Year 1

Compulsory modules: 

Introduction to the Study of Religion A and B (10 credits and 10 credits)

These modules seek to introduce students to a range of questions, theories and methods in the inter-disciplinary study of religion, focusing especially on the social and cultural analysis of religion. A range of contemporary topics will be used to explore how different aspects of religion can be explored as forms of social and cultural experience and practice. Examples of this in module A might include debates about faith schools, women’s leadership in religious institutions, sectarian violence in football, belief in the supernatural. In module B, examples of this  include the ways in which religion and media interact, the place of visual and material culture in religion, the relationship between religion and popular culture, and the nature of religious experience, ritual and sacred space as lived phenomena. An introduction is also offered to wider theories and debates in sociology, cultural studies and anthropology as a basis for the study of religion.

Problems of Philosophy A and B (10 credits and 10 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 (how much should we help people much worse-off than ourselves?);
  • 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 A or B (20 credits)

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.

Optional modules may include: 

  • Introduction to Islam
  • Moral and Political Philosophy
  • Philosophical Traditions 
  • Political Theologies: Wealth, Race and Gender 
  • Reasons to Believe 
  • Truth, Deception and Ethics in Philosophy and Film