The Humanities Major

The Humanities Degree Program is offered cooperatively by three separate departments: Classics, Philosophy and Religious Studies. Our major is unique in two ways: students may choose course work equivalent to a major in a single department or create a broader curriculum of their choice from various humanities courses; and our program also has a strong interdisciplinary side. The final degree certificate shows both the departmental discipline and the Humanities major.

The goal of the program is to help us deepen our understanding of ourselves and our culture, by exploring the ways human beings find meaning in their experience. We explore these ways by studying both our own individual insights and the artistic, philosophical and religious works that have expressed and shaped human experience.

Each student selects five upper-level courses reflecting her or his own interests, in addition to one prescribed introductory course in each department, and three required team-taught, interdisciplinary courses.

Three courses introducing the specific goals and methods of the three disciplines (9 hours). These courses place special emphasis on the particular discipline’s approaches to knowledge, critical thought, skills of expression, and human development. Students must choose from those listed below, one for each discipline:

  • Classics: 230, 231, 232, 233, 234
  • Philosophy: any 200 or 300 level course, except 302 and 304
  • Religious Studies: 205, 206, 300

Three interdisciplinary, team-taught courses (9 hours). These may be taken in any combination of levels, but must include at least one 400 level course as the senior capstone experience. These courses make use of the combined resources of any two of our disciplines to gain insight into a wide variety of topics, depending on the current interests of students and faculty. The capstone course also aims to reflect on skills and themes the students have explored in their progress through the program. We offer:

  • CL/PHL/RST 250 (Orientation in Humanities)
  • CL/PHL/RST 390, 391, 392, 393, 394
  • CL/PHL/RST 490, 491, 492, 493, 494 (each of these is the Humanities Seminar).

Five upper-level courses by contract (15 hours). These are chosen by the student. Each student may also choose to select a small faculty advisory committee to assist with contract course selection, advising, and long-range planning. The committee should consist of two or more faculty members from at least two disciplines. Contract courses need not be restricted to those our departments offer, and may be structured, for example, on the basis of chronological period, comparative cultures, traditional departmental emphasis, theme, or topic.

Humanities professors are strongly interested in the progress of our students, their problems and strengths. Teachers and students work together in class discussion and in small groups to learn how to read, think critically, and write effectively. And our students get to know one another and to learn to think on their own feet, in preparation for life on and off the job.

Humanities picture















The Three Departments

Classics: explores the languages, history, and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. These eras represent the beginnings of western culture that help shape who we are today.

Philosophy: investigates the nature of thinking and the ultimate nature of reality and uses the history of human thought to help us figure out what we need to think about and how to think about it.

Religious Studies: examines beliefs about the nature of human beings and our place in the universe, beliefs belonging to our culture and to other cultures, now and in the past.

The Faculty


  • E. Del Chrol (Chair), Ph.D. (University of Southern California)
  • Christina Franzen, Ph.D. (Washington)
  • Caroline Perkins, Ph.D. (Ohio State)


  • John Vielkind (Chair), Ph.D. (Duquesne)
  • Jeremy Barris, Ph.D. (SUNY-Stony Brook)
  • Jeffrey Powell, Ph.D. (DePaul)

Religious Studies

  • Jeffrey Ruff (Chair), Ph.D. (UC-Santa Barbara)