Theology & Religious Studies BA (Hons) (with Foundation Year)UCAS Code: V601|Duration: 4 years|Full Time|Hope Park|UCAS Campus Code: L46
Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
This degree gives you the opportunity to study Christian Theology whilst at the same time exploring other major religious traditions of the world. We live in an increasingly interconnected and fast-moving world. Ideas and people are on the move – and the ability to understand the perspectives of others, to learn from them, and to enter into conversation with them is essential for the future. Our Theology and Religious Studies degree is designed to help you to be at the cutting edge of that dialogue.
You will investigate the rich history and diversity of human religious experience and look in detail at the ways in which the lives of billions of people across the world are shaped and affected by questions of religious identity and faith. The degree combines the study of Christian theology with an exploration of several other major World Religions, and places particular emphasis on the possibilities – and limits – for dialogue between the religions, with particular emphasis on practical issues such as ethics. Study with us and you will be taken to the very heart of some of the major issues that are faced by our Age.
The degree embodies Hope’s commitment to take faith seriously and at the same time to be intellectually stretching, stimulating and challenging. The teaching staff represent a broad range of Christian traditions, and all of our lecturers are experts in their field and well published. To further support your studies, you will have access to our special collections archives, which house texts dating back to the 15th Century.
Teaching on this degree is structured into lectures, where all students are taught together, seminars of smaller groups of around 15-20 students, and tutorials which typically have no more than 10 students. You also have the opportunity to have a one-to-one meeting with your tutor each week.
In your first year, there are approximately 12 teaching hours each week, which reduces to approximately 10 teaching hours in your second and third years. On top of teaching hours, you are also expected to spend a number of hours studying independently each week, as well as studying in groups to prepare for any group assessments you may have.
Assessment and feedback
Throughout your three years of study you will have a number of assessments, including formal written exams, essays, case studies and portfolios. In your final year, assessments may include textual analysis, fieldwork reports and/or literature reviews. You also complete a dissertation on a research topic of your choice.
You will receive your feedback via the University’s Virtual Online Learning Environment (Moodle), and you are also welcome to discuss the feedback with your tutors.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree. Further details can be found here.
Foundations in Theology and Religious Studies
Your first year is an introduction to the study of Christianity, using the dynamic relationship between the material and the spiritual as a key focus. You are also introduced to Biblical studies and you will gain an understanding of the ways in which the Christian understanding of Christ and the Trinity developed in the early Church.
You explore mystical and philosophical theology, and will look at ethics and the problem of evil, as well as Christian engagement with art. Other topics studied include the spirituality and worship in the Medieval World, and the medieval understanding of the human person in terms of sin and atonement.
Finally, you are introduced to religions such as African traditional religions, Judaism, African Christianity, Islamic traditions, and Hinduism, and will have weekly tutorials in Christian Theology and in the Study of Religion.
Explorations in Theology and Religious Studies
In your second year you study the reformation, with a particular focus on history, theology and biblical interpretation. You will look at the first five books of the Bible, and the letters of the New Testament, as well as Christianity encounters in the modern world in terms of theology and the Enlightenment. Other topics studied include the missions of World Christianity and the ethical challenges to Christianity and the notion of self. You will explore the tension between reason and religious feeling, and will have a weekly tutorial in Christian theology.
You will explore contemporary religious ethics, including Ethical traditions and current issues in Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. You will explore the relationship between the religious and the ethical, sacrifice, sexual ethics, bio ethics, the holocaust, jihad and radicalisation, environmental ethics, forgiveness and the problem of evil.
You will continue your exploration of global Christianity and of Islam, engaging with the history and development of Sharia and its application to various context in the Islamic world relating to contemporary questions about gender, secularism and religious law in Islam. The year also includes a detailed study of Buddhism, looking at liberation, meditation, schisms and Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana, Emptiness, and Zen. Finally, you will have weekly tutorials in the Study of Religion.
Advanced Studies in Theology and Religious Studies
You final years allows you to study key thinkers and issues facing theology in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Thinkers will include Tillich, Bonhoeffer, Mary Daly, Karl Rahner, Grace Jantzen, Henri de Lubac, James Cone. You also explore Christian theological responses to recent issues such as the holocaust, feminist thinking, the struggle for freedom and justice.
You will undertake advanced studies of Islamic political theory and Sufism and Jewish thought through the critical reading of primary texts in translation. You will also engage with the broader theme of Religion, Conflict, and Reconciliation, critically evaluating key points of conflict around the world and the role that religions play in cultivating tensions and resolutions.
There may be some flexibility for mature students offering non-tariff qualifications and students meeting particular widening participation criteria.
As a graduate in Theology and Religious Studies, you will have developed excellent skills in critical thinking, which are highly-prized by employers. You will be competent in textual analysis and report writing, and will have developed high-level oral communication skills. You will have an in-depth knowledge of several living religious traditions, a detailed understanding of the breadth of Christian traditions, and an ability to empathise with and understand different points of view. This prepares you for a range of careers including, law, media, public administration and social and community work. Many graduates enter the teaching profession and a background in Theology and Religious Studies is excellent preparation for teaching the subject at A-Level.
You would also be well-positioned to pursue postgraduate study in theology, religion and related humanities subjects. More broadly, it equips you with the intellectual skills and perspectives needed for facing the ethical and ideological challenges of the contemporary world.
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree, you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of our Study Abroad programme. Find out more on our Study Abroad page.
The tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
As well as tuition fees, you will need approximately £200 to purchase key textbooks. There are a number of optional fieldtrips each year, details of cost will be given to you with plenty of notice.
You will also need to consider the cost of your accommodation each year whilst you study at university. Visit our accommodation pages for further details about our Halls of Residence.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2023/24 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
With Foundation year, this degree is only available to study as a Single Honours course.