Jun 25, 2024  
2017-2018 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Philosophy/Religious Studies


Chair: Dr. Rosemary Bertocci
Program Coordinator: Dr. Timothy Menta

Philosophers study everything. Philosophy is a critical approach to all subjects, a comprehensive vision within which all other subjects are contained. To be critical means to examine carefully and cautiously, willing to change one’s own beliefs. “Philosophy,” from the Greek “philein” and “sophia,” is the “love of wisdom.”

Philosophers examine critically the most important questions in life: Does God exist? What is the meaning of life? What is truth? What is just? What should I think about the “tough” moral questions of abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment and animal welfare, (to name a few)?

Because we honor Saint Francis of Assisi, these studies emphasize simplicity, not technicalities. We respect faith while probing for understanding. We celebrate reasoning while keeping an honest, humble, and humorous attitude toward the limitations of our minds. We maintain a positive vision of human nature, a profound respect for the background and destiny of each person, and the respect for all living things which Saint Francis of Assisi taught us.

Study of philosophy is valuable in its own right. It is also an excellent preparation for law and theology, as well as for many other graduate school specialties. In fact, philosophy majors score consistently higher than all other humanities majors on GRE, LSAT, and GMAT graduate school entrance tests.

Students who major in philosophy often combine their study with another major in religious studies, psychology, history, political science, or some other field. You can expect philosophy to be a natural second-major, or minor that easily interlocks with any other discipline.

Increasingly, business and industry are seeking thoughtful generalists who can analyze and reason. Philosophy graduates often go on to various graduate programs or enter administrative or management training programs for careers in government or industry. The philosophy program offers credits for career-oriented study in connection with carefully selected internship programs, such as The Washington Center.

Self-Designed Major Requirements

We encourage self-designed programs of study, which combine some of the philosophy major requirements with requirements of another major. These programs lead to a degree such as Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religious Studies, Economics and Philosophy, Philosophy and Political Science.

Religious Studies

Chair: Dr. Rosemary Bertocci

Religious Studies majors at Saint Francis University explore the universal dimension of the religious experience as expressed through the Catholic-Christian faith, Franciscan tradition, and other world religions. Our curriculum emphasizes the Franciscan Values of Higher Education by highlighting the centrality of religion and its influence on concepts from science and politics to fine arts and athletics, while examining social justice and ethical traditions that invite students to put their faith into action locally and globally.

After completing our course of study, majors in Religious Studies will be able to:

1. relate Catholic and Franciscan historical, cultural, religious, and theological perspectives to contemporary issues;
2. explain the history, culture, and theology of more than one major non-Christian religious tradition;
3. evaluate foundational theoretical perspectives relating to the theological, social, ethical, and practical dimensions of religion;
4. apply principles for making ethical decisions that promote peace, justice, and compassion for all of creation; and
5. demonstrate effective writing and communication skills.

All incoming majors will meet with a member of the department to develop a learning plan. The student and faculty member will set up an action plan at the beginning of each academic year, explicating a time line for submissions to each year’s portfolio. At the beginning of the senior year, the student will submit a written thesis statement to the faculty member, along with due dates for the rough and final drafts of the thesis.

With proper guidance and planning, majors will be prepared to pursue careers in religious education, political advocacy, environmental activism, ministry, pastoral counseling, family services, law, social services, and global and community development.

Special Features

  • National Honor Society for Theology/Religious Studies, Theta Alpha Kappa (Alpha Gamma chapter), ACHS member.
  • Delta Epsilon Sigma, National Catholic Honors Society
  • RLST 410, “Christian Service,” a practicum in Religious Studies which gives students an opportunity for service with neighboring agencies, in summer volunteer work, or in a foreign country.
  • Opportunities to contribute to the department’s Ethics Institute, which hosts an annual lecture and other special events.
  • Opportunities to participate in the Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies (CERIS), of which the university is a member institution.
  • Field Trips and Intercollegiate Seminars with faculty members and other students.
  • Special association with the Dorothy Day Center for Justice and Peace is an added dimension for student Christian life and practice.
  • Opportunities to combine career objectives in Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, Education, etc. with Christian values and goals. Such combined study makes one especially attractive to future employers.
  • International study programs in Mexico, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Italy, and France, with opportunities to study religion and do service.
  • Encouragement for students to publish in the Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa and Saint Francis University’s undergraduate journal, Sightings.
  • Opportunities to become an active member and hold an office in the Philosophy Club.
  • Opportunities to participate in conferences, such as the annual North American Undergraduate Conference in Religion and Philosophy, co-sponsored by Saint Francis University and Westminster College.

Institute for Ethics

Director: Dr. Michael McKale

Organizations play an increasingly important role in shaping the context of people’s lives throughout the country and the world. Everyone concerned about the quality of human life must take seriously the impact of these organizations; both the contributions they make and the problems they present.

Schools, churches, businesses, hospitals, and a wide variety of other organizations have all recognized the growing demand for moral accountability. Saint Francis University proposes to raise consciousness about ethical concerns within our local communities and to work with policy makers of various organizations who are concerned about corporate responsibility and ethics.

Recognizing the Judeo-Christian culture in which we live, realizing that work in corporate ethics must operate ecumenically, and convinced of the contemporary relevance of Franciscan values, Saint Francis college is prepared to accept a leadership role in this effort by supporting the work of the Institute for Ethics.

The mission and purpose of the Institute for Ethics is to contribute to the community’s understanding of contemporary ethical issues facing various types of institutions and professions. The Institute will focus on ethics in:

            Business Government Medicine
  Communications Labor Relations Religion
  Education Law Social Services

The Saint Francis University Institute for Ethics is funded by the Wolf-Kuhn Foundation and other private contributions.