BA Politics, Religion and Philosophy

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This distinctive programme is run by the Department of Theology and Religion and seeks to bring together the three elements of Politics, Religion and Philosophy to allow you to explore significant dimensions of public and private life: political thinking, contemporary issues in religion and critical philosophical enquiry.  You will be free to develop your specific and separate interests and skills in these three areas, the overall programme will also nurture a critical discussion in-between the disciplines and address some of the most important issues of our time. 

Course fact file

UCAS code: 8L37

Duration: 3 years

Places Available: 7

Typical Offer: AAB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September


For more information, please contact

Admissions Tutor: 
Dr Mustafa Draper

Telephone enquiries:
+44 (0)121 414 3613




Throughout this unique programme the three elements of Politics, Religion and Philosophy are brought together to facilitate student learning and enquiry into three important dimensions of public and private life: political thinking, contemporary issues in religion and critical philosophical enquiry. The overall programme will also seek to nurture a debate and critical discussion in-between the disciplines. This will be facilitated through regular seminar discussion groups throughout the whole programme that seek to generate cross-disciplinary critical reflection.  You will reflect on the place of religion in wider society, the political theories, powers and practices that have formed communities, and the philosophical thinking that continues to challenge private and public assumptions and practices.

Year abroad

In the second semester of your second year of study, the Department of Theology and Religion has developed opportunities for students to study abroad.   This is an excellent opportunity for CV building, career connections, and life experience! We have many English-speaking opportunities in North America, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.  Also, we have a range of countries for those with strong language skills. The arrangements are made through University of Birmingham Study Abroad and Exchanges.

Why study this course

  • This programme combines elements that allows you to study and excel for purely academic interest but also with employability in mind. Politics, Religion and Philosophy are prominent areas of public interest and private concern, and students who are well qualified in these areas will have a wide range of employment opportunities open up in front of them.

  • Birmingham is an ideal place to study Theology as it is one of the most racially, culturally and religiously diverse communities in Europe. The city of Birmingham itself is an ideal place to study Theology, as it is one of the most racially, culturally and religiously diverse communities in Europe. The Department has excellent relationships with the city's faith communities, giving students the opportunity of first-hand experience of significant religious traditions.
  • The department has excellent relationships with the city's faith communities giving students first-hand experience of significant religious traditions.
  • The department has specialist expertise in the study of many of the ideas, movements and traditions shaping the twenty-first century such as gender studies, cultural studies, global ethics, Cyber religion and the study of the Holocaust.
  • Ninety per cent of students on the BA Theology course secure a job or go into further study within six months of graduation.
  • Theology is a highly innovative department where students will benefit from inventive teaching including considering new ways to interpret the Bible, gaining understanding of interreligious relations or exploring the changing forms of religion today. Staff are committed to helping students to understand cutting edge issues.

  • The Department of Philosophy last year the department welcomed three new internationally recognised academics. This expansion is quality driven and the aim is for Birmingham to build on its international reputation to become one of the foremost Philosophy departments in the UK for research, graduate supervision and undergraduate teaching.
  • The Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) is one of the largest in the UK. Our expertise covers all areas of the discipline allowing you to learn from true specialists, with long-established strengths in the fields of political theory, European politics, international relations theory, security studies, diplomatic studies, political sociology, political economy, environmental politics, Pacific Asian politics and British politics.


First year

This year is divided equally between core and optional elements. The core elements are selected from Year One elements in each of the three departments: Politics, Theology & Religion and Philosophy. They introduce students to the broad foundational aspects.  You will attend special ‘Politics, Religion and Philosophy (PRP)’ Seminars that seek to generate cross-disciplinary critical reflection.

