BA Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

Start date
September
Duration
3 years
UCAS code
VV56
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
Fees

Annual tuition fees for 2023/24:
£9,250 (UK)
£21,780 (International)
More detail.

What is the meaning and goal of life? How do different religions, cultures and philosophies understand the human predicament?

Studying the undergraduate BA Philosophy, Religion and Ethics at the University of Birmingham 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 undergraduate degree course 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. 

Studying Philosophy, Religion and Ethics allows me to explore Western philosophy and learn the concepts of world religions. As an international student, I’ve received many kindly pieces of advice from my professors and even the Head of School.

Bryan

Why study this course?

  • Taught by experts – The Department of Philosophy is ranked first in the Research Excellence Framework exercise 2021 based on Grade Point Average. The Department of Theology and Religious Studies is ranked 3rd in the Research Excellence Framework exercise 2021 based on 4* research.
  • Culturally-diverse city – All faiths are well-represented in Birmingham, with more than 650 churches, mosques, synagogues and temples across the city. Outside London, Birmingham 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 during your course where you have the opportunity to spend time in a school, charity or even abroad. Our academics have a long standing working relationship with policy makers and regularly advise governments and public bodies nationally and internationally on engagement with faith communities. This degree in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics offers an excellent preparation for any kind of professional role that requires engagement with diverse communities and navigating their particular needs and challenges.
  • Excellent student experience – You will enjoy a variety of opportunities to enhance your undergraduate student experience, including regular coffee mornings for staff and students, visiting speakers, lecture series, trips and social events.
  • Leading the discourse - The Departments are at the forefront of discussion and debate. Our Centres for Global Ethics and Philosophical Religion collaborate across disciplines and borders. Our world leading research as part of Mental Health Humanities at Birmingham is pushing the boundaries of cross disciplinary dialogue in the universities dynamic mental health research agenda. 

Modules

Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2022. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Year 1

Compulsory modules:

  • Introduction to Study of Religion A and B (20)
  • Problems of Philosophy A and B (20)  
  • The Philosopher's Toolkit A (20) or The Philosopher's toolkit B (20)

Detailed descriptions of Year 1 compulsory modules

You will also take 60 credits of optional modules

Year 2

Compulsory module: 

  • The Human Condition (20)    

Detailed descriptions of Year 2 compulsory modules

You will also take 100 credits of optional modules

Year abroad

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. Find out more.

Final Year

Compulsory module:

  • Theology and Religion Dissertation (40) or
  • Philosophical Project (40) or
  • Philosophical Project (20) or
  • Theology and Religion 6,000-word dissertation (20) or
  • Theology and Religion placement-based dissertation (40)

Students opting for the 40 credit Dissertation in Theology and Religion will normally be expected to have taken the optional module Dissertation Preparation in their second year of study.

Detailed descriptions of Final Year compulsory modules

You will spend your remaining credits in optional modules

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2023, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2023/24 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £21,780

Eligibility for fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.


Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as UK for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as International for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

How To Apply

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
ABB
General Studies:
Accepted.

IB Diploma:
6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDD.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus B at A-level.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level.

T Levels:
Distinction overall with B in the Core Component; all subjects considered.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

Pathways to Birmingham

The University of Birmingham has a long history of welcoming students from a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds. We are proud to offer prospective applicants at one of our partner institutions the support of our Pathways to Birmingham programmes to access a degree at the University.

We have a range of initiatives for Year 12 students to help make informed decisions about higher education. Our Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme, for Year 13 students, allows participants to experience university study and prepare for the transition to university.

Successful completion of one of our Pathways to Birmingham programmes means students may be eligible for extensive financial support and an alternative offer, typically up to 2 grades below the standard offer, along with other benefits.

To find out more, please visit the Pathways to Birmingham webpage.

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 one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

The truth is flux. Everything is on the move. Everything is changing. The Buddhist is trying to persuade you to go with the flow, to let go of yourself, to let go of the idea that there is a God, and go with the flux.

Dr David Cheetham

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to higher education when you start at Birmingham. 

Personal tutors – You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.

Wellbeing Officers –You will also have access to dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or to talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it.

Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) provides guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too.

Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, including trips.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

 

Interactive classes are offered in modules which don't feature separate seminars. Here, lecturing time and discussion time are part of the same session and the structure of the classes can be very flexible.

Contact hours

You can expect approximately 9 contact hours each week throughout the course of your programme. Contact hours will vary across the years of the programme depending on the optional modules you take and as independent study becomes more of a focus.

Contact hours will be a combination of lectures and seminars and the independent research that you conduct in your final year will be supported by 1 to 1 supervision meetings with a lecturer.

Assessment Methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

 

Each module is assessed independently by exams, essays or other forms of written assignment. Some modules are completely assessed by coursework. Most first-year modules are assessed by both an essay written during the year and an exam at the end of the year, with each given equal weight. The assessment for second- and third-year modules also varies. Many modules are assessed by two essays, while some are assessed by an essay and an exam.

Year one

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

Year two

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

Year three

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

Our Philosophy, Religion and Ethics graduates have excellent employment prospects and develop key skills including:

  • 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

Example industries:

• Law
• Journalism
• Teaching
• Management consultancy
• Local government
• Publishing
• Marketing
• 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

The University of Birmingham is the 4th most targeted university by the country’s top graduate employers according to The Graduate Market 2022 report. Our Careers Network are here to offer you tailored, expert advice on your career plans and support you with finding and applying for jobs, internships and further study. There are hundreds of events to help you meet potential employers and learn more about the breadth of opportunities and career sectors available to you.

Support will be offered to you covering the whole job application process, including CVs, LinkedIn, application forms, interviews and assessment centres.  You can also email our experienced Careers Advisers and College Teams to review your applications or answer any careers related question, alongside our on campus and online 1:1 appointments.

We have a number of exclusive Internship Programmes such as our Cultural Internships, which will give you paid, professional experience to set you apart in the graduate market. We also offer work experience bursaries, which allow you to apply for funding to support you during any unpaid internships. 

First years can take part in the The Birmingham Project, with themes including celebrating arts and culture and shaping a global society. There’s also a successful Mentoring Programme, where you can gain access to experienced Mentors who can empower, inspire and inform you about their experiences.  As a University of Birmingham student you will also be given access to LinkedIn Learning giving free access to real world training courses to kick start your careers.

If you want to earn money WorkLink advertises convenient part-time job opportunities on campus to fit round your studies.  

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you may want to engage in extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and your network of contacts. Our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme.

There are more than 500 student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students (our Students’ Union) so you’re bound to find activities that you want to be involved in whilst meeting friends who share your interests.

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Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities