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Religious Studies Minor

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Student Testimonial


Philosophy at EIU has a distinctive sense of community. Our physical space welcomes students, offers refreshments and opportunities to engage with faculty at almost every hour of the day. Faculty are not stuffed away in their offices, they are in the main office, chatting, snacking, sharing a coffee and a good argument with students. Our main office is a community space; it gets used. Our relationship with students isn't created and developed by lecturing or exchanging information; it comes as a result of consistent and active engagement in activities as simple as lunchtime discussions or as serious as independent research. Faculty in Philosophy provide learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom, in both formal and informal environments. This models the value of lifelong learning that is the vision of higher ed.



Philosophy at EIU offers superior education in a student-centered culture.

  • We don't participate in teacher certification and we don't have a graduate program: we focus entirely on our undergraduate students, offering them an outstanding liberal arts experience.

  • Our program participates heavily in General Education – this means that students can introduce themselves to Philosophy by taking a course that counts toward a General Education requirement. If they like the course, then there are many more Philosophy courses available! If not, the student has at least completed a course that counts toward graduation requirements. We encourage students to branch out and try something new and different!

Our General Education Courses include:

PHI 1000G – God, Freedom, Knowledge and Values
RLS 1200G – Introduction to Religious Studies
PHI 1900G – Introduction to Logical and Critical Reasoning
PHI 3100G – Cultural Foundations I
PHI 3110G – Cultural Foundations II

Social and Behavioral Sciences:
PHI 2500G – The Good Life: An Introduction to Ethics
PHI 3050G – Social and Political Philosophy
PHI 3700G – Language and Human Nature

Senior Seminar:
EIU 4167G – The Meaning of Life
(not open to Philosophy majors)

Most of these courses are also available as Honors courses.

  • Our program is represented in five interdisciplinary minor programs:

    • Pre-Law
    • Criminology
    • Medieval Studies
    • Asian Studies
    • Neuroscience
  • In addition, we are home to our own interdisciplinary minor in Religious Studies

  • We also offer Departmental Honors program.

  • We offer Study Abroad: The Good Life: Italy.

  • We participate in courses offered by the School of Continuing Education, both on and off campus.

  • *We offer several online courses:

    • PHI 1000G God, Freedom, Knowledge and Values

    • PHI 1200G Introduction to Religious Studies

    • PHI 1900G Introduction to Logical and Critical Reasoning

    • PHI 2500G The Good Life: An Introduction to Ethics

    • PHI 3020 Ethics

    • RLS 3900 Special Topics in Religious Studies

*these courses are not available to on-campus students during Fall and Spring.

  • We offer many opportunities for academic recognition:
    • The Athenaeum Philosophy Scholarship
    • The Robert Barford Philosophy Scholarship
    • Outstanding Senior award
    • Phi Sigma Tau, the international philosophy honor society
  • And also opportunities for social, intellectual, and collegial interaction:

    • Philosophy Club

    • Symposium, the student philosophy publication

    • We also provide various ways for students to pursue their individual research interests, such as Independent Studies.

  • These services allow students the opportunity to voice their academic preferences and the flexibility to shape them.  

    • For example, philosophy major Andy Masters was featured in International Educator Magazine (Jan/Feb 2011) for his self-designed education abroad program in northern Thailand. Andy worked with the Honors College, Study Abroad and the Philosophy Department to create an "internship" that allowed him to pursue his education in a way that enhanced his particular interests. Philosophy does not traditionally have "internships," but we work to further educational goals in ways that may be as diverse as our student body.

    • Another example, Cecily Randle-El, a philosophy major with a strong interest in writing and publishing, worked to create the first philosophy student publication: Symposium.

  • These things happened not because the philosophy department requested them; but because we provided an environment where students felt comfortable enough to ask for resources to pursue their individual interests and goals. Philosophy, and EIU, supported them.


Achievement and Transformation

Faculty Laureate

Faculty Laureate Grant Sterling

Dr. Grant Sterling is the 2014-2015 Faculty Laureate at EIU, an award that recognizes outstanding teaching, particularly in the general education curriculum. Dr. Sterling is the first member of the Philosophy faculty to receive the award. He was nominated by his department chair and supported by colleagues and students from many areas across campus. He is a native of Charleston and a 1985 EIU alumnus. Dr. Sterling teaches a variety of courses, including general education courses such as PHI 1000G God, Freedom, Knowledge and Values: An Introduction to Philosophy. He also teaches courses in law, ethics, religious Studies, and the history of philosophy. In Spring 2015 he will teach PHI 3220 Medieval Philosophy, a course that is part of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Medieval Studies offered at EIU. There are no prerequisites for this course - all students are welcome!



2012 – 2013 was a busy year for Philosophy Majors:

  • Athenaeum Philosophy Scholarship ($1000) awarded for the first time: Greg Schoonover (Spring 2013)

  • Two outstanding Senior awards: Cecily Randle El (Fall) and Sarah Minobe (Spring)

  • Philosophy majors who received Pre-law awards from Political Science:

Warner-Brainard Scholarship: Sarah Minobe

C.A. Hollister Award: Ben Sisney (Ben also received the J.Y. Kelly award in 2011)

  • Five students participated in Independent Studies

  • One student completed Honors Research

  • Two students completed Honors Theses

  • Philosophy graduates in both Departmental Honors and University Honors

  • Philosophy major participated in EIU Showcase event

  • Philosophy majors inducted into Phi Sigma Tau, international philosophy honor society:

  • Students engaged with Philosophy Club

And Faculty:

  • Two books, several articles, national and international conference presentations and commentaries, reviews, panels and symposia

  • Two Achievement and Contribution Awards: Dr. Teresa Britton, Service and Dr. Jason Waller, Research

  • Humanities Center Faculty Speaker: Dr. Jason Waller

  • Area Editor for Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Jason Waller

  • Guest Host, NPR local affiliate WILL, “Keepin’ the Faith,” Professor Dannie Otto

  • University of Illinois, Education for Justice Project, Professor Dannie Otto

  • Faculty Marshall, School of Continuing Education, Dr. Teresa Britton

  • Participation in Han Maum Sience Institute and Dharma research program, Dr. Young Sook Lee

  • Professors Dannie Otto and Jonelle DePetro receive Redden Fund Awards to provide resources for undergraduate education

2013 – 2014 was also a busy year for Philosophy Majors.

  • Robert Barford Philosophy Scholarship ($1000) awarded for the first time (Spring 2014) to William Knobbe for his paper “The Role of the Enlightenment in the Suppression of the Feminine in Western Discourse.”

  • 2014 Athenaeum Philosophy Scholarship ($1000) awarded to Gina Iaffaldano (Gina was also named Ms. Physique, EIU!)

  • Two Outstanding Senior Awards ($500 each): Ethan Slattery and William Knobbe (Spring 2014)

  • J.Y. Kelly Award in Pre-Law – Gina Iaffaldano (awarded Spring 2014 by Political Science Department)

  • Two majors were inducted into Phi Sigma Tau the international Philosophy Honor Society: Ethan Slattery, Gina Iaffaldano

  • Five students participated in Independent Studies


Transition times can be very difficult for students. What should I major in? What in the world will I do with a Philosophy degree? Philosophy at EIU loves to answer these questions! Major in something practical! Major in Philosophy! Critical thinking skills, problem-solving, organizational ability, and effective oral and written communication are important for professional success and signal the hallmarks of transferable skills offered by a Philosophy degree. Above, we concentrated on the achievements of those who chose to major in Philosophy. Below we see that Philosophy majors at EIU have wonderful success at transitioning to the next step on their journey:

  • EIU Philosophy Department graduates achieved 100% placement in 2012-2013. Graduates were placed in programs in law, library and information science, and religious studies.

  • All 2012-2013 EIU Philosophy Department graduates who applied to law schools were accepted and placed with some level of funding.

  • Philosophy 2012-2013 graduates were accepted into law programs at University of Minnesota Law School (ranked 19th in the country), College of Law University of Wisconsin-Madison, Southern Illinois University School of Law, Carbondale, and DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Illinois.

  • One 2012-2013 EIU Philosophy Department graduate was accepted into University of Illinois Library and Information Science graduate program. The next semester she received an ALA (American Library Association) Spectrum Scholarship which not only waived her tuition, but paid a stipend as well. She was also one of six students selected as a 2013 Sylvia Murphy Williams Scholar. (All were recipients of the ALA Spectrum Scholarship)

  • Philosophy graduates were not only successful in being placed in programs, but the variety of programs is significant: Law, Library and Information Science, and Religious Studies. Oddly, this past year we had no one transitioning to a graduate program in philosophy, but we certainly have in other years! In fact, Dr. Andrea Veltman, a 1998 EIU Philosophy graduate and currently Associate Professor of Philosophy at James Madison University, was chosen as the inaugural speaker for the 2010 Humanities Series on Meaningful Work.

  • One 2012-2013 EIU Philosophy Department graduate and Religious Studies Minor was accepted into the Religious Studies graduate program in the department of Religious Studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia with a full tuition-waiver and assistantship.