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Theology & Religious Studies BA (Hons)

This course will enable you to reflect upon the theological, ethical and philosophical issues that arise within religion. You will discuss diverse theological topics through the exploration of a broad range of religious issues.

UCAS course code
York St John University
Course fees
2019 - 2020: Home & EU students: £9,250 per annum, International (non EU) students: £12,750 per annum
3 years full-time | Part-time options available on request
Study Abroad
Yes - see our study abroad web pages for more information
Start date
September 2019
Study options
Available with integrated Foundation Year

Course overview

The Department of Theology and Religious Studies is home to a closely related family of subjects: theology, philosophy, religious studies and ethics. Our Undergraduate degrees enable students to explore the rich diversity of our world's religious cultures and to understand the deep theological and philosophical questions underpinning them. As a student of York St John University, you will also be encouraged to reflect on the role that religious thought and practice plays in our own society, and to explore the questions that you have about this fascinating area.

We believe in learning through encounter and dialogue, and through observing and engaging in practical experiences. In this way our degrees remain rooted in the realities of our everyday life, and challenge us to reflect on these in our search for meaning. We also offer unique opportunities to explore your ideas through creative expression. To facilitate this, we run modules which explore the creative arts as a medium for philosophical or religious ideas; these modules enable students to communicate and develop the understanding they have gained in their degree through visual art and creative writing.

At York St John University you will be part of a thriving department committed to excellence in teaching, learning and research. You will be taught by experienced staff who are passionate about their subject and dedicated to enabling students to achieve success. The research interests of the department are wide and varied with staff publishing work on a range of topics within theology, philosophy, religious studies and ethics.

Sue Yore - Course Leader

96% of 2017 Theology & Religious Studies are graduates now in employment or further study, with 82% of these in professional or managerial roles.

(Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2017)

Course structure

We offer two programmes within the Department of Theology and Religious Studies:

  1. Religion, Philosophy and Ethics where students will explore philosophical ideas and important ethical issues inside and outside of religious traditions
  2. Theology and Religious Studies where the emphasis is on the interrelation of religious belief and practice in world religions, and the exploration of key topics in Christian theology

Both awards require students to take compulsory modules with content related to their chosen programme alongside optional modules which can be across both programmes.

Level 1

Modules include:

Studying Religion (20 credits)
This module introduces you to the academic study of Theology and Religious Studies.  It will introduce basic terms, methodologies and issues in the study of religion in preparation for your degree programme.

Values & Virtues: Ethics & Religion (20 credits)
The module will take you through the key concepts and theories in moral philosophy. You will challenge muddy thinking and learn how to identify, critique and apply moral theories with clarity. By the end of the module, you will have gained a critical understanding of classic and contemporary theories underlying religious and secular ethics.

Philosophy & Religion (20 credits)
The module will take you through important debates in the philosophy of religion, from the classic to the contemporary. You will gain a critical understanding of religion as a pervasive aspect of human society as well challenging preconceived ideas and learn how to construct rational arguments.

Introduction to Islam (20 credits)
Islam is a much discussed topic, but often people misunderstand and misrepresent this diverse tradition. We will cover 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. The experience of Muslims in the UK will be unpacked from a religious, social and political perspective.

Introduction to Asian Religions (20 credits)
This module introduces students to both individual religions of Asia, as well as addressing some key problems with the study of Asian religions in the West. You will study in turn Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, and be introduced to other Asian religions such as Jainism and Shinto.

World Christianity (20 credits)
This module introduces the story of Christianity. Students will consider the religion’s global spread, considering its interaction with diverse cultural, political and social contexts. The aim is to enable an understanding of Christianity today, the nature and impact of secularisation and areas of growth and decline.


Level 2

Modules include:

Religion & Human Diversity (20 credits)
This module incorporates the study and development of research methodologies and approaches used within religious studies with a focus on the anthropology of religion. There are opportunities to study indigenous religions and cultural forms of major world religions or different Christian denominations in specific contexts.  It also helps to prepare students for third year research modules allowing them to choose a religious community to study from which to begin a research project.

Matters of Life & Death (20 credits)
The module will take you through some of the key life and death issues in practical philosophy. You will challenge existing assumptions by identifying, critiquing and assessing arguments. By the end of the module, you will have gained a critical understanding of religious and medical ethics.

The Sikh Tradition (20 credits)
This module examines the fundamental dictates of the tradition on matters such as caste, gender and violence, and the reality of how these have been applied within historical and contemporary Sikh traditions. The module further aims to dispel notions of unity among Sikhs by acknowledging the different forms of authority and institutions. Both Indian and diasporic cultures will be explored  in relation to Sikh belief and practice with an emphasis on faith in Britain today.

Film, Ethics & Theology (20 credits)
This module will explore the way in which film may be used as a source of theological and ethical reflection and, introduce students to a range of approaches to understanding the significance of film-watching more generally. Students will be given a conceptual base on which they will then develop their own engagement with film.

Work Related Learning (20 credits)
This module ensures students are aware of the requirements, resources and opportunities involved in seeking graduate career pathways, postgraduate study or, for mature students, other appropriate vocations. An important element of this module is that students research and reflect on their own learning in relation to skills and career opportunities.

