BA Comparative Religion and Social Anthropology

Year of entry: 2023

Overview

Degree awarded
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Duration
3 years
Typical A-level offer

ABB

Typical contextual A-level offer

BBB

Find out more about contextual admissions.
Refugee/care-experienced offer
Applicants who have been in local authority care for more than three months or have refugee status may be eligible for an offer two grades below the standard requirements.
Find out more about contextual admissions.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer
34 points overall. 6,5,5 in Higher Level subjects.

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Apply through UCAS

Course overview

  • Combine the tradition-based study of religion with the social scientific approach of anthropology.
  • Study topics such as Judaism, the problem of evil, the Bible, social theory, power and ethnography.
  • Explore themes such as ritual, myth, sacred space and iconography as critical features of human societies, both past and present.
  • Study at a top 5 UK university for Religions and Theology (Guardian University Guide 2022).

Open days

We are pleased to announce that we are returning to hosting on-campus open days in the summer and autumn.

Please see open days for the dates, registration, and other information.

If you're a prospective student, you can also find out more about student life by chatting with our student ambassadors at a time that suits you, and ask any questions you may have about life at Manchester. 

Please check our Coronavirus FAQs for the most up to date information regarding events. 

You can also look at our virtual open day content to help you learn more about the University.

Fees

Fees for entry in 2023 have not yet been set. For entry in 2022 the tuition fees were £9,250 per annum for home students, and are expected to increase slightly for 2023 entry.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).

Contact details

School/Faculty
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
School/Faculty overview

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

A-level

Grades ABB.

Contextual offer

BBB for applicants who meet our contextual offer criteria.  For further information and to check eligibility visit our Contextual Offers page.

AS-level

AS level results are not considered as part of the standard admissions process at The University of Manchester.

Unit grade information

The University of Manchester welcomes the provision of unit information where available.  Like all other information provided by applicants this may be taken into consideration when assessing your application.  Unit grades will not normally form part of an offer conditions.

GCSE

Applicants must demonstrate a broad general education including acceptable levels of Literacy and Numeracy, equivalent to at least Grade C or 4 in GCSE/iGCSE English Language and Mathematics. GCSE/iGCSE English Literature will not be accepted in lieu of GCSE/iGCSE English Language.

Please note that if you hold English as a second language iGCSE qualification, we may also require you to offer one of our acceptable equivalent English Language qualifications or achieve a higher grade in your iGCSE than the one stated above. Please contact the academic School for clarification.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall. 6,5,5 in Higher Level subjects.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see Accepted entry qualifications from your country

Scottish requirements

We normally require grades AABBB in Scottish Highers.  In addition, one Scottish Advanced Higher is normally required at Grade B.  Where a pre-requisite subject is required at A-level, then this Advanced Higher should be in that subject.

English Language and Mathematics not taken at Higher/Advanced Higher must have been achieved at SCQF level 5 (minimum National 5 grade C / Intermediate 2 grade C / Standard Grade Credit level grade 3).

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the Academic School(s) to which you plan to apply.

Welsh Baccalaureate

The University welcomes and recognises the value of the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma/Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and usually requires two A Levels or equivalent to be included within this.

The minimum grade required will normally be the same as the lowest grade listed in the A Level entry requirements.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the academic School(s) you plan to apply to.

European Baccalaureate

The University of Manchester welcomes applicants with the European Baccalaureate. Acceptable on its own or in combination with other qualifications, applications from students studying for this qualification are welcome and all applicants will be considered on an individual basis.

We normally require 77% to include a minimum of 8.0 in at least one essay-based subject.

AQA Baccalaureate

The University recognises the benefits of the AQA Baccalaureate and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills.

In making offers, the University will focus on the three A Levels taken within the AQA Baccalaureate. Students need to check the standard A Level requirements for their chosen course.

The units of broader study, enrichment activities and the Extended Project are considered to be valuable elements of the AQA Baccalaureate and we would therefore strongly encourage students to draw upon these experiences within their personal statement.

Foundation year

The University recognises a number of foundation programmes as suitable for entry to this undergraduate programme:

Applicants completing the INTO Manchester in partnership with The University of Manchester international foundation programme are required to achieve ABB in academic subjects and grade A in the EAP with writing, speaking, listening and reading grade B.

Applicants completing the NCUK International Foundation year are required to achieve ABB in academic subjects and grade A in the EAP with writing, speaking, listening and reading grade B.

Please read this in conjunction with our A-level requirements, noting any pre-requisite subjects.

For all other foundation programmes please see this list of approved UK foundation programmes .