First year modules include:


  • Introduction to the Study of Religion (20)
  • Problems of Philosophy (20)
  • Understanding Politics (20)

Options (A total of 20 credits should be chosen from eachgroup of options below, 60 in total from A,B & C):

Group A: Theology and Religion (20)

  • Themes in Christian Theology (20)
  • Introduction to Islam (20)
  • Introduction to the Study of the Holocaust (10)
  • Defining Jews, Jewishness and Judaism(s) (10)

Group B: POLSIS (20)

  • Classical Political Thought (20)
  • Introduction to International Relations (20)
  • Introduction to Political Economy (20)
  • Social Worlds and Sociological Imagination (20)
  • Research Skills & Literacy: Philosophy and Methods in Social Sciences
  • Social Divisions
  • Sociology of Everyday Life
  • Twentieth Century Russian Politics
  • Outlines Russian History
  • Introduction to the European Union
  • Understanding European Identities

Group C: Philosophy (20)

  • Problems of Philosophy (20)
  • Reasoning (10)
  • Moral Problems: An Introduction to Practical Ethics (10)
  • Philosophy of Religion (10)



Second year

As with First year, the structure of Second year is divided into two equal parts - compulsory and optional elements. However, the compulsory elements seek to go beyond the broad foundations of First year and focus on aspects that bring the three disciplines together: contemporary political, philosophical and social thought and the place of religion in the public sphere.


  • Religion and the Public Sphere (20)
  • Ethics and Politics of Climate Change (20)
  • Political Analysis (20)

Options (A total of 20 credits should be chosen from eachgroup of options below, 60 in total from A,B & C):

Group A: Theology and Religion (20)

  • Dissertation Preparation (10)
  • Placement (20)
  • Religion in Contemporary Society (20)
  • Theological Ethics (20) 
  • Hinduism (10)
  • Sikhism (10)
  • Sufism: Belief and Practice (10)

Group B: POLSIS (20)

  • British Politics (20)
  • International Political Economy (20)
  • Politics and Policy (20)
  • Public Choice Theory (20)
  • Modern Political Thought
  • Comparative European Politics
  • Diplomatic History Post-1945
  • Institutions and Policies of the EU
  • International Relations Theory
  • The International Politics of East Asia I and II
  • Introduction to American Politics
  • International Security
  • Europeanization
  • Data Analysis and Research Design
  • Modern Sociological Theory
  • Global Societies
  • Sociology of ‘Race’ and Ethnicity – A Global Perspective
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • The Cultural Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe
  • Contemporary Russian and East European Politics
  • Russian Political and Intellectual Thought from 1850 to 1989
  • European Societies: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • International Politics and Security in Russia and Eurasia

Group C: Philosophy (20)

  • The Mind Body Problem (20)
  • Sex, Ethics and Philosophy (20)
  • The Ethics of Killing (20)
  • Feminist Philosophy (20)
  • Spinoza
  • Speaking of Things
  • The Ethics and Politics of Climate Change
  • History of Analytic Philosophy
  • Experience and Reason: Early Modern Philosophy



Final year

The compulsory elements of this stage allows you to specialise and engage in your own independent study by choosing a dissertation or project module from one of the three disciplines. You will be encouraged to devise topics that reflect the three disciplines of the programme. This stage also permits you greater optional choices (which allows you to focus on one of the disciplines more than the others if desired).

Core (You will choose one module from the following list, credit values can vary):

  • Dissertation (20 or 40)
  • Philosophical Project (20)

Options (Depending on the credit value of the compulsory module selected, you will choose optional modules that will bring their total for Year 3 to 120 credits.   You will choose at least 20 credits from each group, 60 in total from A, B & C):

Group A: Theology and Religion (20)

  • Christian/Muslim Relations (20)
  • Believing in the City (10)
  • Bible and Sacred Space (10)
  • Contemporary Sufi Movements (10)
  • Islamic Philosophy (10)
  • Islam in Britain (10)
  • Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust (10)
  • Problems of Religious Diversity (10)
  • Queer Bibles and Theologies (10)
  • Religion and the Arts (10)
  • Set Texts A (10)
  • Set Texts B (10)

Group B: POLSIS (20)

  • Contemporary Political Theory
  • Contemporary US Foreign and Security Policy
  • Contemporary International Political Economy
  • Topics in British Politics
  • Controversies in Contemporary Democracies: Comparative Perspectives
  • European Security
  • Democracy and Democratisation in Contemporary Europe
  • Global Governance
  • War Torn States and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in the South
  • Critical Approaches to Security
  • Politics and the Media
  • Immigration and Citizenship in Western Europe
  • Europe in a Globalised World
  • Left Parties and Protest Movements
  • Diplomatic History of Arab-Israeli Conflict
  • Gender in World Politics
  • Advanced Cultural Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe

Group C: Philosophy (20)

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: AAB

General Studies: accepted

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 35 points

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at

Learn more about applying

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The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.


