Philosophy and Religious Studies (BA)
The Joint Honours degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies provides you with the opportunity of specialising in two university honours subjects
We offer challenging programmes of modules in each discipline. The flexibility of the programme allows you to specialise and develop your own interests, whilst acquiring a solid, broad-based education and developing transferable skills.
Religion and philosophy are fundamental parts of how most cultures have sought to express their understanding of the purpose of life and the foundation of personal and social behaviour.
Religion has been part of human experience from the earliest traces of human existence up to the present day. It has been the way most cultures have sought to express their understanding of the purpose of life and the foundation of personal and social behaviour.
There are two related aspects of the Philosophy programme at Cardiff that mark it out: a strong emphasis on ethics, politics, and aesthetics among the modules on offer and our teaching is spread equally across both the 'analytic' and 'Continental' styles of Western philosophy.
As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives as well as skills and that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research.
|Entry point||September 2016|
|Studying in Welsh||This course offers elements that are taught through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.|
|Typical places available||The School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically has 350 places available. The School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically has 320 places available.|
|Typical applications received||The School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically receives 1450 applications. The School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically receives 1800 applications.|
|Typical A level offer||ABB. Three A-level subjects other than General Studies. Two AS subjects other than General Studies may be considered in lieu of a third A-level|
|Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offer||WBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above).|
|Typical International Baccalaureate offer||35 points|
|Other qualifications||Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.|
Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
|QAA subject benchmark|
Philosophy Religious Studies/Theology
Dr Richard Gray, Admissions Tutor
Dr Louise Child, Course Administrator
Dr Louise Child, Admissions Tutor
Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published in July 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.
This is a three-year degree programme comprising some core modules that provide essential skills and training as well as a wide variety of optional modules for you to select from to tailor your degree to meet your interests.
In each year of study, you take 60 credits of Religious Studies and 60 credits of Philosophy modules. If you wish, you can write a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either subject area in your final year.
Students will take 60 credits of Religious Studies and 60 credits of Philosophy modules.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Introduction To Biblical Hebrew||RT2104||20 credits|
|Further Biblical Hebrew||RT2105||20 credits|
|Introduction To The Bible||RT2103||20 credits|
|The Story of Christianity||RT4103||20 credits|
|Introduction to New Testament Greek||RT3107||20 credits|
|Further New Testament Greek||RT3108||20 credits|
|Introduction To Arabic||RT1109||20 credits|
|Further Elementary Arabic||RT1110||20 credits|
|Introduction To The Study of Religion 1||RT1111||20 credits|
|Introduction To The Study of Religion 2||RT1112||20 credits|
|Four Great Works in Philosophy||SE4104||20 credits|
|Introduction To Sanskrit||RT1106||20 credits|
|Further Elementary Sanskrit||RT1107||20 credits|
|Introduction to Political Thought||PL9196||20 credits|
We have a supportive learning environment, where students are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge.
Our programmes foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory, and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team-working, independent research, and time management.Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, practicals, field trips, and one-to-one tutorials. You will also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from tutors. A range of formative and summative assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios, and creative assignments.
School of English, Communication and Philosophy
In 2013/14, 91% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.
School of History, Archaeology and Religion
In 2013/14, 92% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.
QAA subject benchmark
|QAA subject benchmark|
Philosophy Religious Studies/Theology
Overview and aims of this course/programme
The BA in Religious Studies and Philosophy gives students the opportunity to study the most general questions about reality, knowledge and ethics in Philosophy whilst developing a critical understanding of Religious Studies with relevance to the historical development of religions in contemporary societies.
Philosophy combines breadth of content with the flexibility required for students to pursue specific interests and to specialise if they want to.You will study morality including applied ethics, normative ethics andmetaethics; political philosophy including political issues and the legitimacy of political institutions; the philosophical aesthetics of art, music and literature; the nature of mind, thought, language and action; the fundamental nature of reality; the nature of knowledge. You will do this through studying some of the most influential writings in Western literature.
