Philosophy, Ethics and Religion BA

Year of entry

2025 course information

Open Days 2024

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UCAS code
VV5P
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
Duration
3 years full time
Work placement
Optional
Study abroad
Optional
Typical A-level offer
AAB
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Philosophy student in library

In what sense 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.

This course examines the fundamental life questions that have interested human beings for centuries; we’ll encourage you to develop your own approach to these ideas and expand your world view.

The course presents a unique opportunity to explore 'values' (religious and secular) in the abstract (through philosophy) and in the particular (through theology and religious studies). In doing so, you’ll acquire subject knowledge and methodological approaches within and across two complementary disciplines, philosophy and theology and religious studies.

A variety of global religious traditions are represented. You’ll study the history of each tradition 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.

Additional highlights

Students have the choice between two different kinds of research project in your final year. Both offer you the guidance of an individual supervisor, but one also offers the scaffolded support of an associated module. The other allows you the freedom to pursue an independent research project of your own design.

There is the opportunity for genuine research-led teaching throughout the degree, culminating in a revolving menu of highly specialist modules in the final year.

Specialist facilities

The University of Leeds has world-class facilities for students of Philosophy, Ethics and Eeligion. The University libraries are among the largest in the UK and offer a course of workshops and webinars to help you make the most of their collections, digital resources and databases.

Take a look around our libraries:

The Special Collections Research Centre has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment and extension, after a generous bequest from the John Victor Bedford Will Trust. This provides new working spaces for individuals or groups and new teaching spaces that feature visualisers and projectors, allowing you to engage with primary sources using the latest techniques. 

Skills@Library offers training courses to help you make the most of the library’s collections, digital resources and databases. In addition, it can provide one-to-one support to taught students on a wide range of topics, including academic writing, research skills, and data analysis.

Course details

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

Year 1

You’ll study compulsory modules in reasoning, ethics, and religion to set a firm foundation for subsequent years. You’ll also choose from a wide range of optional modules in philosophy and religious studies, and you can choose discovery modules from across the University.

Year 2

You’ll build on this knowledge by taking a compulsory module on studying religion in context and a compulsory module in ethics. Then you choose from a list of optional modules, giving you the freedom to specialise in the areas that interest you. Examples include the nature of knowledge and reality, different religious traditions, and religious texts. You’ll continue to develop key skills in research, textual analysis and interpretation, critical thinking and formulating arguments.

Year 3

You’ll undertake an independent research project on a theme that you've chosen, and then choose from a 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. Optional modules will vary annually and will include specialised modules closely related to the research of academic staff. You’ll graduate with strong research and analytical skills, a nuanced understanding of key issues in philosophy, ethics, and religion, how they inter-connect and impact on 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

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

This module will introduce 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?

Introduction to Christian Theology (20):

This module will cover key Christian themes. These will include 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):

This module will introduce you to fundamental methods and concepts in the study of religion.

You’ll be introduced 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. 

How to do Philosophy (20 credits):

This introductory module offers you a foundation in some of the formal and informal reasoning skills used in philosophy.

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

Module Name Credits
Introduction to Jewish and Christian Texts 20
Religion, Politics and Society in the Modern World 20
Religion in Modern Africa 10
Religion in Modern Britain 10
Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion 10
The Mind 10
Philosophy Meets the World 10
Thinking About Race 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 various approaches to the study of religion by current researchers, creating awareness of the latest work in the area. 

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

Module Name Credits
How Do You Know? Topics in Epistemology 20
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
Reality Check: Topics in Metaphysics 20
God, Thought and the World: Topics in Philosophy of Religion 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

Students will take at least one of: 

  • Independent Project in Philosophy, Religion (40 credits) 

This final year project option allows you the freedom to design and carry out a piece of extended independent research with the individualised support of a supervisor with research expertise in your chosen area.

  • History of Science (40 credits) 

Students 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 credits) 

Students will take a supporting module as a foundation for their project and create a portfolio of work in the subject area of the supporting module. 

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

Module Name Credits
Feminist Philosophy 20
War, Terror and Justice 20
Continental Philosophy 20
Religion, Belief and Ethics 20
Religion and Mental Health 20
Religion and Media 20
Muslims in Britain 20
Religions and Global Development 20
Bioethics 20
Philosophy of Love 20
Free Will 20
Aesthetics 20

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.

Assessment

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

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 a contextual 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 contextual admissions.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

This course is designed for students whose backgrounds mean they are less likely to attend university (also known as widening participation backgrounds) and who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry to a degree.

The course will give you the opportunity to be taught by academic staff and provides intensive support to enable your development of academic skills and knowledge. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will progress to your chosen degree course. Find out more about the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

International

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.

Fees

UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 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 UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

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.

Students may be required to purchase core texts for some modules, but our policy is to provide as much as we can through the library and as online texts available to all students.

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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.

Applying

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 Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science

Contact us

School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science Undergraduate Admissions

Email: artsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk
Telephone:

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