Arts & Humanities

Philosophy & Religious Studies

Philosophy and Religious Studies students on lawn

Program Opportunities

  • Major in Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Minor in Philosophy
  • Minor in Religious Studies

Program Overview

Philosophy studies the fundamental questions of being, knowledge, action, and the good, as well as examining the conceptual frameworks and practices of other disciplines such as religion, art, psychology, and the natural sciences. Students of philosophy will have the opportunity to:

  • understand and appreciate the major systems and schools of philosophy
  • develop a philosophical understanding of their own
  • prepare for graduate work in philosophy and related fields
  • wrestle with the ultimate questions of human existence

The academic study of religion aims to understand religious phenomena — texts, beliefs, doctrines, practices, world views — by way of historical, critical, and constructive methodologies. Students of religion will have the opportunity to:

  • acquire a sympathetic understanding of the Bible, the Christian faith, and other world religions
  • articulate and reflect upon the core claims that distinguish the Christian tradition
  • become acquainted with the major methodologies and issues in the study of religions and religious texts
  • understand a world in which compassion reveals the divine

Why Manchester?

Unlike many local peer institutions, Manchester's philosophy and religious studies major combines the insights, intuitions and practices of both disciplines into one integrative major. This combined program can help students who are fascinated by religion and spirituality and want to apply this field to new varieties of ministry or service. Manchester University prepares students to develop innovative forms of ministry that are related to a multitude of careers – not just the preacher's pulpit.

As traditional churches and places of worship continue to change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the philosophy and religious studies major seeks to equip students with the skills needed to adapt to this new situation and to create new forms of meaningful connections – be it remotely, in a place of worship, or in service to others


Those who major in philosophy and religious studies are inevitably asked, "What will you do with this major?" Most people are surprised to learn that philosophy, according to a recent study published in the Wall Street Journal, equips students not only for their first job but, more importantly, for their future jobs. The mid-career median salary for philosophy majors is an impressive $81,200! And the 75th percentile in the median mid-career salary comes in at a whopping $127,000, followed by a 90th percentile of $168,000. You might ask how this is possible, but the critical thinking, logical analytical skills and ethical commitments that philosophy and religious studies majors gain are highly desirable by employers. They want people that can think differently and "outside the box."

It is no secret that the acceptance rate for philosophy majors at elite law schools is extremely high. Some students pursue this direction because they want to put their ethics and the Manchester mission to work by advocating for others.

Other graduates opt for public policy firms, think-tanks, and non-profit professions – but the options far exceed these examples. Some of our graduates have gone into ministry and others into museum curating. This major provides the skills you need to succeed in nearly any career!