The University of Waikato - Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato
Faculity of Arts and Social Sciences
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Welcome to Philosophy and Religious Studies

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy examines the most general and fundamental problems that confront us in our attempt to understand reality; problems concerning human nature itself, as well as the physical and social world we inhabit. Examples include:

What is truth? Is it possible to have knowledge of the world?
What is reality, and are there limits to our knowledge of it?
What is the mind? What is consciousness?
What is good? Why should I be moral?
Does God exist?
What is art?

Studying these questions is both fascinating and an excellent means of intellectual training and development. By examining these difficult abstract questions a student of philosophy learns to think clearly and systematically, argue vigorously and question deeply-held assumptions.

What is Religious Studies?

Religion is a universal phenomenon, although expressed in many and varied forms. Indeed, it is arguably the case that religion has been a vital and pervasive feature throughout the entire course of human history. As a university discipline the emphasis of Religious Studies is on the study of religion as human phenomena. It sets out to examine the religious dimension of human existence in all its diversity objectively, systematically, and yet sympathetically. Most people have experienced, to a greater or lesser degree, the influence of religious thinking, religious practices, and religious institutions. In the contemporary world religion continues to be a significant, if not major factor, in the shaping of people's lives and the determining of political and social outcomes. To study religion is to facilitate a broader understanding of human history and a deeper understanding of human life. The appropriate context for the study of religion is that of critical empathy: neither seeking to destroy nor promote, but rather to describe, analyse and evaluate and, hopefully, arrive at a position of informed understanding.


Our Taught Subjects

Ethics, Philosophy, Religious Studies


Waikato Philosophy Seminars

Upcoming seminar details, Thursdays 3.10-4.30pm followed by post-talk drinks and snacks.

Australasian Association of Philosophy

Promoting the study of philosophy in Australasia, and the exchange of ideas among philosophers.
Current Conferences.

UoW Islamic Studies Group

A non-partisan and a not-for-profit organisation committed to the objective of fostering academic insight and understanding on Islamic phenomena through interdisciplinary research initiatives.

Philosophy & Religious Studies Events

Academic events are a crucial part of the Faculty's lively research culture, and provide opportunities for our staff and students to meaningfully engage with their peers in a setting that is both social and professional. We regularly advertise upcoming events of particular interest to staff and students in this programme - including events that we are facilitating, and events that our staff and students have the opportunity to actively participate in. We encourage you to monitor this listing, to diarise, and, where applicable, register your interest in any upcoming events of relevance to you.

Contact FASS

Tel: +64 7 838 4080
or 0800 800 145 (within NZ)
Fax: +64 7 838 4636
Email: wfass@waikato.ac.nz

Our Subjects

We have a huge range of exciting subjects that will immerse you in the challenges of observation, creativity and development.

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Our Qualifications

Explore our undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate qualifications and find out which one suits your needs.

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