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.

Key facts

UCAS CodeVV65
Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration3 years
Studying in WelshThis course offers elements that are taught through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.
Typical places availableThe 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 receivedThe School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically receives 1450 applications. The School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically receives 1800 applications.
Typical A level offerABB. 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 offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above).
Typical International Baccalaureate offer35 points
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark

Philosophy Religious Studies/Theology

Admissions tutor(s)

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 by May 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.

Year one

Students will take 60 credits of Religious Studies and 60 credits of Philosophy modules.

Year two

Module titleModule codeCredits
Elementary Sanskrit IRT120120 credits
Elementary Sanskrit IIRT120220 credits
Classical Hebrew 1RT220120 credits
Classical Hebrew IIRT220220 credits
Hellenistic Greek IRT320120 credits
Beliefs in the CrucibleRT520420 credits
Christian 'Church' Today: Its Meaning, Life and MissionRT520520 credits
Theology On The Edge: Christian Thought in A Changing WorldRT531520 credits
Christian Social Ethics TodayRT731720 credits
Understanding Christian WorshipRT432020 credits
Elementary Arabic IRT120320 credits
Elementary Arabic IIRT120420 credits
Arabic Texts IRT131020 credits
Arabic Texts IIRT131120 credits
Majority World Voices: Global South TheologiesRT734220 credits
Hellenistic Greek IIRT320220 credits
Buddhism: The First Thousand YearsRT122720 credits
Early Hindu Texts in SanskritRT132820 credits
The Life of the BuddhaRT135220 credits
Early HinduismRT133820 credits
Open Choice TranslationRT134920 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
Emotions, Symbols, and Rituals: Studying Societies Through FilmRT121520 credits
Islam in the Contemporary WorldRT132720 credits
Bodies, Spirits, and Souls: The Person, Ethics, and ReligionRT133920 credits
Religion in the WorkplaceRT135420 credits
The Most Famous Hindu Text: Bhagavadgita, Text & ContextRT135520 credits
Foundational EthicsRT135620 credits
God, Good and the Ugly: Topics in Applied Islamic EthicsRT135720 credits
Medieval Church in the Latin WestRT135820 credits
Exploring GnosticismRT135920 credits
Understanding Muslim ScripturesRT136020 credits
History of Christian Spirituality 1550 - Present DayRT432120 credits
Money, Sex and Power in the Early ChurchRT432520 credits
New Testament Gospels and ActsRT320720 credits
New Testament Greek Texts IIRT332720 credits
Open Choice DissertationRT731620 credits
Philosophy of MindSE431320 credits
Philosophy of Contemporary PoliticsSE436320 credits
MetaphysicsSE436420 credits
Modern Moral PhilosophySE437320 credits
French Philosophy: Sartre To BadiouSE438020 credits
Contemporary Ethical TheorySE438820 credits
Kant & HeideggerSE439020 credits
EpistemologySE439820 credits
Hanes Athroniaeth WleidyddolSE439520 credits
Credoau'r CymrySE440020 credits
Philosophy of LanguageSE435820 credits

Year three

Module titleModule codeCredits
Elementary Sanskrit IRT120120 credits
Elementary Sanskrit IIRT120220 credits
Classical Hebrew 1RT220120 credits
Classical Hebrew IIRT220220 credits
Hellenistic Greek IRT320120 credits
Hellenistic Greek IIRT320220 credits
Beliefs in the CrucibleRT520420 credits
Christian 'Church' Today: Its Meaning, Life and MissionRT520520 credits
Theology On The Edge: Christian Thought in A Changing WorldRT531520 credits
Open Choice DissertationRT731620 credits
Christian Social Ethics TodayRT731720 credits
Understanding Christian WorshipRT432020 credits
Elementary Arabic IRT120320 credits
Elementary Arabic IIRT120420 credits
Arabic Texts IRT131020 credits
Arabic Texts IIRT131120 credits
Majority World Voices: Global South TheologiesRT734220 credits
Buddhism: The First Thousand YearsRT122720 credits
Early Hindu Texts in SanskritRT132820 credits
Open Choice TranslationRT134920 credits
The Life of the BuddhaRT135220 credits
Early HinduismRT133820 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
Emotions, Symbols, and Rituals: Studying Societies Through FilmRT121520 credits
Islam in the Contemporary WorldRT132720 credits
Religion in the WorkplaceRT135420 credits
Bodies, Spirits, and Souls: The Person, Ethics, and ReligionRT133920 credits
The Most Famous Hindu Text: Bhagavadgita, Text & ContextRT135520 credits
Foundational EthicsRT135620 credits
God, Good and the Ugly: Topics in Applied Islamic EthicsRT135720 credits
Medieval Church in the Latin WestRT135820 credits
Exploring GnosticismRT135920 credits
Understanding Muslim ScripturesRT136020 credits
Hebrew TextsRT230420 credits
Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern JudaismRT230620 credits
New Testament Greek Texts IIRT332720 credits
History of Christian Spirituality 1550 - Present DayRT432120 credits
Money, Sex and Power in the Early ChurchRT432520 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
New Testament Gospels and ActsRT320720 credits
Philosophy of ScienceSE431220 credits
Philosophy and The ArtsSE432520 credits
Philosophy and Literary TheorySE432920 credits
MetaethicsSE436720 credits
Moral PsychologySE437220 credits
The Problem of ConsciousnessSE437920 credits
Dissertation in PhilosophySE438520 credits
Advanced Moral PhilosophySE439220 credits
NietzscheSE530620 credits
Cyfiawnder Byd-eangSE439420 credits
Hanes Athroniaeth yr 20fed Ganrif yng NghymruSE439620 credits
Feminist PhilosophySE438620 credits
Political Philosophy: Methods & ApproachesSE440120 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

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.

Duration

3 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

 

 

Applications received

Typical applications received

Accreditations

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.

Other information

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. 

Distinctive features

  • 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.

Admissions tutors

Dr Richard Gray, Admissions Tutor

Dr Louise Child, Course Administrator

Dr Louise Child, Admissions Tutor


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