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Welcome to Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

In today’s complex and fast-changing multicultural world, the time-honoured subjects of Philosophy, Religion and Ethics are more vital and relevant than ever.

Formerly the Department of Philosophy, Religions and Liberal Arts, we recently joined the newly formed School of History, Archaeology and Philosophy (SHAP) and together with our SHAP colleagues we offer a broad and varied programme of degrees.

You will be taught by a lively, enthusiastic and highly qualified team of academics, committed to giving you the best possible experience. We are a team of nationally and internationally respected researchers with a wide range of interests, overlapping with those in the wider School of HAP and beyond, e.g. Education.

Our degrees are a great preparation for many careers: recent graduates have gone into journalism, teaching, counselling, social work, law, religious ministry and commerce, as well as postgraduate study and research. We have a large community of MPhil/PhD students working on a wide range of research topics.

Collaborative Provision

Sarum College is a Trusted Collaborative Partner, and the University of Winchester validates the following programmes:

Latest News

Bligh's breadfruit and a passion for passionflowers

Eighteenth-century scientists relied more on local knowledge than history would have us believe. In a major new AHRC/NERC-funded project, Dr Christina Welch is unearthing hidden indigenous Caribbean contributions to Western botanical science. The project is a collaboration between the University of Winchester, St Vincent Botanial Gardens (image below), Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, the Natural History Museum and the Linnean Society among others. As part of the project, an exhibition titled A Caribbean Garden launches on 8 November in Wycombe Museum.

Find out more about the project and the exhibition

St Vincent Botanical Gardens image of a breadfruit tree

For more Public Engagement with Research news, see below.

Meet the Philosophy, Religion and Ethics team

Academic team

We work closely with colleagues in the Winchester Centre of Religion, Reconciliation and Peace.

Emeritus Professors

Visiting Research/Knowledge Exchange Fellows

Research Fellows

Knowledge Exchange Fellows

Research in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

Research strengths

  • Sacred Art and Monasticism
  • Scripture and Old Testament
  • Mesopotamian religious beliefs 
  • Religion, Reconciliation and Peacebuilding
  • Political theology
  • Contemporary continental philosophy and its relation to the arts, technology and the sciences
  • Theological ethics, bioethics and the relationship between science and theology
  • Indigenous religions
  • Religions, nature and environmentalism
  • Death Studies
  • Religion in art and visual culture
  • Disability theology
  • Systematic theology
  • ​Continental philosophy of religion
  • Medieval Jewish Winchester

Postgraduate research supervision

We have a large community of MPhil/PhD students working on a wide range of research topics.

Find out everything you need to know about studying for a postgraduate research degree at Winchester.

Research and Engagement

Our links with faith communities, media and professional groups ensure that our research has impact well beyond the academic community.


Media engagement

Look out for Dr Marika Rose, a regular presenter on BBC Radio 4 Long Wave's The Daily Service. She will be hosting sessions in June, July and August.

New books

In November, the department hosted the book launch of Mesopotamian Civilization and the Origins of the New Testament by  Emeritus Professor Robin Baker, Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies. In this ground-breaking study, Robin Baker investigates the contribution ancient Mesopotamian theology made to the origins of Christianity.

Praise for Mesopotamian Civilization and the Origins of the New Testament:

"This book is long overdue in the fields of New Testament studies and Christian origins. It provides a missing link between scholarship on the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East and scholarship on the New Testament and early Christianity. The necessity of this book cannot be overstated." Tyson Putthoff, Trinity College Dublin

Our Visiting Research Fellow Dr Jakub Kowalewski has published the edited volume The Environmental Apocalypse: Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Climate Crisis. The book partly emerges from work surrounding the department’s seminar series 'Philosophy and the Apocalypse: Thinking in a Burning World' that ran last year during COP 26. Jakub is currently working on a following monograph, A Philosophy of Climate Apocalypticism, due out in 2024.


The return of Socrates: Plato's Republic reimagined for a new age

Socrates On Trial (Bloomsbury 2021), the new book by leading educational philosopher Professor Nigel Tubbs, has been named by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as one the Books of the Year in The New Statesman (Nov 2021).

Written mostly as a dialogue, the book imagines what might happen if Socrates were to return today. It tells of Socrates’ return to a modern city, to find that orators have become spin doctors, and that society is still plagued by prejudice, privilege and populism. Once again he insists on asking uncomfortable questions in the agora. Once again he is arrested and interrogated.

The book includes a new version of Plato’s famous Republic and asks: how might a new Republic respond to the symbiotic relationship between education and elitism? Socrates explores a new model for the just city – a city based not on power and property but on learning – before offering a new Apology to the court that will, once again, decide his fate.

Drawing of Plato sitting by Socrates' tomb

Plato sitting by Socrates' tomb - image Wikimedia Commons

Nigel also recently authored a blog for WONKHE, asking whether we are in danger of developing a two-tier education system - the good stuff for the elite, and job training for the rest?

Praise for Socrates on Trial

An impassioned challenge to the stupidities of current educational practice from the UK’s best educational philosopher’ Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

'Compelling' Howard Caygill, Professor of Philosophy, Kingston University

'A much-needed plea for a Socratic uprising in education' Emma Cohen de Lara, Senior Lecturer In Political Theory, Amsterdam University College, The Netherlands

'A tour de force’ Josh Cohen, Professor of Modern Literary Theory, Goldsmiths, University of London

The Secret's out

Philosopher Dr Timothy Secret is a former AHRC/BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker. His essay exploring how we react when looked at by animals for BBC Radio 3's 2012 Free Thinking Festival forms part of Instant Expert, a Penguin audiobook collecting the first 100 Essays by New Generation Thinkers broadcast on BBC Radio 3 during the first 10 years of the New Generation Thinkers scheme – a partnership between the AHRC and BBC Radio 3. Instant Expert was published in Sept. 2021.

grey cat with piercing yellow eyes

We have close ties with Winchester Cathedral, we participate in community events such as the Greenbelt Festival and Winchester Heritage Open Days, and we work closely with local authorities on projects such as Medieval Jewish Winchester, led by Dr Christina Welch.

Research and engagement events held by the department include conferences and free research seminars, as well as participation in external events. Email us if you would like to be kept up to date about our seminar series or other University events.

Recent events

Christian Theology in the midst of Covid-19

An online conference in 2020 that explored the role of theology in the current pandemic as it unfolded.

Find out more about the Christian Theology in the midst of Covid-19 conference and the organiser, Prof. Neil Messer

Image by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

Theology and Covid-19 conference image of Coronavirus against background of Universe

West Hill Cemetery Virtual Tour

An online event for the 2020 Virtual Winchester Heritage Open Days. 

Take the West Hill Cemetery Virtual Tour

Find out more about the West Hill Cemetery Project and its Principal Investigator, Dr Christina Welch

Image by Emily Millis