Every module offered by the Institute for Value Studies is open to all undergraduates at Winchester.

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Our Institute for Value Studies is an extra-departmental space where students and staff from the university's different departments can work together on fundamental questions about ethics, politics, art, religion and education.

The most important task of the Institute is to offer a series of team-taught modules open for all undergraduates. In each Value Studies module students have the opportunity to grapple with fundamental questions about values in an open, undogmatic and probing atmosphere. The modules are team-taught by staff from the various departments in the university who bring different kinds of expertise and experience to bear on questions of general human significance. The format is conversational and the spirit co-operative.

Why choose to study a Value Studies module?

  • First of all, because we deal with important stuff. Every module offered is focused on questions that engage us as human beings no matter what we decide to do for a living. Love, justice, beauty and other ideas about value are significant to us all
  • Our modules run in small conversational seminar groups of up to 12 students. In this context, every voice counts. Here you can think aloud and work with fellow students who also want to make up their minds about some of the fundamental questions we all grapple with
  • Challenge yourself intellectually by entering the world of conversation beyond your own department. You’ll learn alongside students from a variety of courses, and be taught by a module team from across the university who bring diverse perspectives to the conversation
  • Value Studies is recognised on your HEAR record, and, for many courses across the University, the module is worth 15 credits – check here to see if your course is one of them.

Interested in some thoughts from students who have taken one or more modules already? Check out the video below.


Optional modules

Eating Well: Food and Value in the 21st Century

Module Codes: VA2009, VA3009

Offered in Semester 1

Without nourishing food human beings quickly wither and die. Yet eating is about more than fuelling our bodies. Our eating habits often go unexamined, but in this module, we will try to understand how eating is not only a natural need but also an activity ordered by aesthetic, cultural, moral, religious and political norms and ideals. We will take a close look at contemporary eating orders (and disorders) and consider how we do, could or should make decisions about what, how, where and with whom we eat. Sometimes serious conversation about such issues is rejected as trivial or evaded with the Latin dictum “de gustibus non est disputandum” (in matters of taste, there can be no discussion), but here we will take the delights of the table seriously and see where the conversation can go. Our seminars will take place in the company of texts and works of art by some of the thoughtful eaters who have struggled with questions about food before us and who might be able to help us eat well in the 21st century.

Stories for Children

Module Codes: VA2016, VA3016

Offered in Semester 1 and Semester 2

Many of the most captivating children’s stories are loved across generations and by adults as well as children. Often, they deal with themes that seem important at any age. How to face danger and adversity; what a good friend is like; or why truth and goodness matter. In this module we will explore some much-loved children’s stories and the values that are at their heart. In each case we will ask what about the story makes it significant, and what kind of claims it invites us to consider. Alongside our chosen stories, we will look at other influential thought on the same themes and examine shared insight or disagreement between texts. Together we will discuss how the stories we read can contribute to our understanding of particularly significant values.

The Values of Nature

Module Codes: VA2017, VA3017

Offered in Semester 2

What is ‘nature’? What does it mean to care about, respect or follow nature? Should ‘nature’ in any sense of the term guide our sense of what is valuable? In this module, we will seek answers to these questions by studying different conceptions of nature. Our inquiries – focusing on both human and non-human nature – will invite us to engage with fundamental issues concerning especially ethics, health, education, and ecology: Are human beings good by nature, or evil, or some kind of mixture? Is exposure to wild nature in some way good for us? What can we learn from people and cultures who seem to live close to nature? How might our views of nature help us understand and deal with climate change, the extinction of species or natural disasters? The module will be interesting to students from all disciplines who want to understand better one of the most complex and important concepts we live with today.

Other Animals: Contemporary Moral Frontiers

Module Codes: VA2003, VA3003

Offered in Semester 1

The relation between humans and other animals constitutes one of the frontiers of moral life today. Qualms about factory farming and meat-eating are widespread. So are worries about animal experimentation and zoos. In this module, these various moral anxieties provide starting points for a series of inquiries into the current lives of non-human animals and their relation to us humans. How, and to what extent, do we understand other animals? What do we owe other animals, wild and tame? Is it true, as the animal rights movement insists, that we stand in deeply flawed relations to the other animals? And if so, what should we do about it? How, in a (more) ideal world, would humans and other animals relate to one another? What, in other words, are the values that should guide our relations to the other animals in the future?

