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Undergraduate Course

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics BA (Hons)

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics tackle issues that are as relevant today as they have ever been. This degree is for those who are always asking why.

stained glass religion church

These subjects are at the heart of some of the most urgent and important debates in the contemporary world. If you want to tackle the big questions in life, engage with complex philosophical ideas and explore what it means to be human then this is the degree for you.

  • Subject to final approval
  • Available in Clearing

96% of Religion, Theology and Philosophy students were satisfied with their course. (National Student Survey 2020)

94% of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics students thought that their course was intellectually stimulating. (National Student Survey 2020)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – VV65
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Discover Religion, Theology & Philosophy at York St John University

Course overview

Philosophy is not only an interesting academic subject, it is also a way to understand the world around us. We investigate important and relevant topics such as:

  • Morality
  • Evil and suffering
  • How we deal with death
  • Religion and feminism
  • The environmental crisis.

Taking on issues like these not only shows future employers that you are not afraid to take on complex problems, it will also change how you see the world. You will also explore the questions raised by religion and philosophy from the perspective of other academic subjects, such as literature, art, politics and film.

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics have always been closely related, and on this course you will explore the interactions between them. You will study both areas in both historical and contemporary contexts, and with reference to key philosophical and religious texts. However, we also encourage you to look beyond the established tradition and consider questions that may not appear in textbooks.

When you join us you will become part of a thriving academic community. Between the staff in the department we cover a wide range research specialisms, which helps to keep our course varied and research-informed. Our experienced team are passionate about their subject and dedicated to helping you achieve success. By giving you vital transferable skills and offering opportunities for work related learning, we also make sure you are ready for your career.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you take each semester will depend on whether you are studying full time or part time.

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study 4 compulsory modules and 2 optional modules.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will introduce you to the foundations of Christian theology by examining key figures, events and issues in the history of Christian thought. We will focus on both the historical development and the changing contexts of Christian theology. You will learn about the most significant sources of Christian theology, the key doctrines and the contributions of some of the major theologians.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Islam is a much discussed topic in today’s political climate, but often people misunderstand and misrepresent this diverse tradition. On this module you will learn about the basic beliefs and practices followed by the majority of Muslims across the globe, as well as exploring some of the different groups who call themselves Muslim. We will consider the experience of Muslims in the UK from a religious, social and political perspective.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

The module will take you through important debates in the philosophy of religion, from the classic to the contemporary. You will come to understand religion as an ever present aspect of human society. In doing so you will challenge established ideas and learn to construct rational arguments. The module will focus primarily on the western philosophical tradition and its relationship with the Abrahamic faiths. However, we will also consider how philosophical and religious thought interact in other traditions.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module provides an introduction to both the Old and New Testament. This will prepare you for more in depth study the Bible's role in society later in your degree. It is also a general introduction to the nature and interpretation of religious texts, particularly in the Christian tradition. You will consider the historical and cultural context in which it was written and addressing questions about canonicity and authority.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module we will introduce you to the academic study of religion. We will prepare you for degree level study by discussing basic terms, methodologies and issues. The module will also provide you with the academic skills you need to succeed on your degree, including:

  • Using the library database
  • Referencing sources
  • Writing bibliographies
  • Communicating your ideas
  • Structuring your essays.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will explore ethics in both religious and secular traditions, applying them to various contexts, such as famine and affluence. You will consider:

  • What informs the ethical decisions people make
  • How people form their attitudes to moral dilemmas
  • Whether there are sources for moral reasoning other than religious ones
  • What, if anything, rich nations owe poorer nations.

You will reflect on your own assumptions surrounding these issues, and explore the relationship between ethical thought and religious belief.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will learn about the global spread of Christianity, considering its interaction with diverse cultural, political and social contexts across history and the modern world. You will investigate the story of Christianity, and come to understand the changing global nature of Christianity today. This includes discussing the nature and impact of secularisation and areas of growth and decline for Christianity.

 

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study 3 compulsory modules and 3 optional modules.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module focuses on modern western philosophy in an important period of intellectual history. You will be introduced you to the most influential philosophers from the beginning of the 17th century through to the end of the 19th century and explore the ethical and religious issues surrounding their work. You will learn about the interaction between philosophical and religious, and construct your own arguments in response to these ideas. This will help you to understand the concepts behind the debates surrounding religious belief in contemporary life.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module is an opportunity to reflect on how the skills and knowledge you are gaining on your degree can benefit you in the future. You will use the expertise and resources available within the university to find out more about the possible career options available to you. You will also explore the philosophical, theological and ethical issues which may arise in the workplace, investigating theological meditations on the nature and meaning of work in the contemporary world.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module gives you the opportunity to apply your developing understanding of ethical thought to an important area of contemporary life. Applied ethics is an essential part of philosophy. Within this field there is a significant focus on matters of life and death, with many of the debates in this area employing religious arguments. By considering a range of widely debated issues, you will come to understand how ethical theory interacts with practical matters and everyday life.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore a range of debates concerning a central themes in the philosophy of religion – the problem of evil. The existence of suffering, pain and atrocities has been used to question the existence of a benevolent God, and we will discuss some of the philosophical and theological responses to this problem. You will approach the topic through the works of various different philosophers, evaluating their different perspectives and forming your own critical responses.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will expand your understanding of religion through the study of literature. You will explore texts across a variety of genres, styles and time periods, all of which engage with ideas of religion and spirituality. We will also introduce you to important concepts in literary theory, such as intertextuality and reader-response theory. You will build your skills in analysis and critical reflection, considering how real experiences and debates can be expressed through fiction.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module is an opportunity to explore the complex relationship between religion and politics. You will consider role religion plays in international relations, government policy and social identity. We will also discuss how governments can use religion to connect with citizens or to advance political agendas. Using case studies from across the world, we will investigate topics such as:

  • Religious freedoms and human rights
  • Democratisation
  • Religious extremism
  • Sectarian conflicts
  • Fundamentalism
  • Secularisation.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore one of the most pressing issues facing humanity: its relationship with an increasingly devastated natural environment. You will examine modern spiritual outlooks on the natural world, as well as emerging eco-theologies. We will consider how religious thinkers have responded to climate change and mass extinction, and how religious ideas can contribute to debates about sustainable living. You will consider tradition, doctrine and ancient wisdom and explore these alongside contemporary environmental issues and movements.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will focus on researching the spatial and historical development of religious communities in York and the surrounding area. We will consider how the beliefs and practices of these communities have developed according to changing social, cultural, economic and political contexts. This module will help you to build your research skills, giving you practical experience of data collection and analysis. You will also develop transferable teamwork, presentation and organisation skills.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • A Dissertation module. You can choose either a 20 credit option or a longer 40 credit option which is spread across semesters 1 and 2
  • 2 optional modules in semester 1
  • Either 2 or 3 optional modules in semester 2, depending on the Dissertation option you choose.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore the role myth plays in explaining and defining human experience, from ancient mythology to popular culture. You will explore the religious nature of myth alongside theoretical explanations of how myth functions for individuals and communities. Through creative writing workshops and the study of established mythologies you will have the opportunity to write your own myth.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module will explore key themes and theories relating to the Holocaust and wider genocide studies. We will consider how different mediums such as art, literature and film have been used to articulate responses to the Holocaust. As part of the module you will visit a Holocaust centre or museum, giving you an in depth understanding of the effects of genocide on victims, bystanders, perpetrators and survivors.

Credits: 20

Optional module

The negotiated study is your opportunity to carry out independent research into a topic of your choice, within the broad field of Theology and Religious Studies. You will work independently to develop a proposal, research the topic and negotiate your own direction. You will do this with the support of a tutor with specialist knowledge in the area you are focusing on.

Credits: 20

Optional module

The concept of religion in the public sphere has developed in recent years. Today it is a way for religious communities to participate in the public arena and to converse with citizens on issues wider than religious matters. We will discuss the nature, rationale and methods of public engagement for religious communities in various global contexts. We will also consider how religious communities can help to create a public sphere where various political, economic, social and religious bodies can interact with each other for the public common good.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module examines the role of religion in a global context through the application of theories concerning globalisation, secularisation, fundamentalism and migration. We will explore this through various media, including:

  • Books
  • Articles
  • News items
  • Film
  • Literature
  • Online media.

You will consider case studies of specific religions interacting with global issues to give context to the different theoretical perspectives.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore the complex and often problematic relationship between feminist ethics and the Abrahamic religions. You will draw on your understanding of the complexity of religious traditions and ethical theories, as you explore arguments made by feminist thinkers. You will also examine and reflect upon various presumptions, prejudices and discriminations made in relation to gender, at both theoretical and practical levels.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will explore the role of the visual in religious practice and identity. Symbolism has always been important in religion, and today this imagery is given new meaning through its inclusion in public and personal spaces. You will respond to various forms of public art and visual objects which are informed by religion, including:

  • Community wall art
  • Statues
  • Architecture
  • Body art
  • Mass produced imagery.

We will consider how these art forms can be inspirational or offensive, and how they can convey religious ideas in different political and cultural contexts.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This is your opportunity to study in detail influential philosophical texts that deepen our understanding of religion. You will explore these texts within their cultural, religious and political contexts. You will also evaluate critical responses to the texts, assess its influence on religious and philosophical thought. We focus on different texts every year, depending on staff expertise and student interest. Examples of the texts we could discuss include:

  • Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals
  • Heidegger’s Being and Time
  • Keller’s Face of the Deep
  • Stump’s Wandering in Darkness.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Spirituality is now a widely discussed topic in debates about the place of religion within society. On this module you will investigate the concept of the spiritual revolution in contemporary society, considering its relationship with religion, secular society and economics. We will explore topics such as:

  • The growing individualisation of religious belief
  • Spiritual approaches to wellbeing and mindfulness
  • Spiritual responses to environmental issues
  • Changing attitudes and practices around death and mourning.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will apply the knowledge and understanding you have built through the course so far to a new area. We will use the medium of film to explore theological and ethical issues. We will introduce you to the language and conventions of film analysis, before supporting you to explore individual films or scenes in detail. As you move towards your final assignment you will investigate a theological theme or ethical concept to explore through your choice of relevant films.

Credits: 20 or 40 credits

Compulsory module

In your final year you will devise, plan and write an independent research project on a subject of your choice. You will be supported throughout this process by a supervisor with expertise in the area you are studying. This is an opportunity to develop further as an independent learner, demonstrating analytical skills which may include research in a fieldwork context. You can choose a short 5,000 word dissertation or a long 10,000 word option worth twice as many credits. You will also need to show awareness of your academic, professional and personal development through writing a learning journal.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We use a variety of learning and teaching methods, allowing for different approaches to learning. These include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars and workshops
  • Group activities
  • Visiting speakers
  • Field trips
  • Tutorials.

In each year of study you will attend an away day or writing retreat with your year group.

You will typically study 3 modules each semester. Each module will normally have 3 hours of contact time each week, so you will have a minimum of 9 hours each week of teaching.

Alongside your timetabled sessions, you will need to study independently. You will need to spend time reading around the topics we cover and preparing for your taught sessions.

You will be assigned a personal tutor when you join us, and they will support your progress and help with any concerns throughout your degree.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.

Assessment

There are no exams on this course. We use a variety of assessments designed to help you build new skills. This includes:

  • Essays
  • Group or individual presentations
  • Reflective writing
  • Articles
  • Exhibitions and posters
  • Portfolios.

You will receive feedback on your work throughout each module, allowing you to improve before you take on your graded assessments.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

Through this degree you will learn to think in an empathetic and critical way. This is valuable both in a range of career paths and in life more broadly. You will also build essential transferable skills in researching, written and verbal communication, self management and team work.

This degree could be the first step toward your career in:

  • Charity and community projects
  • Teaching
  • Social services and youth work
  • Law and policing
  • Working in a National Government Organisation (NGO)
  • Ministry and interfaith work.

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

Postgraduate courses at York St John University

Religion in Society MA

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice.

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

This course is available with a foundation year

If you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto this degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education, this is a great option for you. Passing a foundation year guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Liberal Arts Foundation year

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and Funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK and EU 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 entry onto this course is

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time.

These prices apply to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

International 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email fundingadvice@yorksj.ac.uk

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