Religions, Philosophies and Ethics

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How to Apply

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Explore the world and the challenges it faces through different traditions of thought, belief, and values.

  • Global – gain an international perspective on religion, philosophy and ethics
  • Contemporary – explore current challenges, debates and different ways of thinking
  • Applied – relate your thinking to solve practical problems

“The material is fun and engaging: you are constantly re-evaluating your own views and it offers the opportunity to gain a more objective position on the world. The staff and my fellow students are incredibly open-minded and discussions are always interesting.”
–Adam Da Rocha, Religions, Philosophies and Ethics student (2013-2016)

Why study Religions, Philosophies and Ethics?

This Religions, Philosophies and Ethics course is recognised for drawing together different disciplines and traditions of thought. You’ll address these individually, as well as exploring the connections between them.

You’ll gain insights into fundamentally different ways of seeing and explaining the world, reflecting on your own beliefs, values and assumptions. Intellectually challenging, you’ll consider practical responses to current issues, through projects with environmental charities, faith groups, and community organisations.

Course structure

You’ll explore religions, philosophies and ethics from a global perspective, not just a Western one. We examine the philosophies and ethics of the Indian subcontinent and China, and a range of religious traditions, from Buddhism to Christianity to Paganism.

We relate these systems and traditions to topical and emerging issues in the contemporary world: gender, identity, our relationship to the natural work and environmental crisis, among many others. The course is dynamic, staying up-to-date with changing religious and philosophical thinking, and the context in which these changes takes place. It demands, and helps you to develop, rigorous and systematic thinking.


  • Year 1
    We introduce you to the study of religions as an academic discipline, including the study of contemporary religious traditions from Druidry to the Bahá’i faith. You’ll be introduced to the principles of philosophical and ethical enquiry. These are the building blocks of the course, alongside a number of optional modules.
  • Year 2
    You’ll examine philosophies in the Indian and Chinese traditions. There are optional modules which explore contemporary morality, environmental ethics and politics, and some of the major religious traditions.
  • Year 3
    You’ll undertake fieldwork on a religious community, staying with them for a short period of time and observing current practice. Students have travelled to the Samyeling Buddhist monastery in Scotland, a Christian convent, or worked with the Salvation Army. You’ll find more information about this unique aspect of the course on our Living Religion website.

    Optional modules explore issues in contemporary religion, philosophy and society. You can opt to undertake detailed research or an employment-related project through the Dissertation and Advanced Project modules.

Course assessment

Assessment is primarily by coursework such as essays, reports, presentations, and online discussion boards. There are some timed assessments, as well as opportunities to work on creative projects such as making a film or designing a website.

 Study abroad

Our students make good use of the opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus and other programmes, usually in the second year, with one of our many partner universities. You’ll be able to find out more about this during your first year, including meeting up with students who have already benefited from the experience.

If you opt to join one of the study abroad programmes, you might find yourself in Denmark, Spain, Australia or North America. We have developing partnerships with universities in China and the Far East.

Field trips

Fieldwork and visits are an integral part of the course. We visit religious communities, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and churches.

Work placements, industry links and internships

We have excellent links with third sector organisations, working with environmental and educational charities, as well as others. These links support your study, as we’ll explore how religious, philosophical and ethical perspectives can be applied to current issues.

Teaching methods

We offer lectures, seminars and workshops, and support you throughout your degree with individuals tutorials. Visits, fieldwork and encounters with people from different religious backgrounds and traditions of belief form an important part of our teaching.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

For any enquiries, please email

Typical offer range for UK / EU applicants

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC - CCC preferred in a related subject
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM) preferred in a related subject.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum score of 26 points required
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher).

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Career opportunities

A popular career for our students is teaching Religious Education and/or Citizenship in secondary or primary schools, where there is a shortage of specialists.

The combination of the Study of Religions and Philosophy is particularly good in preparing for teaching. One of our modules is specially designed as preparation for a career in education.

In the past, some students have gone on to further academic study and university teaching.

Today it is increasingly important for people in a wide range of careers to be able to mix with people from different religious and cultural backgrounds. Some of our past students, for example, sought careers in the police, civil service, hospital administration, social work and journalism. The study of religions, philosophies and ethics become useful for working overseas in the capacity as a language teacher or working in tourism and other businesses.

List of current alumni careers

Our graduates have careers in:

  • the police service;
  • health administration;
  • education;
  • social work; and
  • journalism.

Many graduates go on to train as teachers – the course is widely respected as a foundation for a career in education.

Since 2010, employers such as Global Xchange. Ethicall, Citizens' Advice Bureau and Birmingham University have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Healthcare Assistant, Fundraiser,  Children's Home Activities Coordinator and Assistant to the Communications Director.

What students say...

"I am fascinated by the thoughts, needs, beliefs and knowledge of others…The Department has a friendly ethos, with lecturers who are genuinely willing their students do well and continually supporting them along the way."

                                                                                                                  Alex Hyde

"I have learnt many new and interesting things within this course as well as having had to evaluate my own beliefs, assumptions and prejudices, a fantastic experience."

                                                                                                                 Rebecca Pearce

"The greatest and most useful attribute that I have gained from this course is an incredible passion and curiosity for a subject that I had previously not known."

                                                                                                                Simon Beeden

"The course has enabled me to think critically and intellectually, and to develop an understanding and appreciation of other people's beliefs that I did not have before. Tutors were so supportive that I felt it was like a family."

                                                                                                               Sara Rahmani