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COURSE OVERVIEW 

  • Learn from history’s smartest thinkers to analyse the profound questions at the heart of religion, philosophy and ethics from multiple perspectives

  • Study at a values-based institution with a strong religious foundation 

  • Benefit from extra weekly talks and seminars by major international thinkers across the campus on questions relating to your course

  • Gain real-world work experience as a part of your degree programme by volunteering for a placement with a range of organisations, from charities to think thanks 

  • Visit and engage with religious sites and communities, both nationally and internationally; recent fields trips have included India, Nepal and Jerusalem 

Do life’s biggest questions stir a desire in you to delve deeper – to understand and debate, for example, the meaning of life, the existence of God and how we can protect the planet we live on? Our course examines the different perspectives of great minds and thinking on such momentous issues and equips you to engage with these discussions in an informed and critical way. 

Our unique Philosophy, Religion and Ethics degree is not simply studying these fields separately but explores questions at the intersection of these disciplines. You get to set philosophical ideas in conversation with religious traditions, rituals and sacred texts, engaging in stimulating debates about right and wrong, life and death, faith and politics. 

At Winchester, you study the grand narrative of the philosophical tradition, from ancient Greece to the world of existentialism and post-modernity. Each year you analyse the meaning and significance of classic philosophical works from thinkers as diverse as Kant, Aquinas, Aristotle and Derrida. 

In analysing the texts produced by great intellects, you grow as a writer, debater and thinker. And it’s not all about heavyweight thinkers – you have the chance to consider material practices rather than just ideas: for example, to study what burial rituals tell us about our relation to death rather than just what books say. 

You engage with major contemporary societal issues and learn to develop nuanced positions on them: for example, on the complex clashes between freedom, security, liberation, feminism and national identity at stake in recent European bans on items of Muslim dress. A philosophy degree might engage with some of that but only at an abstract level and without delving into the concepts and values of the community at stake. Our aim is to help our students become independent critics of society and effective problem solvers. 

In Year 1, you begin by studying modules in philosophy, ethics and religious studies that are designed to develop your study skills and enhance your confidence in critical writing and reading. 

In Years 2 and 3, you build a profile of options around your philosophical studies to reflect their own academic interests. Optional modules such as New and Alternative Religions, and Judaism In The Contemporary World encourage you to think about the way religious ideas and practices interact with modern societies and their communities. 

You leave Winchester with a degree that shows you have an understanding of people and communities, not just books. 

Graduates enter a wide range of fascinating and rewarding careers. Some students arrive with destinations in mind, including teaching, journalism, social work and academia, while others discover their vocation during the degree course. Other potential careers include working for NGOs and charities, where ethical issues are paramount. 

But wherever you're heading, we want to help you reach there. A degree that develops you as an independent thinker, a close observer of society and collaborative problem solver – that gives you lots of options.

Careers

Graduates enter a wide range of careers in such areas as teaching (philosophy, religion or ethics), charity/Non-Governmental Organisation work, and employment in both the public and private sectors.

94.4% of our 2015/16 graduates (first degree and other undergraduate courses) were in employment and/or further study six months after completing their course. (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey)

Pre-approved for a Masters

If you study a Bachelor Honours degrees with us, you will be pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible, you will need to apply by the end of March in the final year of your degree and meet the entry requirements of your chosen Masters degree.

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Suitable for Applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Field Trips

Students may undertake field studies to explore the diversity of religions, cultures and traditions - previous trips have included India, Istanbul and Jerusalem.

Study Abroad

Our  BA (Hons) Philosophy, Religion and Ethics course provides an opportunity for you to study abroad in the United States of America (USA).

For more information see our Study Abroad section.

Learning and Teaching

Our aim is to shape 'confident learners' by enabling you to develop the skills needed to excel in your studies here and as well as onto further studies or the employment market.            

You are taught primarily through a combination of lectures and seminars, allowing opportunities to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.

In addition to the formally scheduled contact time such as lectures and seminars, you are encouraged to access academic support from staff within the course team, your personal tutor and the wide range of services available to you within the University.

Independent learning

Over the duration of your course, you will be expected to develop independent and critical learning, progressively building confidence and expertise through independent and collaborative research, problem-solving and analysis with the support of staff. You take responsibility for your own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity.

While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional modules you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course.

Year 1 (Level 4): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

Teaching, learning and assessment: 204 hours
Independent learning: 996 hours

Year 2 (Level 5): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

Teaching, learning and assessment: 228 hours
Independent learning: 972 hours

Year 3 (Level 6): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

Teaching, learning and assessment: 216 hour
Independent learning: 984 hours

*Please note these are indicative hours for the course. 