Pearson BTEC qualifications

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: we consider the National Extended Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Extended Diploma with grades Distinction, Distinction, Merit.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma: we consider the National Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Diploma with grades Distinction, Distinction, plus one A-level at Grade B in an essay-based subject.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma: we consider the National Foundation Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Foundation Diploma with a Distinction grade, PLUS one A-level at Grade B in in an essay-based subject, PLUS an EPQ or AS at Grade B.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate: we consider the National Extended Certificate for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Extended Certificate with a Distinction grade, PLUS two A-levels at Grades BB (one of these A-levels should be in an essay-based subject).

The University of Manchester welcomes applications from students who have achieved legacy BTEC qualifications (pre-2016) such as the BTEC Extended Diploma, BTEC Diploma, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, and BTEC Certificate.  The grades required are likely to be the same or vary similar to the new BTEC qualifications (first teaching 2016, awarded 2018). Please contact the Academic School for clarification.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the academic School(s) to which you plan to apply.

OCR Cambridge Technical qualifications

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Extended Diploma (CTEC):  we do not consider the Technical Extended Diploma for entry to this course.

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Diploma (CTEC): we consider the Technical Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Diploma with grades Distinction, Merit, plus an additional level 3 qualification such as an A Level at grade A in an essay-based subject such as English Literature, History or Politics .

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Foundation Diploma (CTEC): we consider the Technical Foundation Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Foundation Diploma with grades Distinction, Distinction, plus an additional level 3 qualification such as an A Level/A Level at min. Grade B an essay-based subject such as English or History, PLUS an EPQ or AS Level at grade B.

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Extended Certificate (CTEC) : we consider the Technical Extended Certificate for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Extended Certificate with grade Distinction, plus two additional Level 3 qualifications such as A Levels at grades BB, one of which must be in an essay-based subject such as English or History.

The University of Manchester will consider applications from students who have achieved legacy CTEC qualifications (pre-2016) such as the CTEC Extended Diploma, CTEC Diploma, CTEC Subsidiary Diploma, and CTEC Certificate.  The grades required are likely to be the same or vary similar to the new CTEC qualifications (first teaching 2016, awarded 2018). Please contact the Academic School for clarification.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the Academic School(s) to which you plan to apply.

Access to HE Diploma

We require a QAA-recognised Access to HE Diploma (a minimum of 60 credits overall with at least 45 at Level 3), with merit or distinction in a subject area relevant to the chosen course.

The specific course requirements are a minimum of 30 credits with a Distinction grade, plus 15 credits with a Merit grade, all in a Humanities-related subject. Where possible, 15 of the Distinction credits should be in the pre-requisite subject required for A-levels.

Applicants to Languages programmes are also required to have a minimum of GCSE grade B/6 in a modern language or in English Language.

Cambridge Pre-U

We consider applicants offering Pre-U Principal Subjects, or a mix of Pre-U and A Level subjects, provided a minimum of three distinct subjects overall is taken.

Candidates taking Pre-U principal subjects in conjunction with A levels are expected to achieve combinations of D3, M2, M2 in the Pre-U and ABB at A level, in three distinct subjects.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the Academic School(s) you plan to apply to.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

The University recognises the benefits of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills. Although the Extended Project will not be included in the conditions of your offer, we strongly encourage you to provide information about the EPQ in your personal statement and at interview. A number of our academic Schools may also choose to take your performance in the EPQ into account should places be available in August for applicants who narrowly miss the entry grades for their chosen course.

Core Maths

The University recognises the value of Level 3 Core Mathematics qualifications. Core Mathematics is not a compulsory element of post-16 study and as a result we will not normally include it in the conditions of any offer we make. However, if a student chooses to undertake a core mathematics qualification this may be taken into account when we consider a student's application, particularly for courses with a distinct mathematical or statistical element that does not require A Level Mathematics. Academic Schools may also choose to take a student's performance in Core Mathematics into account should places be available in August for applicants who narrowly miss the entry grades for their chosen course.

Where a course requires applicants to have at least grade 6/B or higher in GCSE Mathematics we would be likely to consider a pass in Core Mathematics at a minimum grade C or B as an alternative way to fulfil this requirement. Where an A Level in Mathematics is required then Core Mathematics will not be accepted in lieu of an A Level.

A Level and GCSE Mathematics requirements for our courses vary according to subject so we advise students to contact the academic School, who will clarify whether a student's portfolio of qualifications is acceptable for entry onto the chosen course.

