Philosophy, Politics and History

The Department of Philosophy, Politics and History at the University of Dubuque seeks to help students think carefully about what they believe and how they live. Our philosophy courses give students the opportunity to explore the "deep" questions of life. What is real? What should I value? What is right and wrong? Is there a God? What kind of life is worth living? By studying the ideas of philosophers of the past and present on questions such as these, students are challenged to examine their own ideas and shape their lives. Religion courses give students an opportunity to explore these same questions from the perspective of faith. What does Christianity say about life? What does the Bible teach? What do other religions have to say? Asking questions such as these, and thinking them through for oneself, is an important part of becoming an educated person. The goal is not just to give students knowledge of the ideas of others, but to help them form their beliefs and make their lives worth living.


The Mission of the Department of Philosophy, Politics and History is to encourage intellectual, spiritual, and moral development of students through a variety of courses in the University's Core curriculum, and to provide advanced study of philosophy and religion to students majoring in these fields. Courses offered by the department encourage critical thinking, develop skills in academic inquiry, deepen understanding of the Christian tradition and other religious and philosophical perspectives, and stimulate students in the formation of their ideas, values, and beliefs about the perennial questions of philosophy and religion.

The offerings of the department contribute to the Mission of the University by helping students understand the University's Christian tradition and other religious and philosophical traditions, contributing to the liberal arts foundation of the University's Core curriculum, teaching critical thinking, research and writing skills necessary for life-long learning, and influencing students to be ethical stewards of the gifts and resources God has given them.


To fulfill this general mission, the department offers courses and majors in both philosophy and religion. Within each of these areas, the department has objectives relevant to the general education of all students, and objectives for the major.


The Student Learning Outcomes for a philosophy major are:

When they complete the major students will be able to:
  • Explain the ideas of representative thinkers from the history of philosophy.
  • Use philosophical vocabulary, distinctions, and concepts accurately in analyzing philosophical views and issues.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with at least one non-"Euro-American", including an indication of how one can learn from this worldview.
  • Articulate a framework of moral decision making, which includes an understanding of basic principles of philosophical ethics, applying this framework to controversial social, political, and ethical issues.
  • Reflect on their own intellectual and spiritual growth in the course of their studies.
  • Write a research paper in which they explain biblical, philosophical, and theological texts in their historical and cultural context, critically analyze issues raised, and synthesize ideas from multiple sources, bringing original ideas to the discussion.
  • Reflect on their own intellectual and spiritual growth in the course of their studies.
  • Write a research paper that clearly defends a thesis, raises objections and replies to the objections, and demonstrates effective bibliographical research and proper knowledge of formatting.
  • Participate in a philosophical and/or theological dialogue by listening carefully and critically to other perspectives, formulating responses, and defending ideas orally in a seminar setting.
  • Reflect - in writing - upon at least one semester-long service or ministry experience during their college years.


The Student Learning Outcomes for a philosphy minor are:

When students complete the major, they will be able to:
  • find and utilize primary resources.
  • identify significant developments, ideas, events, and people in American history.
  • articulate significant social, cultural, and political patterns that distinguish and unite global regions.
  • articulate significant developments and styles within the arts.