For more information, please contact

Admissions Tutor: 
Dr Mustafa Draper

Telephone enquiries:
+44 (0)121 414 3613



Learning and teaching

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).


To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we will enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

From the outset, you will be assigned your own Personal Tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies, providing academic and welfare advice, encouraging you and offering assistance in any areas you may feel you need extra support to make the most of your potential and your time here at Birmingham.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) will provide you with individual support from an academic writing advisor and postgraduate subject-specialist writing tutors. You will receive guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level which can be quite different from your previous experiences of writing. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, feedback through email and tutorials.

Student experience

Supporting you throughout your transition to University, offering research opportunities and study skills support and helping you develop and prepare for your post-University careers - our Arts and Law Student Experience Team strive to help you get the most out of your academic experience.


Contact hours

We offer relatively high levels of contact time with academic staff, including guaranteed tutorial time each week.

Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations and formal exams (depending on your chosen degree).

During your first year you will undergo a formal 'transition' review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for that particular programme of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You will be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future. 

We also rely on other assessment tasks such as multimedia portfolios, presentations, reflective practice assessments, blogs and take-home exam papers, making sure in each case that you have an excellent opportunity for demonstrating your knowledge and skills.

In our Department we use assessment as a tool for learning much more than just a way of measuring performance. So in many modules you will have both formal and informal opportunities for feedback on your performance. In fact, our feedback for formal assessment exercises has frequently been praised by our external examiners for being comprehensive, constructive and offering clear and specific suggestions for future improvements. You will receive feedback on each assessment task within four weeks.


For more information, please contact

Admissions Tutor: 
Dr Mustafa Draper

Telephone enquiries:
+44 (0)121 414 3613




Students of Politics, Religion and Philosophy are able to exploit the employment potential of all three departments: Politics, Theology and Religion and Philosophy. 50% of job vacancies advertised for new and recent graduates don't specify a degree subject, so as a graduate of Politics, Religion and Philosophy you've a vast potential to enter a wide range of careers, including politics, business, law, journalism and teaching, various vocational careers, human resourcing, as well as commerce and industry. Some also decide to pursue postgraduate study. 

Viewing each of the elements separately: Employers are well aware of the value of the politics degrees at Birmingham. Politics students have little difficulty in finding interesting jobs in a variety of fields; some in local government and the Civil Service, others in commerce, finance and the law. There are also opportunities in specialist journalism and the media. 90% of Theology and Religious Studies graduates go into work or study within six months of graduation, starting careers with employers including local government, the NHS, charities, churches and faith-based organisations, and commercial companies, in roles as diverse as Development Worker, Policy Researcher, Project Director, Residential Support Worker, Minister and Youth Worker. Philosophy graduates gain the ability to understand complex information, write clearly and effectively, they are skilled in building a case for a particular view, strategy or course of action, respect the views of others even if they disagree with them, and generally think for themselves. Philosophy graduates start careers with employers including Government departments, local councils, charities and companies in many business sectors, in roles as diverse as Assistant Literary Agent, Management Consultant, Marketing Assistant and Programmes Officer.

Graduates of Politics, Religion and Philosophy will be able to combine all the elements of the above, and more: they will be conversant with some of the emergent issues that will become increasingly important in our contemporary age – how the sheer complexity of human life in its multiple contexts and forms might be interpreted in public and private, in society and the workplace, in our homes and institutions.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities while you're at university to broaden your skills and your network of contacts. This can include the many societies at the Guild of Students and also the many voluntary opportunities offered with local arts organisations. Our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

Our College of Arts and Law undergraduate research scholarship scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of the College's academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.

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 are a unique opportunity to learn fundamental, transferable business and interpersonal skills, through experience of real work in an established cultural institution. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust and the Library of Birmingham. We have plans to expand the scheme to include our own major cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. This scheme will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market.

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.


For more information, please contact

Admissions Tutor: 
Dr Mustafa Draper

Telephone enquiries:
+44 (0)121 414 3613