Religious Studies encourages you to explore religions and theologies in relation to a wide range of historical, theoretical, and social issues, and according to a range of methodological approaches (incl. textual hermeneutics, language study, gender theories, cultural and theoretical anthropology, conflict studies, media, globalisation etc). Students have the opportunity to study a wide range of religious traditions including: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism.
What should I know about year five?
Students are expected to attend and participate in the lectures and seminars for all modules on which they are enrolled. In line with University policy, attendance will be monitored at specific ‘points of engagement’ throughout the year. Students with good cause to be absent should inform the member of staff who convenes module, who will provide the necessary support. Students with extenuating circumstances should submit the Extenuating Circumstances Form in accordance with the School’s procedures.
The total number of hours which students are expected to devote to each 20-credit module is 200. Of these, 30 hours will be contact hours with staff (lectures and seminars); the remaining 170 hours should be spent on self-directed learning for that module (reading, preparation for seminars, research, reflection, formative writing, assessed work, exam revision).
Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study, which can be found here: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/govrn/cocom/equalityanddiversity/dignityatwork/index.html
How is this course/programme structured?
The programme is studied full-time over three academic years. 360 credits are taken (120 credits per year). Year 1 is a foundation year designed to equip you with the skills for advanced study and to give you an overview of the subjects that will enable you to make informed choices from the modules available in Year 2 and the Final Year. In Year 2 you select from a range of modules in which you will build on the foundation year, developing a solid understanding of the core areas of Philosophical inquiry and the study of Religion. In Final Year there is a range of more specialised modules in which you can pursue interests developed in the previous two years and engage with current issues in research and scholarship, enabling you further to develop analytical and presentational skills that employers will value, as well as equipping you for postgraduate study.
You will take up to three subjects in the first year which must include Philosophy (40 credits) and Religious Studies (40 credits), with the balance of credits chosen from one other subject block (the choices available include Theology and a range of classical source languages of Religious Studies such as Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and Sanskrit). The second and third years consist of 120 credits per year chosen from the range of Philosophy and Religious Studies optional modules for that particular year of study. Joint honours students must take 60 credits in each department in their second and third years. Students must pass each academic year before being allowed to proceed.
What should I know about year four?
No specific equipment is required.
What should I know about year three?
Many of the learning outcomes listed above involve practising skills that are transferable to numerous areas of employment. Students who engage with the programme will practice and develop the ability to:
- Communicate concepts, theories and arguments and the appraisal of them accurately and clearly, both orally and in written form
- Assess the validity of different evidence and argument
- Use a variety of sources in a comprehensive and well-documented manner
- Explore critically their own beliefs and values
- Display sensitivity to the diversity of beliefs, practices and ways of life
- Use electronic sources of information effectively
What should I know about the preliminary year?
A diverse range of learning and teaching styles is used throughout the programme. Students will attend lectures using a wide variety of sources such as texts, images, film, music, drama.The lectures are supported by seminars, where the smaller group sizes encourage acquisition of more specialized knowledge, understanding and skills using methods such as group work and discussion, oral presentations and source criticism. Students also attend tutorials (personal one-to-one meetings with a lecturer) and are expected to study independently in preparation for each session.
Each one-hour seminar requires six to eight hours of preparation; in the seminar itself you will use the knowledge acquired during the preparatory time to present and test your arguments. In the process, you will receive feedback on your ideas and arguments from lecturers and fellow students. In your essays you will combine a range of sources – sometimes contradictory – into a coherent argument using evidence from a range of scholarly and academic sources. You will receive individual feedback on your essays from lecturers.
Core modules in Year One usually comprise of two weekly lectures, supplemented by seminars in small groups. In Year Two, and especially Year Three, the emphasis shifts further towards seminar work. In total, you would be expected to work 35-40 hours per week.
All of the taught modules within the programme in Years 2 and 3 are optional. In the Final Year students can choose to write a dissertation on a topic of their choice (subject to supervisory availability and approval of the title by the Board of Studies).
What should I know about year one?
