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Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

As a philosophy and religious studies major, you'll enjoy interacting with fellow students and faculty by incorporating extra-curricular activities into your Christopher Newport experience. There are several ways to enrich your studies through research, internships, study abroad and many other opportunities.

While we encourage all of our majors to pursue optional internships, pre-seminary track majors are required to complete and approved internship. You can work with any religious or nonprofit organization, and students have worked locally in churches and nonprofits, as well as globally in orphanages and mission organizations in Africa and the Dominican Republic.

We encourage students to explore global questions and cultures at their source by participating in exciting study abroad experiences. Opportunities vary from year to year, including:

  • Philosophy in Greece
  • Happiness, mindfulness and yoga in Costa Rica
  • Spring break in Israel
  • Pilgrimage on the Camino Trail in Spain
  • Hiking the Appalachian Trail

The best thinkers are also excellent inquirers and writers. Our students and faculty work closely together on a variety of student-led, faculty-led, and collaborative undergraduate research projects. Examples include:

  • Senior Seminar: All majors are required to take the Senior Seminar capstone course. This course is designed to guide you through the process of writing a professional quality argument paper. Each student works closely with a faculty member to develop, write and defend the paper before a committee of faculty. Faculty also supervise the student’s research in preparation for the comprehensive exams.
  • Student Conferences and Publications: Faculty work closely with students to refine your work for presentation at academic conferences and for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Our students have presented at Christopher Newport’s undergraduate conference, Paideia, and published in Dialogue: Journal of Phi Sigma Tau.
  • Research Grants: We encourage students to apply for grants to pursue research topics on your own and in conjunction with faculty. Our majors have recently been accepted into the Summer Scholars Program, won Honors Summer Research Stipends and contributed to major National Science Foundation grant applications.
  • Independent Study: Students interested in more in-depth research topics can pursue an Independent Study with a faculty member. These courses are specially designed to explore your scholarly interests, and often result in a major research paper or presentation.

Our students organize and run the annual John Hoaglund Philosophy and Religion Student Conference, and regularly present their papers at Paideia, Christopher Newport’s annual research conference.

We also sponsor national honor society chapters for philosophy (Phi Sigma Tau) and religious studies (Theta Alpha Kappa). These organizations encourage student engagement and recognize scholastic excellence. The philosophy club, Socrates Cafe, is led by students, and pursues philosophical discussion outside the traditional scope of the classroom.

We host gatherings each semester where you can connect with faculty and others outside the classroom. The first is our weekly Tuesday Tea, where students and faculty enjoy homemade snacks and tea while discussing anything from Plato to pop culture. The second is the Philosophy Cafe, a more formal series of events focused on sharing research and exploring ideas.


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