Discipleship Studies Major
As a Discipleship Studies major you will learn about the basic principles of Christian discipleship, particularly at different ages and walks of life. You will develop techniques for leadership and explore the context of discipleship. You will also learn how to communicate clearly and effectively in both speaking and writing through completing coursework in history and philosophy of religious education, church leadership, preschool and child discipleship, and adult discipleship.
You will learn in an environment of respectful curiosity and willingness to serve. GWU’s Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy is dedicated to creating lifelong learners who bring compassion, humility, and self-awareness to their growing knowledge. We encourage graduates to pursue service to God and others. With a degree in Discipleship Studies, you will be well prepared 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. The professors in the Department are committed believers with an openly confessional stance. Yet they will challenge you to think for yourself and to examine many points of view. Raising questions, engaging in discussion and participatory learning are central to the classroom experience. You will be encouraged to gain understanding of your own culture, values, and faith and to develop practical 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 are passionate about communicating these ideals to our students, our campus, and our community.
As a GWU student in the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy, you will have the opportunity to benefit from enriching and challenging extracurricular experiences such as study abroad or travel to regions of historical and religious significance, supervised ministry experiences in settings such as churches, hospitals, and service organizations, and local, national, and international mission opportunities.
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 a peer organization for Religious Studies majors and minors but is open to students of any major. It is student-led and provides opportunities for fellowship, 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, recognizes students for outstanding academic achievement and offers opportunities for professional advancement.
Philosophy Reading Group
The Philosophy Ready Group provides students with opportunities for learning and community outside the classroom. Led by Dr. Perry Hildreth, Professor of Philosophy, students have recently read and discussed the writings of Wendell Berry, Friedrich Nietzsche, 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 Discipleship Studies 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 have included:
- Local churches, hospitals, hospice
- Campus ministries
- Christian radio stations
- Diocese organizations
- Missionary organizations
- Service and support organizations for homeless people and youth offenders
A degree in discipleship studies offers you excellent training for many careers in service and ministry. You will develop valuable skills in communication, critical thinking, research, and interpersonal relationships. Possible career choices include, among others: counselor, community organizer, educator, minister, youth pastor, nonprofit administrator, missionary, and social worker. You will also be well prepared for further studies at the graduate level.
GWU Religious Studies and Philosophy alumni have pursued or are pursuing graduate degrees at universities such as Gardner-Webb University, Baylor University, Duke University, Harvard University, Mercer University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, and Wake Forest University. Others are serving as ministers at local churches, chaplains in the military, missionaries, or are working with non-profit or para-church organizations.