Teaching in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics is highly student centred and interactive. Through the course, we will help and encourage you to develop skills of independent learning and research, critical judgment and confident communication of your ideas and conclusions to others. Classes are relatively small and you will work with fellow students on group presentations, projects and website designs. These types of assessment are used alongside the more traditional essay, commentary and exams.

Location

Taught elements of the course take place on our King Alfred Campus or at West Downs, Winchester

Assessment

Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The assessment balance between examination and coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by different assessment modes is as follows:

Year 1 (Level 4)*:

87% coursework
13% written exams
0% practical exams

Year 2 (Level 5)*:

87% coursework
13% written exams
0% practical exams

Year 3 (Level 6)*:

79% coursework
13% written exams
8% practical exams

*Please note these are indicative percentages and modes for the programme.

Feedback

We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.

 

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

2018 Entry: 104-120 points

A GCSE A*-C or 9-4 pass in English Language is required.

International Baccalaureate: 26 points

If English is not your first language: Year 1/Level 4: IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in writing or equivalent

Course Enquiries and Applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234
Send us a message

International Students

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by emailing our International Recruitment Team at International@winchester.ac.uk or calling +44 (0) 1962 827023

Visit us

Explore our campus and find out more about studying at Winchester by coming to one of our Open Days.

Additional Requirements

Suitable applicants are required to attend an interview.

Year 1 (Level 4)

Modules Credits

Ethics and Religion 15

This module is designed to provide a thorough grounding in the academic study of ethics. Students will explore a range of current moral issues and debates in some or all of the following areas: science, technology and medicine; animals and ecological concern; gender, sexuality and intimate relationships; political, economic and social life. They will develop skills in analysing such debates through the study of selected philosophical, theological and/or religious approaches to moral reasoning. The module will give students an opportunity to develop a critical understanding of key historical and contemporary thinkers and traditions in ethics, and will explore some of the ways in which philosophical, theological and religious forms of moral reasoning have interacted in different times and places.

Introduction to Politics and Political Philosophy 15

This module introduces themes, theoretical perspectives and concepts in the study of politics and political philosophy and aims to develop an understanding of how political institutions operate and of how they are underpinned by adherence to a variety of political philosophies, or ideologies that act, globally, to order the global environment. The concepts and institutions studies are from a western perspective in order to, first, ground students in a knowledge of these themes per se but, second, to provide a framework for comparative study of non-western polities analysed in greater depth in Levels 5 and 6, such as those in the Middle East and China, in order to gauge the extent that western concepts of politics have been adapted, accepted or rejected in different environments. This is achieved by a pattern of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops.

Introduction to Classical and Early Modern Philosophy 30

In this module we will begin to study philosophy through looking at its two great foundational moments, commonly attached to the names Socrates and Descartes. The first inaugurated the flowering of philosophical thought in Ancient Greece and the second beginning the European Enlightenment. Throughout both semesters students will also engage in a range of activities and classes based on developing their philosophical skills.

In the first semester we will be concerned with key thinkers, ideas and arguments from the Classical period. Our primary focus will fall on the still highly influential works of Plato and Aristotle, particularly as they relate to what philosophy and the philosopher are, along with key questions relating to metaphysics, epistemology, politics and the polis. However, we will also offer a chronological sweep of the Classical period that looks from the Presocratics to the Sophists, onwards to the major Hellenistic schools of philosophy and then to the philosophers of the Roman Empire. Along with telling this standard story we will look at contemporary attempts to put in question the narrative that philosophy begins in Ancient Greece.

In the second semester we will turn to the Early-Modern period: a time when parts of Classical thought were being rejected while others were being rediscovered. We will look at how a renewed focus on epistemology along with developments in the natural sciences led to a new confidence in the power of reason against superstition and illusion. To develop our skills and knowledge of the diverging rationalist and empiricist traditions that succeeded medieval scholasticism, we will focus in particular on the conceptual accounts and proofs of the existence of God, the self and world that developed in the succession of debates sparked by Descartes. By investigating their proofs for the existence of God, the immortal soul and the reality of the external world, their explanations for the existence of evil and their accounts of freedom, we will learn to analyse texts carefully and form persuasive arguments with and against them.

