Philosophy Concentration (BA)

George Fox's philosophy major gives you a Christian perspective in the discipline.

Preparation for Success in a Variety of Fields

Looking for a field of study that gives you versatility in the job market? George Fox University’s philosophy concentration as part of the theology major enables graduates to succeed in any field they choose – whether in education, law, ministry, social service, or careers in government or politics.

Philosophical skills are central to the active life of the mind. The analytical and communication skills developed in this concentration give you a strong foundation for the workplace or further study in seminary, law school, or other academic and professional fields.

Our Conviction: Faith is Relevant to All of Life

At the center of the program is the conviction that the Christian faith is relevant to all of life. Our professors draw from the best of George Fox’s evangelical and Quaker heritage in their research, which includes care for the earth, Christian apologetics, and the philosophy of peace and war.

Graduates of the program will:

  • Understand important concepts, theories and skills of theologically oriented philosophy and describe how they interact with the content of disciplines outside of theology and philosophy
  • Demonstrate effective writing skills in theology/philosophy essays
  • Apply critical skills from the curriculum to make decisions and solve problems
  • Analyze, evaluate and integrate ideas from a variety of sources both in written essays and speech

Request more information about the philosophy concentration at George Fox University or schedule a visit to begin your education at Oregon's Christian university, ranked as one of the top Christian colleges in the nation by Forbes.

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Major Requirements

Complete the following:

Using selected books and portions, the Old Testament will be studied with attention given to historic contexts, major religious themes, and literary forms of the Bible.
In this first part of a two-part sequence, students begin their journey into the breadth and depth of Christian theology, studying what Christians have believed and practiced. Emphasis is placed on major themes, figures, texts, and on students connecting their Christian practice with the intellectual traditions of the Church.
Using selected books and portions, the New Testament will be studied with attention given to historic contexts, major religious themes, and literary forms of the Bible.
In this second part of a two-part sequence, students continue their journey into the breadth and depth of Christian theology, studying what Christians have believed and practiced. Emphasis is placed on major themes, figures, texts, and on students connecting their Christian practice with the intellectual traditions of the Church. Prerequisite: THEO 202 Theology I

