Philosophy, Ethics and Religion BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Philosophy student in library

This course examines the fundamental life questions that have interested human beings for centuries. For example: Does evil exist? Are we ever truly free to act? What does morality or justice require? Does morality require God or religion? How do we know what we know – if we can ever know anything at all?

We'll encourage you to develop your own approach to these ideas and expand your worldview. This is a unique opportunity to explore 'values' (religious and secular) in the abstract (through Philosophy) and in the particular (through Theology and Religious Studies).

All of the major world religions are represented. You'll study each tradition's history and how they are lived and interpreted today. Our staff have a diverse range of research interests, including the philosophy of art, sex and gender in Africa, the sociology of religion, and feminist philosophy. This is reflected in the wide choice of modules that you'll be able to choose from.

Course details

Throughout the course, you'll engage with key concepts and ideas in philosophy, ethics, and religious studies and will be able to develop your own interests and specialisms as the course progresses.

In your first year, you'll study core modules in reasoning, ethics, and religion to set a firm foundation for subsequent years. You'll acquire subject knowledge and methodological approaches within and across two complementary disciplines, Philosophy and Theology and Religious Studies.

You'll also choose from a wide range of optional philosophy and religious studies modules. And you can select Discovery modules from across the University.

In your second year, you'll build on this knowledge by taking a core module on studying religion in context and a core module in ethics.

Then you choose from an extensive list of optional modules, giving you the freedom to specialise in the areas that interest you.

Examples include:

  • The ethics of life and death
  • Race
  • Gender
  • The nature of knowledge
  • Different religious traditions
  • Religious texts.

You'll continue to develop essential skills in research, textual analysis and interpretation, critical thinking and formulating arguments.

In your final year, you'll undertake an independent research project on a theme that you have chosen.

You'll then choose from an extended list of optional modules in philosophy, ethics, and religion so that you can develop your interests and specialise further.

Topics can include:

  • Aesthetics
  • feminist philosophy
  • the ethics of war
  • Continental philosophy
  • Religion and mental health
  • Sin and theology

You'll graduate with strong research and analytical skills, a nuanced understanding of key issues in philosophy, ethics, and religion and how they interconnect and impact the world around you.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (10)

Typically includes such topics as: 

  • Religious belief

  • Religious experience

  • Definitions of God

  • Arguments for theism and atheism

  • The problem of evil, miracles

  • Life after death

  • Morality

  • Religious pluralism

  • The philosophical importance of emotions, rituals and experience

The Good, the Bad, the Right, and the Wrong (20)

This module introduces students to central issues in moral philosophy and political philosophy. 

For example:

  • Is morality just relative to one's culture or belief system?

  • What are the major moral theories?

  • What is the nature of oppression? What is the nature of democracy, justice, and equality?

How to think clearly and argue well (20)

This module develops tools to resolve problems and persuade others of our solutions in clear, precise, and effective ways. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to reconstruct arguments that you find in texts.

  • How to recognize common fallacies.

  • How to test arguments for validity.

  • Some examples of widespread but mistaken patterns of thinking that often affect ordinary reasoning.

Core modules (students take at least one)

Introduction to Christian Theology (20)

Covers key Christian themes such as creation, the person of Christ, and salvation.

This module will prepare you to think systematically about religion and introduce you to modern theologians' wide range of work.

Introduction to the Study of Religions (20)

Introduces key methods and concepts in the study of religion.

The module will introduce you to critical debates around issues such as gender and postcolonialism.

There will be an emphasis on developing academic skills to help you throughout your degree studies. 

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

  • Introduction to Jewish and Christian Texts (20)

  • The Mind (10)

  • Knowledge, Self and Reality (20)

  • Great Philosophical Thinkers (20)

  • Religion in Modern Africa (10)

  • Religion, Politics and Society in the Modern World (20) 

  • Religion in Modern Britain (10)  

Year 2 compulsory modules

Studying Religion in Context (20)

This module lays the foundations for being a higher-level student of religion. It introduces a variety of approaches to the study of religion by current researchers, creating awareness of the latest work in the area.

Core modules (students take at least one): 

Political Philosophy (20) 

Introduces the fundamental concepts of political legitimacy and authority.

It deals with contemporary theories of the justification of the state.

It will also deal with the question of whether we have obligations to disobey the state and its purported authority and if we may ever do so violently.

Moral Philosophy (20)

Introduce some of the central concepts, issues, theories, and debates in a moral philosophy called "normative ethics", which concerns what kind of actions are morally right or good and morally wrong or bad and what makes them so.

You’ll learn about the leading positions on these issues through a range of more specific topics in normative ethics.

