also available in 2018
A Level Requirements
see all requirements
see all requirements
Full time 3 Year(s)
Religious Studies at Lancaster gives you the opportunity to study the world's major religious traditions and to debate about the role of religion in the modern world. You will develop skills in critical thinking and in examining controversial issues from multiple perspectives. You will graduate from our degree programme with a deeper awareness of cultural diversity and an informed understanding of the conflicts and challenges of the contemporary world.
We offer modules on the world’s major religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Throughout our modules, we train students to do research using the methods appropriate to their study: historical, textual, philosophical, theological, sociological, anthropological and psychological. Some of the topics covered in our wide range of courses include: religion and violence; religion and gender; philosophy and religious thought; religion in relation to secularism and multiculturalism; interpretations of sacred texts; and new age spiritualities.
A Level ABB
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 32 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects.
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Merit
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
This module aims to provide students with a solid knowledge base and understanding of a range of important issues, key concepts, contemporary debates, and approaches regarding Buddhism and modernity in Asian countries. It covers different historical, social, political, and economic factors that have impacted on the development of Buddhism in respective societies as well as looking at the intersection between secular power and religious authority.
On successful completion of this module students will be able to make informed judgements and present their own views on key concepts and issues that have impacted on Buddhism in the past and present of select countries in Southeast Asia and in the Far East. They will also be able to articulate the differences and describe critically the transformations taking place in regard to Buddhism through discussing concepts of modernity, authority, gender, development, and power.
This module aims to survey and critically examine the main themes, key concepts, debates and approaches to the study of Christianity and theological change in the modern word. Students will develop an analytical and interpretive framework within which to situate competing Christian traditions and theologies in a historical context.
Throughout the module students will learn to demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of established debates, theoretical literature and emerging insights in respect of the modern history of Christianity, as well as evidence an understanding and critical evaluation of developments and debates within Christian theology and history. The module will critically analyse developments in Christianity in relation to changing social and cultural contexts, and apply various theoretical frameworks and critical tools in order to understand, explain and analyse developments in the field.
This module explores the emergence and construction of ethics within the context of two world religions: Christianity and Islam. It examines the ways in which religious attitudes to ethical concern and practice are influenced by traditional, textual and cultural factors.
Some of the ethical concerns to be covered throughout the module are: politics and economics; justice and war; sex and sexual practice; and rights and law. Finally, the module will encourage students to explore some of these areas cross-culturally through the consideration of questions of difference and otherness.
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of some historical and contemporary approaches to the subject of ethics. It addresses central issues by engaging with classical texts in the history of the subject, such as Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals and John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism.
The module will also explore selected topics in moral philosophy, such as the nature, strength and weakness of consequentialism, deontology, and virtue theory. In addition to this, students will study topics in meta-ethics, such as the ‘moral problem’, non-cognitivist realism, and quasi-realism.
Other topics covered include topics in applied and practical ethics, such as issues of life and death in biomedical practice, the ethics of war, and the ethics of personal life; as well as the nature of moral motivation and moral psychology.
This module surveys and critically examines the main themes, key concepts, debates and approaches to the study of Hinduism. It pays particular attention to Hinduism in the modern world and Hinduism's relationship with other religions of South Asia during and since the 19th century.
On this module, students will develop an analytical and interpretative framework within which to situate competing Hindu traditions in a historical context. Lectures will include topics such as: religious pluralism, the limitations of the term Hinduism, the impact of colonialism on Indian religious traditions, gender, the caste system, yoga, and the relationship between Hinduism and politics.
This module aims to introduce and familiarise students to the interplay between politics, society and religion in the world's largest democracy, India. At a time when India is emerging as a global power and economic powerhouse despite persistent poverty and various socio-political fissures, a critical balance must be struck in the understanding between its potential and its problems. India offers powerful lessons on the challenges and achievements of democracy in a deeply pluralistic and unequal society.
An examination of these issues opens up conceptual preconceptions about democracy, religion, secularism, discrimination, globalisation and political mobilisation, which tend to be structured by knowledge of Western polities. The particular issues concerning large populations of many different religions and huge social differences offer pathways of understanding to many pressing global issues.
Some of the main themes covered include democracy, religion and social change, as well as an exploration of the religious minorities and caste politics and Dalits in India.
