In the religion, philosophy, and social change major students have the opportunity to engage areas of study essential to the liberal arts. The major thereby prepares students to understand, analyze, and work with diverse systems of thought and practice that shape individual and public life. All majors will develop a broad methodological base from theology, ethics, history, philosophy, critical theory, sociology, literature, leadership, and material culture to explore the intersections and intimate connections between systems of belief and practices, ethical codes, narratives, and social and political structures across many cultures and centuries.
Students in the RPS major will choose which of three subjects they are most interested in pursuing by declaring one of the following concentrations: religious studies, philosophy and critical theory, or leadership and social change.
Religious Studies is the critical inquiry into cultural expressions – such as myth, ritual, symbol, and sacred texts – that address fundamental human concerns. Students in the religious studies concentration will gain a foundational understanding of Christianity, but will also study other religious traditions. Religious Studies uses a variety of methodological approaches (including philosophy, sociology, theology, and anthropology) to understand critically what religious people believe and do, what religion teaches us about the human condition, and how religion shapes public life.
To engage in philosophical reflection and critical theory is to reflect on the fundamental nature and meaning of our very existence, the role power plays in such meaning making, and the role of critical thinking in constructing, deconstructing, and reconstructing such meaning. The study of philosophy and critical theory is thus at once both deeply personal (as the question of the meaning of my own existence) and communal (as the question of our shared historical human identity and responsibility).
Social change names the changes in human-driven interactions and relationships that transform cultural and social institutions. Students on the leadership and social change concentration will be exposed to interdisciplinary approaches to questions of power and identity, the principles of effective leadership, and the social change model of leadership. This path of study will prepare students for careers that require experience with advocacy, social change models, organizational change strategy, and service and nonprofit leadership.
Choose between 3 different degree programs: bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, or bachelor of science in nursing.
* Offered Spring 2021
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For the student in the religious studies concentration: a cross-cultural understanding of the origins of religious communities, their similar and divergent practices and beliefs, and their literature; and a grounding in the historical analysis of religious practices, communities, traditions, beliefs, and scriptures, as they learn to assess the influence the past has on contemporary issues in the study of religion.
For the student in the philosophy and critical theory concentration: a cross-cultural and historical understanding of the methods and processes of philosophical reflection; a greater agility in their own reasoning process; the ability to critically engage questions of power and identity; and the ability to articulate more imaginative and thoughtful responses to life’s challenges.
For the student in the leadership and social change concentration: an interdisciplinary understanding of theories of power, social change, and leadership; the ability to apply the social change model of leadership to real world problem solving; and the ability to articulate their own theory of leadership and social change.
Wesleyan students who major or minor in Religious Studies or Philosophy and earn a 3.0 GPA or higher have the unique opportunity of guaranteed admission into a Master of Divinity or Master of Religious Life program at Emory's Candler School of Theology (one of the top theological schools in the country). This means Wesleyan religious studies and philosophy students get the best of all worlds: the community-oriented experience of learning in small seminar classes with close relationships to their professors at Wesleyan and a direct path to a larger graduate school experience.
This could include parish ministry, hospital or college chaplaincy, spiritual director, pastoral counselor, and other options.
Government services provided for the benefit of the community, such as education, medical care, and housing.
A university-level professor of religious studies or philosophy or a teacher of most any primary, secondary, or college level subject.
Involves conducting peaceful, friendly, and diplomatic relationships between and among countries around the world.
If you consider yourself empathetic and a good listener, a career in counseling might be a good career choice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of new jobs for counselors will grow by 18 percent by 2018.
Religion journalists are doing courageous, insightful reporting throughout the world.
Average percentage of international student population
Number of majors we offer including the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees
Of full-time faculty members hold the highest degree in their fields
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