2019-2020 Catalog

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Philosophy and religious studies are at the core of the liberal arts. Each concentration introduces students to the most profound and universal questions humans have asked and to their most thoughtful and enduring answers.

The philosophy and religious studies program offers a major in which students may concentrate in either discipline, as well as minors in both philosophy and religious studies.


Philosophy, literally “the love of wisdom,” is a systematic investigation of the most important issues concerning the world and human existence. The philosophy concentration at MMC focuses on the history of philosophy and the greatest works of that history, from the ancient world through our contemporary time. We explore diverse ways of approaching, examining, and answering life’s central questions, including: What can I know? Does God exist? How ought I to live my life? What is human nature? What is reality? What is art? What is the mind? What is justice?

When he was on trial for his life for having practiced philosophy, Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” This means that in order to live fully and meaningfully, we need to reflect on the foundations of our beliefs. Philosophers pose significant questions not merely as an academic exercise, but as a way to transform and better our lives. Often, it’s not the resulting knowledge that’s transformative; it is the process of asking and investigating the questions that changes us. To do philosophy is to live the examined life.

Religious Studies

The Religious Studies concentration emphasizes an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach to the study of world religions. Students are encouraged to examine the variety of religious worldviews through various humanistic and social-scientific perspectives. The study of religion builds on historical investigation, textual analysis, and ethnographic observation in order to establish a solid understanding of belief systems around the world. The student is then encouraged to explain and interpret religion utilizing theories derived from disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, science, textual criticism, and theology. The academic study of religion explores the range of human experience, setting the stage for encountering other cultures and sophisticated analysis of complex and compelling phenomena.

Philosophy and Religious Studies and Your Life After College

We are committed to teaching vital skills that will set you apart as you apply for graduate school or enter the job market. As a major in PHIL/RS, you will gain the ability to process and comprehend complex information; examine and analyze arguments, beliefs, actions, and practices using sophisticated theoretical models; critically evaluate different positions and perspectives; think outside the box of standard training and pre-professional tracks; and express yourself by debating, discussing, and writing clearly and effectively. These skills are in high demand by employers and graduate schools. Recent majors in PHIL/RS at MMC have gone on to advanced study and jobs in education, advocacy, writing, business, law, and public policy, among others. Our program lays the foundation for both personal growth and professional success.

For those interested in pursuing a law-related career, a PHIL/RS major pairs well with the Law and Ethics minor. A prime location in New York City and our interdisciplinary curricular resources provide students with strong preparation for law school. Law school is a gateway to prosperous, fulfilling careers in the justice system, government, business, public policy institutes, think tanks, and many other areas.

Division: Humanities and Social Sciences
Division Office: The Faculty Center 301
Phone: 646-393-4111
Division Chair: Bradley Herling, Ph.D.
Administrative Assistant: Alexandra Dill 

Program Faculty:

Carrie-Ann Biondi

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Coordinator, Law and Ethics

Chair, Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

B.A., Hofstra University

M.A. & Ph.D., Bowling Green State University

The Faculty Center 501

Phone: 646-393-4113


Bradley L. Herling

Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Chair, Division of Humanities and Social Sciences

B.A., Wesleyan University

Ph.D., Boston University

The Faculty Center 301A

Phone: 646-393-4115


Philosophy Courses (PHIL)

Religious Studies Courses (RS)