Students work at the computers in the Swedenborg Library

The Philosophy Major

Philosophy is the study of fundamental concepts such as reality,  morality, knowledge, mind, and justice. Engage with life's big questions with rigorous logic and intellectual empathy. The philosophy ID major at Bryn Athyn helps students develop a practical philosophy of life connected to the spiritual perspective of the New Church.

Philosophy students go on to excel in a wide variety of fields due to their ability to think critically. Honing argumentation, persuasion, and writing skills sets students up for success in the workforce. The ability to get to the root of disagreements and hold positions with integrity are assets just as much in the boardroom as they are in personal relationships. 

Philosophy at Bryn Athyn is part of the interdisciplinary (ID) program, offering a unique opportunity for students to combine studies of two liberal arts areas and to develop the interrelations between these different fields of knowledge.

This program can be combined with any of the following areas:

Major-specific skills that will prepare you for grad school:

  • Fallacy identification
  • Argument identification, construction, and criticism
  • Textual analysis and interpretation

Transferable skills that will prepare you for a variety of careers:

  • Analytical writing
  • Cultural literacy
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking

Philosophy at Bryn Athyn

Our philosophy program teaches the core ideas of several philosophical traditions, giving students the ability to interrogate the basic assumptions, pros, cons, and practical applications of each. Informed by Emmanuel Swedenborg’s teachings, you can connect these big ideas to your personal spirituality and discover how to live by your own code of ethics.

While we don't shy away from criticisms of religion and debates in the philosophy of religion, we also show how philosophy can be a friend of faith. With classes ranging from 3-14 students, our professors can focus on philosophy’s ability to improve each student’s life. Our faculty are uniquely strong at the intersection of biology and ethics, a growing field with many practical applications.

We focus on the needs and interests of our students rather than the research agendas of our faculty, enabling us to develop special philosophy courses about law, history, biology, and technology.  One of our core courses, Philosophy 102, helps students develop a meaningful philosophy of life and relate to people who hold worldviews which differ from their own. Faculty frequently take students to conferences and lectures to be on the cutting edge of contemporary philosophy.

Students who study philosophy as part of the interdisciplinary major develop their own individualized research project in the senior year.



Here's what graduates of Bryn Athyn's philosophy program have done with their degrees:


  • Law
  • Higher Education
  • Ministry
  • Computer Science
  • International Trade



Our Faculty

Stephen Cole

Stephen D. Cole
Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy

Marcy Latta

Marcy Latta
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Writing

Dan Synnestvedt

Dan Synnestvedt
Associate Professor of Philosophy / Head of Philosophy Program


Program Forms and Resource Links


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