By Lucy Bowman
The Philosophy, Religion, and Law major has been changed to Philosophy and Religion: Prelaw. Kirk MacGregor, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, expressed his excitement towards the new changes, and explained the reasoning behind the shift. The main reason for the change is because philosophy is an incredible tool for students who are hoping to advance to law school. For any student who is interested in this career path, the newly structured major is an amazing opportunity. MacGregor explained that “when one thinks about the majors that ultimately do the best in landing students positions in law schools, philosophy and joint philosophy and religion departments rank within the top two majors perennially.” The same is true when it comes to the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) scores. Students with majors in philosophy and religion score an average of 160 on the LSAT nationwide. MacGregor has researched these averages to determine the best course of action for his students, and explains that philosophy and logical reasoning classes are essential for students wanting to pass the LSATs. MacGregor explained, “if you have a good foundation in logic, which is what philosophy is all about, then you are going to be prepared to do well on the LSAT.” In the new major, there are three classes in particular that MacGregor believes will have a profound impact on his students’ abilities to think logically. These classes are: Critical Thinking, Modern Logic, and the LSAT prep course. The preparation class covers each and every type of question a student might face during the test. The rigorous course material is made entirely from past LSAT questions, allowing students to best prepare for the exam. MacGregor encourages students who are planning on pursuing law school with any major to enroll in the LSAT preparation course. In addition to the emphasis on logic skills, the new major introduces new classes. One of these classes is “Religion and Law.” MacGregor explained the relevance of this course is very high given the current political and religious dynamics in the United States. MacGregor stated “We already have a course called ‘Religion and Politics,’ but we thought it would be especially important to add a course on religion, law, and church-state issues.” This class will help students understand the relationship between religion and law, and give them a glimpse of how the Supreme Court has historically dealt with cases connected to religion. The department is also excited to introduce a new History of Philosophy course, which allows students to analyze primary sources from philosophers throughout the course of Western philosophical tradition. This class will be offered for the first time in the fall of 2023. Overall, MacGregor believes that this new major will help encourage students to come to McPherson College. Even the simple step of adding “pre law” to the title makes the program more recognizable for high school students who may not know what a philosophy and religion program entails. MacGregor also points out that if a student completes the major and decides they no longer want to go to law school, they can still pursue other job opportunities. Students can work towards a masters in religion or philosophy, or could work as a paralegal. There are also alumni of the department who are currently working in public service positions. When students ask Professor MacGregor what they can do with a Philosophy and Religion major, he answers with another question: “What can’t you do?” The opportunities are nearly limitless, especially with the newly developed program.