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?).

Understanding Politics (20 credits)

This is an introductory course designed to familiarise students with a broad spectrum of theories, approaches and issues related to the concept of power and contemporary political ideas. The aim is to provide students with a solid foundation of key skills and knowledge upon which they can build their own perspectives on a number of themes and issues which they are likely to encounter over the course of their degree programme. The course is divided into two main parts - the first part looks at different conceptions of politics and power, whilst the second half of the course examines a number of contemporary ideas and political issues.

Optional modules may include (choose 20 credits in each group): 

Group A (Theology and Religion)

  • Introduction to Islam (20)
  • Political Theologies: Wealth, Race and Gender (20)
  • The Bible and Global Challenges (20)

Group B (Politics)

  • Pathways to International Relations Research I and II (20)
  • Introduction to Political Theory (20)
  • Introduction to Social Divisions (20)
  • The Sociological Imagination (20)
  • Understanding International Relations (20)
  • Understanding Political Economy (20)

Group C (Philosophy)

  • Moral and Political Philosophy (20)
  • Philosopher's Toolkit A (20)
  • Philosopher's Toolkit B (20)
  • Philosophical Traditions (20)
  • Reasons to Believe (20)