What is the meaning and goal of life? How do different religions, cultures and philosophies understand the human predicament?
Studying BA Philosophy, Religion and Ethics at the University of Newcastle allows you to address issues and questions of the human condition, thus developing your intellectual curiosity and understanding of critical issues at the borderlands between philosophy, ethics, theology and religion.
You will have the opportunity to tailor your programme and focus on the areas of each discipline that interest you most. In your second and final years, you have the option to focus your studies more on theology and religion or philosophy and ethics, depending on where your strengths and interests lie. Whatever you choose to specialise in, you will graduate with well-rounded skills in debating and reflective thinking.
Why Study this Course?
- Highly-rated departments – The Department of Philosophy is ranked in the Top 5 in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. We are also ranked in the Top 30 for Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies in the QS World University Rankings 2019. Students studying on this programme also rate it extremely highly, as the course received an overall satisfaction rating of 100% in the National Student Survey 2018.
- Culturally-diverse city – All faiths are well-represented in Newcastle, with more than 650 churches, mosques, synagogues and temples across the city. Outside London, Newcastle has the UK’s largest Muslim, Sikh and Buddhist communities, the second largest Hindu community and the seventh largest Jewish community.
- Excellent employability development – Boost your employability skills by completing an optional placement module where you have the opportunity to spend time in a school, charity or even abroad. 95% of our Philosophy, Religion and Ethics graduates go on to work and/or further within six months of finishing the course (DLHE 2017).
- Taught by experts – You will study alongside some of the finest minds in Philosophy, Theology and Religion. Times Higher Education ranked the Departments of both Theology and Philosophy 2nd in the country for their performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.
- Excellent student experience – You will enjoy a variety of opportunities to enhance your student experience, including regular coffee mornings for staff and students, visiting speakers, lecture series, trips and social events.
BA Philosophy, Religion and Ethics
Undergraduate, Joint Honours combined
How long it takes:
Undergraduate (3 Years)
Distance learning/ Campus
Find out more about
Newcastle Law School
Introduction to the Study of Religion (20)
This module surveys wider theories and debates in sociology, cultural studies and anthropology as a basis for the study of religion, focussing especially on the social and cultural analysis of religion.
Problems of Philosophy (20 credits)
This module introduces a range of key philosophical problems most of which practically everyone with a philosophical temperament has puzzled over before:
- Scepticism (how can I know anything at all about the world?)
- Free will (how can I think and act freely, if all my thoughts and actions are determined by the laws that govern the Universe?)
- The existence of God (does S/He exist?)
- Realism vs. antirealism (to what extent is reality distinct from how it appears?)
- The mind/body problem (is the mind just the brain?)
- Personal identity (what is it about you that makes you the same person as you were years ago?)
- Utilitarianism vs. Deontology (are actions morally right and wrong ‘in themselves’, or are they so just because of the effects they have on people’s happiness etc?)
- Ethical obligation (do we have obligations to others?)
- Moral relativism (are moral values absolute or do they vary from one culture/person to others?)
- The requirements of justice (who should have what?)
The Philosopher’s Toolkit (20)
This module will equip you with the tools you need to understand, analyse and respond to different kinds of philosophical argument. In the first half of the module, we will investigate topics such as critical thinking, probability, interdisciplinarity, necessity & analyticity and the nature of explanation. In the second half of the module, it splits into two pathways. Students on one pathway will learn symbolic logic – the formal study of argument, which concentrates on proving things using abstract formulas such as ‘”x[Gx → Fx]’. The other pathway avoids formal proofs, but aims to use ordinary language to introduce students to the logical concepts they will need to understand the more technical philosophy they will encounter later in their degree.
Example optional modules may include:
Defining Jews, Jewishness and Judaism(s) (10)
Introduction to Islam (20)
Introduction to the Study of the Holocaust (10)
Themes in Christian Theology (10)
The Human Condition (20 credits)
The module will address issues and questions that occur at the ‘borderlands’ between Philosophy and Theology/Religion. The module will focus on: a) the human predicament as described in a number of selected religious and philosophical traditions; and b) the meaning and goal of human life, again, as understood in a number of selected religious or philosophical traditions.
