Psychology and Religion options may include:
Social and Developmental Psychology of Religion (20 credits)
This module examines the application of social and developmental psychological theories and study to the topic of religion. In this module, students will acquire an understanding of lifetime development and change of religiosity (e.g., stages of development, changes in religiosity over time such as conversion/deconversion). Additionally, students will be introduced to social psychological understandings of religiosity. These may include applications of Social Identity Theory to (non)-religion (such as (non)-religion as providing people with social identities and ingroup/outgroup distinctions), and implications for group behaviour (such as prejudice/discrimination and prosocial behaviour).
Representations of the Divine (20 credits)
This module examines how people mentally represent God, or the “Divine,” as well as the personal and social outcomes of these representations. Topics will include questions of “why do people believe in God?”, looking at cognitive universals across religions and cultures. They will also include questions of “how do people believe in God?”, which will examine factors such as the importance of social context, individual differences in how people describe God, features of people’s relationships with God, the complexity of how people think about God, and cross-religious differences or similarities. Students will examine and reflect on the extent to which representations of God or the Divine have implications for people, on both individual (e.g., how people cope with negative life events) and social (e.g., how people relate to other people) levels.
Psychology options may include:
Social and Cognitive Development (20 credits)
You will be introduced to the study of social and cognitive development, through an exploration of theory and research that examines how the self and relationships develop from infancy through to adolescence.
Introduction to Social and Differential Psychology (20 credits)
You will be introduced to some of the key theories and contemporary research in the field of differential psychology. Theories of personality, intelligence, and other individual differences (e.g., vocational interests, leadership) will be covered as well as coverage of the correlates and consequences of individual differences in different social and cultural contexts (e.g., performance at work, in relationships, health). You will be introduced to key theories and research within social psychology. The areas covered will include the influence of social thinking on perceiving the self, attitudes and persuasion, groups and norms, perceiving individuals and groups, social identity, aggression and conflict, helping and cooperation, and relationships.
Language and Communication (20 credits)
Language, and communication more generally, shapes who we are and allows us to convey our thoughts, feelings, and knowledge. In short, language and communication shape our humanity. It is impossible to imagine a world where no communication exists. Given its profound impact on all aspects of life, language and communication is an integral part of psychology. The topic of language and communication can be studied from many different angles, and this module will integrate insights from cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, psycholinguistics, and social psychology. While the focus is on human communication, we will also examine to what degree this is species-specific. Since language can take many different forms, we will discuss different modes of communication, e.g. aural (speech), visual (reading), visual-manual (sign language), as well as communication beyond language (gestures). In addition, we will examine how language and communication develops through the lifespan, how it is supported by the brain, and what happens when we acquire a different form of communication (e.g. when learning a second language).
Neural Basis of Vision and Action (20 credits)
All of our actions and behaviours, whether conscious or not, start with the sensation of a stimulus and end with a muscle movement. Actions in turn produce future perceptions. This module will explore the perception-action loop focusing on vision and proprioception as the main sensory inputs. We will consider how perception drives our actions but also how the motor system determines our sensory input via eye and hand movements. Taking a neurophysiological approach the module will consider the role of inhibition, excitation and learning in both sensory encoding and motor production and how such processes can produce illusions in healthy individuals. The clinical consequences of imbalances between excitation and inhibition, and also the effects of neurological and neuropsychological trauma will be discussed. You will learn how to present scientific concepts to a variety of audiences.
Theology and Religion options may include:
Religion in the Public Sphere (20 credits)
This module focuses on issues of policy and public concern for religions in the contemporary world. Students learn to offer analysis and advice in public arenas on religious, political and philosophical issues in an informed and robust manner and can explain the value and skills of their degree studies to prospective employers. Students will be able to apply these principles and approaches to the analysis of current issues in a variety of contexts around the contemporary world.
Auschwitz in History and Memory (20 credits)
This interdisciplinary Holocaust studies module explores Auschwitz in history and memory. Topics covered relating to KL Auschwitz include the evolution and multi-functionality of the site; the experience of non-Jews; gendered experiences; the nature of survival and resistance in KL Auschwitz; the Auschwitz Sonderkommando; perpetrators and perpetrator texts. Study of Auschwitz in memory will focus on the ‘afterlife’ of the site, both as a physical location/memorial and as a symbol: visual representations of Auschwitz; memorialization of the site; the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum; Auschwitz as a site of mass/dark/Holocaust tourism, and a site of pilgrimage and (contested) sacred space.
Religion and the Arts (20 credits)
This module will assess the importance and significance of art – and ‘the arts’ more broadly framed – in its many different forms as a tool for communication, interpretation and critique of religious and theological ideas and ideologies. It will focus on, for example, a range of artefacts, including works of fine art, stained glass, sculpture, literature, film and music, and upon buildings and architectural features, offering and introduction to the development of religious art and seeking to read a range of works from religious and secular perspectives. Students will learn how to read and appreciate such artefacts as theological resources as well as cultural ones, and reflect upon issues such as what it is that makes art religious and how cultural outputs and artefacts can have spiritual impact.
Boundaries of Truth in Christian Theologies (20 credits)
This second year module introduces students to the development and content of central Christian doctrines, with particular focus, but not limited to, Christology, Soteriology and Ecclesiology. It highlights key events and ideas that have impacted the development of Christian thought, such as church councils, heresies and schisms.
Dharmic Religions and Traditions (20 credits)
Dharmic traditions such as – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism – cannot be confined under the Western construct of “religion” and this module will encourage students to look beyond Western perspectives. This module will introduce students to one or more Indic dharmic traditions, exploring the concept of dharma through that tradition. Students will study key concepts, ideas and practices such as attitudes towards the afterlife, reincarnation, liberation, and concepts such as compassion, selfless service, environment to understand notions of duty, doing good deeds, religious practice, and achieving fulfilment. By addressing the ‘central and fundamental’ beliefs of a tradition students will learn the distinctive features of how dharma has been understood and developed in that tradition. There will also be opportunity to consider some and connect the common features and differences by a comparative focus with on Indic encounters and engagement with key Dharmic concepts, through another tradition, such as Indic Sufism. It will also encourage students to see how these religions and their communities have influenced, engaged with, and adapted through encounters with, and by living in, the ‘West’.
Global Islam (20 credits)
This module explores the global diversity of contemporary Islam. By investigating the place of Islam in a variety of cultures and societies, the module questions the perception of Islam as being primarily a religion of the Middle East and illustrates Islam’s global reach. The module has two elements: (1) it includes a number of case studies of how is Islam is lived and practised in different geographical, social and cultural settings. Case studies cover contexts in which Muslims constitute majorities but also minority contexts in the West. The aim is to illustrate Islam’s contemporary diversity while also exploring unifying features of Muslim communities and societies across its varied cultural and social manifestations. (2) The module also engages with core analytical concepts such as transnationalism, diaspora, postcolonialism and gender and their relevance in understanding global dynamics in contemporary Islam.
The Human Condition (20 credits)
This module will address issues and questions that occur at the ‘borderlands’ between Philosophy and Theology/Religion. The module will focus on: a) the human predicament as described in a number of selected religious and philosophical traditions; and b) the meaning and goal of human life, again, as understood in a number of selected religious or philosophical traditions.
Islamic Ethics (20 credits)
How should human beings live? What are the standards that should govern their behaviour? Ethical concerns lie at the heart of the Islamic tradition. Scriptural texts such as the Qur’an and the hadith provide the foundations of the Islamic moral outlook, but historically this outlook has been articulated and refined in a variety of ways across different disciplines including law and legal theory, Sufism, and speculative theology (kalām). Within this broader tradition, practical questions about how human beings should live have often been intertwined with higher-level theological and philosophical questions about the foundations of ethical value, the relationship between reason and revelation, and the moral nature of God. The purpose of this module is to introduce this rich tradition of ethical reflection in both its practical and reflective dimensions. Having explored the different genres and sources of Islamic ethics, part of the module will focus on selective questions of applied ethics, such as sexual ethics, environmental ethics, or the ethics of life and death.
Critical Issues in Theology, Religion and Education (20 credits)
This module introduces students to key, critical issues in British Religious Education and orients them to the current climate and significant debates defining the subject area. Students will gain insight into educational theory and practice alongside engagement with disciplinary research in Theology and Religion and its applicability in the classroom. The module allows students to examine closely areas of current curriculum focus with guided insight into the challenges and potential impact of exploring these in classroom settings. Throughout the module, students will gain an appreciation of teaching and learning in religion that is closely integrated with educational perspectives, asking what is meant by the ‘religious’ aspect of Religious Education in contemporary, multifaith society.
Cross-College of Arts and Law Modules (offered in second or third year):
Sustainable Development: Climate, Culture, Society and Policy (Cross-College) (20 credits)
This is an interdisciplinary module that allows students to examine sustainability through the lens of several disciplines that fall broadly within arts, humanities and law. The students will examine some of the following topics: sustainability and interdisciplinary research; the concept of sustainable development; climate change; sustainability and environmental justice, environmental ethics; creative ecologies and environmental activity. In examining these topics, students will also examine particular polices/initiatives to understand how sustainability is implemented in practice. The module will be delivered by academics from different disciplines which will allow students to engage in an interdisciplinary discussion with some of the mentioned topics. Students will also have an opportunity to learn about sustainability initiatives at the UoB campus.
Professional Skills Module (Cross-College) (20 credits)
This module enables you to undertake a work experience placement of 70 hours/10-days – either in person, remotely, or both – in a project or role that provides a ‘graduate-level’ opportunity.The Professional Skills Module (PSM) develops transferable professional skills, knowledge and experience on which you can base an effective reflective assessment. Placements can be self-sourced, with support from the Placements Officer and Careers Network, or you can apply to exclusive roles in the PSM Placements Bank, tailored in partnership with employers from a range of sectors, including: Arts & Culture; Charity and Social Enterprise; Community and Non-Profit; SMEs/Commercial; and Education.Alternatively, if you have a freelance or business idea, you can follow the PSM Entrepreneur option, which enables you to launch your own enterprise or freelance service through your degree.