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VSU shuts down philosophy and religious studies major

A traditional college major is no longer available for VSU students.

In the Faculty Senate meeting on April 20, Dr. Sharon Gravett announced the deactivation of the philosophy and religious studies major that occurred early March.

While no additional students will be able to start this major, those who are already in the program will be able to complete their degree without any delays.

Dr. James LaPlant, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said that the decision was not made easily.

“The degree has gone through a comprehensive program review this academic year,” Dr. LaPlant said.  “The faculty in the program are wonderful in terms of their engagement with our students, especially in relation to undergraduate research, but the program was no longer viable with only 10 majors.”

Along with the decline in students, the college has also had a decline in faculty.

“There had also been a significant reduction in the number of faculty in the program over the last five years due to our ongoing budget cuts,” Dr. LaPlant said. “While we considered opportunities to offer the major of philosophy and religious studies online, there was great uncertainty about program demand even if it was shifted to the online environment.  Sadly, the decline of majors in areas such as philosophy and religious studies was accelerated by the shifting landscape of higher education during the pandemic.  In the end, a decision was made to deactivate the BA in philosophy and religious studies.”

Options will still be available for students who are interested in this area of study.

“Future students who are interested in philosophy and religious studies will still be able to take upper-division courses (3000 and 4000 level classes) within the discipline,” Dr. LaPlant said.  “Through Interdisciplinary Studies (INDS), a student could pursue a concentration in philosophy and religious studies.”

Written by Angel Davis, Copy and News Editor. Photo courtesy of Kinlee Wright.

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