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Start Dates
Degree type

BA

Course length

3 years full-time

Location

Durham City

UCAS code

VV56

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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level AAA
BTEC DDD
International Baccalaureate 37

Course details

Studying Philosophy and Theology allows you to confront and study the big questions concerning human life – questions such as ‘What does a flourishing human life look like?’ and ‘What do people believe about the world and their place in it?’ With numerous areas of overlap, these complementary disciplines are particularly suitable to study alongside each other.

The philosophy element of your degree will equip you with the skills needed to think carefully and deeply about what matters in a good life, and how individual happiness is related to friendships, relationships, family, society, the political system and culture. At Durham, you will also follow one of the widest-ranging philosophy degrees in the country equipping you with expertise in Anglo-American analytical philosophy and continental philosophy.

Within the theology modules, you will study how human beings have always had, and always will have worldviews and fundamental beliefs about the Universe, and their role in it. This part of the human condition will be studied from a range of methodological and disciplinary perspectives. You can also apply to add a placement year or a year abroad to your degree, increasing the course from three years to four.

Philosophy is a new subject for many students, so in your first year you will follow a range of introductory courses, introducing the fundamental philosophical subject areas. You will also take a number of comparable introductory modules in theology.

In your second year, you will further increase your knowledge by taking two core modules in philosophy and theology. You will also have a wide selection of optional modules to choose from for both subjects.

The third year includes a dissertation that allows a deep, independently driven, exploration of a topic of your choice.

Course structure

Year 1

Core modules:

Ethics and Values provides a structured introduction to moral philosophy, including applied ethics, by exploring key moral concepts and showing how they influence moral practices and theories. This module lays the foundation for more in-depth learning in the areas of moral theory, issues in contemporary ethics and political philosophy.

Knowledge and Reality introduces philosophical problems in epistemology (the study of knowledge), and metaphysics (the study of reality and ourselves).

Reading Philosophy gives you an understanding of the issues of interpretation and comprehension through a detailed study of four thematically related texts including, for example, Plato's Protagoras, Hume's Of the Standard of Taste, Sartre's Existentialism and Humanism and Murdoch's The Idea of Perfection.

Introduction to Christian Theology will equip you with a comprehensive map of the major figures, ideas and debates which function as a minimal context for intelligent work in Christian theology. The module also introduces the method of thinking theologically, by habituating you in the thoughts of leading theologians.

Introduction to the Bible: Texts, History, Culture introduces important passages and themes in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament. This module models some of the ways in which biblical scholars approach texts.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • New Testament Greek
  • God and Evil
  • God and the Good: Philosophy of Religion and Ethics
  • Islam Observed: Ethnographic Accounts of Muslim Practice
  • Worldview, Faith and Identity
  • Introduction to the History of Christianity

Year 2

Core modules:

Philosophy of Religion enables you to acquire an understanding of philosophical issues raised in religion including, for example, arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, and the relation between reason and faith.

Atheism, Belief and the Edge of Reason introduces key philosophical thinkers from the early modern period to the present and allows you to develop a capacity for philosophical analysis that is theologically sensitive.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Language, Logic and Reality
  • Early Modern Philosophy
  • Moral Theory
  • Creation and New Creation: Imaging God
  • Science and Theology: Exploring the Interface
  • Early Christian Doctrine: Trinity and Christology
  • Topics in Christian Ethics

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement year or year abroad)

The final year includes a Dissertation on a philosophy or theology topic of your choice in which you research a topic in depth and present your findings and conclusions. The dissertation topic is chosen in consultation with a supervisor, who you will then meet for guidance throughout Year 3.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Applied Ethics
  • Issues in Contemporary Ethics
  • Metaphysics
  • Issues in Old Testament Studies
  • The New Testament and Christian Ethics
  • Religion and Film
  • Emotion and Identity in Religion

Additional pathways

Students on BA Philosophy and Theology can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second year. Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.

Placement

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Learning

You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, informal but scheduled one-to-one support, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading and writing.

The various methods of teaching help you gain the skills, practices and virtues required for independent scholarly engagement with texts and issues.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by essays, some by an end-of-year examination and some by a combination of the two.

Our curriculum places a strong emphasis on self-directed learning and you will be provided with reading lists, handouts, suggestions for preparation and other online materials to guide you in your independent research.

In your final year, you will submit a dissertation, which gives you the opportunity to engage at an advanced level with creative cutting-edge research at the forefront of the discipline, working on a topic of your choice.

Entry requirements

A level offer – AAA. Philosophy at AS or A level is not a requirement.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD.

Typical IB score 37 to include 666 in higher level subjects.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
  • We consider each application holistically. Whilst academic achievement is important, it is not the only factor that we consider when assessing applications and applicants who have achieved, or are predicted to achieve, close to our typical offer, but who have not met it exactly, will be welcome to apply if they have a strong application in other key elements, for example can demonstrate merit and potential through their personal statement or their reference.
  • An interview may form part of the entry requirements for mature students with non-standard qualifications.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £25,500 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £25,500 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Philosophy

Philosophical training will equip you with a range of theoretical and transferable skills, including critical thinking, problem solving, communication, project management, presenting and researching, that will be of value to employers across a range of industries.

