Religion and Philosophy

Bachelor of Science in Church Vocations, with choice of five emphasis options:

1. Church School Ministry
2. Church Camps and Recreation
3. Church Business Management
4. Youth Ministry
5. Children's Ministry 

The department also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Seminary and a minor in religion.

The major in Church Vocations is flexible, with many possible outcomes. The curriculum provides a solid educational foundation in liberal arts with emphasis on critical thinking, which serves as preparation for many courses of graduate study.

Students from the Church Vocations and Pre-Seminary programs have gone on to study at seminaries including Duke, Asbury, Wake Forest, Emory and more. Other graduates have gone on to receive Master’s degrees in various fields, including education.

Participants in these majors can also visit multiple seminaries on a seminary tour. The seminary tour is offered every two years and has included visits to Duke, Drew, and more.

From our alumni

"Students who join the community of religious scholars in the TWC religion department will find themselves equipped and energized to go on to further academic studies or directly into ministry. TWC's religion department strikes the important balance between encouraging students in their gifts and challenging them to develop new skills and knowledge. The professors and students I met in the religion department helped me to become the person and minister I am today. If I had it to do over again, I would choose TWC every time!"

-Anna Lee, BA '06
Director of Spiritual Growth, Cokesbury United Methodist Church

Requirements for the B.S. in Church Vocations

In order to major in a church vocations, the student shall complete the Core Religious
Studies Course and one or more of the following areas: Church School Education,
Church Camps and Recreation, Church Business Management, Youth Ministry.

Core Religious Studies Course (24 semester hours)
CV 225 Introduction to Church Vocations 3 s.h.
CV 227 Ministry Settings and Issues 3 s.h.
CV 325, 327 Church Vocations Practicum I, II 6 s.h.
R Electives in Religion 6 s.h.
R Biblical Courses 6 s.h.

Church School Education (19 semester hours)
ED 110 Introduction to Teaching 3 s.h.
ED 201 Educational Psychology 3 s.h.
ED 320 Survey of Exceptional Children 2 s.h.
ED 419 Classroom Management 2 s.h.
HS 231 Introduction Human Services 3 s.h.
HS 333 Human Services Skills 3 s.h.
PY 231 Developmental Psychology I 3 s.h.

Church Camps and Recreation (22 semester hours)
HE 161 Environment and Public Health 3 s.h.
HE 162 Personal Health and Drug Abuse 3 s.h.
HE 263 Nutrition for Sports & Fitness 3 s.h.
HE 264 Safety Education and First Aid 3 s.h.
PE 303 Lifetime & Team Sports 3 s.h.
PE 307 Movement Education 3 s.h.

Choose two electives from the following:
PE 308 Activities for Children (3)
PE 365 Adaptive PE (3)
PE 375 Camping and Outdoor Recreation (2) 5-6 s.h

Church Business Management (21 semester hours)
BA 201, 202 Principles of Accounting I, II 6 s.h.
BA 315 Business Communications 3 s.h.
BA 321 Principles of Management 3 s.h.
BA 421 Human Resources Management 3 s.h.
BA Business Elective (must be approved by department) 3 s.h.
CA 218 Intro to Microcomputer Applications 3 s.h.

Youth Ministry Emphasis (20-23 semester hours)
PY 231, 251 Developmental Psychology I, II 6 s.h.
or ED 201 Educational Psychology 3 s.h.
PY/SO 261 Social Psychology 3 s.h.
PY 321 Theories of Personality 3 s.h.
PY 341 Group Dynamics 3 s.h.
SO 204 Social Problems 3 s.h..
ED 320 Survey of Exceptional Children 2 s.h.
ED 385 Methods of Teaching in Grades 7 -12 3 s.h.

Requirements for the B.A. in Pre-Seminary (57 semester hours which includes ACR
requirements). This major also requires the proficiency of a foreign language at the
intermediate level.
English 12 s.h.
Social Science
Psychology 6 s.h.
Six (6) additional hours from Sociology,
Political Science, Economics, Education 6 s.h.
History 6 s.h.
Philosophy 6 s.h.
Religion 9 s.h.
12 semester hours at the 300-400 level
from these disciplines: English, Psychology,
History, Philosophy, Religion 12 s.h.

