Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy

Religious Studies and Philosophy

The Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy will deepen your understanding of religion, kindle your desire for lifelong learning, and prepare you for roles in ministry and service.


You’ll study the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, exploring the significance of major events and themes, tracing the historical development of the canons, and applying skills of Biblical interpretation and critical analysis. You’ll investigate key writers, issues, and ideas related to religion and its various disciplines. You’ll develop skills in research, communication, and critical thinking.


You’ll learn in an environment of respectful curiosity and willingness to serve. GWU’s Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy is dedicated to creating lifelong learner who bring compassion, humility, and self-awareness to their growing knowledge. We encourage graduates to pursue service to God and others. With your degree in Discipleship Studies, you will have excellent preparations for pursuits in service and ministry.


GWU’s Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy promotes an environment of supportive discussion, respectful debate, and increasing self-awareness. As committed believers themselves, your professors will challenge you to think for yourself and to examine many points of view. Questions, discussion, and participatory learning are central to the classroom experience.


We will encourage you to gain understanding of your own culture, values, and faith. We’ll help you develop pragmatic plans for lifelong learning and service. 


Our faculty members are dedicated to lives of scholarly exploration of our Christian heritage and living lives reflecting these ideals. We’re passionate about communicating these ideals to our students, our campus, and our community.


As a GWU religious studies student, you will benefit from enriching and challenging extracurricular experiences such as study abroad or traveling to regions of historical and religious significance; supervised ministry experiences in churches, hospitals, service organizations, and more; or local, national, and international mission opportunities from right here on campus to across the world.


Christian Service Organization

Gardner-Webb's Christian Service Organization provides scholarships for deserving, financially needy students who are preparing for full-time Christian vocational service.


Religious Studies Association

Religious Studies Association is targeted at Religion majors and minors but is open to people of all majors. It is a ministry club providing great opportunities for learning and service. Religion majors and minors are required to attend four out of six yearly meetings.


Theta Alpha Kappa

Our campus chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honors society for religious studies and theology, offers outstanding students opportunities for relationship building and professional advancement. Membership is by invitation only for students in the top 35 percent of their class with a GPA of at least 3.5 in their major and 3.0 overall.


Philosophy Reading Group

The Philosophy Ready Group provides students with opportunities for learning and community outside the classroom. Led by Dr. Perry Hildreth, Associate Professor of Philosophy, students have recently read and discussed the writings of Wendell Berry, Friedrich Nietzche, and Saint Augustine.


Campus Ministries United (CMU)

Through the Office of Christian Life and Service, Campus Ministries United (CMU) sponsors a number of organizations offering student opportunities for fellowship and service. These include: Verge (student worship service), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Fellowship of Christians United in Service (FOCUS), Missions Possible, Prison Fellowship, prayer ministry, small groups, and Celebration Week.



GWU Religion majors are required to complete a practicum course or summer internship course. These hands-on learning experiences provide practical benefits, intensive learning, and community connections. Internship opportunities include:


  • Local churches, hospitals, nursing homes
  • Campus ministries
  • Christian radio stations
  • Diocese organizations
  • Foreign mission fields
  • Service and support organizations for homeless people and youth offenders



A degree in religion offers you excellent training for many careers in service and ministry. You’ll develop valuable skills in communication, critical thinking, research, and interpersonal relationships. You could pursue a career as a counselor, community organizer, educator, minister, youth pastor, nonprofit administrator, missionary, social worker, and many others. You’ll also be adequately prepared for further studies at the graduate level.



GWU Religious Studies alumni are pursuing graduate degrees at universities such as Gardner-Webb University, Baylor University, Harvard University, Mercer University, and Wake Forest University. Others are serving as ministers at local churches, chaplains in the military, missionaries both locally and internationally, and working with para-church organizations.



Dr. Eddie Stepp

Phone: (704) 406-3269


  • Alumni Spotlight-Robert Setzer
  • Faculty Spotlight-Eddie Stepp
  • Global Mission Resource Center