Philosophy, Ethics and Religion BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2025
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: 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? You will be encouraged 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); in so doing, you will acquire subject knowledge and methodological approaches within and across two complementary fields of study: Philosophy, on the one hand, and Theology and Religious Studies, on the other.

A variety of global religious traditions are represented. You will study the history of each tradition and also how they are lived and interpreted today.

Our staff have a diverse range of research interests, from the philosophy of art to sex and gender in Africa, and from the sociology of religion to feminist philosophy. This is reflected in the wide selection of modules from which you will be able to choose.

Additional highlights

You 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 provides the scaffolded support of an associated module. The other allows you the freedom to pursue an independent research project of your own design.

In addition to the core modules, there is the opportunity for genuine research-led teaching throughout the degree, with a revolving menu of specialist modules available in the final year.

Specialist facilities

The University of Leeds has world-class facilities for students of Philosophy, Ethics and Religion. 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:

Additionally, the Special Collections Research Centre was recently refurbished and extended thanks to a generous bequest from the John Victor Bedford Will Trust. This extensive development created new working spaces for individuals and/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, developing 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, as well as choosing from a range of optional modules in philosophy and religious studies. Furthermore, you can choose Discovery modules from across the University.

Your second year, which builds upon the foundation established in your first, incorporates a core module on researching religion and a core module in ethics or politics. You then 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, philosophy of religion, different religious traditions, and religious texts. You'll continue to develop key skills in research, textual analysis and interpretation, critical thinking and formulating arguments.

In your final year, you'll undertake a research project on a theme of your choice, and also select optional modules in philosophy, ethics, and/or religion so that you can develop your interests and specialise further. Topics may include aesthetics, feminist philosophy, the ethics of war, continental philosophy, religion and mental health, theology, and others.

By the time you graduate, you'll have strong research and analytical skills; a nuanced understanding of key issues in philosophy, ethics, and religion; and knowledge of how these issues interconnect and impact the world around us.

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

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.

The Good, the Bad, the Right, the Wrong (20 credits)
This module introduces you to some of the key themes, debates and ideas in moral and political philosophy.

Introduction to the Study of Religions (20 credits)
This module introduces you to essential theories, methods and concepts in the study of religion. You will be introduced to critical debates and issues such as gender and postcolonialism. The module also develops your academic skills, facilitating success throughout your degree studies.

Introduction to Christian Theology (20 credits)
This module covers key Christian themes, such as creation, the person of Jesus Christ, and salvation. The module prepares you to think systematically about religion and introduces you to the work of several important theologians.

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

Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (10 credits)
This module introduces you to philosophical thinking about key questions relating to religion, such as the nature of religious belief, theodicy, immortality, religious pluralism, and religious knowledge.

Knowledge, Self and Reality (20 credits)
This module introduces you to central issues in philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics which concern the self and its relationship to the rest of the world.

Biblical Texts and Traditions (20 credits)
This module introduces you to biblical scriptures and to the traditions in which they are embedded. You will learn about the content, form and genre of select biblical writings; their historical and textual contexts; their contemporary reception; the connections between various scriptures; and approaches to reading and studying the Bible.

Religion, Politics and Society in the Modern World (20 credits)
This module examines how religion intersects with politics and society today. It also introduces you to the sometimes contentious role of religion in public settings, considering local, national and international scales. Key questions centre upon secularity, liberal democracy and human rights, as well as pressing concerns associated with globalisation, development, ecology and multiculturalism.

Thinking about Race (10 credits)
This taster module introduces you to a cluster of philosophically interesting issues around the topic of race.

Philosophy Meets the World (10 credits)
This taster module takes you through different ways in which academic philosophy can illuminate real world issues. This might be approached through a wide range of different areas of philosophy such as moral and political philosophy, applied ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of law or philosophy of mind. The particular approach will change annually.

Religion in Modern Africa (10 credits)
This module introduces you to the main religious traditions of Africa: African indigenous religions, Christianity and Islam. You will learn about the characteristics and histories of these religions, and understand the prominent public role of religion in contemporary African societies.

Religions of India (10 credits)
This module introduces some of the key religious traditions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. You may, for example, study Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and/or Jainism. Through studying these religions in their historical and contemporary form, and through their texts and traditions, the module enhances your understanding of the contested nature of ‘religion’ and the challenges of studying religion.

Studying Muslim Cultures (10 credits)
This module explores Islamic traditions and Muslims’ religious life in the past and the present. You will learn about the origins of Islam in seventh-century Arabia, the Qur'an and the Prophet, differing sectarian views of the faith, spiritual life, law and major rituals such as the pilgrimage to Mecca. You will also reflect on the challenges facing Muslims in the modern world and their various responses.

