The Philosophy and Religion Department at UNCW was founded in 1963 when the future University of North Carolina at Wilmington was still Wilmington College. From a beginning of three faculty members, it has grown to include twelve full-time faculty and to offer over sixty undergraduate courses. As a joint department that brings together two disciplines -- philosophy and religious studies -- we encourage interdisciplinary and creative approaches to teaching and research.
The academic discipline of Philosophy provides its students with tools for making the implicit explicit, for comparing and evaluating theories, for raising awareness by endlessly asking 'why' -- even (and perhaps especially) when such a question is one likely to be ignored. Courses in philosophy introduce students to the philosophical tradition and develop their skills of critical thinking and expression. In our examination of the history of philosophy, attention is given to ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, logic, aesthetics, bioethics, philosophy of science, and social and political philosophy -- with emphasis on their possible application.
Religious Studies -- the academic study of religion -- examines the religions of the world, their histories, symbols, structures, beliefs, and the contexts in which they arose and in which they flowered. It examines religions not only by way of historical and philosophical approaches, but from literary, social, and phenomenological perspectives as well. Religious studies seeks an empathetic understanding of religious phenomena, pursuing this goal through the development of critical thinking and expression, familiarity with interpretive methodologies, and awareness of the diversity of religious traditions in our world.
The Philosophy and Religion department offers a number of undergraduate courses that are fundamental to the UNCW Basic Studies curriculum. These courses expose students not only to important areas of the humanities; they strengthen their ability to communicate effectively in both oral and written forms. Regular offerings of upper level courses along with advanced topical seminars provide departmental majors with a rich, diverse, and up-to-date curriculum with which to complete their undergraduate studies.