The ONU Department of Philosophy and Religion offers several programs: a major in religion, an interdisciplinary philosophy and religion major, and a minor in religion.
The major in religion requires a minimum of 44 hours, including the following courses:
- RELG 105 or RELG 107
- RELG 109 or RELG 110
- RELG 241 or RELG 264
- RELG 225
- two additional courses in biblical studies
- at least one course in the history of Christian thought (RELG 310, RELG 311 or RELG 312)
- either RELG 481 or RELG 484
(No more than 12 hours of 100-level courses in religion may count toward the major.) With departmental approval, a maximum of three courses in philosophy may be applied to the religion major.
In addition to major requirements, the student must complete the general education courses (60 to 65 hours) required of all Arts and Sciences students graduating with the Bachelor of Arts degree. This leaves the student with 60 to 70 free elective hours which the student may use according to his or her particular interests and career goals. Student should select elective courses with the same care used in choosing a major. The department recommends that students consider a couple of options in selecting elective courses: (a) a second major, for example, history or literature along with the religion major; or (b) a minor in another subject. However one chooses to use the elective hours, it is important to remember that careful planning will enrich one's program of studies while at ONU and increase the options available upon graduation.
Interdisciplinary Philosophy and Religion Major:
For many years the department has offered a combined philosophy and religion major. This major consists of 44 hours chosen from philosophy and religion courses with the approval of the student's advisor. This major provides a greater choice of courses and thus more flexibility in one's schedule than the religion major. Student interest and career objectives are reasons for same students' choice of this option. Selection of courses is subject to approval by the department and must include RELG 480 or RELG 481 or else RELG 483 or RELG 484.
For students who have other majors or specific career objectives requiring a non-religion major but who also have an interest in the study of religion, the religion minor is a means of meeting that interest. The minor in religion requires a minimum of 28 hours in religion, including RELG 105 or RELG 107 and RELG 109 or RELG 110. No more than 12 hours of 100-level courses in religion may count toward the minor.
A faculty member in the department of philosophy and religion serves as advisor to the preseminary student in planning a preprofessional program. The recommendations of the American Association of Theological Schools are followed in counseling the student. A major in the department of philosophy and religion or in another appropriate department may be selected.
The discussion of the academic study of religion (What Is Religion?) focused on its nature and value as an undergraduate major or minor. Most students, however, have interests and goals that lead them to choose majors and minors in other subjects. For those students good reasons exist for their taking some elective courses in religion. Students planning to pursue professional training in law or medicine or seek employment in business and industry, for example, can broaden their understanding of western culture through a study of biblical literature. Or, a study of church history and the history of religious thought will increase one's appreciation of the formative factors and cross-currents of thought that shape our modern world. Persons in the professions and places of leadership in society should have that kind of breadth of understanding.
In addition, the human community is rapidly becoming an international community which requires persons with a knowledge and understanding of traditions different from their own. The study of world religions, for example, can provide a better understanding of the beliefs, customs, and attitudes of other cultures.
Also, persons in the professions and places of leadership are inevitably faced with moral dilemmas and decisions. Courses such as Christian Ethics can help a student sort out assumptions, issues and options available in moral decision-making situations. Such courses do not provide simple solutions to moral dilemmas, but do assist one in finding one's way through the inherent complexity of these situations.
Finally, the academic study of religion does encourage a person to begin the journey of significant reflection on the ultimate questions of existence. The excitement of that journey in itself enriches the lives of all who embark on it.