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    American University
    Mar 03, 2024  
American University Catalog 2022-2023 
American University Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Philosophy and Religion


Chair  Jin Young Park

Full-Time Faculty

William Fraser McDowell Professor  E.K. Feder
Professor  G. Greenberg, J. Park
Associate Professor  F. Erfani, A. Oliver, S. Pathak
Assistant Professor  S. Almutawa, A. Ferrin, L. Weis, O. Woodbine, P. Zurn
Professorial Lecturer  C. Bassiri, K. Cratsley, J. Daniels, J. Flowers, J. Harroff, N. Liebow, I. Rhoad

Emeriti Faculty

Professor Emeritus/a  C.D. Hardwick, J.H. Reiman, C.S.J. White
Associate Professor Emeritus/a  D.F.T. Rodier, P.H. Scribner

Department Overview

The Department of Philosophy and Religion at American University offers unique undergraduate and graduate programs in which students navigate big questions such as the meaning of life, justice, equality and freedom and explore their futures while deeply engaging with the issues in our lives. Our curriculum enables students to learn from diverse thought traditions from around the world, enriching their understanding of people and society. This curriculum equips students with tools to analyze diverse aspects of human existence and helps them get ready for the challenges of the global community as well as local ones. Our faculty is made up of dedicated educators and leading scholars in the field, and our faculty members challenge students with questions about life and work with them to explore possible answers.

The study of philosophy provides excellent preparation for law, medicine, social work, ministry, and other professional careers. Many positions in science and industry require the kinds of analytical skills gained through the study of philosophy. Philosophy teaches precision in reasoning and clarity in expression-assets in any field. Alumni of the Philosophy (BA)  and Philosophy (MA)  programs have pursued graduate work in philosophy and related areas such as political science, psychology, history, and literature, as well as other professional programs.

The Religious Studies (BA)  introduces students to a major influence on all civilizations. Journalists, diplomats, and government specialists benefit from a serious consideration of the inner workings of the religious ethos of civilizations. Daily events remind us that there is no more motivating factor in the cultures of nations than ardently held religious belief. A thorough understanding of the modern world requires familiarity with its religious heritage. American University’s Washington, DC setting is advantageous for the study of religion, with national offices and centers for many religions in the metropolitan area. The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area also offers a variety of courses in philosophy and religion that are available to American University students.

The Department of Philosophy and Religion annually awards the Col. Harold and Ruth Pearson Prize in Philosophy to one or more majors who have demonstrated excellence in the study of philosophy. The Donald Kane Prize is awarded annually for the best essay written in a religion course. The Philosophy and Social Justice prize is awarded annually for an undergraduate paper or project that affirms the value of philosophy to engaging barriers to social justice. The Pearson Outstanding Graduate Student Prize is awarded each year to a graduate student in philosophy in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements and contributions to our community.


    Major Program (UG)Minor (UG)Certificate (UG)Master’s Program (GR)