Concentrations (26-28 hours) - choose one

Complete the following:
In this course students will study languages relevant to their biblical and theological study (options include ancient languages such as Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or inscriptions, as well as modern languages such as German, French, Spanish, etc.). Basics of vocabulary and grammar and special aspects of the language will be covered in the first semester, while the second semester moves more heavily into reading primary sources.
Ethics consists of an analysis of the ethical theories and systems by which persons make judgments and choices, with special attention to contemporary moral issues and the modern revival of virtue theory.
In this course students will study the history of Biblical interpretation as it has been practiced within the Bible itself and by Christians throughout the first 1500 or so years of the Church. We then turn to examine interpretation in the modern, “critical” period after the Enlightenment, and explore the wide variety of interpretive methods that have blossomed in the 20th and 21st centuries. Students will also engage in a process toward considering what faithful and creative interpretation of the Bible might look like in their personal study and in their various communities. Prerequisites: THEO 201 Old Testament and THEO 202 Theology I; or instructor permission.
In this course students will study languages relevant to their biblical and theological study (options include ancient languages such as Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or inscriptions, as well as modern languages such as German, French, Spanish, etc.). Basics of vocabulary and grammar and special aspects of the language will be covered in the first semester, while the second semester moves more heavily into reading primary sources. Prerequisite: THEO 325 Theological Languages I.
Having gained reasonable command of biblical content and the Christian theological tradition, in this course students are invited into advanced academic study at the intersection of theology and biblical studies. Topics will vary, but will include readings, seminar discussion, and research on the relationship between the Bible and theology, contemporary problems in theology and biblical studies, and the relationship among these fields of study and the contemporary world. Prerequisites: THEO 301 New Testament, THEO 302 Theology II, and THEO 390 Biblical Interpretations.
Complete 9 hours from the following:
Theology and Biblical Studies are vibrant and dynamic fields of study, with profound implications not only for communities of faith but also for the study of politics, literary studies, philosophy, history, and popular culture. This course will focus on contemporary issues relevant to the research interests and specialties of George Fox University faculty in theology and Bible and will offer an opportunity for students and faculty to collaborate in the dual process of research and personal transformation. Specific topics rotate, and the course can be taken more than once with different topics. Prerequisite: THEO 101 I Believe and THEO 102 I Believe, or by permission.
Theology and Biblical Studies are vibrant and dynamic fields of study, with profound implications not only for communities of faith but also for the study of politics, literary studies, philosophy, history, and popular culture. This advanced course will focus on contemporary issues relevant to the research interests and specialties of George Fox University faculty in theology and Bible and will offer an opportunity for students and faculty to collaborate in the dual process of research and personal transformation. Specific topics rotate, and the course can be taken more than once with different topics. Prerequisite: THEO 301 New Testament and THEO 302 Theology II, or by instructor permission.
In this course students will continue their language study from the THEO 325-425 sequence, reviewing grammar and vocabulary as necessary but moving into primary source readings, research papers requiring use of the language, and other skills as appropriate. Prerequisites: THEO 325 Theological Languages I and THEO 425 Theological Languages II.
Supervised internship or other experience in the areas of Christian ministry, biblical studies, philosophy, teaching, or other related fields as appropriate to the student’s discipline. Administered by application or instructor permission as required by a student’s academic program. Graded Pass/No Pass
Complete the following:
A study of biblical principles of evangelism, nurturing, and teaching. This study encompasses the Christian educational responsibilities of the local church and parachurch agencies.
The biblical basis and history of missions are considered, with a special focus upon the modern missionary movement of the last 200 years.
This course examines the diversity of the global Christian Church through an exploration of key theological texts written by the foremost theologians from the continents of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
A study of the historical background and philosophical development in Christian education, with an examination of the influence of these antecedents upon theory and practice. Contemporary trends in current and emerging ministries will be assessed against such perspectives.
A study of motivation, guidance, and method in reference to youth and youth ministries, aimed at developing leadership skills.
An exploration of how people grow and change spiritually. The study integrates biblical insights, classic Christian spirituality, developmental theory, and contemporary individual and corporate practice in spiritual formation. It will critically explore how spirituality relates to vocation, relationships, and the demands of daily living.
A practical course providing methods and introductory techniques for preparation and delivery of Christian speaking as ministry. A variety of message construction types will be studied, and students will have opportunity to speak and receive student and instructor evaluation. This course will cover sermon preparation and delivery, devotional and inspirational speaking, extemporaneous sharing, and broader aspects of communicating Christian truth.
A comparative study between Christianity and other prominent religions of the world, such as Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and contemporary kinds of alternative religion. [THEO 410 and INTL 440 are identical courses].
Supervised internship or other experience in the areas of Christian ministry, biblical studies, philosophy, teaching, or other related fields as appropriate to the student’s discipline. Administered by application or instructor permission as required by a student’s academic program. Graded Pass/No Pass
Complete the following:
This course is designed to introduce students to what it means to think and live philosophically. There are a number of different variations of this course. Each variation picks a different topic through which to explore how philosophy be a tool for interpreting, understanding and interacting with the world. Not only that, we will also examine how philosophy can shape the way in which we live out our lives. Each course includes some reading of Plato and at least one other major philosophy in the tradition. Examples of different variations of this course include: "God, Freedom and Evil", "Simplicity", "Socrates and Plato", "Land and Humans", and "Virtue and Faith".
Logic involves a study of Aristotelian forms of deductive reasoning, including the syllogism, inductive reasoning, fallacies, and some aspect of symbolic logic, including Venn diagrams and truth tables. Its goal is to facilitate sound thinking that is both creative and critical.
Ethics consists of an analysis of the ethical theories and systems by which persons make judgments and choices, with special attention to contemporary moral issues and the modern revival of virtue theory.
This course seeks to overcome the opposition between spirituality and the intellectual life. We will examine ways in which spirituality can deepen and undergird the intellectual life, as well as finding ways that a reflective, deep thinking life can nurture and strengthen one's spirituality. We will not only examine these relationships abstractly, but will attempt to put into practice patterns of integrating mind and spirit.
Having gained reasonable command of biblical content and the Christian theological tradition, in this course students are invited into advanced academic study at the intersection of theology and biblical studies. Topics will vary, but will include readings, seminar discussion, and research on the relationship between the Bible and theology, contemporary problems in theology and biblical studies, and the relationship among these fields of study and the contemporary world. Prerequisites: THEO 301 New Testament, THEO 302 Theology II, and THEO 390 Biblical Interpretations.
Complete 12-hour of the following course with different topics:
This course will be offered with various topics.
Theology and Philosophy are vibrant and dynamic fields of study, with profound implications not only for communities of faith but also for the study of politics, literary studies, philosophy, history, and popular culture. This advanced course will focus on contemporary issues relevant to the research interests and specialties of George Fox University faculty in theology and philosophy and will offer an opportunity for students and faculty to collaborate in the dual process of research and personal transformation. Specific topics rotate, and the course can be taken more than once with different topics. Prerequisite: THEO 202 Theology I, THEO 250 Introduction to Philosophy or THEO 302 Theology II.