Example optional modules may include (choose at least 40 credits in each group):
Group A (Theology and Religion)
Atheisms: From Voltaire to Dawkins (10)
Dissertation Preparation (20 credits)
Religion and the Arts (10)
Religion in Contemporary Society (20)
Theological Ethics (20)
Group B (Philosophy and Ethics)
Elements of Logic and Metaphysics (20)
Experience and Reason: Early Modern Philosophy (20)
Feminist Philosophy (20)
History of Analytic Philosophy (20)
Sex, Ethics and Philosophy (20)
Speaking of Things (20)
The Ethics and Politics of Climate Change (20)
The Ethics of Killing (20)
The Mind-Body Problem (20)
You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year then you will be invited to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year.
Compulsory module (choose one of the following):
Dissertation (Theology and Religion) (40 credits)
This is a major piece of independent work for which a topic is identified and research is carried out with supervisory help to produce a 12,000-word essay.
6,000-word Dissertation (Theology and Religion) (20)
The 6,000-word dissertation is a piece of substantial independent research on a subject in Theology and/or Religion chosen by the individual student, but subject to approval by the Department.
Placement-based Dissertation (Theology and Religion) (40)
The placement-based dissertation is an extended piece of substantial independent research (9,000 words) on a topic in Theology and/or Religion linked to a specific placement context chosen by the individual student, but subject to approval by the Department. Students negotiate a placement involving a minimum of 100 hours in a setting of their own choice, subject to approval from the Department.
Philosophical Project (20 or 40)
This module allows you to conduct independent research into and write on a particular philosophical issue of your choice, with assistance from a project supervisor with expertise in your chosen topic.
Example optional modules may include (choose at least 20 credits in each group):
Group A (Theology and Religion)
Christmas and Ethical Consuming (20)
Ethics of Character (20)
Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust (20)
Politics in the Name of God (20)
Thealogy: Transgressive Travels with the Goddess (20)
Group B (Philosophy and Ethics)
Being Good and Doing Right: Issues in Contemporary Moral Theory (20)
Global Bioethics (20)
Minds, Brains and Computers: Issues in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science (20)
Philosophy of Language and the Linguistic Study of Meaning (20)
Philosophy of Time Travel (20)
Prejudice, Race and Gender (20)
Reason and Belief: Topics in Epistemology (20)
Science and Nature (20)
Topics in Philosophy of Religion (20)
What there is: Issues in Ontology (20)
Applicants should normally have one of the following:
- A non-law bachelor’s degree (from a UK university or recognised by the BSB if you wish to study the BPTC), or
- A ‘stale’ law degree, where five or more years have elapsed since graduation, or
- An academic or professional qualification at degree equivalent level
If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate your English Language proficiency. For example, you should have IELTS 7.5 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all components.
If you intend to become a Solicitor
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has reduced its requirements for pre-authorisation this year. For details of the current arrangements, see the SRA website. You should pay special attention to the Character and Suitability section. If you think you may have a character or suitability issue, you may wish to clarify with the SRA before proceeding with the GDL.
See further details of our English Language requirement
USA,UK & EU students, 2019/20 (per year)
International students starting 2019/20 (per year)
You’ll show your progress through a combination of written essays, problem-solving assignments and presentations.
All students take our core modules, but please note that the availability of optional modules is subject to demand.
Our Philosophy, Religion and Ethics graduates have excellent employment prospects with 95% of graduates entering work and/or study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).
- Understanding complex information
- Writing clearly and effectively
- Building a case to critically assess a particular point of view, strategy or course of action
- Respecting the views of others even if they disagree with you
- Generally thinking for yourself
• Management consultancy
• Local government
• Charity administration
• Social policy
Therefore, studying one of our Theology and Religion degrees opens the door to a wide range of careers. Some graduates choose to progress to further study, not just in theology and religion but in politics, international development, sociology and others.
Developing your career
Employers target University of Newcastle students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
- Careers events – we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
- Global Challenge – you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
- Work experience bursary – we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
- Cultural Internships – our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Newcastle Museums and Art Gallery, Newcastle REP, Newcastle Royal Ballet, City of Newcastle Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Newcastle .
There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.