Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

Undergraduate

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Sunday 1 August 2021

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  • The 2022 Complete University Guide ranks Roehampton top in London for student satisfaction in both philosophy and religious studies.
  • Tailor your degree to your own interests.
  • Cover a diverse range of topics from classical philosophy and Islam to gender and sexuality and the philosophy of law.
  • Learn through real world application
  • Give your career a head-start through the option of a one-year work placement, after year two
  • Gain transferable employment skills through placements and projects

Summary

Our BA Honours degree in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics invites you to explore many of life’s big questions. What is the meaning of life? What responsibilities do we have to other people and the natural world? What can we learn from the history of philosophical and religious thought? How are we to assess rational arguments for the existence of God? How do religion and non-religion relate to culture, society, and politics?

Students take modules in each of the disciplines of philosophy, religion and ethics, as well as studying them in an integrated way. That will involve drawing on a number of religious perspectives, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism – as well as humanism and atheism. Equally, the degree enables students to study both analytical and continental philosophy.

What makes our BA in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics at Roehampton so distinctive is our commitment to practical humanities. You will learn how to apply your interpretative and analytical skills to a whole range of contemporary problems regarding community, public policy, social justice, and personal life. That could include thinking through challenges in environmental ethics, global cultures, or interfaith dialogue. Likewise, through engagement with media and the arts, you can explore themes such as community peacebuilding, jihad and terrorism, and the ethics of abortion and euthanasia.

As you progress through this course, you will develop highly transferable and employable skills, while tailoring your studies to your own areas of interest. Alongside traditional skills of critical thinking, argumentation, textual analysis, and clear communication, you will also develop the ability to analyse multiple forms of media, to write and present material for a public audience, and to read and analyse policy documents. You will have opportunities to take up work placements, to build a creative portfolio and to engage in collaborative projects – all designed to equip you for your future career path.

How you will learn 

Discussion and debate lie at the heart of this course, and you will be taught by research-active staff, many of whom are leaders in their field, through a variety of methods and formats, including lectures and individual tutorials, class discussions and seminars, some of which are assessed. 

Each year of this course dedicates time to developing your academic, professional, and key transferable skills so that by the time you graduate, you will be ready for your career, having built professional contacts and gained work experience.  

The University offers extensive career support, with a dedicated career service, excellent connections with organisations and businesses, and an annual employability workshop where you will meet former students and employers from various industries. 

Year 1

  • Cover the key elements that will allow you to understand the fundamental issues you will explore on this degree.  
  • Learn about classical and modern philosophy, religion and ethics.  
  • Learn skills such as critical thinking and analysis, time and project management, identifying and researching sources. 

Year 2

  • Select from diverse module choices in line with your interests. Choose to study, for example, the history of race or gender, Islamic and Indian contexts in the west, or political philosophy and its morality and ethics.  
  • Choose to learn a language on our Languages for All programme or do a work placement.  
  • Build on your thinking, project management and research skills.  

Year 3

  • Study two compulsory modules, one of which deals with belief and unbelief, and the second with love, sex, death and faith. Both focus on the human and experiential outlook and integrate the disciplines of philosophy, religion and ethics. 
  • Tailor your third year to your research interests, with topics as varied as animal rights, human rights, and Islam and women, to the Holocaust and philosophy of law.  
  • Undertake a substantial research project of your choice.

This degree will open up multiple career pathways, whether you are thinking about a career in education, business, politics, law or media, or any field that requires an expert grasp of the complex nature of public policy and personal choices. You could go into journalism, broadcasting, international development, charitable work, community or social services, or pursue an academic career. 

Our careers team is available to support you from the start of your studies until after you graduate. They will help you build your CV, prepare for interviews, and meet and learn from successful graduates working at the top of their careers. You’ll also have opportunities to work with our partners across London and beyond, and to attend a Roehampton jobs fair where you can find out about graduate opportunities and meet employers.

