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2nd in the UK for Research Power in the Research Excellence Framework (2021)
Study with experts in British, Russian, and Middle Eastern politics
Following significant investment in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion (with eight new academic staff), we have developed and expanded our range of undergraduate courses. We are excited to launch a new suite of Global Religions programmes. As a result, we will be discontinuing the Politics, Religion and Values programmes after current students and offer-holders have completed their course.
Why choose Lancaster to study Global Religions and Politics?
From the politics of gender in Islam to kingship, power and the Goddess in India. Explore the fascinating ways in which religion and politics intersect to shape our world, under the guidance of our expert researchers. Use your in-depth knowledge of global religions and politics to access a meaningful and fulfilling career.
Understand the values and debates driving the future of our world
You’ll explore major political issues through knowledge of demographically significant religions: such as decolonisation, gender and intersectionality.
You will have flexibility to build your studies from modules aligned with your passions. From gender to development, from Latin America to the Middle East, and from Buddhism to Christianity. Our experts cover a diverse range of research specialisms, and will support you to develop your understanding in a very wide range of areas of religion and politics.
And because you’ll study in a department which crosses the boundaries of politics, philosophy and religion, you’ll benefit from teaching which draws together expertise from across these fields. Our teaching is founded on a clear view of the connections between these disciplines, so you will develop an integrated perspective on global issues: such as the reformulations of Shari’a in contemporary Islam, and the spread of religious messages in South and South East Asia.
Gaining the tools for success
In your final year, you can choose to research and write a dissertation. You’ll receive guidance from expert tutors at every step of the way, from selecting your research topic to submitting your completed project. You may wish to pursue a topic which brings together your knowledge of religion and politics.
You will also have the opportunity to apply for an internship with the Richardson Institute for Peace Studies, based in our department. This could see you participate in a research project with an NGO, a faith-based organisation, or a think tank. An ideal way to build up your experience and your CV.
By understanding religion and politics as global issues, you will develop a particular international perspective that is highly relevant in an increasingly globalised world. The critical analysis and communication skills you will build from debating and analysing religious and political issues will stand you in good stead to apply for top graduate jobs.
Graduates of this programme are likely to be interested in a range of rewarding careers:
Many graduates from our department also choose to go onto further study, taking a Master’s degree or PhD.
Find out more about the support the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion offers to improve your employability, and learn about the careers of some of our alumni.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring that you gain a highly reputable degree. We are also dedicated to ensuring that you 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 activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development.
Visit our Employability section for full details.
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
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and some which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme to complement your main specialism.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, and the University will make every reasonable effort to offer modules as advertised. In some cases changes may be necessary and may result in some combinations being unavailable, for example as a result of student feedback, timetabling, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
You’ll be introduced to some of the key themes in the study of modern politics, and will have the chance to gain critical insight into the nature and use of political power in the contemporary world. You will learn about: the foundations of the modern nation-state, and the ways in which our institutions can reflect or fail to meet the ideals of liberal democracy; the behaviour of individuals and groups in political contexts; the workings of national constitutions and international organisations; the interaction of global events and domestic agendas.
Areas of study typically include:
+ Political Theory: the study of the scope, nature, and justification of state authority, and the history of political thought.
+ British Politics: the study of the theory, and political reality, of British governance in the twenty-first century.
+ Comparative Politics: the study of the various institutions of the nation-state, in a comparative context.
+ Ideologies: the study of political ideologies such as (neo-)liberalism, (neo-)conservatism, socialism, and fascism, their cohesiveness and social/political function.
+ Political Behaviour: the study of the ways in which agents and groups engage with politics in the age of mass and social-media.
+ Politics and Religion: the study of the relevance of religion to politics in contemporary society.
+ Politics in a Global World: the influence of global movements and events on domestic and international politics.
Because of the increasing interdependence of the national and global, domestic politics and international relations can no longer be properly understood in isolation from one another. To ensure the best possible foundation for a degree in Politics, in first year, we strongly recommend you also take International Relations: Theory and Practice.
