You are here: American University College of Arts & Sciences Philosophy & Religion

Department of Philosophy and Religion

Our philosophy program exposes students to multiple disciplines including bioethics, ethical theory, feminist philosophy, and phenomenology, while religious studies allows students to explore and critique areas in Eastern and Western religions

Time to Think, Time to Re-Think

We live in a world that is ever-changing. As we face unprecedented situations in our personal lives and our society, we ponder: What are the important things in life? How do we know what is the right thing to do? How do we achieve justice, equality, and freedom? How do we define values and for whom those values are valuable?

The Department of Philosophy and Religion at American University offers unique undergraduate and graduate programs in which students navigate these questions and explore their futures while deeply engaging with the issues in our lives.

Our curriculum enables students to learn from diverse thought traditions from around the world, enriching their understanding of people and society. This curriculum equips students with tools to analyze diverse aspects of human existence and helps them get ready for the challenges of the global community as well as local ones. Our faculty is made up of dedicated educators and leading scholars in the field, and our faculty members challenge students with questions about life and work with them to explore possible answers.

Located in Washington, DC, the capital of the United States, the Department of Philosophy and Religion at American University offers students opportunities to witness political life and history as it enfolds in the real world. Easy access to the Smithsonian Institution, museums, national monuments, and the Library of Congress provides a wealth of varied and diverse internship and service opportunities with the federal government and non-profit organizations.

In our program, the world and ideas come together. Join us in your journey to find your future.

Current Events

Andrea Tschemplik Memorial Service 

October 30th at 11 a.m. EST
Register for the Memorial Service

We hope you can all join us in celebrating Andrea's life and listening to her loved ones pay tribute to her accomplishments. Please feel free to post a memory on her virtual memorial page or consider donating to the Andrea Tschemplik Prize for Philosophy and Religion Students. When sufficient monies are collected, the fund will convert from a prize to a scholarship intended for first-generation college students in Professor Tschemplik’s memory. You can make a donation to the Andrea Tschemplik Prize for Philosophy and Religion Students.

Sacred Tools of Resistance

The Department of Philosophy and Religion, the Department of Critical Race, Gender and Culture Studies, and the Black Wellness & Liberation Coalition at American University invite you to a series of virtual workshops for BIPOC students, faculty, alumni and staff at AU entitled, “Sacred Tools of Resistance.” This series will provide a safe space for community members, centering undergraduate students, to explore a range  of holistic wellness practices designed to empower people of color to resist and heal from the daily assault of systemic racism and other forms of oppression on their mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Workshops will be conducted monthly and invite master practitioners of major healing modalities to share a practice that participants will be able to apply to their everyday lives.

Philosophy and Religion Club

Join Prof. Perry Zurn and Prof. Joel Daniels the first Wednesday of every month at 7pm to discuss pressing issues with your colleagues.

Next Meeting: November 4th at 7pm. Email or for meeting links.

Choose to be Curious

As part of Dr. Perry Zurn's "Curiosity, Politics, and the Public Realm" graduate seminar, students pitched episode ideas to Lynn Borton, executive producer of the Choose to be Curious podcast. Now those episodes are being released! Check out Matt Ferguson's “Curiosity & The Digital Transgender Archive with KJ Rawson” and Julie Williams-Reyes' "Imagining Worlds Otherwise: Learning from Black Feminist Curiosity, with Ayanna Spencer."

Andrea Tschemplik.

Andrea Tschemplik

The “Andrea Tschemplik Prize for Philosophy and Religion Students” has now been established. When sufficient monies are collected, the fund will convert from a prize to a scholarship intended for first-generation college students in Professor Tschemplik’s memory.

Your donation will help us keep Professor Tschempliks' memory alive. You can donate here or mail your gift to
American University
Office of Development
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

In Memoriam



The Department of Philosophy and Religion is a proud member of PLATO (Philosophy Learning And Teaching Organization). PLATO advocates and supports introducing philosophy to children and youth through programs, resource-sharing, and the development of a national network in pre-college philosophy.

Filosofia en Español


Para más información, visite nuestra página en español.

A congratulations cake

To the Class of 2020

Our alumni have penned letters to the graduating class of 2020 to offer some perspective in a time of uncertainty.

Read the Letters

Student Spotlight

Inspiring material that I continue to draw from to this day.

After graduation, Haley Stevens worked on the Obama presidential campaign and the Presidential Transition Team. She was chief of staff for the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and a special advisor to the Department of Commerce. A former digital manufacturing executive, she is currently representing Michigan’s 11th district in the House of Representatives.