Professor Fiona Ellis

Fiona Ellis

Hi, my name is Fiona, and I’m Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Roehampton. Teaching is one of the things I love about my job, and my modules include Philosophy of Religion, Continental Philosophy, and Love, Sex, Death, and God. I agree with the philosopher and fiction writer Iris Murdoch that the problems of philosophy are the problems of life, and all of these modules involve an exploration of some fascinating issues and questions. What does it mean to fall in love? Does life have a meaning? What is spirituality? Is there any hope for us? I've been writing about these things for many years, and students always bring new and interesting perspectives to the relevant topics!

Dr Simonetta Calderini

Dr Laurent Lacroix

My name is Simonetta, I am Reader in Islamic Studies, and I have been teaching at Roehampton for 20 years. My expertise is Islam in its variety, spirituality and historical developments. I will be teaching modules in every year of your journey in this degree, from Study of Religion, to Islam and the West and Contemporary Issues in Global Religions. Teaching, guiding as well as learning from students through the topics they choose to discuss in their seminars and projects are my favourite aspects of this profession. Research is my other passion which enriches my teaching. I wrote books on women and Islam during the Fatimid dynasty and, more recently, on Muslim women leading prayer. Together, we will go beyond the daily news headlines on Islam and Muslims and discover the depth, variety and richness of Islam as a religion, a system of thought, in its legal elaborations, ethical values and lived spiritual experiences. We will meet Malcolm X, Ibn al-Arabi, past and present mystics, women imams, human rights activists, as well as Muslim philosophers who succeeded in reconciling Greek philosophy with Islamic revelation.

Dr Mark Sinclair

Dr Mark Sinclair

Hi, my name is Mark and I am Reader in Philosophy. On this programme, you’ll normally find me teaching in the areas of metaphysics and the history of philosophy. I’m always trying to see how the history of philosophy can help us to think differently about who we are and what we can do in the present. I’m particularly interested in the philosophical roots of our current environmental and health crises, and in the long-range effects of the seventeenth-century European concern to become ‘masters and possessors’ of nature. Students explore these issues on, for example, the Early Modern Thought first-year unit that I lead. Enabling students to embark on these intellectual voyages is the aim, for me, of teaching, and it’s always a great pleasure to see students engage with the issues in their own terms, and with their own, fresh perspectives.

Dr Neil MacDonald

Dr Maria Teresa Esposito

My name is Neil. I am Reader in Theological Studies and have been teaching at Roehampton for nearly 20 years. My interest is in Christianity and its emergence out of Judaism. My research expertise is really the first-century origins of the Christian-Jewish-Monotheistic claim that Jesus is God and not merely a god. This requires not merely historiographical acumen but also theological, hermeneutical, and philosophical discrimination. So I am a theological scholar of a different kind, one who thinks the answer is ultimately to be found in a more sophisticated take on history than New Testament scholars are wont to assume. I have a first-class honours degree in Philosophy and a Masters Degree and PhD in Systematic Theology. I am the programme convenor of this degree and contribute to those PRE modules that require specialist theological and philosophical expertise. I have also taught Ludwig Wittgenstein for the Philosophy degree. I look forward to meeting, teaching and learning from, you in your journey through higher education.

Dr Neil Williams

Dr Neil Williams

Hi, my name is Neil and I am Senior Lecturer in Philosophy. On this programme, you’ll mostly find me teaching in the areas of ethics, environmental philosophy, and the history of philosophy. I also teach a few modules exploring how philosophy relates to and interacts with literature, film, and videogames. For me, this is one of the most interesting features of this degree programme: I enjoy chatting with students about how philosophy applies to their lives and to the wider world around us. In my own research, I focus on what philosophy has to say about the environmental crisis and modern issues around social class, and if you’re interested you can help me think through some of these topics in the third-year module ‘Gender, Race and Class’.

Dr Karen O’Brien-Kop

Karen

My name is Karen and I am Lecturer in Asian Religions and Ethics. On this degree, you will meet me in Study of Religion in year one and you’ll also find me teaching on Asian religions and philosophies across the degree. I specialise in Hinduism and Buddhism, but also teach on Sikhism, Jainism, Daoism and Confucianism. You can take modules with me on Asian Religions, Cultures and Ethics and Contemporary Issues in Global Religions. In my own research, I focus on Sanskrit texts from historical India, written in the language of Sanskrit – especially Hindu and Buddhist manuals that describe mind-body philosophy and practices. Together we will discuss how contemporary practices like mindfulness, meditation and yoga connect to the historical picture in Asia – and address complex issues around identity, health and culture. I also have interests in decolonial thought, especially in relation to study of religion and philosophy, and in the exchanges between European and Indian philosophers during the colonial era.

