Philosophy and Religion Department

Philosophy and Religion Department table at info fair


Philosophy and Religion Department table at info fair

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As a student in the Philosophy and Religion Department, you’ll study answers to the following fundamental questions: Who are we? What is ethical? What did they think then? What do they believe now? You may rethink your own answers. Your faculty instructors will illuminate the world of ancient and modern ideas and ideals and offer stimulating courses on important topics in pursuit of serious academic research.

Meetings with your adviser will clarify which degree path will best fit your interests and plans: B.A., philosophy concentration, B.A., religion concentration, or a minor in philosophy or religion.

You’ll also find an abundance of events and special opportunities such as clubs, publications, conferences, seminars, and visiting scholars available to you. 

The philosophy and religion department brings you excellent teachers and engaging subject matter. As part of WCU's Philosophy and Religion Club, students watch and discuss movies and issues, and meet and talk with visiting scholars. Students attend conferences, conduct research and write for "The Gadfly," a student publication that uses satire and irony to point out social, political and economic problems.

Careers in Philosophy and Religion

Why do so many philosophy majors excel in law, business, education, the ministry, and medicine?

According to a recent study:

  • On the LSAT, philosophy and religion majors outscored majors in economics, business, international relations, and public administration.
  • On the GMAT, philosophy majors scored higher than majors in economics, statistics, accounting, business, management, or marketing.
  • 48% of philosophy majors who applied were accepted to medical school, compared with 43% of biochemistry majors, 42% of pre-med majors, 35% of biology majors, 25% of nursing majors, and only 22% of pharmacy majors.

Philosophy performance on the GRE

Philosophy performance on the LSAT

What happens to Western’s philosophy and religion majors?

WCU Philosophy graduates have been accepted at top-flight graduate and professional schools, including the University of Georgia, Villanova, UConn, Marquette, Emory, and Kansas; Rutgers, Case Western Reserve, and Duke University Law Schools; and seminaries from Vanderbilt to Liberty to Lutheran Theological Southern.  They’ve also worked as a building contractor, a counselor, a community service director, a legislative aide for a NC state representative, a middle school math and science teacher, an IT specialist, a professional journalist, among a host of other professions.

Careers for Philosophy Majors

Check out the American Philosophical Association (APA) career guides and resource booklets, available online.

Graduate programs in philosophy

Check out the American Philosophical Association (APA) Guide to Graduate Programs in Philosophy, available online.

Who else majors in philosophy?

Extensive list of individuals who studied Philosophy

As the following list shows, philosophy majors are ready for anything:

  • Steve Allen (writer & comedian)
  • Amartya Sen (winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics)
  • William Bennett (former drug czar & NEH leader, Book of Virtues)
  • William Jefferson Clinton (President)
  • Woody Allen (director & comedian)
  • Mary Higgins Clark (mystery writer)
  • Gene Siskel (movie reviewer)
  • Philip K. Dick (on whose science-fiction classic "Blade Runner" is based)
  • John Elway (quarterback, Denver Broncos)
  • Ivan Frolov (editor of PRAVDA)
  • Rebecca Goldstein (novelist & MacArthur prize recipient) 
  • Harrison Ford (actor)
  • Vaclav Havel (former President of Czechoslovakia)
  • Mark Hulbert (financial columnist for FORBES magazine)
  • Carl Icahn (business person & corporate raider, bought TWA)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. (civil rights leader)
  • Bruce Lee (martial arts & actor)
  • Steve Martin (comedian & actor)
  • Kate Millett (author of Sexual Politics)
  • Iris Murdoch (novelist)
  • Freeman Patterson (photographer, author of The Art of Seeing)
  • Neil Peart (drummer for rock group Rush)
  • Pope John Paul II (vicar of Christ)
  • Mick Schmidt (former Philadelphia Philly)
  • John Silber (former president of Boston University)
  • Susan Sontag (essayist)
  • Dave Thomas (SCTV)
  • Alex Trebeck ("Jeopardy" host)
  • David Foster Wallace (novelist & MacArthur prize recipient)
  • Moses Znaimer, (Owner of CITY-TV and MUCH-MUSIC, Toronto) 

How can I get a job in the department or on campus?

To search for current open positions in the offices and departments at Western Carolina University, create an account at the online application site: Employment at WCU.

Faculty and Staff

Our faculty has a wide range of expertise, experience, interests and connections. They are writers, researchers, public speakers, administrators, and community leaders. But they are, first and foremost, teachers, and the small size of most philosophy and religion classes makes for exceptional interaction between teacher and student.

Name Email Phone and Office
Christopher Hoyt, Department Head 828-227-3972
Stillwell 231 
Daryl Hale  828-227-3853
Stillwell 230
David Henderson  828-227-2939
Stillwell 232
Amy McKenzie  828-227-3852
Stillwell 226
Carrie McLachlan  828-227-7262
Stillwell 226
James McLachlan  828-227-3940
Stillwell 234
Scott Muir, (Spring 2018)  828-227-3939
Stillwell 257 
Michelle Sorensen 828-227-2932
Stillwell 251
Jeffrey Vickery  828-227-3939
Stillwell 257
John Whitmire  828-227-2636
Stillwell 226A
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