corps, Catawba Outdoor Adventures, Volunteer Catawba, and the DISCOVER Program. For more information on these opportunities and others available, please visit the Lilly Center website.

Related Bachelor Degree Programs

Outcomes

block-student4.jpg

CAREERS FOR RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY MAJORS.

In employment fields that incorporate and synthesize several perspectives, Religion and Philosophy majors thrive and excel in jobs like these:

    • United Church of Christ Pastor Canon Lawyer
    • Counselor
    • Adult Day Care Manager
    • Missionary
    • Food Bank Director
    • Family Life Center Manager
    • Church Outreach Editor
    • Church Musician

 

block-student13.jpg

GRADUATE SCHOOLS.

If graduate school is part of your plan after college graduation, be aware that Religion and Philosophy majors routinely score the highest on these standardizes tests, including the LSAT (Law Schools Admissions Test), MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), and GRE (Graduate Record Examination). Professional schools routinely seek students from the humanities and social sciences, particularly those with challenging majors like Catawba's Bachelor of Arts degree program in Religion & Philosophy. Graduate schools enrolling Catawba Religion & Philosophy majors include:

    • Duke Divinity School
    • Yale Divinity School
    • UNC-Greensboro
    • Wake Forest Divinity School
    • Wesley Theological Seminary
    • Vanderbilt University

co-harmon.png

"I chose to become a Religion and Philosophy major because I felt a call from God into the ministry field. I feel that I have been called to minister to high school students.

"But, not only this, I have aspirations of attending law school. Something that I am very passionate about is the United Nations and the advocacy that it offers for religious injustice and human rights violations. I hope to one day use my education to be an advocate for justice in religion and human rights for the UN. My freshman year I was taking New Testament with Dr. Sang. I remember one day asking him if we could meet to discuss my interest in being a Religion major. And I've been in the department ever since then."

Molly Sue Harmon ’19
Religion & Philosophy Major (Christian Ministry); Minors in Dance and Theatre Arts

Religion & Philosophy Facilities

Omwake-Dearborn
Chapel

The Third Place
Coffeehouse

Black Lake Retreat Center
Asheboro, NC

co-students4.jpg

PARTICIPATE.

Catawba’s Department of Religion and Philosophy sponsors Catawba Conversations, a club in which members of the Catawba College community come together to consider and discuss topics of interest in a thoughtful, responsible manner. The club presents a broad range of issues, taking note of their philosophical and religious aspects. Past topics have included "Hate Crimes," "Gay Marriage," "Relationships between Faculty and Student," "Stem Cell Research," "Evangelism," and "Islam."

Faculty

Dr. Barry R. Sang

Dr. Barry R. Sang is professor and chair of Religion & Philosophy at Catawba College.  He maintains ordinations in the American Baptist Churches, USA, and in the Presbyterian Church, USA. His special fields of interest are New Testament studies, Old Testament prophecy, and Process Theology, and he has published in the latter field.  His tenure at Catawba that has spanned more than three decades during which he has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades.

Dr. Kenneth W. Clapp ’70

Senior Vice-President and College Chaplain Dr. Kenneth W. Clapp ’70 serves as an assistant professor of Religion and Philosophy and directs Catawba's Lilly Center for Vocation & Values.  Ordained by the United Church of Christ with service as a former UCC pastor, he also served as executive director of the UCC's Blowing Rock Assembly Grounds in Blowing Rock, N.C., before joining Catawba as an administrator and member of the faculty. He teaches Ethics, Comparative Denominations, Christian Beliefs and Principles and Practices of Community, and is deeply involved in the lives of students, beginning with the Freshman Retreat program where he serves as an active facilitator urging students to consider their vocation and calling.

Dr. Seth Holtzman

Dr. Seth Holtzman is an assistant professor of Philosophy and serves as advisor for the Religion & Philosophy Department's club, Catawba Conversations. He opposes the dominant scientific philosophy of scientific naturalism, instead defending a philosophy of the humanities worked out by his mentor, the late E. M. Adams. He is particularly interested in the nature of presuppositions, the theory of the categories, the a priori, philosophical knowledge, and philosophical argumentation, in the course of articulating and defending a humanistic worldview.  He considers college teaching as his vocation and is committed to advancing liberal education. An excellent photographer, he enjoys cello and gardening and is committed to environmental causes.

