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Exploring World Religions

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This module explores religions from around the world.

You will be provided with the tools required for the academic study of religion, and each week a new faith will be introduced and used to frame wider questions surrounding sacred texts, religious practices, religious authority, and identity.

Emphasis will be placed on the diversity within religious traditions, noting how historical, cultural, and social factors influence the way religion is practiced across the globe.

The course will take a range of approaches to the study of religion, beginning with a largely historical examination of early Christianity, and moving on to anthropological, sociological, and psychological perspectives to explore religions such as Islam and Jainism.

Throughout the module, the course will consider the main issues that religion faces in the modern day, such as migration, technology, secularisation, and the emergence of ‘new religions’.

Learning and teaching

The module will be taught online, incorporating recorded lectures and online seminars and workshops involving class discussion and group work on specific topics relating to the module.

The discussion and group work will enable students to think critically and to contribute to the debates and topics presented during the lectures.

The discussion-led sessions and the lectures will be supplemented by resources available to students via Learning Central.


  • What is Religious Studies?
  • Practising and Studying Religion
  • An Introduction to Greek and Roman Religious Traditions
  • An Introduction to Early Christianity
  • An Introduction to Islam
  • An Introduction to Buddhism
  • An Introduction to Jainism
  • An Introduction to Hinduism
  • New Religious Movements and Contemporary Religion

Coursework and assessment

This course has three short pieces of assessed work which together should add up to around 1500 words.

These pieces of work have been designed to help you in developing the skills and approaches that you need to study religions successfully.

The first of these will allow you to practice putting your ideas in words in an academic form.

The second will help you to develop your skills of source analysis, whilst the third will give you the opportunity to write a short essay.

There will be lots of help and support available for all three assignments.

Reading suggestions

  • Bowie, F. The Anthropology of Religion: An Introduction (Oxford, 2000; second edition (recommended): 2006)
  • Corrywright, D. and Morgan, P. Get set for Religious Studies (Edinburgh, 2006)
  • Rodrigues, H. and Harding, J, S. Introduction to the Study of Religion (Oxford, 2009)

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.