Perspectives on Living Religions 30

This module focuses on theory and method in the study of religion It is divided into two parts. The first part will introduce students to a range of key theoretical and methodological perspectives in the study of religion from the 19th century to the present. The second part will examine four non-Christian traditions, and explore the ways in which the theory and methodology discussed early in the module finds application in relation to particular aspects of these traditions.
The first section of the module will introduce a selection of key thinkers on religion, exploring key debates to do with Euro-centrism in the study of non-Christian religions, problems in the definition of religion as a distinct area of human activity, debates on the concept of ‘world religions’, and insider and outsider approaches to religion. It will explore the origins of Religious Studies as a discipline in the late 20th century, its point of departure from Theology, and its interconnections with other disciplines such as history, anthropology and sociology. Focusing primarily on religions as they are lived and experienced through everyday practice, this part of the module will also examine analytical themes central to living religions relating, for example, to colonialism and modernity, gender issues, religion and the media, material culture, and authority and power. The second half of the module will then introduce students to the four so-called ‘world religions’ of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam, and analyse the themes introduced in Part 1 in relation to these.

Great Christian Thinkers 30

The Christian doctrinal tradition has been the scene of immense intellectual energy and creativity for two thousand years. This module introduces some of its most influential figures, situating them within their historical context and exploring some of the central themes in their thought. . An emphasis on the acquisition of textual analysis skills and academic writing will be a major focus of the first semester, which will focus on one or two questions/thinkers/problems in order to demonstrate how lectures, reading and independent work might be utilised for effective written assessment.  Students will encounter thinkers ranging from the first to the twentieth centuries, and undertaking this module will train them to read primary texts, and work within the parameters of Higher Education with increased confidence. Theologians to be included will normally include figures such as Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Schleiermacher and Barth.

Year 2 (Level 5)

Modules Credits

Atheism and its Critics 15

This module will track the chronological unfolding of atheist thought from ancient atomism to the contemporary new atheist movement. We will investigate both the independent quality of arguments against the existence of a deity, whether they are found in philosophical, scientific, literary or political works, and how religious thinkers have responded to those arguments, paying particular attention to how these debates have transformed religion, religions, society and our self-understanding. Particular attention will be devoted to Spinoza and his works contribution to the French Revolution and the Pantheism controversy at the heart of romanticism.  We will also look at the role of atheism in the works of the three “masters of suspicion” – Nietzsche, Marx and Freud – and whether the quality of their arguments is maintained by the new atheists.

Kant and the Copernican Revolution 15

This module focuses on one of the most important books ever written, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Beginning from the intellectual milieu it emerged from – Rationalism vs. Empiricism, Hume’s scepticism and Rousseau’s view of freedom – this module will focus on understanding the texts general relevance along with focusing in detail on a few portions of its argument. These might include the the notion of transcendental idealism and the thing-in-itself, Kant’s account of the nature of space and time, the limitations Kant imposes on our knowledge of metaphysical entities – such as God, freedom and the self – and the role of non-epistemic forms of assertion such as faith and hope in these domains. We will also place Kant’s first Critique in the context of some of his works, such as those on ethics, aesthetics, science, politics or religion.

Optional Credits

Optional Modules

Ancient Languages 15 Credits

Aspects of Islam 15 Credits

The Bible and Contemporary Culture 15 Credits

Bioethics and Theology 15 Credits

Buddhism: Traditions and Transformations 15 Credits

Christianity and Neoplatonism 15 Credits

Christians, Jews and the Holocaust 15 Credits

The Church and Politics 15 Credits

Constructing Meanings: Bible as Literature 15 Credits

Contemporary Christian Theology 15 Credits

Early Christian Mysticism 15 Credits

Gender, Sexuality and the Bible 15 Credits

Field Studies 15 Credits

Hinduism and Modernity 15 Credits

Independent Study Module (ISM) 15 Credits

Indigenous Religions 15 Credits

Judaism in the Contemporary World 15 Credits

The Many Faces of Jesus 15 Credits

Hegel, Marx and Dialectical Thought 15 Credits

New and Alternative Religions 15 Credits

Orthodox Christianity 15 Credits

Religion, Ethics and War 15 Credits

Religion in Contemp. Britain 15 Credits

Religion, Ritual and Society 15 Credits

Science and Theology 15 Credits

Seven Ecumenical Councils 15 Credits

Volunteering for Theology, Religion and Philosophy 15 Credits

Year 3 (Level 6)

Modules Credits

Contemporary Philosophy 15

In this module students will engage in detail with a particular philosopher whose works date from the late-Twentieth Century onwards. This module will be research-led, with the tutor presenting a thinker and theme that they are currently or recently engaged in writing research on. Students will be expected to engage with the tutor’s research work along with more general introductory material over the course of the module

Phenomenology, Existentialism and Identity 15

A great deal of contemporary thought remains heavily focused on building on, responding to or critically rejecting the thought of the early-Twentieth Century. In this module we will look at a selection of the many important thinkers associated with the labels phenomenology and existentialism, such as Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Levinas, Camus and Merleau-Ponty; along with a selection of thinkers outside of that tradition who played an important part in its critique, such as Bergson, Bataille, Saussure, Lévi-Strauss, Derrida and Foucault. We will see how the very notion of what it is “to be” and particularly “to be human” was put in question by these thinkers and by their critics. We will relate this to developments beyond philosophy, such as the role of such thinking in art, politics and religion, and the way it has responded to developments in science and logic.

