In keeping with School founder Felix duPont's vision and purpose, St. Andrew's has included religious studies in its academic curriculum since its earliest years. Our core curriculum requirements in religious studies—History of Religious Thought, taken in the IV Form year, and a Philosophy or Religious Studies elective taken the VI Form year—provides an understanding of the major religious and philosophical traditions that have shaped Western civilization. Through course discussions and essays, our goal is familiarize students with the many varied ideas and theologies they will encounter in college, and throughout their lives, while also encouraging students to formulate their own faith practices and make conscious decisions about their value systems.
Sophomores taking History of Religious Thought are asked to rigorously examine the claims of great religious thinkers—from Aquinas to Marx, Avicenna to Freud, Maimonides to Thomas Paine, St. Theresa of Avila to contemporary theologians and philosophers. In dialogue with these writings and with the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Bible, and the Qur’an, students consider differing answers to central religious questions. This course provides an opportunity to analyze the Judeo-Christian worldview in particular, the importance of revelation in Christianity through historical events and persons, and the moral implications of religious commitment within contemporary life.
Sixth Form students spend the first half of the year taking Philosophy, which provides an introduction to central philosophical inquiries, and an exploration of epistemology, ontology, metaphysics, theology, ethics, and aesthetics. In the second half of the VI Form year, students take a religious studies elective that explores world religions and philosophies using a particular critical or topical lens (such as gender, violence, service, or applied ethics); a full list of electives is available below.
In the IV Form year, students must take History of Religious Thought. In the VI Form year, students must take a Philosophy in the first semester and a Religious Studies elective in the second semester.