A minor in Religion consists of 18 semester hours, distributed as follows:
R 101 Introduction to the Bible 3 s.h.
R 100 The Christian Faith 3 s.h.
or R 211 Christianity and the Social Order 3 s.h.
R 207 World Religions 3 s.h.
R Additional Religion courses at
the 300-400 level 9 s.h

Religion and Philosophy Faculty

William McDonald

Better-known on campus as “Rev.”--a moniker that stuck from his days as the college chaplain--William McDonald chairs the Religion and Philosophy Department at Tennessee Wesleyan College, teaching a variety of classes from Bible to historical theology and world religions. McDonald holds the Ph.D. in History of Christian Thought from Vanderbilt University, where he wrote a dissertation exploring how converts to Christianity in the church’s early centuries were taught the basics of the faith and initiated into the church through baptism. He is editor of Christian Catechetical Texts (2011), a three-volume anthology of catechisms—documents used in teaching young people at least since the Protestant Reformation. His Gracious Voices: Shouts and Whispers for God Seekers (1997) is a collection of passages from a wide variety of theologians and writers arranged around the Apostles’ Creed, Lord’s Prayer, Baptism, and Holy Communion, and designed for use with new Christians entering the United Methodist Church using the ancient pattern of initiation he explored in his dissertation. He is currently working with both a Canadian and an American scholar on a book about “Ecumenical Shared Ministries” in the United States and Canada. These are local congregations sponsored by more than one denomination, and the three authors are considering how this model might prove valuable for the 21st century church. Professor McDonald has authored 31 book reviews and 21 articles, encyclopedia entries, and paper presentations.

A native of DeLand, Florida, Dr. McDonald is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, and holds an M.T.S. from Duke University Divinity School and an A.B. from Lenoir-Rhyne College. He also serves as pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Vonore, Tennessee, and is on the Board of Directors of the North American Academy of Ecumenists.

Chris Dover

Dr. Chris Dover is the Chaplain and Instructor of Religion at Tennessee Wesleyan College. Previously, he served as a pastor in the Holston Conference for 14 years, and the Virginia Conference for 6 years. He has also served on the Board of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and as the Director of the Wesley Foundation at Lincoln Memorial University.

A 1982 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Dover earned three postgraduate degrees. He received a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) from the School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee), and a Master of Arts in Christian Education (M.A.C.E.) from Union-PSCE. He was a recipient of the 2013 Exemplary Teacher Award by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

As chaplain, Dover provides leadership and assistance to the religious groups on campus, leads the weekly chapel/communion service, and offers pastoral care, spiritual direction, service opportunities and vocational exploration for the Tennessee Wesleyan community. In addition to offering a pastoral presence to the campus, Dr. Dover assists with the Center for Christian Education and Outreach, teaches several classes each semester, and is the Church Relations representative for the college.

Dr. Dover's research interests include spiritual formation, from both the Wesleyan and psychological traditions, and the impact of postmodern religious life. He has taught components for the F.U.E.L. Youth Ministry Institute, the year-long youth worker training and renewal ministry of the Holston Conference, regularly serves as a Minister-in-Residence for Junior High Week at Camp Lookout, and volunteers as a ‘group Dad’ for the Holston Conference’s Senior High Assembly. 

Dr. Dover regularly preaches in Holston Conference churches on behalf of Tennessee Wesleyan College, and has recently delivered a series of lectures entitled “Ministry To and With the New Generation,” which focuses on the challenges of ministry to the emerging generation of Millennials. Dr. Dover enjoys leading students on study tours and in the past has led tours of Italy, Greece, Ireland, England, France, and Germany, as well as mission trips to Costa Rica. He also organizes student visits to several United Methodist seminaries.

Dr. Dover says his greatest privilege and joy comes from walking with students as they transition from the faith which they’ve ‘inherited,’ to a mature, tested ‘adult’ faith during this crucial time of their lives. He offers counseling and coaching for individual students and faculty, and also does premarital counseling for couples preparing to marry. Dr. Dover's interests include science fiction literature and genealogy.

Additional Resources

Forbes article: "Employees Who Stand Out"

Liberal arts education helps college students develop many soft skills in addition to their job-specific skills. “Throughout my career, I have discovered that the key role of a leader is to foster a culture of teamwork and to set the direction for an organization. Successful managers communicate well, build relationships and create an environment where employees can do their best work. In other words, they practice the skills most closely associated with a liberal arts education, where emphasis is placed on participation, community and functioning as part of a team.”

-Steve Sadove, former Chairman and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue

For more information about the benefits of a liberal arts education, please click the link above to read the full article. 

Why study religion?

This website highlights reasons to study religion, as well as many possible jobs that a religion degree offers. Click the link above to learn more!