Home-schooled applicants

If you are a student who has followed a non-standard educational route, e.g. you have been educated at home; your application will be considered against the standard entry criteria of the course for which you are applying. You will be required to demonstrate that you meet the specified academic entry requirements of the course. We will also require a reference from somebody who knows you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. If you are a home schooled student and would like further information or advice please contact the academic School for your chosen course who will be able to help you. 

Non-standard educational routes

Mature students are some of our most well-equipped learners, bringing skills and attributes gained from work, family and other life experiences.  Students come from a whole array of backgrounds, study every kind of course, undertake full-time and part-time learning and are motivated by career intentions as well as personal interest.  There is no such thing as a typical mature student at Manchester.

The application process is the same as for other prospective undergraduates.  If you require further clarification about the acceptability of the qualifications you hold please contact the academic School(s) you plan to apply to.  Further information for mature students can be found here ( http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/mature-students/ )

English language

All applicants to the University (from the UK and Overseas) are required to show evidence of English Language proficiency.  The minimum English Language requirement for this course is either:

  • GCSE/iGCSE English Language grade C/4 or;
  • IELTS 7.0 overall with no less than 6.5 in any one component, or;
  • An acceptable equivalent qualification.

Please note that if you hold English as a second language iGCSE qualification, we may also require you to offer one of our acceptable equivalent English Language qualifications or achieve a higher grade in your iGCSE than the one stated above. Please contact the academic School for clarification.

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires that every student from outside the UK and the EU must show evidence of a minimum level of English Language in order to be granted a UK visa (Tier 4 visa) to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level. This level is often referred to as the 'B2 level'.

Additionally, our individual Schools may ask for specific English Language proficiency levels that are necessary for their academic programmes. In most cases these requirements are likely to be higher than the B2 level. Further information about our English Language policy, including a list of some of the English Language qualifications we accept, can be found  here .

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Application and selection

How to apply

Apply through UCAS

How your application is considered

In considering your application, all the information on the UCAS form is taken into account, particular attention being paid to academic qualifications and predictions, to your referee's confidential report, and to your personal statement.

Interview requirements

Applications are considered on the basis of an assessment of the quality of the personal statement, the reference, and past and predicted academic achievements. We encourage applicants to give details of their motivation for studying this particular subject.

Returning to education

We welcome applications from mature students. We accept a wide range of qualifications including Access courses.

Deferrals

Deferrals are normally allowed; however, we do ask applicants to let us know as early as possible if they are intending to defer.  This helps us to adjust the number of offers we make, in order to achieve the required number of students in a given year.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course. If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course. If you are applying through clearing you are required to meet the clearing requirements. In both UCAS Extra and clearing the places will be subject to availability.

Transfers

We will consider applications to transfer to Manchester from other universities and would normally ask for a letter explaining why a transfer was needed, relevant transcripts, a copy of the applicant's UCAS form and a confidential reference from one of the applicant's current university tutors.

We will consider applications to transfer from other degrees within the University of Manchester but applicants are required to have the A-level grades (or other qualifications) needed for entry to that degree programme.

Both of the above are subject to our having enough places to accommodate such applicants.  Enquiries should be made to the admissions administrator for the subject (see contact details). 

Course details

Course description

Our BA Comparative Religion and Social Anthropology course explores how religion is inextricably bound up with ways of being human.

Religion is here to stay, and there is a critical need to understand how and why it forms a central part of human cultures.

You will explore themes such as ritual, myth, sacred space and iconography as critical features of human societies, both past and present.

You will study topics such as Judaism, the problem of evil, the Bible, social theory, power, and ethnography.

Your first year of study will cover research methods and key issues in Religion and Anthropology.

You will go on to focus on issues related to religion as culture, such as the role played by gender, politics and narrative representation, as well as the developing relationship between anthropology and religion.

In your final year, you will get the opportunity to focus further on specific themes and issues, including writing an independently researched dissertation on a topic of your own choice. 

This course produces graduates who have a clear capacity to analyse and understand the many complex roles played by religion in human societies. 

These are skills of high value in today's globalised world.

Aims

We aim to:
  • provide a multidisciplinary curriculum informed by the research and scholarly activities of the teaching staff;
  • stimulate curiosity about a variety of religious cultures, their histories and the present condition;
  • enable you to analyse and evaluate a range of political, social and cultural practices using methodologies drawn from the disciplines of Religious Studies and Social Anthropology;
  • develop your critical understanding of religion, theology and the various approaches to studying this discipline through a diverse range of learning, teaching and assessment methods;
  • equip you with the skills necessary to interpret primary and secondary sources related to an in-depth study of texts, religious practices and traditions;
  • provide, when required, appropriate language instruction;
  • 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

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study. This will enable you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

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

Apply to spend one semester studying abroad during the second year of your degree.