The Brain, Human Nature and Ethics

Module Codes: VA2007, VA3007

Offered in Semester 1 and Semester 2

While many sciences investigate aspects of human nature, none seems to come as close to home as the study of the human brain. A growing number of books and documentaries on the brain suggest that neuroscience will sooner or later tell us who we really are. Some claim that mysteries like consciousness, the self and free will, which have (supposedly) eluded philosophy and religion for centuries, are about to be solved by scientific discoveries. Along with this knowledge (it is said) will come power to change who we are and how we behave: not only to treat neurological disorders, but also to modify and enhance our brain functions using drugs or other technologies. Maybe this knowledge will be used to influence customer choices in marketing, or to interrogate criminal suspects. We might be able to enhance our cognitive abilities, our mood, and our moral qualities. Perhaps we will be able to upload our minds to supercomputers and break free from the limits of our flesh-and-blood bodies altogether. This module will critically explore claims like these and the ambitions that go along with them, drawing on the work of neuroscientists, philosophers, theologians and others. For example: how much – and what – can neuroscience really tell us about what it is to be human? How feasible and how coherent are proposals for brain reading, cognitive enhancement or mind uploading? And even if such things can be done, should they? Is a cognitively enhanced or posthuman future one that we should hope for, or fear?


Module Codes: VA2022 / VA3022

Offered in Semester 2

The notion of rights is central in contemporary moral, political, and legal thought. But what are rights? And how significant are they? In this module, we will investigate the historical background for the contemporary prominence of rights and examine some of the central difficulties and disagreements that define conversations about rights today. We will focus primarily on the idea of human rights, but also consider the possible rights of specific groups – e.g. children or refugees – and consider the possibility of extending the notion beyond the human. The aim of the module is to introduce students to a concept widely used in public debates, but also contested and criticized, and so invite them into the fundamental discussion about the value of rights.  

What is Love?

Module codes: VA2024/VA3024

Offered in Semester 1 and Semester 2

Love seems to be a crucial value—a value that may even be synonymous with what it means to value anything at all. Yet this general truth raises serious difficulties: not only is the potential range of love objects bewilderingly vast, but what it means “to love” is a question with many competing answers. In this module, we will examine a variety of views about love: ancient and modern, western and non-western, some that confirm the high value commonly placed on love and some that invite us to be sceptical about the emphasis on love in our culture. The aim of the module is to introduce students to the great human conversation about the meaning of love and to be a forum in which we, students and staff, can continue this conversation ourselves.

How to Register

The modules offered by the Institute for Value Studies are open to all undergraduates at Winchester. Many programmes allow students to take the modules for credit.

There are limited spaces, but we accommodate as many as we can according to the first come, first served principle.

If you would like to take a module for credit (i.e. it will count towards the completion of your programme), please contact your programme leader to see if your programme allows you to take the modules for credit. Each module is worth 15 credits.

Programmes offering Value Studies Modules


Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Accounting and Finance BA X X X
Accounting and Management BA X X X
American Studies BA   X X
American Studies and History BA   X X
Ancient, Classical and Medieval Studies BA   X X
Animal Welfare and Society BA   X X
Anthropology BA   X X
Anthropology and Archaeology BA   X X
Archaeological Practice BSc   X X
Archaeological Practice with Professional Placement BSc   X X
Archaeology BA   X X
Archaeology BSc   X X
Banking and Finance BSc X X X
Business Management BA   X X
Business Management with Enterprise & Innovation BA     X
Childhood and Youth Studies BA   X X
Classical Studies BA   X  
Creative Advertising BA   X  
Creative and Professional Writing BA X X X
Creative Writing BA X X X
Creative Writing and Drama BA   X X
Creative Writing and English Literature BA   X X
Criminology BA   X X
Criminology and Sociology BA   X X
Criminology with Law BA   X X
Criminology with Psychology BA   X X
Cyber Crime and Forensic Investigation BSc   X X
Cyber Security with Law BSc   X X
Development, Religion and Peacebuilding BA   X X
Drama BA   X X
Drama and English Literature BA   X X
Drama and Performing Arts BA   X X
Drama with Creative Writing BA   X  
Economics   X X
Economics and Banking BSc   X X
Economics and Finance X X X
Economics, Banking and Finance BSc X X X
Education Studies BA   X X
Education Studies and Drama BA   X X
Education Studies and Early Childhood BA   X X
Education Studies and English Literature BA   X X
Education Studies and History BA   X X
Education Studies and Inclusion BA   X X
Education Studies and Mathematics  BA   X X
English Literature BA   X X
English Literature and Film BA   X X
English Literature and History BA   X X
English Literature with Creative Writing BA   X X
English Literature with English Language BA   X X
English with American Literature BA   X X
Event Management BA   X X
Fashion Business   X  
Fashion Marketing BA   X X
Film BA   X X
Film and American Studies BA   X X
Film and Media Studies BA   X X
Film Production BA   X X
Film Studies BA   X X
Film Studies and Screenwriting BA   X X
Forensic Studies BA   X X
Forensic Investigative Psychology BSc     X
Global History and Politics BA   X X
Health, Community and Social Care (Disability) Studies BSc   X  
Health, Community and Social Care Studies BSc   X  
History BA X X X
History and Archaeology BA   X X
History and Politics BA   X X
Law BA   X X
Law and Business Management BA   X X
Law with Criminology BA   X X
Law with Cyber Security BA   X X
Law with Media and Communication BA   X X
Law with Politics BA   X X
Law with Psychology BA   X X
Law with Sports BA   X X
Liberal Arts BA   X X
Liberal Arts and Drama BA   X X
Liberal Arts and English Literature BA   X X
Liberal Arts and History BA   X X
Liberal Arts and Sociology BA   X  
Marketing BA   X X
Mathematics BSc   X X
Mathematics and Economics BSc   X X
Mathematics and Education Studies BSc   X X
Mathematics and Finance BSc   X X
Mathematics and Management BSc   X X
Media and Audio Communication BA     X
Media and Communication BA X   X
Media, Communication and Advertising BA X   X
Media, Communication and Journalism BA X   X
Media, Communication and Social Media BA X   X
Media, Communication and Video Games BA X   X
Medieval History BA X X X
Modern English Literature BA   X X
Modern History BA X X X
Music and Sound Production BA X X  
Music Production and Performance (Popular Music) BA X X  
Musical Theatre BA   X X
Philosophy, Politics and Economics BA   X X
Philosophy, Religion and Ethics BA X X X
Politics BA   X X
Politics and Global Studies/Politics BA   X X
Politics with International Relations BA   X X
Politics with Law BA   X X
Popular Music: Production & Performance BA X X  
Psychology BSc     X
Psychology and Child Development BSc     X
Psychology and Criminology BA     X
Psychology and Criminology BSc     X
Psychology with Law BSc     X
Public Relations and Journalism BA   X  
Sociology BA   X X
Sport and Exercise Psychology BSc     X
Sport and Exercise Science BSc     X
Sports Management BA     X
Sport Psychology and Coaching BSc     X
Sports Coaching BSc     X
Sports Coaching and Performance BSc     X
Strength and Conditioning BSc     X
Theology BA X X X
Theology, Religion and Ethics BA X X X