Our graduates work in a vast range of employment sectors worldwide, including law, the Civil Service and politics, management, public relations, teaching, journalism, media and publishing, marketing, retail and business, IT and financial services. Examples of recent employers include Penguin, Random House Publishing, Save the Children, Amnesty International and The Guardian.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 80% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 69% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £30,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)

Theology and Religion

Our degrees are designed to give you a strong and broad foundation of subject-specific knowledge as well as transferable skills and personal qualities developed during your studies: thinking clearly, writing well, presenting arguments, analysing texts, assessing evidence, solving problems, pursuing and organising research. These skills are highly valued across many sectors.

Our graduates readily find employment in fields such as education, social work, politics, journalism, business management, banking, the clergy, the performing arts and the charity sector. A significant number also progress onto higher-level study, such as postgraduate study in Theology and Religion or professional qualifications in law and education.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 80% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 91% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £23,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)

Department information

Philosophy

Philosophy is an ancient and diverse discipline that is fundamental to our understanding of what it is to be human. Amongst the most prestigious departments in the UK, at Durham we pride ourselves on our excellence in teaching and research and we are committed to the pursuit of philosophical knowledge and understanding. Our distinctive, research-led approach to learning means that our undergraduate courses are constantly shaped in line with research and to reflect contemporary study in the area.

We offer a range of single and joint honours degrees with flexible pathways to suit your interests and career aspirations. As well as covering more traditional areas of philosophy, such as ethics and values, philosophical traditions and moral theory, our curriculum also highlights the relevance of philosophy to current issues in the world. This includes modules relating to the ethics of science and medicine. You can further develop your skills and experience with the opportunity to spend a year studying overseas or on a work placement.

During your time with us you will learn as much about how to think about difficult questions, as you will learn about the answers that can be given to them. You will develop the ability to detect a bad argument, whether in politics, in the media, or with the people in your day-to-day life, and an ability to produce better arguments of your own. Whatever you end up doing with your career, philosophy will forever change your outlook on the world.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • World Top 50 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
  • Top 10 in The Guardian University Guide and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
  • 8th in The Complete University Guide 2024.

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the Philosophy Department pages.

Research Excellence Framework

Top 20 in the UK for the quality of our research (REF 21).

Facilities

The Department of Philosophy is located at Old Elvet in the picturesque city of Durham. We occupy a listed building in this ancient part of the city, near the medieval Elvet Bridge, and within easy walking distance of the Students’ Union, the colleges and Durham’s historic centre with its Castle and Cathedral.

Undergraduate students are invited to attend the Department’s extensive programme of research-related activities, including weekly lectures and seminars, many of which are given by renowned UK and overseas philosophers. Recent visitors have included Amie Thomasson, Noam Chomsky and Peter Singer.

Theology and Religion

Theology and Religion is an exciting and diverse discipline that explores humanity’s views and fundamental beliefs about the way the Universe is, and their role in it. This is the part of the human condition that you will study at Durham from anthropological, textual, historical and ethical perspectives.

The Department of Theology and Religion is an inclusive and friendly international teaching and research community where ‘belief’ and ‘beliefs’ are studied in detail, whether those beliefs are atheistic, humanistic or religious.

With more than 30 academic staff, and an intake of about 70 undergraduates each year, the Department is one of the largest in the UK. Our research-led approach means you will be taught by subject specialists whose interests span many areas. We have a historic strength in the study of Christian thought, history, practice and texts, while offering strong provision in politics, ethics, non-Christian faith traditions, humanism and atheism.

Our undergraduate degrees offer flexible pathways to suit your interests and career goals, including the possibility of a work placement or year abroad.

We offer a range of activities outside timetabled sessions to complement academic learning: the Department has an extensive series of research-related activities which you are encouraged to attend. These include several research seminars and public lectures from high-profile guest speakers and visiting scholars.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • 6th in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
  • 3rd in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2023
  • 3rd in The Guardian University Guide 2023
  • 6th in The Complete University Guide 2024

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the Theology & Religion Department pages.

Research Excellence Framework

4th in the UK for research power (REF 21)

Facilities

The Department is based at Palace Green in the historic and picturesque city centre, and within easy walking distance of the Students’ Union, colleges, Durham Castle and Cathedral.

Our library facilities are extensive, and the main University library, the Bill Bryson Library, is only the beginning. The Meissen Library is the largest collection of German-language theological materials in Britain. Some of the College libraries hold theological collections and the Department has some library resources of its own, including Hebrew and Jewish studies. Our neighbour, Durham Cathedral, houses The Sharp Library which focuses on modern and pastoral theology.

The historic library at Palace Green holds the University's Special Collections, including extensive collections of rare books and manuscripts of particular interest to theology and religion students.

Apply

Find out more:

Use the UCAS code below when applying:

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VV56

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles applications for all undergraduate courses.

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  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
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