Curriculum

Required Courses for B.A. in Religion & Philosophy
Required Courses for B.A. in Religion & Philosophy

We offer a major in Religion & Philosophy Degree (BA) with concentrations in Theology & Philosophy or in Christian Ministries:

RELIGION & PHILOSOPHY MAJOR (B.A. Degree)

Hours

CORE CURRICULUM (Required of All Religion & Philosophy Majors):

PHIL 1155 Introduction to Logic OR PHIL 1166 Critical Thinking

3

PHIL 1600 Worldviews

3

PHIL 2170 - Ethics

3

REL 1030 – Introduction to Religion

3

REL 1121 - Hebrew Bible Introduction

3

REL 1122 - New Testament Introduction

3

REL/PHIL 4500 - Capstone in Religion & Philosophy 
Additionally, RELP majors must fulfill requirements for a departmental portfolio system.

3

21

CONCENTRATION AREAS
Select from: 
• Theology & Philosophy (27) 
• Christian Ministries (30)

27-30

 

THEOLOGY & PHILOSOPHY Concentration

Hours

PHIL 2050 - Principles of Philosophy

3

PHIL 2540 Philosophy & Religion in Literature

3

PHIL 2700 Ancient and Medieval Philosophy 
OR 
PHIL 2800 Modern and Contemporary Philosophy

3

PHIL 3575 - Philosophy of Religion

3

REL 1035 - Near Eastern Religions

3

REL 1036 - Far Eastern Religions

3

REL 2000 - History of the Christian Church

3

REL 3600 - Twentieth-Century Theologians

3

Departmental Electives

3

Total (Concentration + CORE):

48

 

CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES Concentration

EDUC 3010 - Integrated Arts for Elementary Teachers

3

REL 2035 - Comparative Denominations

3

REL 2150 – Principles & Practices of Community I

3

REL 2535 - Christian Beliefs

3

REL 3000 - Faith Development

3

REL 3150 – Principles & Practices of Community II

3

REL 4201 – Practicum (fieldwork supervised by Catawba)

3

REL 4401 - Internship (fieldwork supervised outside Catawba)

3

Suggested or Departmental Electives

6

Total (Concentration + CORE):

51

 

Required Courses for Minors
Required Courses for Minors

RELIGION & PHILOSOPHY MINOR

Hours

PHIL 1050 - Philosophy & Culture

3

PHIL 2170 - Ethics

3

REL 1030 - Introduction to Religion

3

REL 1121 - Old Testament Introduction
OR 
REL 1122 - New Testament Introduction

3

Departmental Electives above 1000-level

6

 

Total:

18

RELIGION MINOR

Hours

REL 1030 - Introduction to Religion

3

REL 1035 - Near Eastern Religions

3

REL 1122 - New Testament Introduction

3

Disciplinary Electives, with 6 hours above 1000-level

9

 

Total:

18

 

PHILOSOPHY MINOR

Hours

PHIL 1050 - Philosophy & Culture

3

PHIL 1155 - Introduction to Logic

3

PHIL 2170 - Ethics

3

Disciplinary Electives all above 1000-level

9

 

Total:

18

Course Descriptions
Course Descriptions

REL 1030 INTRODUCTION TO RELIGION (3 hours)
A study of the characteristic and universal features of religions as expressed in the institutions, rituals, beliefs, and other phenomena of religions of the past and present. 

REL 1035 NEAR EASTERN RELIGIONS (3 hours)
A study of the origins, development, literature, structures, and modes of life and thought of the major living religions that originated in the Near East: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the modern denominations and sects which derive from them. 

REL 1036 FAR EASTERN RELIGIONS (3 hours)
A study of the origins, development, literature, structures, and modes of life and thought of the major living religions that originated in India and the Far East, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Zen, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and current movements and  cults which derive from these faiths. 

