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BA Philosophy and Religion / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course description

This joint degree offers the best of both Philosophical and Religious Studies.

You will study the sacred texts and world philosophies taught by various religious traditions, alongside the writings of some of the greatest world philosophers.

You will explore fascinating debates concerning human nature, conceptions of the divine, belief and doubt, existence, truth, and to reflect on the ways we think we know what we know.

You will also learn a variety of methods for approaching such profound questions, and Manchester's emphasis is distinctive: for Religious Studies, we offer the opportunity to study a diversity of religious traditions and their texts, with special emphasis on their real-world impact and for Philosophy we offer both Analytic and Continental philosophy.

Analytic Philosophy is concerned with the clarification of ideas and the language we use to express our ideas, and has been highly influential in Anglo-American philosophy.

Continental Philosophy denotes a cluster of philosophical movements originating in 19th and 20th century continental Europe, and covers such areas as structuralism, hermeneutics, existentialism, phenomenology, and deconstruction.


We aim to:

  • provide multidisciplinary curricula informed by the research and scholarly activities of the teaching staff;
  • develop your critical understanding of the interaction between philosophy and religions through a range of learning and teaching methods;
  • equip you with the skills necessary to interpret primary and secondary sources;
  • provide appropriate language instruction, where feasible;
  • help students from diverse backgrounds progress through their course by providing effective academic and pastoral support;
  • equip you for a variety of careers through subject specific knowledge, active engagement in your own learning and the development of analytical and other transferable skills.

Special features

Learn in a multi-faith city

You will have the opportunity to engage with living religious traditions in a contemporary context in one of the most religiously-diverse and dynamic cities in the UK.

Study abroad

You may apply to spend one semester studying abroad during the second year of your degree. Exchange partners are offered through the Erasmus Exchange scheme (in Europe) and the Worldwide Exchange Scheme (eg USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore).

Connect with like-minded students

Join one of our student societies to further explore your interests, including the Religions and Theology Society, an inclusive community that plans academic and social activities from first year through to postgraduate level.

Placement year option

Apply your knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year.

Teaching and learning

You'll choose from an extensive menu of course units relating to philosophy and ethics in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Japanese religions.

You'll be exposed to traditional and innovative teaching and learning methods. You may have the opportunity to conduct research among Manchester's various multi-faith communities.

These methods include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • one-to-one meetings
  • small group tutorials
  • research workshops.

A number of units may offer 'outward facing' assessment, in which students work with mentors to produce resources that can be used outside of an academic context, such as blogs and guides.

Coursework and assessment

Students will have the opportunity to undertake a dissertation that reflects both subjects with joint supervision.

Course content for year 1

You will study critical thinking and can explore introductory courses in Metaphysics and Epistemology and the Philosophy of the Mind.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Critical Thinking PHIL10042 20 Mandatory
Truth and Truth Telling RELT10522 20 Mandatory
Being Human[e]: Theological Studies in Philosophy and Ethics RELT10911 20 Mandatory
Histories of the Islamic World HIST10172 20 Optional
Introduction to Ethics PHIL10021 20 Optional
Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology PHIL10622 20 Optional
Introduction to Philosophy of Mind PHIL10631 20 Optional
New Testament Greek RELT10120 20 Optional
Introduction to Christianity RELT10131 20 Optional
Introduction to Judaism RELT10192 20 Optional
Religion, Ethics and the Environment RELT10241 20 Optional
Bible in Ancient and Modern Worlds RELT10712 20 Optional
Standing on The Shoulders of Giants: Foundations for Study in The Arts SALC10002 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

Core courses in Ethics and World Philosophies can be complemented by units in Existentialism, Analytic Philosophy and Logic, as well as the full range of units in Religion.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Ethics PHIL20231 20 Mandatory
Problems in Theology, Philosophy and Ethics: Evil RELT21111 20 Mandatory
World Philosophies: Ethics and Ideas in the History of Thought RELT21702 20 Mandatory
Religion in Japan JAPA20211 20 Optional
Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa MEST20352 20 Optional
History of Modern Islamic Thought MEST20501 20 Optional
Philosophy of Religion PHIL20021 20 Optional
Formal Logic PHIL20142 20 Optional
20th Century Analytical Philosophy PHIL20242 20 Optional
Hegel and Marx PHIL23022 20 Optional
Religion, Culture and Gender RELT20121 20 Optional
Biblical Hebrew RELT20140 20 Optional
New Testament in Greek II RELT20150 20 Optional
Interpreting Religion RELT20572 20 Optional
God at the Movies RELT20632 20 Optional
Jewish Philosophy and Ethics RELT20652 20 Optional
End of the World and Apocalypticism RELT21081 20 Optional
All about Eve: Encountering the First Woman from Antiquity to Today SALC21131 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 18 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

You will engage in a fully interdisciplinary dissertation and choose from course units in the Philosophy of Mathematics, the Philosophy of Action and many more.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation (40 credit) PHIL30030 40 Mandatory
Dissertation RELT30000 40 Mandatory
Philosophy of Psychology PHIL30362 20 Optional
Advanced Topics in Aesthetics PHIL30621 20 Optional
Philosophy of Mathematics PHIL30721 20 Optional
Religion in Political Philosophy: From Early Modernity to the Contemporary RELT30271 20 Optional
Science and Islam RELT30522 20 Optional
Gender and Sexuality in the Bible RELT30712 20 Optional
Jewish Tradition Today RELT30811 20 Optional
Literature and Theology RELT31131 20 Optional
Making Sense of Christ RELT31142 20 Optional
Lived Religion: Places, Practices, Bodies, Objects RELT31211 20 Optional
Contemporary Religion in the British Isles RELT31322 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 course units for year 3

What our students say

I've really enjoyed the units on South Asian and Indian religions - it's interesting to learn about something other than what's taught at school. These units made me reconsider how I view and categorise religion, especially within South Asian countries, which I've found particularly interesting.

Alice Poulter, Theological Studies in Philosophy and Ethics BA


Our most distinctive research resource is The John Rylands Library - an internationally renowned resource which holds one of the finest collections of rare books, manuscripts and archives in the world.

As well as an excellent general collection of books on Religions and Theology and related areas, the library houses many collections of world importance. You will find a substantial collection of papyri, such as the oldest manuscript fragment of a New Testament book, alongside several major archives, including the Methodist archive with a large number of original documents.

Find out more on the  Facilities  page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: