Second year undergraduate student, Imogen Barrett tells us about the highlights of studying BA Theology and Religion at Birmingham.
My name is Imogen Barrett and I study Theology and Religion, I’m currently in second year. I’m originally from Worcester.
I chose Birmingham because I fell in love with the campus and members of staff almost instantly. I remember coming to visit on an open day and attending one of the taster lectures, I was so engaged with the topic from the moment I sat down that I knew I wanted to study Theology here more than anywhere else I had visited.
My favourite modules have got to be between ‘Ethics: How Should We Live?’ that I studied in first year and the ‘Life After Death’ module I was able to study in the first half of my second year.
I loved the Ethics module as that was the taster lecture I had actually visited on the open day and had thoroughly enjoyed. It was amazing to then be able to actually study it as a student here. Delving deeper into theories like the Trolley Problem was so fascinating and the essay topics were so broad and independent, I remembered why I had fallen in love with the module in the first place.
Life After Death was equally as fascinating. I had never studied anything like it before and it was incredible to be able to be educated in a variety of religions and their beliefs regarding the afterlife. As well as this, we were able to study and research further, ideas about curing death and how immortality may just be around the corner. These were concepts I hadn’t even begun to fathom to think about myself, and to be able to discuss them in group seminar settings was a fantastic tool and amazing learning experience.
Having studied Religious Studies at A Level, I was fearful that the university course would be a lot of repetition of key ideas and concepts. However, I could not have been more wrong. The course here at Birmingham, is so intensely varied and vast that I have never once felt as though I am repeating my A Level course. University has allowed me to delve deeper into concepts we only touched on at A Level, as well as introduce me to whole new religions, ideas and theories that I would have never had the opportunity to discover at lower education levels.
The most challenging aspect about my course has probably been getting used to the varied methods of assessment that the department employs. Whilst I love the vast array of assessment content - constantly writing essays can be tiresome! I did originally struggle to adapt my writing skills to these areas. However, with the help of the Academic Writing Advisory Service and amazing support from my personal tutor, I found myself picking up new techniques that aid me with writing in different styles. These people were able to systematically lay out the components of an academic poster and/or a critical discussion that made writing these things a lot less daunting.
A highlight of my time studying Theology and Religion at University is probably when I achieved my first ‘First’ in my ethics module in first year. It was very early on in my academic career at the university so I was very shocked and proud of myself to have achieved this so early.
After I finish my three-year course, I plan on doing a masters or diploma of some kind in order to hone my skills as I am ultimately aiming to work in the journalism sector. I think my Theology degree will help me stand out amongst others in this field and am eager to gain more experience within it during a possible fourth year.
In my opinion, the best thing about the Department of Theology and Religion at Birmingham is the academic staff. Everyone is so incredibly lovely that I genuinely feel I could go to any one of them with an academic or non-academic problem. Because the course is relatively small, the lecturers are very involved in all aspects of the department and you are able to build close personal relationships with all of them. They always make the lectures engaging and varied every week and the seminar discussions always leave me feeling intellectually stimulated.