Religious Studies and Philosophy

Exploring perennial questions of meaning, value and purpose in today's multicultural context.

Penn Charter’s Religious Studies and Philosophy Department aims to provide students with exposure, conversation and research in three integrated areas of study:

  • Exploring Quaker testimonies through personal experience, Socratic discussion, community engagement and reflection, which speak to the pedagogy and foundation of Friends education

  • Cultivating deeper religious and multicultural literacy, allowing students to converse across different religious, secular and cultural perspectives in search of common ground

  • Raising philosophical and ethical questions about individual and collective behavior in order to better equip students to lead lives that make a difference

"I think that I have grown a lot spiritually from all of the various Religious Studies classes that I have taken. I feel like Quaker values have been instilled in me, and growing up in a environment with Quakers made it easier for me to find my connection with others and God." Justin Ko OPC '18

Key Characteristics

Departmental elective offerings include ethical reasoning, comparative studies, philosophical analysis and cultural critiques. Some electives include community engagement in which students partner with local organizations and businesses that are addressing pressing social and environmental issues in our city. All class sessions emphasize cooperative learning, reflection and discussion.

Curricular Highlights

  • Community engagement and experiential learning in tandem with the Center for Public Purpose

  • Critical and contemplative methods to foster intellectual humility, honesty and curiosity 

  • Project-based and problem-solving pedagogy

“My Bioethics class made me question my beliefs in the best way possible. I feel much more developed in my understanding of myself and what my morals are, as well as how to interact and come to an understanding with those whose values differ from mine.” Caroline Robertson OPC '18


Graduation Requirements

Our Quaker mission informs our pedagogy as well as our philosophy of curriculum. Our graduation requirement includes the Quaker Principles and Practice course that provides a foundational starting point for another semester of religious studies or philosophy. After completion of this Quaker Principles and Practice course, another course elective can be taken, usually in 11th or 12th grade. R312 Quakerism and the Environment is not considered an elective; it can take the place of Quaker Principles and Practice .

Click Here to View the Course List