This module will consider some of the major issues currently being debated by political philosophers and political theorists. Specific topics may change from year to year, but issues usually covered include some of the following:
Moral philosophy is the systematic theoretical study of morality or ethical life: what we ought to do, what we ought to be, what has value or is good. This module engages in this practice by critical investigation of some of the following topics, debates, and figures: value and valuing; personhood/selfhood; practical reason; moral psychology; freedom, agency, and responsibility; utilitarianism and its critics; virtue ethics and its critics; deontology and its critics; contractarianism and its critics; the nature of the good life; the source and nature of rights; the nature of justice; major recent and contemporary figures, such as Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Railton, Christine Korsgaard, Philippa Foot, Allan Gibbard, Simon Blackburn; major historical figures such as Aristotle, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, G. E. Moore.
Our aim in this module is to consider some of the big philosophical questions underlying social sciences. Economics and politics raise both deep philosophical questions about society and subjectivity; for example: Who gets what? Who rules whom? Who, or what, decides? In this module we will investigate a variety of methods that attempt to address these questions, and what answers might be possible. In sum, the aim is to examine methods and assumptions across central movements in the social sciences, politics and economics, from a philosophical perspective to see the troubles and possibilities in each.
This module explores British politics by focusing on the role of its central figure – the Prime Minister. Judging by media coverage, it would seem that the Prime Minister dominates the decision-making process, dwarfing other institutions such as the Cabinet, Parliament and the judiciary. But does this impression reflect reality? Does Britain really have a system of ‘Prime Ministerial’ – or, as some commentators have claimed – even ‘Presidential’ government? The module attempts to answer these crucial questions through case-studies of recent Prime Ministers and an examination of the sources of Prime Ministerial power, such as the ability to appoint ministers, to influence public opinion and to shape Britain’s foreign policy.
The goal of this module is to introduce you to some of the key concepts of public policy both in theory and practice. The module is designed to give you a rich understanding of the actors, mechanisms and processes that underpin public policymaking, as well as a comprehensive overview of different public policies. The module aims to enable you to identify how and why public policy is made, the actors and factors that explain policy outputs and policy failures, and to be able to assess the explanatory power of different theories that seek to explain differences in policy outputs. In addition, you will also assess policy outcomes associated with different policies and policymaking regimes. In this module, you will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of a range of public policies as well a comprehensive understanding of a specific public policy arena, including the debates surrounding such policy, through their policy briefing assessment. In this module we will touch on a number of questions and themes related to public policy, including why does policy change? Who makes public policy? How can we explain differences in policy outputs? What explains the gap between policy outputs and outcomes (or policy failure)? How do ideas shape policy? Are differences in public policies a consequence of different cultures, economic conditions, political institutions or interest group pressures? How are policy problems defined?
This module examines the domestic and the external sphere of Russian politics. By the end of the module you will have had the chance to develop an understanding of some doctrines of Russian politics and its wide-ranging effects on Russia’s engagement with the EU, the US, NATO, countries in the former Soviet space and the Middle East. We assess Russia’s response to the Arab Spring and its engagement in the conflict in Syria.
The module introduces you to Russia, an actor which gained presence and influence over several issue areas and regions. In this module we aim to prepare you for more extensive analyses of conceptualising Russia as an actor in their future studies
Race has played a central role in shaping the political agendas of many nations around the world – and has acted both as a mechanism of political exclusion and as a form of politicised identity. In this module we critically examine the notion of race, and its connection to the politics of ethnicity, religious identity, and class. We examine the role race has played, and continues to play, in the determination of domestic and international politics. We look at the way in which race is politicised and de-politicised, and consider the nature of various forms of racism that exist in politics.
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 presents a detailed analysis of the major developments in British foreign policy since 1945. It explains these developments within a global context, offering rival interpretations of Britain’s changing role and status – issues whose importance has been underlined by the debates surrounding the 2016 ‘Brexit’ referendum. The major themes include: the consequences of Britain’s participation in the Second World War; the retreat from Empire after 1945; the ‘special relationship’ with the United States; and the prolonged attempt to redefine Britain’s global role in the context of perceived economic and geopolitical decline.