Senior Seminar 15

In this module, each lecture will consist of two academics discussing or debating an issue or set of ideas common to their individual profile of expertise. Their discussions will explore a topic through dialogue, debate or critical disagreement. Students will be drawn into that discussion in a variety of ways, though activities such as mini seminar discussion, facilitated debate, and question and answer sessions. Students will engage with structured reading patterns in preparation to participate in these staged debates, and the assessment pattern for the module will prioritise the way in which students are able to communicate and engage with ideas in real time.

Dissertation 30

In conversation with a member of academic staff, students select an appropriate area of investigation. In 8-10,000 words, students must engage with their chosen topic using critical methodologies, evidence and argument. The topic chosen must be one which relates to the subject matter of their Programme and which permits the demonstration of independent research, study and reflection.

Optional Credits

Optional Modules

Ancient Languages 15 Credits

Aspects of Islam 15 Credits

The Bible and Contemporary Culture 15 Credits

Bioethics and Theology 15 Credits

Buddhism: Traditions and Transformations 15 Credits

Christianity and Neoplatonism 15 Credits

Christians, Jews and the Holocaust 15 Credits

The Church and Politics 15 Credits

Constructing Meanings: Bible as Literature 15 Credits

Contemporary Christian Theology 15 Credits

Early Christian Mysticism 15 Credits

Gender, Sexuality and the Bible 15 Credits

Advanced Field Studies 15 Credits

Hinduism and Modernity 15 Credits

Indigenous Religions 15 Credits

Judaism in the Contemporary World 15 Credits

The Many Faces of Jesus 15 Credits

New and Alternative Religions 15 Credits

Orthodox Christianity 15 Credits

Religion, Ethics and War 15 Credits

Religion in Contemp. Britain 15 Credits

Religion, Ritual and Society 15 Credits

Science and Theology 15 Credits

Seven Ecumenical Councils 15 Credits

Shocks & Fragments: Perspectives on Walter Benjamin 15 Credits

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing, for full-time students entering the programme in Year 1. Optional modules are listed where applicable. Please note the University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. For further information please refer to the terms and conditions at www.winchester.ac.uk/termsandconditions.
The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed above.

Course Tuition Fees 

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man

If you are a UK or EU student starting your degree in September 2018, the first year will cost you £9,250. Based on this fee level, the indicative fees for a three-year degree would be £27,750 for UK and EU students. Remember, you don't have to pay any of this upfront if you are able to get a tuition fee loan from the UK Government to cover the full cost of your fees each year. If finance is a worry for you, we are here to help. Take a look at the range of support we have on offer. This is a great investment you are making in your future, so make sure you know what is on offer to support you.

Full-time £9,250 p/a

Total Cost: £27,750 (3 years) | £28,450 (sandwich option)

UK/EU Part-Time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £77.08 and a 15 credit module is £1,156. Part-time students can take up to a maximum 90 credits per year, so the maximum fee in a given year will be the government permitted maximum fee of £6,938

International Students

Full-time £12,950** p/a
Total Cost: £38,850** (3 years) | £39,550** (sandwich option)

International part-time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £107.92 and a 15 credit module is £1,620. Fees for students from Vestfold University College in Norway (who receive a 10% reduction) and NLA are £11,655.

 

ADDITIONAL COSTS

As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the optional costs for this course:

Optional

Core texts

Core Texts are available from the University Library; however, students will be strongly encouraged in some modules to purchase a copy of a key work that the module focuses on. Some Core Texts can be bought second hand, or as an ebook which can often reduce this cost. Cost approximately £100 per academic year. 

Study abroad

Students have the option to study a semester abroad in the USA in their second year of study. For more information about Study Abroad please click here

Field trips

In year 2 and/or year 3, students may undertake field studies to explore the diversity of religions, cultures and traditions - previous trips have included India, Istanbul and Jerusalem. The cost of a field trip is dependent on location and duration. Previous trips have cost between £800 and £1200.

SCHOLARSHIPS, BURSARIES AND AWARDS

We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards.

Key course details

UCAS code
V520
Duration
3 years full-time; 6 years part-time
Typical offer
104-120 points
Location
King Alfred Campus or at West Downs, Winchester