This module examines the historical formation of Islam; its renewal movements, past and present; and modern reform discourses on gender, politics, and law. The aim of the module is to gain an understanding of continuities and discontinuities in the Islamic tradition in relation to religious authority, theology, politics and contemporary practice.
Some of the topics studied include: the formation of Shari'a (Islamic law); competing Sunni and Shi'i orthodoxies; the rise of radical political movements and global Jihad; Islamic feminists; Islam and the West; and Islam in Britain.
The module offers a strong foundation for more specialised study in second and third year courses.
This module introduces the sociological study of religion. It will consider selected key figures in the history of the sociological study of religion and will also tackle a selection of basic issues. Examples drawn from a range of contexts will also be considered. The module may cover Marx, Weber, Durkheim and others, as well as topics such as secularisation, definitions of religion religious organisation.
This module aims to encourage students to think philosophically about religious issues. Using the work of both classical and contemporary philosophers and religious thinkers, it addresses some of the central philosophical questions raised by religious belief. In addition, students will be encouraged to think historically ad contextually, in order to understand the ways in which the role of philosophy in relation to religion in the west has changed over time.
The module introduces students to the work of some of the most important philosophers from Plato to Wittgenstein and the implications of their thought for religion. It will also address themes and issues which may vary from year to year but will be drawn from the following: the nature of theism; immortality; the problem of evil; religious experience; and the implications of postmodern thought for religious belief.
This module deals with the formative period of Christian history, from the time of Jesus to the fall of the Roman Empire.
It is distinctive in approaching early Christianity from an interdisciplinary standpoint, and in considering it in terms of three dimensions of the religion:
This module will introduce major themes and issues in Indian philosophy, focusing on the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical traditions. Beginning with philosophical sections in the Upanishads and the dialogues of the Buddha, the module will trace the development of Indian philosophy from the early to the classical periods. Various ethical, metaphysical, and epistemological concepts will be covered, such as: order and virtue (dharma), consequential action (karma), ultimate reality (Brahman), the nature of the self (atman), the highest good (moksha), and the means for attaining knowledge (pramana).
Throughout the module, students will look at the dialogical relationship between the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical traditions, particularly the shared practice of debate.
The module will examine the cultural and political relationships and intersections between media, religion and politics in national and global contexts. Both old and new media will be considered, and consideration will be given to the transformative potential of the latter for participation and activism in religion and politics. The research methods used for analysing media content and discourse will be introduced and applied.
Topics may include:
This module, for the most part, concentrates on (Protestant) Christian thinkers from the German-speaking world. These thinkers have dominated the development of Christian thought in Europe and America until very recent times, when various 'political theologies' (Black, feminist and liberationist) started to erode their influence.
The point of departure on this module must be the Enlightenment and its definitive philosopher - Immanuel Kant. The module begins, therefore, by looking at the challenges facing early nineteenth century theologians, consider the responses of five major Christian thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and shall end by exploring the challenges facing Christian thought today.
This module will examine some of the major debates in religious and atheistic thought, looking in particular at the way in which these debates are framed by a specifically modern epistemological framework, and the ways in which religious thought and atheistic thought might be though to be mutually constitutive and mutually implicated rather than simply oppositional.
The aim of this module is to examine and evaluate some of the most central issues in Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment Western religious and atheistic philosophical debates. The module will begin by looking the philosophy of G W F Hegel and its implications for subsequent religious and atheistic thought. It will then proceed to consider the thought of the post-Hegelian masters of suspicion: Feuerbach, Marx, Freud and Nietzsche. After this, it will look at ways in which religious and atheistic thought have been brought together, as manifested in various forms of Christian atheism. Finally, it will consider postmodern critiques of modern atheism and the nature of the associated return of religion.
The religious landscape in the West has changed significantly over the last hundred years or so. While the emergence of new religions and alternative spiritualities is not a recent phenomenon, the previous century, particularly since the 1960s, has witnessed a remarkable proliferation of new religious trajectories. Factors such as increased travel, advances in global communication, and the virtual worlds of cyberspace have made available a bewildering variety of options for religious seekers. This module enables students to understand what is taking place in this territory. Through an analysis of established organisations (eg Jehovah’s Witnesses) and contemporary developments (eg Paganism and UFO religions), they will be introduced to a number of theoretical perspectives and issues, such as violence, millennialism, gender, and charismatic leadership.
