dcsimg
You are here:

Philosophy Programs vs. Theology Programs

You might think the literal definitions of the words "theology" and "philosophy" would give you a handle on the distinction between the two: theology means the study of God, while philosophy means the love of knowledge. Then again, when you consider that religions typically view God as the source of all knowledge, that distinction becomes blurred.

This is typical of the relationship between theology and philosophy--they are like two roads that overlap at times and diverge at times. If you are considering studying either, you need to understand those overlaps and divergences, and from a practical standpoint, where those roads lead in terms of career options.

Philosophy and theology programs: similarities

Philosophy and theology courses each break down into two broad categories: the search for meaning itself, and the study of others who have been prominent in the search for meaning. In combination, an examination of life's questions can be informed by the writings of prominent figures--theologians, philosophers, or both--who have come before.

Discussion among peers and with teachers can also be an informative part of each type of program. Online theology programs or philosophy programs can broaden this discussion even further, so you are exchanging ideas with people from very different backgrounds.

Philosophy and theology programs: differences

While philosophy and theology programs both deal with man's search for meaning, the most obvious difference is that in the case of theology, that search centers around God. Even in theology programs which study different religions, the emphasis is on how members of each religion relate to their deity.

Coursework in philosophy, in contrast, typically focus more on process rather than a prescribed dogma. Logic and other reasoning tools are likely to be taught as a basis for the detailed study of philosophical problems and solutions to follow.

Philosophy and theology programs: career paths

To some extent, the study of either philosophy or theology is a search for understanding that is not primarily geared towards career goals. Not surprisingly then, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that both one and ten years after graduation, arts and humanities majors (the category to which both philosophy and theology belong) made less than the average college graduate.

However, this does not mean that studying philosophy or theology is mutually exclusive with having practical career goals. In addition to traditional paths such as teaching philosophy, and religious ministry (or teaching) for theology, the BLS found that more than 20 percent of arts and humanities majors go into business. After all, both philosophy and theology programs can teach you how to assemble different viewpoints and reason through open-ended problems, both of which are essential skills for the business world. Similarly, a background in philosophy and theology can be a stepping stone to an advanced degree. For example, a philosophy degree can be excellent preparation for an advance degree in law or business.

In short, philosophy and theology can have their practical applications, but that is not the end of the story. For all their differences, each can enrich the human experience. After all, both Moses and Jesus were reported to have said some variation of the phrase "man does not live by bread alone." Sounds like each of those religious figures was also something of a philosopher.

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • Antioch University

    A private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) institution, Antioch University serves approximately 5,000 adult students online and at five campuses in four states. All benefit from an education immersed in our core values of inclusiveness, social justice, experiential learning, and socially engaged, global citizenship.  

    Location: Online

    Antioch  University Request Info »
  • Everest University Online

    Everest University Online, a Division of Everest University, makes career training convenient and accessible.

    Location:
    Santa Ana: , Santa Ana CA
    Everest University Online Request Info »
  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.

    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale: 6301 Kaplan University Avenue, Fort Lauderdale FL 33309
    Kaplan University Request Info »
  • Widener University

    Why Choose Widener University?

    At Widener University, we proudly cultivate challenging and culturally diverse learning environments where academics, leadership, and service come first. Our curricula are connected to societal issues and challenge students to take social responsibility for their role in today's global society.

    Location: Online

    Widener University Request Info »
  • Independence University

    Congratulations! Your interest in Independence University is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.

    Location:
    Salt Lake City: 4021 South 700 East, Suite #400., Salt Lake City UT 84101
    Independence University Request Info »
  • Villanova University

    Location:
    Villanova: 800 E Lancaster Ave, , Villanova PA 19085
    Villanova University Request Info »
  • University of Nevada - Reno

    At the University of Nevada, Reno, we teach public health practitioners how to look beyond physical conditions and consider environmental, economic and sociological factors that impact individual and community health, happiness and well-being.

    The online Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice is designed to prepare you for employment in nearly any area of the public health field.

    Location: Online

    University of Nevada - Reno Request Info »
  • St. Thomas University

    St. Thomas University offers fully online business and education graduate degrees built on a 50-year tradition of scholastic excellence, community leadership, and faith-focused values.

    Location:
    Opa Locka: 16401 NW 37th Ave,, Opa Locka FL 33054
    St. Thomas University Request Info »
  • Saint Xavier University

    Saint Xavier University, Chicago’s oldest Catholic university, has a long history of educating students to prepare them for professional success and lay the foundation for personal fulfillment.

    Location: Online

    Saint Xavier University Request Info »
  • Our Lady of the Lake University

    Our Lady of the Lake University is a private, Catholic university with a deep connection to the history and community of San Antonio.

    Location: Online

    Our Lady of the Lake University Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.