Undergraduate Research

The Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion believes that asking questions, fostering inquiry, learning different methods of investigation, making discoveries, and sharing and communicating what we have found are at the heart of both our teaching and our students’ learning. We encourage our students to explore their interests and passions, and to identify problems and questions that are of real importance to them–these serve as the starting point and foundation of  a student’s research and individual projects. Many of our students pursue research questions and projects that are connected to very current issues and problems and they also find that in tackling these problems they develop an understanding and appreciation of the value of both disciplinary as well as multidisciplinary and other collaborative approaches.

Students who do undergraduate research benefit by developing their skills in identifying and analyzing complex and often difficult problems, researching important work in those areas, and sharing their findings with others. These skills are critical to preparing for careers as well as providing work that strengthens applications to graduate and professional schools. All philosophy and religion majors are required to do a major research paper as part of their senior capstone experience (PHIL 485, RELG 401) and this is strongly recommended for classics majors (CLAS 485).

Students can draw from a number of university resources to support their research and other creative projects including URES 197 (provides course credit for students who conduct individual or group research as part of a faculty member’s research project), Individual Study under the direction of a faculty member in the department, and presenting at the Annual Research and Creativity Day which offers opportunities for students across all disciplines in the fine arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences to presnet and discuss their research.  CPR students may also apply for funding to attend and present at conferences, and they often win awards and honors for their research.


Here are some recent examples of senior research theses and other research projects in classics, philosophy, and religion:


For recent work in Classics, click on Classics Program/Classics Undergraduate Research.


“Heidegger’s Way with Words: A Study of Heidegger’s explorations of Technology, Poiesis, and the possibility of Gelassenheit” Mary Alessandri (2000)

“Phenomenology and Meaning for Western Life: A Study in the Later Philosophy of Edmund Husserl” Maren deGroot  (2002)

“I and Thou: An Analysis of Feuerbach’s Critique of Religio”  Scott Jones (2004)

“On the Primacy of Ideas: Resolving Problems of Dualism and Truth”  Patrick Shepherd (2004)

“When Seeing is Knowing: Discovering Art Through Phenomenology and Conceptual Metaphor” Jonathan Franklin (2005)

“A Thought Created by Two: Sartre’s Hope Now” Ian Rhoad (2005)

“Heidegger’s Fundamental Ontology and the Renascence of Feminist Philosophy” Adam Bird (2006)

“Guiding History: A Commentary on Jean-Paul Sartre’s Dialectical Ontology” Adam Schwartz (2005)

“The Lived Body Experience of the New Generation of Women in America” Elspeth England (2007)

“Heidegger’s Enframing and the Question in the Work of Art”  William Swanson (2008)

“Poverty and Morality: Two Defenses of Moral Obligation” William Hawk (2008)

“Sartre and Fanon: On the Use of Violence to Overcome Racial Oppression” Ross Wood (2008)

“The Treachery of the Liar: Understanding Tarski”  Damien Allen (2011)

“The Imperative of Belief: Richard Rorty’s Pragmatic Case for Hope” Thomas Larson (2011)

“Body and Metaphor” Daniel Arias (2011)

On The Genealogy Of Morals: From Prescriptive to Descriptive Morality”  Kristin Tisdelle (2011)


“The Neurotheology of Objective Reality:  How the God Gene is Necessary and Its Implications in Perennialism” Emma Clarkson (2009)

“The Glorius Doctrine:  An Examination of the Saving Efficacy of Proxy Baptism” Jill Clare (2009)

“Qohelet: Absurd Hero Interpreting Ecclesiastes Through the Hermeneutic of the Absurd” Sean Corron (2009)

“Abrahamic Architecture in Southern Spain: The Physical Expression of Ecumenical Discussion between Muslims, Jews, and Christians” Thomas Fay (2009)

“Kierkegaard & Nietzsche: The What and Why of Both Men’s Attack on 19th Century Christendom” William Loring (2009)

“Sacred Art and Place” Jana Minchoff (2009)

“American Holy Wars:  George W. Bush and His Use of American Civil Religion” Daniel C. Marsh (2009)

“Truth, Tolerance, and Relativism:  The Necessity of the Decisiveness of Truth in Reaching Religious Appreciation” Kaitlin Elisabeth Pillion (2009)

“Oscar Arnulfo Romero:  No Graveside Conversion” Teresa Darlene Runaldue (2009)

“ ‘Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is With you’: Mary as the Mediatrix of All Graces” Nicholas James Schierer (2009)

“Christian Martyrdom Accounts as a Form of Subversive Literature.”  Shauna Carey (2010)

“Judas in the Gospel of Judas: Friend or Foe?”  Erin Manning (2010)

“Elie Wiesel’s Hidden Faith: An Exploration of the Use of Analogy in Day.”  Danielle Rosenberg (2010) 

“Ibn Rushd and the Influence of Islamic Rationalism in Western Europe” Erin Bresson, (2011)

“God’s Role in History after Auschwitz: A Look into the Philosophy of Richard Rubenstein” Anna Dillon, (2011)

“Civil Religion and the American Landscape: The National Parks as Sacred Spaces” Matthew Holden, (2011)

“A Renaissance Reversed” Lynda Long,  (2011)

“Nazism’s Religious Propaganda: a Persuasive Tool or the Essence of a Movement?”Caitlyn Yost, (2011)