Year 2 compulsory modules

Researching Religion: Skills and Methods (20 credits)
This core module prepares you for your final year project. It covers philosophical, social scientific, and theological approaches, and familiarizes you with a variety of methods, including textual analysis and fieldwork. It also stimulates you to think about your ambitions after your degree, and to reflect on your personal and academic development.

Students must choose one of:

How to Live Together: Topics in Political Philosophy (20 credits)
This module offers an intermediate level exploration of central concepts, theories, and debates in political philosophy, such as liberty, equality and human rights. It broadly investigates how we should live together and what we owe one another as political actors.

Human Rights and Religion (20 credits)
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’ – and should they be?

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

God, Thought and the World: Topics in Philosophy of Religion (20 credits)
This module offers an intermediate level exploration of a selection of themes, debates and ideas in the philosophy of religion including, for instance, philosophical considerations that bear on rational (dis-) belief in God and common arguments for and against the existence of God.

Do the Right Thing: Topics in Moral Philosophy (20 credits)
This module offers an intermediate level exploration of some of the central concepts, issues, theories, and debates in an area of moral philosophy called 'normative ethics', thereby providing you with a framework for thinking seriously about moral matters, and to assist you in developing your philosophical and analytical skills.

How Do You Know? Topics in Epistemology (20 credits)
This module offers an intermediate level exploration of a selection of themes, debates and ideas in epistemology, including for instance issues concerning human knowledge and associated epistemological concepts such as having a good reason (‘justification’) for belief.

Reality Check: Topics in Metaphysics (20 credits)
This module offers an intermediate level exploration of a selection of themes, debates and ideas in metaphysics (the study of fundamental reality). Its main concern is with ontology, the study of what, in the most general, abstract terms, exist.

Why Trust Science? Topics in Philosophy of Science (20 credits)
This module explores socially impactful scientific controversies concerning issues such as climate change, animal experiments, race-based medicine, stem cell research. Its focus is on analysing and evaluating the scientific methodologies that purport to underpin the trustworthiness of certain theories, findings or policy decisions.

Theology in Context (20 credits)
Theology – our thinking about God – is informed by our diverse cultural, social, economic and political contexts and related human experience. This module helps you to understand how this situatedness – e.g. in terms of class, disability, gender, sexuality and race – shapes particular doctrinal beliefs, and gives rise to contextual theological discourses, such as black, feminist, womanist and liberation theologies.

Religious Identities in a Postcolonial World (20 credits)
The postcolonial condition – that is, the aftermath and legacies of colonialism and neo-colonialism – shapes religious identities and movements in the majority parts of our world. Focusing on the beliefs and practices of various traditions, such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism, this module explores how religion is a source of meaning, identity, agency and resistance in regions such as Africa and South Asia and their diasporas.

Sociology of Religion (20 credits)
Within sociology, there is a long tradition of thinking about religion as being at odds with modernity, the assumption being that as societies become more modern, religion will become more marginal. This “secularisation thesis” has become highly contested, as religion continues to play a vital and public role in societies across the world. This module introduces you to classical as well as contemporary sociologists and their thinking about religion, and explores the current debates within the discipline.

Religion, Gender and Sexuality (20 credits)
This module explores the ways in which religious belief and practice intersect with ideas and social attitudes regarding gender and sexuality. Using a range of critical perspectives, such as feminist, masculinity, queer and postcolonial studies, you will look into issues such as the status of women, men’s identities, views regarding homosexuality and reproductive rights, in diverse religious traditions.

Religion, Race and Ethnicity (20 credits)
This module examines the ways in which religious belief and practice intersect with race and ethnicity as categories of social difference. You will be introduced to critical approaches toward race and ethnicity, and will study how these categories operate in various socio-political and religious contexts in today’s world.

Dharma Traditions (20 credits)
This module takes a detailed look at one or more traditions that have originated in India, most notably Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh traditions. The module will typically include discussion of religious, mythological, philosophical, and/or political themes.

Year 3 compulsory modules

Students must choose one of:

Independent Research Project (40 credits)
This final year project option is designed to provide you with an opportunity to carry out independent research on a topic of your choice, subject to the approval of the School and to the availability of an appropriately qualified supervisor.

Integrated Research Project (40 credits)
This final year project option allows you to carry out a piece of extended research with the additional support of a scaffolding module, selected from semester 1 taught modules, which will provide the basis for your independent research with the support of an appropriately qualified supervisor.

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

Bioethics (20 credits)
This advanced level module allows you to delve into the applied ethics of issues in biomedicine and biomedical research.

Feminist Philosophy (20 credits)
This advanced level module looks at philosophy that is particularly relevant to women’s lives, ranging over most subfields of philosophy including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics.

Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art (20 credits)
This specialist module examines philosophical issues concerning the nature and values of art, aesthetic appreciation, the nature of aesthetic knowledge and justification.

War, Terror and Justice (20 credits)
This advanced level module examines key ethical aspects of the international order: centrally, war, terrorism, and international justice.

Philosophy of Sex and Relationships (20 credits)
This specialist research module allows you to delve into philosophical themes, debates and ideas around love and intimate relationships.

Continental Philosophy (20 credits)
This advanced module explores the ideas and theories of a selection of key philosophers from nineteenth- or twentieth-century continental Europe which contrast with the analytic tradition of philosophy.

Religion, Belief and Ethics (20 credits)
This module deals with the overarching question of how religious beliefs and practices can be conceptualized, as well as specific topics such as indigenous and/or ancient religious practices, eternal life, reincarnation, prayer, the problem of evil, and connections between religious belief, ethical values, and conceptions of humanity.

Religion and Mental Health (20 credits)
This module brings philosophy, theology, and religious studies into debate with psychiatry, psychology, sociology and medical anthropology to discuss key questions relating to religion and mental health.

Religion and Media (20 credits)
This module examines the interrelationship between religion and the media, including how religion is mediated and how the media portray and represent religion in general and different religious traditions.

Religions and Global Development (20 credits)
This module explores the role of religion in international development theory and action; the nature of religion as resource, obstacle and critical participant in development; particular forms of co-operation between religious communities, religious aid agencies and communities in development; and the relationship of religion, human values and community building.

God, Sex and Gender in Africa (20 credits)
This module critically explores the role of religion in relation to contested issues of gender and sexual diversity in African societies.

Augustine of Hippo (20 credits)
This module explores the thought of Augustine of Hippo (a fourth/fifth-century African philosopher and theologian) on topics including God, the nature of good and evil, love and happiness, time and language.

Bible and Society (20 credits)
This module examines how texts and traditions from the Hebrew and Christian Bible reflect certain ideologies, and how they continue to shape society and popular culture.

Islam, Race and the State in Europe (20 credits)
This module focuses on the contested status of Islam in European societies and political cultures, both historically and in the present.

Christian Theology and Contemporary Issues (20 credits)
This module explores the constructive and critical possibilities of relating secular discussion of pressing contemporary issues (such as disability, racism, gendered violence and domestic abuse, climate change, war) to topics in Christian theology (e.g. God, salvation, eschatology, Christology, creation, sin, love, forgiveness).

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.

To enable you to benefit from their expertise, we use a range of teaching and learning methods. Normally these will include lectures, seminars, tutorials and occasionally workshops. 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 use a variety of assessment methods. These usually include coursework essays, though some modules also use oral presentations, group work, book reviews, annotated bibliographies, reflective logs, posters, or exams.

Support will be available throughout your degree. For example, we provide guidance on how to structure essays, and our Library Skills Team offer support for improving various academic skills.

You will typically have the opportunity to complete and receive ‘feed-forward’ on an ungraded formative exercise midway through our modules; this serves as a stepping stone towards your final graded assessment for the module.

New students will have a suite of study skills sessions to help transition to university learning and assessment. Your teaching staff will be available throughout term time to talk to you one-to-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 design our assessments to reflect the most valuable skills our subject can teach you.

For instance, how to:

  • construct a strong 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 will also help you to excel in your future life and career.

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 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


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: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

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.

Additional cost information

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.


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


Career opportunities

A degree in Philosophy, Ethics and Religion will equip you with both in-depth subject knowledge and valuable transferable skills that really stand out to employers. You will be a confident communicator who can present and defend your views clearly, both in writing and verbally. You will be comfortable working independently or in a team, and you will have strong organisational and research skills. Your work on this degree ensures that you emerge from your studies with strong critical thinking skills and the skills it takes to express them in a variety of contexts.

Graduates have gone on to succeed in a wide range of careers, including careers in education, management, politics, the civil service, journalism, the media, and the charity sector. Others have gone on to postgraduate study in related disciplines.

Careers support

The School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, housed within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures, values and supports development of employment skills and career opportunities throughout your degree. In addition to ongoing workshops and resources that can help you with developing your CV, searching for jobs and networking, and connecting with graduate programmes, you can take advantage of opportunities such as study abroad or industrial placement, in which you will be able to utilise the skills you develop during your studies in the workplace.

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 is a great way to gain an insight into another culture, as well as gaining valuable experience that will look good on your CV.

We have over 300 University partners worldwide, and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America.

Some of these global opportunities are taught in English, whereas others require a level of language proficiency. In all cases, language support is available to students beforehand.

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

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.

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