Formative assessment is provided as feedback on coursework through written comments and individual discussion and on oral seminar presentations through individual guidance. Summative assessment for most modules takes place through one or more of the following methods: unseen examinations; open book examinations; portfolios of essays; and (if chosen) the dissertation. The form(s) of summative assessment for individual modules are set out in the relevant module description. Assessment methods are chosen as most appropriate to elicit the skills, knowledge and competencies developed by the module. Not all skills are assessed directly (e.g. the accurate and clear oral communication of concept and theories). However, opportunities are made available for the development of such skills in seminar presentations, and their value is emphasised to students. Details of any academic or competence standards which may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments for students with disabilities are documented in the Module Descriptions.
Every student is assigned a personal tutor and will meet him/her for regular Academic Progress Meetings (one per semester). There is a form to fill in before each Academic Progress meeting which is designed to help you reflect on the written feedback and the reasons for the marks you have received from the previous round of assessment. You will discuss this feedback and your reflections on it with your personal tutor.
In addition, all staff have weekly office hours during teaching weeks and students may make appointments to see their personal tutor or module leaders on a one-to-one basis about any issues. Staff may also be contacted by email. Details of the office hours and email addresses of staff are provided in the Module Guide for each module.
Use of Learning Central, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, will vary from module to module as the module leader feels appropriate for the specific contents of the module but will normally at least include making lecture handouts available online.
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of important concepts, theories, problems and arguments in the main areas of Philosophy, such as metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, logic, moral philosophy and, political philosophy.
- Demonstrate familiarity with the ideas and arguments of some of the major philosophers in the history of the subject, encountered in their own writings.
- Demonstrate awareness of some major issues currently at the frontiers of philosophical debate and research.
- Display precision of thought and expression in the analysis and formulation of complex and controversial problems.
- Construct and justify arguments whileforming independent, fair and well-supported assessments of conflicting views and opinions.
- Explore critically beliefs and values, and question their presuppositions.
- Appreciate the diversity of competing theories, and of competing interpretations of theories and texts, in Philosophy and Religious Studies.
- Apply philosophical concepts, theories, arguments and methods to some of the major problems, both theoretical and practical, facing human reflection, life and society.
- Demonstrate critical understanding of religious traditions on the basis of source material from different religious traditions and of modern discourses on religion.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of religions in a global context, in history and in the present.
- Demonstrate a general understanding of the various approaches adopted by Religious Studies and Theology to the study of religious traditions and theologies.
- Develop an awareness of the different theories of religion, but also critically assess the limits of knowledge that can be achieved about religion.
How will I be taught?
Philosophy and Religious Studies at Cardiff is taught by staff with an international reputation for innovative and influential research. Our passion for these subjects and the strength and range of our scholarship enable us to offer a degree which is:
- Inclusive.We teach the central areas within modern Philosophy and Religious Studies so you will encounter a broad range of issues, approaches and religious traditions.
- Challenging. Research-led teaching means students engage with new ideas that are helping to shape the future of the disciplines. We see the study of Philosophy and Religious Studies as a way of engaging in pressing issues from the world outside of academia.
- Diverse. After Year 1 there are no compulsory modules. We give you choice – but we also give you the skills and knowledge to make informed choices. The second year of your degree will equip you with a thorough understanding of the core arguments of the principal areas of Philosophy and Religious Studies. This will provide a solid foundation for the third year. Here modules will focus on the topics that the lecturers themselves are actively researching. You will therefore have the opportunity to explore issues in greater depth, as your competence, knowledge and confidence increases. Our teaching varies between modules, ranging from traditional-style lectures to smaller-group seminars in which students develop their writing and presentational skills in a supportive environment designed to help them take responsibility for their own learning.
- Engaged. At Cardiff we do not think of Philosophy and Religious Studies as isolated from the rest of culture or separate from society. We take pride in an approach that takes notice of the place of our disciplines in public life.
Dr Richard Gray, Admissions Tutor
Dr Louise Child, Course Administrator
Dr Louise Child, Admissions Tutor
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Get information and advice about making an application, find out when the key dates are and learn more about our admissions criteria.How to apply