This is an enjoyable course, in which students will be encouraged to incorporate case study research in their work.
This module is designed to allow students to gain experience of educational environments, to develop transferable skills, and to reflect on the role and communication of their own discipline. The module is organised and delivered collaboratively between Lancaster University Students’ Union LUSU Involve, the school/college where the placement is based, and the department.
The module will give students experience of classroom observation and experience, teacher assistance, as well as teaching small groups (under supervision). In particular, the module will not only give students the opportunity to observe and experience teaching and learners for themselves, it will also require them to reflect on how their own subject area (Religion, Politics and International Relations, or Philosophy) is experienced by learners, delivered in other parts of the educational sector, and applied in a classroom setting. Students will also be asked to reflect on how teaching and learning at this earlier level combines with what is taught and promoted at the level of Higher education (as experienced in the University).
This module examines the Buddhist scriptures in the Theravada and Mahayana traditions and offers an opportunity for students to understand some of the key concepts and ideas by reading select extracts of the Buddhist texts in English from both schools and traditions. It also allows them to understand the changes in doctrinal emphasis as well as variations in interpretation in the historical development of Buddhism. This module will be a stand-alone module for third year students but will also be accessible to students who are new to the subject.
Religions may take on partly distinctive forms due to the history and traditions of particular regions or modern nation states. Islam is no exception. This module will examine varieties of Islam in a range of modern areas and countries such as Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Britain. It illustrates the socio-political contexts which have contributed to these variations both historically and in today’s world.
This module focuses on key contexts and developments in the inter-relationship between religion and politics across the world.
The major themes will be:
There are claims that religion is little more than a perverse and irrational scar on the modern world, one that invariably causes violence, while others claim that religion is good and that violence only occurs when religion has been hijacked by other forces. Others still claim that religious violence is a myth constructed for political purposes, and that one should not therefore speak of religion in such terms.
In disentangling such claims, the relationship between religion and violence is examined, asking whether one can draw such associations between the two and whether one can develop broader theoretical understandings about their relationship that enhances our understanding of religion in the modern world. The module continually refers to empirical data and case studies in which religious movements and individuals have been involved in violent activities, as well as examining cases where acts of immense violence have occurred in what appear to be political contexts, but where religious rhetoric may have been used by the perpetrators of violence.
The aims of this module are to critically examine the teaching of religion in schools as it has developed since 1944, current controversies and possible futures; and, to provide relevant knowledge and understanding for those going on to a teaching career in RS/ethics.
Topics include social and political values in RE, pluralism and truth, spirituality in the curriculum, faith schools and secular worldviews. The focus is on the educational system in England and Wales but with reference to the rest of the UK and Europe.
This module is based around weekly seminars, the aim of which is to give students the opportunity to study trends in the manifestation of religion in the modern world, from secularisation to fundamentalism and from Christianity and Islam to the New Age and Paganism.
Please note that these are meant to be friendly discussion groups, for which students are expected to come prepared and contribute. While the tutor convenes the group and suggests readings, there are no lectures. Each student takes his or her turn to provide a short presentation to the seminar, which then forms the basis for that week’s discussion.
Assessment consists of one 5,000-word mini-dissertation on a topic of the student’s choice, in consultation with the tutor.
Complemented by film and video footage, the module surveys and examines the main themes, debates and approaches to ritualised spirit possession in a variety of social contexts. It also engages established social processes and emerging trends as they are expressed through a range of spirit possession motifs, repertoires and patterns.
This module encourages students to develop an analytical and interpretative framework for understanding beliefs, concrete practices and ongoing transformations concerning ritualised spirit-possession.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Recent Religious Studies graduates have found jobs in sectors such as law, journalism, teaching, social work and consultancy. Their ability to remain open-minded while carefully weighing up arguments makes them highly employable. The course also equips graduates with crucial communications skills that transfer well to the workplace. Some graduates also pursue further study through a postgraduate degree. The Religious Studies degree at Lancaster has one of the highest employability rates among Religious Studies degrees in the UK, with 90% of our students going on to work or study within six months of their graduation.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, but that you also graduate with relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2019/20 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2018 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework