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Religious Studies and Philosophy (BA)

Entry year


The Joint Honours degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies provides you with the opportunity of specialising in two university honours subjects

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Course overview

Religion and philosophy are fundamental parts of how people have sought to express their understanding of the purpose of life, and the foundation of personal and social behaviour.

In this thought-provoking degree combining two complementary disciplines, you will explore your own and other peoples' religious history and culture, and some of the fundamental questions of existence.

How should we live our lives? What should we believe? How should we set about trying to answer these questions, and how are we even able to think about them? Philosophy investigates these profound issues.

As the world’s oldest academic discipline, Philosophy has developed a range of concepts and techniques for addressing complicated problems. We equip you to analyse and construct complex chains of reasoning, developing and refining your thinking skills to consider the pressing puzzles of our time.

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 why we live and how we ought to behave.

Unlike other UK degrees, we explore beyond the major world religions, investigating lesser known faiths such as Jainism and mysticism. We give you space to focus on the ethical dimension of all traditions as you carry our your studies.

We offer a challenging and flexible programme of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships. Experts in their fields, our lecturers are all active researchers, sharing the latest thinking in the classroom.

Distinctive features

This degree provides the training necessary for students who wish to study either discipline at postgraduate level, and a valuable range of intellectual and transferable skills for students who wish to enter a variety of other professions.

UCAS codeVV65
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
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.
  1. School of English, Communication and Philosophy

    John Percival Building

    Colum Drive

    Cardiff

    CF10 3EU

  2. School of History, Archaeology and Religion

    John Percival Building

    Colum Drive

    Cardiff

    CF10 3EU

Entry requirements

BBC-BCC. Please note General Studies and Critical Thinking will not be accepted.     

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDM Humanties or Social Science. Any other BTEC subject if combined with an A-Level excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking.

Achieve the IB Diploma with 655 in 3 HL subjects. 6 in HL History, Classics or Ancient History preferable

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of English, Communication & Philosophy and School of History, Archaeology & Religion admissions criteria pages.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

GCSE English Language Grade C or 4, IGCSE English First Language grade C, IGCSE English as a Second Language grade C 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Additional costs

Course specific equipment

No.

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

This is a three-year degree programme comprising 120 credits per year. In each year of study, you take 60 credits of Religious Studies and 60 credits of Philosophy modules. 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

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

You may study religion through texts, poetry, art, film, biographies, fieldwork and drama. You will be introduced to key ideas about ritual, gender and place that provide a dynamic foundation for further study across a range of modules offered in your second and third years. You will also have the option to study one of the original languages of religious texts on offer.

Your Philosophy modules will provide a comprehensive grounding in the subject, giving you a strong foundation to build on in years two and three

Module titleModule codeCredits
The Origins and Legacies of Religion in the Modern WorldRT010120 credits
Mind, Thought and RealitySE410120 credits
Moral and Political PhilosophySE410320 credits
Critical ThinkingSE410720 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
A World Full of GodsHS000120 credits
Reading Latin1HS312120 credits
Reading Latin 2HS312220 credits
Reading Greek 1HS312320 credits
Reading Greek 2HS312420 credits
Themes and Issues in the Study of ReligionRT010220 credits
Introduction to a Scriptural Language 1RT010320 credits
Introduction to a Scriptural Language 2RT010420 credits
Introduction to the BibleRT010520 credits
The Story of ChristianityRT010620 credits

Year two

In Year Two, you will take 60 credits of Religious Studies modules and 60 credits of Philosophy modules. 

In Religious Studies you will have the opportunity to develop a more advanced knowledge of a range of religious traditions, building on introductory modules undertaken in year one and develop your awareness of the role of religion in shaping the cultural, intellectual, and ethical concerns of contemporary societies.

After Year 1 there are no compulsory Philosophy 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.

Year three

You choose a further 60 credits of Religious Studies and 60 credits of Philosophy modules.

You will have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of religious themes and topics with a range of specialised modules. You may also acquire skills in qualitative and quantitative research into religion(s) in contemporary societies, depending on the modules you choose.

Philosophy modules in year three reflect the current research activities of the staff who teach them, building on the themes studied in year two. You will read and think about the very same texts that the module leader is currently thinking and writing about and will have the opportunity to explore issues in greater depth, as your competence, knowledge and confidence increases.

If you wish, you can write a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either Religious Studies or Philosophy.

Module titleModule codeCredits
What is ReligionRT020120 credits
Independent Study or Critical TranslationRT020220 credits
Exploring Christian DoctrineRT020320 credits
Christian EthicsRT020420 credits
The Hebrew Bible: Stories, Suffering and JusticeRT020520 credits
Buddhism: The First Thousand YearsRT020820 credits
Intermediate Scriptual LanguageRT021120 credits
Elementary Language for the Study of ReligionRT021220 credits
Further Elementary Language for the Study of ReligionRT021320 credits
Emotions, Symbols and Rituals: Introducing the Anthropology of Religion through FilmRT021420 credits
Foundational EthicsRT021520 credits
From Jesus to the New Jerusalem: New Testament StudiesRT021620 credits
Dissertation or Critical TranslationRT030130 credits
The War of the Worlds: An Introduction to the MahabharataRT030430 credits
The Life and Legacy of Dietrich BonhoefferRT030530 credits
Exploring GnosticismRT030630 credits
Islam in the Contemporary WorldRT030730 credits
The War Against the Jews: Antisemitism, the Holocaust, and Jewish ExperienceRT030830 credits
Advanced Scriptural LanguageRT030930 credits
Religion and the News: Conflict and ContextRT031030 credits
Religion and the News: Conflict and ContextRT130020 credits
Islam in the Contemporary WorldRT132720 credits
Exploring GnosticismRT135920 credits
History and Religion of Ancient IsraelRT230120 credits
The War of the Worlds: an introduction to the MahabharataRT340220 credits
The Life and Legacy of Dietrich BonhoefferRT340720 credits
The War Against the Jews: Antisemitism, the Holocaust, and Jewish ExperienceRT340820 credits
Advanced Scriptural LanguageRT340920 credits
MetaethicsSE436720 credits
Moral PsychologySE437220 credits
The Problem of ConsciousnessSE437920 credits
Dissertation in PhilosophySE438520 credits
Cyfiawnder Byd-eangSE439420 credits
Hanes Athroniaeth yr 20fed Ganrif yng NghymruSE439620 credits
Cognition and TechnologySE441020 credits
Animal MindsSE441120 credits
The Social ImaginationSE441220 credits
Modern German PhilosophySE441320 credits
Athroniaeth CrefyddSE441720 credits
Belief & IrrationalitySE441920 credits
Desires, Emotions and HappinessSE442020 credits
Ethics of KnowingSE442220 credits
Beauty & EthicsSE442520 credits
Moral ResponsibilitySE442620 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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, and one-to-one tutorials. You will also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from tutors.

Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas.  Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment.

Seminars usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. They offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

20%

Guided independent study

80%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

18%

Guided independent study

82%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

19%

Guided independent study

81%

Placements

0%

How will I be supported?

Your scheduled contact hours will be supplemented by the opportunity for individual meetings with academic staff, by supportive academic progress meetings with your personal tutor and by the opportunity to attend research seminars and careers activities.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

How will I be assessed?

Modules are assessed by various methods, including coursework essays, written reports, source criticisms, critical reviews, examinations, class tests and oral presentations.

Coursework and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments.  Assessment, including coursework, exams, and oral presentations, will test the different skills you have learned. 

Progression is built into assessment, in that you will do smaller guided tasks in Year One, as well as formative essays in Years Two and Three. Progression is also evident in the growing emphasis on lengthier, independent work culminating in an optional 10,000-word dissertation in Year Three.  Final Year modules also demand deeper engagement with independent methods of working, together with greater demands on handling critically a larger number of bibliographical tasks and items.

Feedback

You will receive written feedback on all your coursework assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations and seminar work. You will also receive oral and written feedback from your supervisor on preparatory work and drafts for large bodies of work (E.G. the Independent Study and Dissertation). Individual written feedback is provided for exams.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

58%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

42%

Year 2

Written exams

37%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

63%

Year 3

Written exams

45%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

55%

What skills will I practise and develop?

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. These will allow you to:

  • grasp complex issues with confidence
  • ask the right questions of complex texts
  • have an imaginative appreciation of different views and options and analyse these critically
  • identify and apply relevant data
  • develop practical research skills
  • propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence
  • communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech
  • work to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time
  • learn from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights
  • work as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving
  • use IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate
  • take responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

In 2015/16, 95% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

English literature and philosophy graduates have excellent analytic and communication skills that fit them for a full range of professions and further training. Their cultural expertise and intellectual abilities are valued in the public and private sector, and in contexts as varied as the classroom, the law courts or the media.

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

In 2015/16, 94% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

We believe in giving our graduates the best opportunities to find employment. We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help you identify your skills and attributes and have our own, in-School Workplace Placements and employability officer.

Some of our graduates enter professions which make direct use of their academic expertise, while others compete successfully in a wide range of other fields.

Placements

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion has a dedicated Work Placements Officer who supports students with work experience opportunities both in and out of term time and careers advice.

Studying in Welsh

Up to 33% of this course is available through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.

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Saturday 26 October

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