Human Rights and Religion (20)

This interdisciplinary module examines the relationship between religion and human rights from historical, theological, philosophical and social-scientific perspectives.

It explores questions such as:

  • How do religious commitments and commitments to human rights affect each other, in theory and in practice?  

  • Are religious communities the sources, the guardians or the enemies of human rights?  

  • Are human rights' sacred'?

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Introduction to the Philosophy of Language 20
Formal Logic 20
Ancient Philosophy 20
Ethics of Life and Death 10
Introduction to Epistemology 20
Philosophy of Religion 20
Introduction to Metaphysics 20
Thinking About Race 10
Augustine of Hippo: A Key Thinker in Philosophy and Theology 20
Sociology of Religion 20
God, Sex and Gender in Africa 20
Ideologies of Hebrew Bible Texts and Readers 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

(Students take one of): 

Independent Project in Philosophy, Religion, or the History of Science (40) 

You will select a project from a wide-ranging list of topics and, with the support of a supervisor, undertake independent research.

Integrated Project in Philosophy, Religion, or the History of Science (40) 

You will take a supporting module as a foundation for your project, and create a portfolio of work (short essay, presentation, short dissertation) in the subject area of the supporting module.

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Kant 20
Metaethics 20
Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art 20
Philosophy of Mind 20
Feminist Philosophy 20
War, Terror and Justice 20
Existentialism and Phenomenology 20
Religion, Belief and Ethics 20
Religion and Mental Health 20
Religion and Media 20
Muslims in Britain: Transnational Communities and Multicultural Politics 20
Ideologies of Hebrew Bible Texts and Readers 20
Religions and Global Development 20
God, Sex and Gender in Africa 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

The School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science is home to tutors who are at the forefront of research in their fields.

So you can benefit from their expertise, we use a range of teaching and learning methods. Normally these will include lectures, seminars, tutorials and occasionally workshops. However, independent study is also an important element of the degree, since this is where you will develop your skills in research, interpretation and analysis and form your own ideas.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We also use different types of assessment - these usually include exams and essays. However, some modules may also use oral presentations, group work, book reviews, and posters as assessed components. Support will be available throughout your degree. For example, we provide guidance on how to structure essays and our Library Skills Team offers exam skills support.

New students will have a suite of study skills modules to help transition to university learning and assessment. Your teaching staff will be available throughout term time to talk to you one-on-one about how to get the most out of your assessments. 

Assessment is not just a way of testing you but a pivotal way to consolidate your learning on the degree.

We always design our assessments to reflect the most valuable skills our subject can teach you. 

For instance:

  • How to construct a well-developed argument.
  • Explain complicated ideas clearly.
  • Critically evaluate a passage of text.
  • Develop your ability to bring together evidence from a variety of sources.
  • Critically understand and conceptually evaluate contemporary debates.

Not only will these skills allow you to perform well in your degree, but they’ll also help you excel in your future lives and careers. 

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.


BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: DDD. Other BTEC qualifications are also considered. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M1, M2.

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall including 16 at Higher Level.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers, or A in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers, or AAAABB in Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80%.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

If you would like to study arts, humanities, and cultures at university, but don't currently meet the typical entry requirements for direct entry to a degree, you might be eligible to apply for the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science Undergraduate Admissions team.

You can find out more about what it is like to be an international student by speaking to a Link to Leeds ambassador. They can’t help you with your application, but they can tell you how they have found living and studying in Leeds.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £22,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science

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School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

A degree in Philosophy, Ethics and Religion spans across disciplines such as literary studies, history and sociology. As a result, it will equip you with a variety of transferable skills that are highly valued by all kinds of employers.

You’ll be a confident communicator who can work independently or within a team, as well as having skills in research, critical thinking and analysing complex information. You’ll also have a deeper awareness of some of the social and cultural issues that impact on communities.

Graduates have pursued careers in fields as broad as politics, management, the civil service, journalism, the media, education and the charity sector. Others have gone onto postgraduate study or further training.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

All University of Leeds students can apply to spend a year studying abroad. It’s a great way to gain an insight into another culture, as well as gaining valuable experience that will look great on your CV.

The School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science also has exclusive exchange links with universities in Denmark, France and Spain – language classes are available before you go to prepare you for the experience.

Read more about Study abroad in Philosophy, Religion and History of Science

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

You’ll also have additional opportunities to gain work experience during the degree. For example, you can apply for our Philosophy Students into Schools module which allows you to spend time planning and delivering lessons, or you can get involved in the ongoing development of the Leeds Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

Student profile: Grace Galbraith

I was attracted to studying a subject relevant to every being on the planet and I was keen to investigate and potentially challenge the presumptions that we make every day.
Find out more about Grace Galbraith's time at Leeds