Jobs, Internships and Graduate School

Study philosophy at George Fox, rated one of the top Christian colleges on the West Coast.

A classic liberal arts concentration, philosophy prepares students for a wide variety of options in graduate school, including history, law, law enforcement, literature, philosophy and theology. Skills in critical thinking and clear communication also prepare students well for careers in business and industry, education, ministry and politics.

  • Attorney, Brown, Tarlow, Bridges, Palmer & Stone
  • Professor, George Fox University
  • Technician, Apple Computers
  • Editorial Assistant, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
  • Tutor, Wyzant Tutoring and Coaching
  • MCAT Preparation Instructor, Kaplan, Inc.
  • Technical Writer/Editor, Jefferson Title Company
  • Therapeutic Horseback Riding Instructor
  • American University
  • Notre Dame University
  • Harvard Law School
  • Baylor University
  • Washington State University
  • City University of New York
  • University of St Andrews
  • Oregon Health & Science University
  • Portland State University
  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • Ministry Intern, University Presbyterian Church
  • Volunteer, Christian Peacemaker Teams
  • Richter Research: Voices of Peace: A Cross-Cultural Study and Practice of Peace Poetry
  • Richter Research: Who is My Neighbor? A Study in Peace and Art
  • Richter Research: Ontology, The Holocaust, Levinas and Theology
  • Richter Research: The Moral Nature of Voluntary Assisted-Suicide

Student Experiences

Ron Davis

"Studying philosophy at George Fox transformed my worldview and prepared me for life’s complexity. Philosophy disciplined my thinking, expanded my perspective, and enhanced my ability to navigate and solve complex problems. In the corporate realm, the ability to write logically, craft a persuasive argument and think on my feet has proved indispensable. I cannot imagine a better preparation for my educational pursuits at Harvard Law School or, finally, for building a faith that can thrive in an increasingly cosmopolitan world."

- Ron Davis

Richard Brown

"During my time as a philosophy student at George Fox, I gained lifelong thinking and writing skills that carried me through law school and now serve me every day as an attorney. Even more valuable were the professor provoked discussions of faith and its foundations. My spiritual life has benefited ever since."

- Richard Brown

Points of Distinction

  • Professors focus on making people wise, not just on theory.
  • Students get the benefit of learning from a theological worldview.
  • Our curriculum focuses on practical, grounded philosophy.
  • Prayer and conceptual work is integrated into more traditional methods of learning.

Why George Fox?

Christ-centered community

Our faith influences everything we do here, from the way our professors teach to the way we relate to one another and serve in the community.

Global opportunities

More than half of George Fox undergraduate students study abroad, ranking George Fox among the nation's leaders in study abroad participation (U.S. News & World Report).

Small classes

Our 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio means you'll get to know your professors on a personal level.

National recognition

George Fox University is a Christian university classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier national university, and Forbes ranks George Fox among the highest Christian colleges in the country.