Connect with like-minded students

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

Teaching and learning

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

Assessment includes:
  • written coursework (eg essays, literature reviews and a 12,000-word dissertation);
  • examinations;
  • e-learning activities;
  • group projects/presentations.

Course unit details

You'll choose from an extensive menu of course units relating to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Japanese religions. You'll be exposed to a challenging blend of traditional and innovative teaching and learning methods, with the opportunity to do research among Manchester's various faith communities.

Course content for year 1

You'll look at some of the key concepts and approaches to understanding culture, including topics such as social inequality, diversity and gender.

You'll also have the opportunity to study different regions of the world.

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
Introduction to the Study of Religions and Theology RELT10311 20 Mandatory
Power and Culture: Inequality in Everyday Life SOAN10301 10 Mandatory
Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective SOAN10312 10 Mandatory
Key Ideas in Social Anthropology SOAN10321 10 Mandatory
Intro to Ethnographic Reading SOAN10322 10 Mandatory
Histories of the Islamic World HIST10172 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
Truth and Truth Telling RELT10522 20 Optional
Bible in Ancient and Modern Worlds RELT10712 20 Optional
Being Human[e]: Theological Studies in Philosophy and Ethics RELT10911 20 Optional
Standing on The Shoulders of Giants: Foundations for Study in The Arts SALC10002 20 Optional
Regional Studies of Culture: 1 SOAN10331 20 Optional
Regional Studies of Culture: 2 SOAN10352 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 16 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

Take a core course unit in Anthropology of Religion and explore a wide range of different religious beliefs and practices, as well as questions about how such beliefs and practices should be understood.

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
World Philosophies: Ethics and Ideas in the History of Thought RELT21702 20 Mandatory
Anthropology of Religion SOAN20811 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
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
Problems in Theology, Philosophy and Ethics: Evil RELT21111 20 Optional
All about Eve: Encountering the First Woman from Antiquity to Today SALC21131 20 Optional
Anthropology of Kinship, Gender and Sex SOAN20802 20 Optional
Political and Economic Anthropology SOAN20821 20 Optional
Anthropological Theory SOAN20830 20 Optional
The Ethnographer's Craft SOAN20842 20 Optional
Materiality and Representation SOAN20852 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 18 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Tailor your study and pursue your own research in a specific area of interest through your final year dissertation.

Your dissertation will relate to both religion and anthropology and you'll receive supervision from a member of teaching staff in each discipline.

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 RELT30000 40 Mandatory
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
Anthropology of Development and Humanitarianism SOAN30111 20 Optional
The Anthropology of Health and Wellbeing SOAN30251 20 Optional
Anthropology of Childhood, Youth and Education SOAN30372 20 Optional
The Good Life: An Anthropology of Ethics SOAN30392 20 Optional
Black Identities and Cultures in Latin America SOAN30661 20 Optional
Screening Culture SOAN30791 20 Optional
Anthropology of Vision, Senses and Memory SOAN30811 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 14 course units for year 3

Facilities

Our most distinctive research resource is the John Rylands Research Institute and 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 Rylands 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 many original documents.

At Manchester you can also study ethnographic film and video as you'll have access to the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology and optional course units in art history and visual studies.

Find out more about our Facilities .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk

Careers

Career opportunities

You will develop versatile and transferable skills including presentation, critical thinking and analysis, team working and cultural sensitivity.

Course units will enable you to develop more specific skills, such as translation, source handling, exegesis, data collection and geo-historical awareness.

The University of Manchester has an excellent reputation for employability, and we are one of the most targeted universities by the nation's top employers (The Graduate Market in 2021, High Fliers Research).

Degrees in Religions, Theology and Ethics provide some of the best skills to prepare for roles in fields such as:

  • teaching and education;
  • cultural heritage;
  • counselling;
  • the creative industries;
  • law;
  • research consultancies and think-tanks;
  • finance;
  • publishing;
  • faith-based organisations;
  • youth work;
  • charity work;
  • media;
  • the public sector.

Our graduates have gone on to work for employers including the BBC, the Civil Service, Xaverian College, PwC, SPCK, the Church of England, Christian Aid and the Liberal Jewish Synagogue.

A substantial number of students opt for postgraduate study in Religion and Theology or on PGCE courses.

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability .

Find out more on the Careers and employability page.