What Winchester Students Say About Value Studies...



Emily Griffiths, studied Play and Other Animals: Contemporary Moral Frontiers modules

“I’ve been fortunate enough to study four Value Studies modules so far and they have been among my favourite aspects of my time at Winchester. I really enjoyed the smaller group size and the way in which the modules allowed for more time for discussion in class. We had some fantastic guest speakers and really lively discussions in class!

The texts we studied were different from those I would usually be reading as part of my degree programme and I really enjoyed the opportunity to be exposed to a wider selection of texts I had never heard of. This gave an entirely new perspective on the debates we were having in class and was fascinating to discuss with students on different degree programmes.

The Value Studies modules offered me a really enriching opportunity to explore issues I care about and I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a chance for some great conversations and wider perspectives.”

Igor Ahmedov, studied Cosmopolitanism: Political Values in the Age of Globalisation and Culture: High and Low modules

““Education is the most dramatic thing after love” is a quote by one of the Value Studies tutors that have stuck with me forever. Value Studies is what made education exciting for me providing an opportunity to experience a different way of learning. Value Studies provided a space where no question or opinion on the studied topic was off the limits. The fact that class had representatives from different programmes made discussions fruitful, as they provided perspectives from their own disciplines that I would have never thought of on my own. Topics covered in class, related to all of us as “fundamental questions about being human” going to the core of our existence. As the topics were so different, Value Studies, in a way, provided a space for the kind of a discussion you might have in the comments on social media but in a respectful manner around the table. The way assessment worked, a series of short reflective pieces on the text read for the seminar, rather than a long essay, also insured that all participants came prepared and aware of the text, insuring that discussion flowed from the students rather than was forced on us by the tutor.”

Georgia Young, studied The Values of Nature module

"Value studies has been an exciting change of pace in my final year at Winchester. The varieties of modules mean you can choose anything that piques your interests in a learning environment which is welcoming and friendly. It is clear that the staff are excited to teach their subjects which makes it all the more engaging and discussion of any topic are welcome. Being part of the Values of Nature module has been a brilliant addition to my degree, as well as being the class I looked forward to the most. The Institute for Value Studies at Winchester clearly aims to help students grow not just academically but intellectually by looking at many important topics and questions from a variety of academic disciplines. In a year which is heavily focused on dissertation and deadlines these classes which are discussion based are a welcome change, so are the week by week research response papers. It makes you feel like you’re on the way to developing your own views on topics not just trying to meet the assignment targets. I would recommend Value Studies to everyone who is looking to study at Winchester!"


Contact us

Institute for Value Studies
The University of Winchester
SO22 4NR
Tel: +44 (0) 1962 826359