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What Program Is For Me?

Philosophy is the study of fundamental questions such as: Is there objective truth, or is everything just relative? Do we have free will? Is the mind or soul more than the brain? Is morality a matter of opinion? Philosophers examine such questions systematically and critically. Studying philosophy is a great way to develop marketable skills in critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and effective writing.

The study of Religion examines ideas through which cultures explore the meaning of life and phenomena which societies consider sacred, such as narratives, rituals, and institutional practices.  Its analysis includes historical, anthropological, sociological, and textual approaches.  It regards religion as an integral component of human societies, whose study is essential to a balanced education.

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At CMU, you can take a wide variety of courses in Religion and in Philosophy.  Many students take one or several of our courses for general education or electives:

University Program Subgroups

  • I-A: Human Events and Ideas
  • II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences
  • IV-A: Studies in Discrimination
  • IV-B: Studies in Cultures Outside of the Anglo-American Tradition
  • IV-C: Studies in Racism and Cultural Diversity in the United States


  • Writing Intensive (many offerings)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (PHL 141, 145)

Students interested in deeper study can pursue one of our of majors, minors, or certificates:


Choosing Your Courses

Registration for Spring 2021 courses is open!  We have posted course preview guides for all of the Philosophy and Religion courses available.

December Courses: Earn credit during the long break

Did you know that CMU is offering intensive, 3-week online courses during the 2020 winter break?  Courses run Nov. 30 to Dec. 18 and will be self-paced online courses.  Search under Fall 2020 in course registration.  We are offering two popular courses that satisfy University Program requirements:

  • REL 334: Death and Dying (Satisfies UP I-A): How have humans used religion or spirituality to face death and cope with the loss of loved ones?
  • PHL 145QR: Chances, Choices, and Everyday Reasoning (Satisfies UP II-B).  Philosophy courses in critical reasoning teach us how to think more clearly and carefully about every issue. Learn more

Questions? Ask a Program Advisor

Religion advisors and Philosophy advisors are happy to talk with you about any of your courses.  Are you currently in a class with a philosophy or religion professor?  Feel free to ask them about courses that interest you.  The program coordinators are also available to help you:

New and Highlighted Courses

In addition to some of our popular offerings, there are new courses available in the coming year.

Screen Shot 2020-09-17 at 11.14.02 AM(1).pngWhat does the New Testament tell us about Jesus of Nazareth, his earliest followers, and what they believed?  Who wrote the New Testament and when?  How has the new Testament been understood over time? Come find out!  Students can take the course as WI or non-WI, and both satisfy the UP Subgroup I-A.

The Meaning of Life - REL 102, PHL 102

How have traditions of wisdom and philosophy addressed questions of life's meaning? How are you searching for meaning, purpose, and value in life? Cross-listed sections are offered by faculty in both Religion (REL 102) and Philosophy (PHL 102).

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PHL 140: Introduction to Symbolic Logic

  • Satisfies UP II-B
  • Learn at your own pace, with realtime support from the instructor

Students bring different skill sets and learning styles to any given course. This course will be self-paced in an effort to maximize the learning outcomes for each and every student. Classroom time will be split between something like traditional lecture and practice sessions. Those students who wish to move ahead at a faster pace might need less classroom time, while those who want to focus on absolutely mastering course content will benefit from lecture and practice. As students progress, there will be opportunities for self-directed inquiry based on student interests (e.g. How do internet searches work? What's the history of logic? How are logic and math related? How is logic applicable to business ventures?). 

If you find the traditional course style too restrictive, come try this experimental new way to learn logic at CMU!

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Courses in Philosophy and Environmentalism! 

  • PHL 158: Introduction to Environmental Ethics and Justice (NEW!)
  • PHL 328: Animal Ethics

PHL Environmentalism [PDF]

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Philosophy Courses in University Program IV-A: Studies in Discrimination

  • PHL 128: Philosophical Perspectives on Poverty and Economic Injustice (NEW!)
  • PHL 158: Introduction to Environmental Ethics and Justice (NEW!)

PHL IV-A Courses [PDF]

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PHL 145QR: Chances, Choices, and Everyday Reasoning

  • Satisfies UP Subgroup II-B
  • Quantitative Reasoning (QR)
Offered Spring 2021 and Winter session (Fall 2020)

About Critical Reasoning Courses in Philosophy [PDF]

"This course was great preparation for my major's course in statistics and methods!  Everyone else is struggling with probabilities, and I already know how to think this way."

Transferring to CMU?

Transfer students are encouraged to contact the Department of Philosophy and Religion to connect with an advisor as soon as you are interested in transferring to CMU. Our advisors are available to connect with you via phone, email and/or a web-based meeting. 

Advising Appointments 

Just send an email with your name, phone number and availability to one of our program coordinators to request an appointment or request information about our program:

Undergraduate Admissions Office 

Students interested in transferring will find it helpful to also contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for information on applying to CMU and determining what credits will transfer.