This module provides you with an opportunity to choose a topic related to some aspect of Politics and International Relations, Philosophy and Religious Studies which particularly interests you, and to pursue it in depth. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. We encourage you to develop your research skills, and your ability to work at length under your own direction. You submit a 9,000 - 10,000 word dissertation by the end of the Lent term in your third year. To help you prepare for work on the dissertation, typically there is an introductory talk in second year on topics relating to doing one's own research and planning and writing a dissertation
The aim of this module is to allow you to pursue independent in-depth studies of a topic of your choice, within the scope of your scheme of study. The topic will be formulated in dialogue with one or more external collaborator(s) and may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. You will have the opportunity to develop your employability and research skills, and your ability to work independently at length under your own direction with input from external and an academic supervisor. The external collaboration will give you the chance to enhance your ability to reflect on the impact of academic work. One option is to incorporate work done through the Richardson Institute Internship Programme, but you may also discuss other forms of collaboration with their supervisor. The completed dissertation is usually submitted at the start of Summer Term in the third year. To help you prepare for work on the dissertation, typically there is an introductory talk in second year on topics relating to doing one’s own research and planning and writing a dissertation.
This module aims to introduce and familiarise you with 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 our 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 our conceptual preconceptions about democracy, competing political philosophies, religion, secularism, discrimination, globalization and political mobilization, 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.
This module examines the changing character of war and security in a time of rapid and disruptive technological and geopolitical change. The module combines analysis of contemporary policy documents with the interdisciplinary insights of intellectuals that have examined how war has changed in the modern age. In this module you are introduced to a range of concepts that are currently significant in the policy debates about the future of war – concepts such as ambiguous war, the gray zone, the third offset strategy and the three block war. While the module is grounded in broader debates from social and political thought about war and modernity, it explores a range of evolving and inter-related case studies that are central to understanding how war is changing: cybersecurity/artificial intelligence; cities and urban war; drones and the future of robotics; climate change and ecological insecurity. Each year we try to bring a guest lecturer from the Ministry of Defence or the FCO to discuss questions relevant to the course – and to discuss how the course can be relevant to a broad range of careers.
There are those who claim that religion is little more than a perverse and irrational scar on the modern world, one that invariably causes violence, while others (at times driven by political motivations) 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, in this module we examine the relationship between religion and violence, asking whether one can draw such associations between the two and whether one can develop any broader theoretical understandings about their relationship that enhances our understanding of religion in the modern world. It thus challenges you to think through and develop an understanding of these issues. While examining a variety of theories and perspectives on the topic, including close examination of the arguments outlined above, we will continually refer to empirical data and case studies in which religious movements and religious individuals have been involved in violent activities, as well as examining cases where acts of immense violence (including genocide) have occurred in what appear to be political contexts, but where religious rhetoric may have been used by the perpetrators of violence.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2024/25 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2023/24 were:
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small college membership fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2022 and 2023, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2024 have not yet been set.
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
In addition to travel and accommodation costs, while you are studying abroad, you will need to have a passport and, depending on the country, there may be other costs such as travel documents (e.g. VISA or work permit) and any tests and vaccines that are required at the time of travel. Some countries may require proof of funds.
In addition to possible commuting costs during your placement, you may need to buy clothing that is suitable for your workplace and you may have accommodation costs. Depending on the employer and your job, you may have other costs such as copies of personal documents required by your employer for example.
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for 2024-entry study are not yet available, but you can use our opportunities for 2023-entry applicants as guidance.
Check our current list of scholarships and bursaries.
Join Meenal and Vlad as they take you on a tour of the Lancaster University campus. Discover the learning facilities, accommodation, sports facilities, welfare, cafes, bars, parkland and more.Undergraduate Open Days
The information on this site relates primarily to 2024/2025 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.