Mysticism and World Religions (20 credits)
In this module, students examine philosophical theories of mysticism, key themes across tradition, such as love and desire, notions of religious experience, mysticism and politics. Through exploring key mystical movements throughout history to the present, students will understand and write about how mysticism plays a part in different world religions.

Level 3

Modules include:

Feminist Ethics & Religion (20 credits)
The module will take you through advanced moral theory and issues in applied ethics, considering both traditional approaches and contemporary feminist arguments. You will challenge presumptions and prejudices and learn to identify gender discrimination in theory and practice, while relating your findings to the teaching and practice of the Abrahamic religions.

Evolution, Theology & Ethics (20 credits)
Explore the philosophical implications of the theory of evolution by natural selection. In doing so, you will consider the relationship between scientific knowledge/theory and matters of existential or ethical significance.

Religion & Globalisation (20 credits)
This module will includes examination of the religious systems of global society, religions as geographical representations of the global world, religious responses to global issues and more.

Religion and Myth (20 credits)
This module examines the phenomenon of myth through the lens of religious studies. Drawing upon traditions as varied as Hinduism, Christianity, Shinto and Vodou, this module will allow students to develop an understand of the role that myth plays in religious traditions according to the key theories in the discipline. 

Religion & Creative Writing (20 credits)
This module examines the relationship between creative writing and religious ideas in a devised piece of creative writing. Students will participate in writing workshops to support them in the production of a piece of creative piece of writing as part of their final assessment. 

Religion & the Visual Arts (20 credits)
This module explores the relationship between  religion and the visual arts with a focus on contemporary art. We will cover a whole range of artistic genres, both with specific religious subject matter and without, to explore the myriad ways that religious ideas are expressed in art.

Independent Research Modules (40 credits)

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Disability Advice

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of disability advice services to assist students throughout their studies.

Teaching & Assessment

You will be introduced to a reflective approach to learning to help you develop your academic, personal and professional skills and you will be encouraged to reflect on your learning throughout your degree programme.


The tutors will use a variety of learning and teaching methods in their sessions which are tailored both towards the subject and different approaches to learning (for example, lectures, seminars, group activities, visiting speakers, media, visits to relevant places of interest.) You will be given opportunities to actively participate in the teaching sessions and to develop your confidence through learning activities such as group discussion and presentations. This will enable you to develop both independence and collaborative skills as you learn both with and from your peers. Your tutor will guide you in preparing for these activities.



You will encounter a range of assessment strategies throughout your degree programme. These are designed to help you to enhance existing skills and build confidence in developing new ones. Assessments will include written, oral and visual communication, which you will be able to build on in the future. For example: essays, group or individual oral presentations, reflective writing, articles, exhibitions, portfolios and dissertations.


Entry requirements


The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

96-112 UCAS Tariff points

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

Calculate your tariff points.

Personal statement

Essential criteria

As well as a strong standard of written English, we also look for the ability to demonstrate knowledge and commitment to the subject and an open, wider view of the current issues. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, through previous study (including qualifications in sociology, history and philosophy & ethics) , wider reading and a personal interest in the field of Religion and Theology. Applicants should display a willingness to learn about world religions and cultures in a tolerant atmosphere that welcomes open and free debate on the critical study of religion.

Valued criteria

Candidates can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include relevant work/voluntary/overseas experience, career plans and transferrable skills. Other extra-curricular activities could include attendance at lectures, membership of appropriate clubs/organisations and community work (e.g. Duke of Edinburgh Awards).

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

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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 will depend on whether you're a UK & EU student or an international (non-EU) student. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course.

Find out more about funding for Foundation Year and/or Placement Year by visiting the Funding Advice pages of our website.

York St John offer special reductions to students graduating from York St John University Undergraduate degrees in 2019 and continuing directly onto Postgraduate study. Find out more about discounts and scholarships.

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


Tuition fees

UK & EU 2019 / 20

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE Primary and Secondary and UG Health Programme degrees is £9,250 per year for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Fees & Funding

Overseas 2019 / 20

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE degrees is £12,750 per year for international students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

International Fees & Funding

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

Module-specific costs

  • 1RS008, 1RS009, 1RS010, 2RS016, 3RS010 - Students are required to purchase set texts for each module. New copies cost between £15.00 and £30.00 per module, however, second-hand copies can be bought for as little as £2.00 - £3.00
  • 3RS004 - Students are required to purchase set novels, totalling around £60.00 for new copies. Second-hand copies can also be purchased at discounted prices.
  • 3RS002 - Students will need to purchase equipment as part of their portfolio production. This includes compulsory purchases of a sketch book, colour printing and finishing, totalling a maximum of £50.00 per student. We also recommend visits to art galleries, which will incur additional travel costs.
  • 1RS005, 1RS007, 2RS010, 3RS013 – Students are advised to purchase texts, however, this is not compulsory.
  • 1RS011 - Some students may incur a small cost associated with the production of their zine, for example, if they decide to use card or professional printing.
  • 2RS019, 2RS020, 2RS021 - These work-related learning modules may incur additional costs for DBS checks and placement costs.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation webpages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Study abroad

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

Financial help and support

Help and advice on funding your studies at York St John is available through our Money Advice service.

International students

We welcome international students from all over the world at York St John University and have a vibrant international community. You can find out more on our International Pages about how you can study with us and what it’s like to live and learn in York, one of the UK’s most historic cities.

Unistats data for this course

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