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Thoughts on religious versus non religious universities?

  1. Mar 26, 2015 #1
    My sister is going to college next year and is considering a non religious university (UC Merced) or Seattle U, a Catholic University.
    She is not religious and wants to go Seattle U because my aunt is in Seattle.

    My question is, do religious universities have the same or even better quality science education than non religious universities?
    She wants to major in psychology
    On another note, I want to go back to school to take another stab at studying physics, I changed majors and graduated as a business major. No public Universities are accepting second bachelors so I'm down to considering private, religious universities, but I don't want for myself or my sister to get a second rate education in a scientific subject.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 26, 2015 #2


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    I can't help about religious / secular but going to a particular college because a relative lives nearby might be convenient but hardly seems like a good reason to choose a school unless you don't really care about your education.
  4. Mar 26, 2015 #3
    My sister is one of those very hard working people.... but doesn't exactly have good reasoning skills.
    In other words, she's derpy. o_O
  5. Mar 26, 2015 #4


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    Depends on the school and where it stands in the mainstream versus fundamentalist spectrum. I've never seen any complaints about the way Notre Dame or Georgetown teach science, for example. I've taught for many years at a small college associated with a mainstream Protestant denomination, and the science we teach is standard mainstream stuff: evolution, geologic history, cosmology, etc.

    I don't know anything about Seattle U, though.
  6. Mar 26, 2015 #5
    In general, religious vs nonreligious universities won't be that different except that you might have to take a religion gen ed. In my experience, the only major difference is that there's a slightly more politically conservative faculty and student body, and it probably won't be as diverse as a non-religious school. If that's a problem for you, go to a non-affiliated school. Other than that, it won't really affect anything, and that's by no means a hard generalization.

    OTOH, you've also got places like Brigham Young which make female students go to courses about marriage and throw you out if they find out you're in an intimate relationship with another student or become religiously unaffiliated, and they (perhaps deliberately) may trash your academic future because that dismissal will look like a disciplinary action on a transcript. So be careful of places like that.
  7. Mar 26, 2015 #6
    In short for secular subjects there is no difference. They try as any college or university to produce students that will be successful. Those subjects as philosophy and obviously theology of course are meant to reinforce the affiliated students faith. They do provide an nourishing environment for the affiliated student. Saying that though and In my experience they can teach courses that are not necessarily consistent with their own believes. However, it can be enriching for a non affiliated student to learn first hand of their views about issues say in sociology, philosophy or even history. In this day and age you will find many affiliated student are questioning the precept of their faith and are eager and willing to discuss these issues with other students. The extreme '"right wing" philosophy that you read about in this country is certainly not a part of a Catholic educational philosophy, The Jesuits and Benedictine orders have histories of dedicated teaching of secular subjects going back centuries.
  8. Mar 26, 2015 #7


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    That is not universally true at every state or public school. Some offer restrictions but may still allow a second baccalaureate admission. some may allow admission for a professional degree or a certificated program.
  9. Mar 26, 2015 #8
    Any Catholic University should be fine. They will not try to indoctrinate your sister, but the religious stuff is there. Also with Catholic schools you don't have to worry about any fringe mentality since the way the Catholic church is structured prevents that. All in all it depends on the school, but as someone who went to Catholic school for 14 years and considered a Catholic university (Loyola New Orleans), I would say that she will get just as good of an education there as most other schools. Hope this helps. :)
  10. Mar 27, 2015 #9


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    It depends. Not all religious schools are really all that religious. There are some that are very fundamentally religious though, so it's a worthwhile question to ask. Many of them don't involve any kind of religious obligations to the school aside from possibly taking a world religions class or two, which are really just along the lines of the anthropology/history of religion. Other schools may require some type of courses devoted to the content of their given religion. There will definitely be more of a religious presence on campus versus a state flagship or something like that, but it's not always going to be the "shoved down your throat" type of presence.

    Some of the more fundamentally religious universities will require more of the 'indoctrination' type courses. I've seen a couple that require students to take a biology class that examines the arguments against Darwinism and discusses the 'argument' for Intelligent Design. That's likely worth avoiding.
  11. Mar 27, 2015 #10
    True, but I've checked all the Ucs and state schools in my area, only Berkeley allows a second degree... in chemistry. Hopefully that'll change in the upcoming years. I guess admissions is just very crowded nowadays
  12. Mar 27, 2015 #11


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    A university program for certain fields may be easier to gain admittance at some schools. If you want a second undergraduate degree in engineering, physics, mathematics, or some-such at certain CSU schools, you could be admitted. Other fields too. One restriction at a certain school I've checked is that you are not allowed to change major field.
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