Dr Angie Pepper

Angie Pepper

I’m Angie, I’m a Lecturer in Philosophy and I convene the module in Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics. I also teach undergraduate courses in ethics and political philosophy. I joined Roehampton in 2020 and I have really enjoyed working closely with my students on the moral, social, and political issues that matter to them. The best things about Philosophy at Roehampton are the friendly teaching team who have varied and exciting research interests, and the time and support that we are able to give each student to help them realise their full potential.

Rev Dr Martin Poulsom

PRE Martin Poulsom portrait.jpgMy name is Martin and I’m a Senior Lecturer in Theology. In my teaching, I explore key ideas in Christian theology and ways in which theological ideas and practice can interact with the contemporary world. We look together at ways in which theology and philosophy have influenced the world we live in and how they could help to shape its future. My research is focussed on the contribution that Christianity can make in response to the climate crisis, which we consider in the second-year module Transforming Cultures. I’m also interested in debates between faith, science and atheism, which we deal with in the third year module Faith and Modernity. These topics always generate lively debate, as we think about the kind of world we want to live in and how we can make it a better place.

Dr Tom O’Shea

Dr Tom O'Shea

My name is Tom, and I'm a senior lecturer on the programme. I teach modules in ethics and political philosophy - helping students to think about topics like freedom, justice, and power. Some of that teaching looks at the history of the ideas that shape our world, and it asks what the past can teach us about the challenges we face in the present. My own philosophical research focuses on what it means to be free, and that's a theme that I explore in my classes. I'm also keen to get students interested in the ways that they can make a real difference in our societies as philosophers - contributing rigour and creativity to debates about everything from economic inequality and political oppression to healthcare and romantic desire.

Dr John Moxon

PRE John Moxon image.jpgHello, I'm John Moxon, Principal Lecturer in Biblical studies and was part of the team that designed the original Philosophy, Religion and Ethics course at Roehampton. I currently act as subject lead for the Religion, Theology, Culture and Philosophy subject area. I teach a range of modules on biblical and para-biblical texts as well as on Judaism and early Christianity in the Greco-Roman world, with a special interest in prophecy, dreams and healing. I would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in project work in this area!

Dr Jenny Bunker

Dr Mark Sinclair

I’m Jenny, a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, and I’ve been teaching on the degree here at Roehampton for 12 years. I teach subjects including philosophy of art, the history of philosophy, philosophy of law, moral and political philosophy, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. During your time at Roehampton you are most likely to come across me teaching modules such as Aesthetics, Philosophy of Law, and Self and World, and supervising final year dissertations. I may be your Academic Guidance Tutor for part of your degree, and in some years I take on the role of programme convenor for Philosophy. In my research work at the moment I’m focusing on questions about infinity and salvation and also on the issue of homelessness – topics we might look at together in some of our classes.

This course offers all students the option to apply for a one-year paid work placement. If you successfully secure a work placement, you will undertake the placement following year two of your programme and return following the placement to complete your studies.

A placement year is the perfect opportunity to implement the skills and knowledge that you will learn in year one and two, while gaining valuable work experience. The opportunity to make connections in your chosen industry will greatly improve your career prospects and equip you with the skills and experience you need to secure graduate-level employment.

The University Careers and Placements team will support you to develop your CV and skills though webinars, workshops and 1-2-1 appointments. You will also benefit from regular communication about available opportunities to aid your placement search.

Please note while the University will support you with your placement search and applications, a placement cannot be guaranteed.

Life at Roehampton

At Roehampton, we can offer all new students the opportunity to live in accommodation on our beautiful parkland campus, including affordable and high-end options.

We offer scholarships, provide hardship funding and help you find advice on managing your finances while you study.

We provide plenty of opportunities for you to get involved, through volunteering, playing sport or music, or joining one of our many active student societies.

Chat to one of our advisers online