PHIL 1050 PHILOSOPHY AND CULTURE (3 hours)
An elementary introduction to philosophy through consideration of the role of philosophy in culture. 

REL 1121 HEBREW BIBLE INTRODUCTION (3 hours)
An introduction to the academic study of the books of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), their historical setting, and their religious and theological content. 

REL 1122 NEW TESTAMENT INTRODUCTION (3 hours)
An introduction to the documents of the New Testament, their origins and interpretation. 

PHIL 1155 INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC (3 hours)
A study of basic structure in reasoning and of methods to recognize and use valid deductive argument forms. 

PHIL 1166 CRITICAL THINKING (3 hours)
A study of reasoning that emphasizes informal critical thinking.

PHIL 1577 TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY (3 hours)
A study of a Philosophy topic, which may involve field work or study abroad. May be elected more than once. 

REL 1577 TOPICS IN RELIGION (3 hours)
A study of a Religion topic, which may involve field work or study abroad. May be elected more than once. 

PHIL 1600 WORLDVIEWS (3 hours) 
This course uses philosophical and cultural history to introduce and contrast the nature of a humanistic worldview and the nature of our modern Western naturalistic worldview.

REL 1801 MUSIC IN RITUAL, LITURGY AND WORSHIP (3 hours)
An introduction to the Biblical, historic and aesthetic values of music in worship that includes an interpretive methodology for theological study, the history and meaning of religion ritual, the development of Christian worship from Jewish roots, the structure and integrity of the Church Year, the anatomy of hymns and hymnals, the Revised Common Lectionary, the Psalter, and a study of music in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament along with some Jewish ritual.  Taught in the Music Department as MUS 1801. 

REL 2000 HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (3 hours)
A history of the Christian Church from its beginnings through the present day.(Offered alternate years.)

REL 2033E RELIGIONS IN THE WORLD MARKET (3 hours)
A "history of religions" study of those world religions most likely to be encountered in the world market.  Taught only in the School of Evening and Graduate Studies.

REL 2035 COMPARATIVE DENOMINATIONS (3 hours)
A comparative study of the beliefs and practices of major Christian denominations in America. (Offered alternate years.) 

PHIL 2050 PRINCIPLES OF PHILOSOPHY (3 hours)
An introduction to the subject,  method and history of philosophy for majors. (Offered alternate years.) 

PHIL 2060 ANCIENT POLITICAL THEORY (3 hours)
A critical analysis of the basic political writings of selected authors important to the development of Western civilization, e.g., Plato, Aristotle,  Augustine & Aquinas. Taught in History & Politics Department as HIST 2301.

PHIL 2100 TOPICS IN APPLIED ETHICS (3 hours) 
A study of an applied ethics topic, while might involve fieldwork or study abroad.  May be taken more than once to allow a student to study different applied ethics areas. 

REL 2150  PRINCIPLES & PRACTICE OF COMMUNITY I   (3 hours) 
A study of the scriptural and theological bases for community, the principles of hospitality and the practical application of these principles, to include program development, worship, and the ministries of serving and hosting. (Offered alternate years.)

PHIL 2170 ETHICS (3 hours)
A critical examination of the subject of ethics, including its nature, concepts, scope, problems, theories, and basis.

PHIL 2171 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (3 hours)
A study of the relevance of ethics for environmental concerns:  ethical traditions about the environment, new forms of environmental ethics, and practical application of ethics to current environmental issues.

PHIL 2400 MODERN POLITICAL THEORY (3 hours) 
A critical analysis of the basic political writings of selected modern authors important to the development of western civilization and political thought, e.g., Machiavelli, Bodin, Hobbes, Harrington, Locke and Rousseau. (Same as HIST 2310 and POLS 2310)

PHIL 2500 THE STORY OF PHILOSOPHY (3 hours)
A survey of the history of philosophy from ancient to contemporary. (Offered alternate years.)   

REL 2535 CHRISTIAN BELIEFS (3 hours)
A non-denominational study of basic Christian doctrines. 

PHIL 2540 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION IN LITERATURE (3 hours)
An investigation of the philosophical & religious dimensions of selected literature. (Offered alternate years.) 

PHIL 2577 TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY (3 hours)
A study of a Philosophy topic, which may involve filed work or study abroad. May be elected more than once. 

REL 2577 TOPICS IN RELIGION (3 hours)
 A study of a Religion topic, which may involve field work or study abroad. May be elected more than once. 

PHIL 2700 ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY ( 3 hours)
A survey of the history of philosophy from ancient Greece through the medieval West.  (Offered in alternate years) 

PHIL 2800 MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY (3 hours) 
A survey of the history of philosophy from the early modern era in the West to the present.  Prerequisite:  PHIL 1600.

REL 2800 PAUL AND HIS WRITINGS (3 hours)
A historical study of the life, letters, and theology of the Apostle Paul.  Prerequisite:  REL 1122. 

REL 3000 FAITH DEVELOPMENT  (3 hours)
An exploration into the ways that people experience faith and the development of their faith. Consideration of the curricula and program approaches appropriate for the facilitation of various stages of development. (Offered in alternate years.) 

PHIL 3060 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY (3 hours)
An examination of the methodological and philosophical concerns of history as these have been viewed by historians from Herodotus to Braudel.  Taught in History and Politics Department as HIST 3000. 

REL 3102 SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION (3 hours)
An examination of religion from a sociological perspective.  Topics may include conversion, church-sect typology, and deviant religious groups. (Offered alternate years.)  Taught in Sociology Department as SOC 3102.

REL 3150 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF COMMUNITY II (3 hours)
A study of the practical and applied practices that build community and provide hospitality in keeping with the theological and scriptural bases for community and for the spiritual growth of individuals and groups. 

PHIL 3575 PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION (3 hours)
An analysis of the phenomenon of religion from a philosophical perspective. Prerequisite: one course in either religion or philosophy. (Offered alternate years.) 

PHIL 3577 TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY (3 hours)
A study of a Philosophy topic, which may include field work or study abroad. May be elected more than once. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. 

REL 3577 TOPICS IN RELIGION (3 hours)
A study of a Religion topic, which may include field work or study abroad. May be elected more than once. Prerequisite: permission of Instructor.

REL 3600 TWENTIETH-CENTURY THEOLOGIANS (3 hours)
A study of the major movements within 20th-century Christian theology. (Offered alternate years.) 

PHIL 4170 SEMINAR IN PHILOSOPHY (3 hours)
Reading, discussion, independent research, and formal reports on a theme or problem chosen by the instructor.

REL 4170 SEMINAR IN RELIGION (3 hours)
Reading, discussion, independent research, and formal reports on a theme or problem chosen by the instructor.

REL 4201 PRACTICUM IN RELIGION (1-6 hours) 
An application of theory and methods from religion to fieldwork experience, supervised by a Catawba College instructor designated by the Chair of the Religion & Philosophy Department.  Prerequisite:  permission of the Chair of the Religion & Philosophy Department.

PHIL 4370 INDEPENDENT STUDY IN PHILOSOPHY (1-4 hours) 
Self-directed study following a contractual plan initiated by the student and accepted by the staff.

REL 4370 INDEPENDENT STUDY IN RELIGION (1-4 hours) 
Self-directed study following a contractual plan initiated by the student and accepted by the staff.

PHIL 4401 INTERNSHIP (3 hours)
A field experience in Philosophy in which formal evaluation, supervision, and direction are provided by an outside agency in concert with the supervising professor and student.

REL 4401 INTERNSHIP (3 hours)
A field experience in Religion in which formal evaluation, supervision, and direction are provided by an outside agency in concert with the supervising professor and student.

REL 4500 CAPSTONE SEMINAR IN RELIGION (3 hours)
A seminar for senior Religion/Philosophy majors that will integrate knowledge learned in the major and in the student's experience, emphasizing reading, writing and oral communication skills.

PHIL 4500 CAPSTONE SEMINAR IN PHILOSOPHY (3 hours)
A seminar for senior Religion/Philosophy majors that will integrate knowledge learned in the major and in the student's experience, emphasizing reading, writing and oral communication skills.